Screen Color Gamut Testing

Screen color gamut represents the screen reproduction ability. In this article, I will explain the 4 most popular color gamut standards, SRGB, AdobeRGB, NTSC, and DCI-P3. Here, my approach will be more on the layman's side instead of complicated technical terms to make you understand better.

Table of Contents

What is screen color reproduction?

Before going directly into the definition of screen color reproduction, let me tell you what's the standard color gamut. The standard color gamut that was established by IEC in 1999 is Standard Red Green Blue (SRGB).

So, the SRGB color gamut consists of three standard colors - Red, Green, and Blue. And, if you might be aware of the syntax like rgb(255,255,255). It's commonly used in web development. For each of the three colors, the values are range from 0 to 255. So, by making a combination of different values and abilities, the computer screen generates a new color.

So, that's known as the color reproduction ability.

By the simple definition, screen color reproduction is the ability of the screen to reproduce the color. If you find a term like 95% of SGB, then it means the screen can reproduce the 95% of total colors available in SRGB space.

Thus, way other screen color gamuts like AdobeRGB, DCI-P3, and NTSC are being used. But for different purposes. I will explain to you each standard in detail.

Standard Red Green Blue (SRGB)

As I have mentioned that it's a standard developed for almost all devices that are related to color reproduction. If you go back in history, then you will find that it was mainly developed to output the common quality of colors from devices like Printers, Monitors, Cameras, and others.

Do you know how many colors are available in SRGB space?

The number is 16.7M colors.

Well, It's easy to understand how this is coming. Earlier I have said that each of the three colors, Red, Green, and Blue, varies from 0 to 255 in values. Hence, you can do the combination by varying each value with others.

So, it will be like 255 x 255 x 255 = 16.7M.

Hence, If you read the term like 95% of SRGB while buying a laptop, monitor, mobile, or any other device that's related to color reproduction, then it means that the device you're just seeing right now is capable of re-producing 95% of 16.7M colors.

When you measure it using Spyder 5 PRO, the results will be displayed in the form of a 2D graph. I am going a bit in technical terms. The graph is shown below.

Spyder 5 PRO color gamut results

In the above graph generated by Spyder 5 PRO, all the points reflect the color that can be produced by the display, which is under testing.

And, by naked eyes, the colors look the same, but they're different even if they are very close to each other. For example, in the above graph, Color A at (x,y) = (0.55,0.35) and Color B at (x,y) = (0.55, 0.36) aren't same.

Furthermore, SRGB is widely supported by media devices. Take note that SRGB is the only color gamut that is supported by modern web browsers.

Now, let's check AdobeRGB.

AdobeRGB

AdobeRGB is the color gamut standard developed by Adobe Systems. In terms of size, It is 40% bigger in space when compared to SRGB.

Any color gamut which occupies a space higher than SRGB is called "wide color gamut". So, in this way, a display with a higher percentage of AdobeRGB can be called a wide color gamut display.

Now, let's discuss where it's used.

AdobeRGB is mainly for those who are photo editors. If photo editing is your profession and your final extract of work is on hard copy, then this standard is the great choice as it provides wider color spectrum than SRGB. A color spectrum is the range of color in a space, in layman term.

In addition to that, If you're a social media influencer, a digital marketer, or related to work where online image publishes comes in a picture, then you must go for AdobeRGB. In short, content creators (here photographers and photo-editors) must go for this color gamut standard.

But, as I said, the web browser doesn't support any other color gamut standard than SRGB. So, what to do now? The simple answer is that you edit your photo in AdobeRGB so that you can leverage the wide range of colors. And then convert or export it in SRGB preset.

The photo that's posted in AdobeRGB color gamut standard looks devalued.

Most of the displays on the market nowadays have less AdobeRGB color gamut. However, there are some laptops like Lenovo Legion 7i that have 100% AdobeRGB, which makes it the most color-accurate display for photo editors.

Furthermore, having 100% of AdobeRGB display doesn't mean that its browser supports it. Google Chrome on Legion 7i's display still supports the only SRGB despite 100% AdobeRGB display.

National Television System Committee (NTSC)

NTSC is the acronym of the National Television System Committee. It the color gamut standard designed very first. SRGB was developed later, and it became the standard for all devices. NTSC was originally-developed for black and white televisions but later dived into the color TVs.

The range of colors in the NTSC is the same as AdobeRGB. SRGB consists of 72% of NTSC color space.

Here, the confusing terms come into the picture. Many laptops on Amazon, Flipkart, and Best Buy consists of a sentence like "72% of NTSC, SRGB compatible". The interpretation of that sentence can be only one at that's 72% of NTSC color gamut and equal for SRGB. Right?

But that's misleading.

If you calculate the area of the color gamut using the values from coordinates shown by the tool that you have used to measure, then you will find that the ratio of SRGB to NTSC will vary from 0.72 to 1.

What does that mean?

It means that the total number of colors you will find on 72% of the NTSC color spectrum will be only similar. I am talking about the numbers only, not the colors. Here, the colors that the device is going to reproduce are not necessarily the same.

Furthermore, you may have a question, where to use it?

NTSC is better for video production.

Digital Cinema Initiative - P3 (DCI-P3)

DCI in DCI-P3 term is an acronym of Digital Cinema Initiative, and P3 refers to the set of viewing conditions. It's 25% wider than SRGB.

Many contents provides like YouTube, Apple, and Netflix have adopted this color gamut. In addition to that, modern movie theaters can fully produce the DCI-P3 color gamut.

It's important mainly for televisions and monitors where contents are just used for entertainment purposes.

For better video production, the display must have a possible higher NTSC color gamut. Yes, I said it's NTSC.

Tip for you: Wide color gamut doesn't directly mean higher image quality.

Read other related articles:

Sources: BenQ, EIZO

Best Laptops