Buying a wide-gamut screen

You might be considering a wide-gamut option for your next monitor purchase. There are more and more of them around, at better and better prices.

While it’s wonderful to be able to display most of the Adobe RGB colour space (ie more than sRGB), there are three small factors you need to be aware of:

1. You need a calibration device which can handle wide-gamut. When you’re budgeting for your monitor purchase, check to see if your current calibrator is wide-gamut-capable. If it isn’t, you’ll need to find some room in your budget for a new device. All newer devices are fine, this will only be a problem if you’re rocking an old calibrator.

2. Once you have a wide-gamut screen, EVERYTHING needs to be colour-managed, because no colours will look right in non-colour-managed apps. This applies most importantly to browsing your photos. Never use Windows Photo Viewer (or whatever it’s called), only use a "smart" program like Bridge.

3. A wide-gamut screen is capable of showing much more vivid colour than your lab can possibly print. So you’ll need to include soft-proofing in your workflow at times when you have bright colours (clothing/flowers/etc) in your images.

None of these things are big "problems", per se. I’m certainly not discouraging you from buying wide-gamut. They’re just considerations, that’s all.


If you have a question about this article, please feel free to post it in Ask Damien.