Color on the Web

I’ve noticed a few times that some of the pictures I take and work hard on look totally different – and often like crap – once they are in the browser. Some people go on about choosing the right color space for the Web while others talk about complex exporting and saving processes.

Here’s the bottom line – I want my images (which go from raw to dng and finally out for the Web as jpg using sRGB) to look more or less the same in most cases. And it’s really disappointing when they don’t. The blame rests solely on the browser developers. sRGB is a standard color space – so why do some browsers make such a mess? Here are four versions of the same image captured from four different browsers:

Firefox

Firefox

Safari

Safari

Chrome

Chrome

Opera

Opera

Of course how they look to me is going to be different to how they look to you – since you’ll be looking at them with your own browser which will impart its own interpretation of color onto them. Safari apparently does color management – and Firefox does with a plug-in but how many casual Web surfers are going to bother? Is it that hard to simply build this into the browser to begin with? Is the thinking that some people don’t want accurate color? Hmmm.

To me it’s like a browser that decided to remove any adverbs or adjectives from writing. Or maybe one that had a built in thesaurus and would substitute random words. It just wouldn’t be acceptable. So why is it acceptable to do the same with visual images?

A couple of requests. First, which browser (based on the above – and realizing you can’t see the original image) does the best job? Second, gripe a lot about this whenever you can. It’s really annoying.

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