My Adobe programs are setup to use ProPhoto RGB and I use a wide gammut display calibrated to D65. Whenever I export edited images from LR or PS as JPEGs using sRGB conversion, the resulting image has an increased contrast and more saturated colors in non-color-managed programs. In color managed programs, the image looks fine, of course. I am struggling with this for quite some time now - isn't the purpose of exporting to sRGB that most programs interpret files as sRGB? Shouldn't non-color-managed programs interpret the JPEGs converted to sRGB correctly? Is this maybe a result of me using a wide gammut display - but then again shouldn't the monitor calibration account for this?

Thanks, guys!


Your non color managed applications can't communicate with the OS to understand the mapping from sRGB ( which they assume ) to the display ( which uses a wide gammut - probably not sRGB ).

sRGB does not guarantee the display calibration matches sRGB, it's just the default color space assumed by your application.

To put it another way, application and display are talking a different language.

The problem is not that sRGB isn't doing it's job, it's that your display is not sRGB.

  • Thanks! My displays gammut is more similar to Adobe RGB - so, if I understood you correctly, the OS merely forwards the raw RGB value to the display, where the color is mapped to Adobe RGB through the internal LUT instead of sRGB, where it originated? Is there now way to setup Windows in a way that compensates for this? MacOS has global color management, if I remember correctly. – Burney Jan 10 '17 at 20:45
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    There is no way to force applications that do not support color management to work correctly. Your easiest option, if you insist on using a non-color managed application is to use sRGB for your display ( or possibly as the desktop default ). – StephenG Jan 10 '17 at 20:55
  • Thanks for the hint - actually, I am not that enthusiastic about using non-color-managed apps. I am more concerned about giving images to other people as JPEG, but as most people are using sRGB displays, this shouldn't be much of an issue. – Burney Jan 10 '17 at 21:04
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    The biggest issue with giving people images ( even in sRGB ) is that it's quite common for their displays to be set to very high contrast and brightness ( and hence not match proper sRGB calibration ). There's nothing anyone can do about that. – StephenG Jan 10 '17 at 22:08

The RGB color numbers inside of an image file represent colors, but in order to get accurate color, you need to provide information about used color space. For example, sRGB color 255, 0, 0 is the same color as AdobeRGB value 219, 0, 0 or a ProPhoto RGB value of 179, 70, 26.

So in order to be displayed accurately, on a wide gamut display with AdobeRGB color space (probably your case) a red with sRGB values 255, 0, 0, needs to be recalculated by color managed application and sent to the display as 219, 0, 0.

If you use non-color managed application, no recalculation takes place and it will send sRGB 255, 0, 0 as 255, 0, 0, which is incorrect, more vivid red. This happens with all colors, so if you use image with sRGB color space on a wide gamut display and use non-color managed application, it will show more vivid rendering.

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