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Understanding Colour Gamut Of An LCD Monitor - Learn why colour gamut is important and how knowing about it can help you select a better monitor.
A colour gamut is a subset of colours, such as those in a specific colour space.
What Is Colour Gamut?
The range of colours printers, cameras, scanners, monitors etc. can reproduce varies, so a colour gamut is used to make these differences clear and it also shows what colours these devices have in common.
sRGB, Adobe RGB and NTSC all have their own colour gamut which is often shown on what's called an xy chromaticity diagram. This diagram was established by the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) and the colours of the visible range are represented using numerical figures and graphed as color coordinates.
In the diagram here, the large shape surrounded by a dotted line represents the range of colours visible to the human eye. The color gamut defined by each standard (sRGB, Adobe sRGB and NTSC) are shown as triangles on the diagram. These triangles show the peak RGB coordinates connected by straight lines.
The larger the area of the triangle, the more colours can be displayed. For LCD monitors, this means that one which is compatible with a colour gamut that has a larger triangle will be able to produce a wider range of colours on screen.
The colour gamut of an LCD monitor's hardware can be indicated using similar triangles. An LCD monitor can't reproduce colours outside its color gamut.
sRGB, Adobe sRGB, NTSCMost LCD monitors, printers, cameras and various other applications are configured to reproduce the sRGB colour gamut as accurately as possible. Photographers can reduce discrepancies in colour between input and output by checking that all devices and applications used are sRGB compatible.
However, a quick look at the diagram will show that the range of colours displayed in sRGB is much narrower than the other two options. For this reason, as well as the fact that more devices are now capable of producing colours which are much more vivid than those under the sRGB standard, Adobe sRGB is now very popular. Adobe RGB has a wider colour gamut and it has the ability to express more vivid greens. As a result many monitors can reproduce most of the Adobe RGB color gamut.
NTSC is a standard that's less important for individual users or for applications involving still images. The main concerns for those working with images is that an LCD monitor must be sRGB compatible and have the capacity to reproduce the Adobe RGB color gamut.
Calibration And Colour GamutTo make full use of an LCD monitor with a wide colour gamut and to display colors as the user intended it's important to maintain a colour calibration system. For more tips on colour calibration, take a look at EIZO ColorZone's technique section.
Visit EIZO for more information.