Who Uses That Much Color Gamut?

Yesterday I was on a video call with my friend Jon from New York. Jon had just gotten his first PC video camera and I was introducing him to the power of Skype video calls! (Jon is usually the first with all the cool tech toys, but he never had a PC video camera before…but then again he also didn’t know what Twitter was until today either…don’t worry Jon, it’s our secret!). Eventually he turned the video camera around to show me his new dual monitor display.

It was at this point that I told him about the monitor I have on my shopping list, the NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXi primarily because it covers 98% of the Adobe RGB color gamut.

This is when he said “but when are you ever going to be able to use that much of aRGB?”

It struck me, he’s partially right. How many of use actually print our photos anymore? More precisely, print them on a printer that can take advantage of all the subtly that is available in the aRGB gamut? Unless I’m viewing the photos on this fancy future monitor, who will appreciate my use of the color gamut?

Now, before all the professional Fine Art photographers start jumping down my throat….I know you do. But the reality of it is, many photographers in today’s digital photography world shoot more pictures than they will ever have time to process, process more pictures than they will ever print, and hardly ever print an image of theirs. Let alone print an image where they are concerned about the subtly of the tones and colors, and want to utilize the largest color gamut possible. (And yet there are a lot of us who use the ProPhoto RGB gamut…hmm…)

But it wasn’t until my friend Jon made this statement that I started thinking about this. When most of us display and share our images online (which is still restricted to the smaller sRGB color gamut), who really uses that much color gamut?

Since the primary use of this much gamut is printing, the question has to be asked:

I’ll leave this poll run for a week or so and then post the final results!

One thought

  1. I print quite often, mostly because it is part of the business end of my photography, but also because I feel it completes an image.

    As far as the wider gamut monitors, I have often wondered if they can get you into trouble in color correcting for the web – when 99% of the people out there viewing your work probably don’t have a wide gamut monitor let alone one that is even calibrated.

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