Recently upgraded to a newer LCD monitor with dci 92% monitor. I noticed that some games and some photos seem really oversaturated, really shady. After some googling, I found a post suggesting to use the monitors sRGB mode, which does make games look more "normal", if a little bit less colorful.

As I understand this, most content is designed using sRGB displays. However, when this content is rendered on a wider gamut display like DCI, the colors get "spread out", and this makes the image seen different to what the creator had intended.

This got me thinking: What does this "sRGB mode" actually do to make it look "correct"? And what aspect of the panel actually determines it's range? Is it the relative quality of the diodes, the backlight, the chipset controlling the pixels?

I ask this because it seems strange that this new monitor which is technically better has to effectively nerf itself in order to make things look normal, which just seems counter-productive to me, and it's sent me down this rabbit hole of gamut, color range, calibration etc. Any material on the subject would be appreciated.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You're right this is a rabbit-hole, and like many people you're walking backwards down it. This is a tough subject to get your head round. I know how to do this, but I'm not going to be the world's best at explaining it to anyone else. Have a look at this QA - photo.stackexchange.com/q/3886/57929 - but beware, as the 'correct/checkmarked' answer suffers the same misconceptions as many other people. The better answer is the highest-voted one. Also, let us know what platform you're on, Win, Mac nix etc. This is easiest to do on Mac, but you can just about persuade Win to play ball. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 29, 2022 at 8:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi, I'm on Windows, but I'm also imagining I'd face similar issues if I got a wide-range TV and watched conventional TV, which I'm guessing is intended for sRGB also? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mdd M
    Sep 29, 2022 at 9:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Video & stills photography use different colour standards, which have some similarities, but are not directly comparable or interchangeable. The video 'equivalent' of sRGB is Rec 709; the 'equivalent' of DCI-P3 is Rec 2020. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 29, 2022 at 9:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, so that link was helpful but may have actually raised more questions. If I understand correctly, the computer needs to know what gamut the jpg/png/whatever image is using to figure out what "red" means, for instance. The monitor then needs to render this color, correcting for gamut? Does the monitor or pc therefore need to be aware of the output color range of the monitor, as well as the input color range of the digital image? This is both very interesting but also very confusing to me. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mdd M
    Sep 30, 2022 at 9:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ I see. So if the computer knows the profile of the monitor, and determines that for an input of Orange #FFA500, the monitor will display something that is slightly too red, and so to compensate will translate this to, say, #FBA500, which the monitor will display as expected. I think this has cleared up some of my confusion. If you resubmit your comment as an answer I'll mark it as accepted. And thank you! \$\endgroup\$
    – Mdd M
    Oct 4, 2022 at 15:47

1 Answer 1


The idea is that, rather than keep switching display modes on the monitor, you profile it [often called calibration], but the end result is an ICS profile file.

This lets the computer & any sufficiently competent software know what output colour the display will give for any given input data.

The job of the profile is to accurately map these translations.

This is a rather simplistic answer, just covering the basic principle rather than any detail on the calibration/profiling methods themselves.
If you want to correctly calibrate/profile, then you will need a hardware colorimeter. There are several types, but a good one may well set you back $£€ 150. The major players in this are X-Rite and Datacolor. You are often paying more for more advanced versions of the accompanying software - so there is also DisplayCal who make a freeware software suite which can work with most colorimeters.


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