Newbie: Export image has different tonal qualities than preview image

Very new to photography outside using smartphone. Now I have a Sony ZV-E10

Unfortunately this image was only saved as jpg (before I figured out how to save as ARW), I still like it though - incredibly imperfect as it is.

This is a screendump of the preview window

And this is a screendump of the exported image

As you can probably see, there’s quite a difference in “the tonal qualities” (dunno the right terms to apply)

Why is that, and how can I match my preview window with what is actually exported?

I found another post on this forum asking the same question, and this poster found his solution with colorprofiles in color management, but not knowing anything, I can’t replicate his/her success.

In colormanagement I used the “use embedded profile if possible” and ProPhoto as working profile (these were set by default)

None of the output profiles seems to get me closer to the preview colors … the ones I like the best.

How to proceed from here? I am absolutely at a loss!

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What are you viewing the export in… RT or a second program… It will be your display profile and your export profile… that determine how things look for the most part and you need your OS RT and any viewer to be color managed and set correctly so that things line up…

What OS to begin with ??

What is setting for your display profile??

Hi PriorT

I am using Ubuntu and the default gnome image viewer, simply called “image Viewer”

Your question gave me the idea to check in GIMP - and that looks very much like what I see in the RT preview (on the screenshot it’s RT - GIMP - Image Viewer)

I have absolutely no idea about the color profile, or how to find out. GIMP is probably using the colorprofile embedded into the image…

I am more of a windows person but xnview mp works on linux and is color managed and works well… You just have to go into the cms when you install it and specify your display profile to match what the OS uses and what GIMP and RT use… if you do that and it looks the same as RT then you found your issue…”image viewer” is not likely color managed…

I suspect the output profile for rawtherapee is the issue. If you output images in an extended colour profile, only programs (like GIMP) that can use the full profile will be able to display it properly. Programs that don’t (like Image Viewer in this case) will give you a muted subset of the full colour range.

I made some notes here, including an example that suffers from the same problem you’re having:

tldr: in the colour management tab of rawtherapee, set the output profile to RTv4_sRGB (my blog post recommends ProPhoto as the output profile, but I don’t do that anymore because of the problem you are having!).

more details in the manual:


Thanks Todd and big thank you to you too Tyler - It’s very late here, so I’ll be giving your notes a shot tomorrow, they look exactly like the answer I was looking for :slight_smile:

I’ll be sure to check back with my results!

RT and Gimp also take the display profile into account. Simple viewers may not. I don’t use Gnome and its viewer, so cannot check that.

Geeqie is a fast viewer with colour management.

Hi @Acebone,
I agree with what has already been said.

Using XnViewMP, you can check the metadata with ALT+ENTER. In the ExifTool panel, look for sRGB or AdobeRGB. This is the color profile in which your picture was encoded. You can also see the information in the metadata tab of RawTherapee. RTv4_sRGB is an enhanced version of sRGB. You can use it as a safe output profile.

RTv4_sRGB did the trick!

Thanx everybody!


According to this:

Eye of Gnome (the default “simple” image viewer in my version of Gnome) does support profiles. However, the evidence is rather thin, and in any case it is unclear just what it means (does it in fact look at the embedded profile in the image, if there is one?) I guess only looking at the source code could answer definitevely.


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Geeqie is quite an improvement over Eye of Gnome, and XnView MP seems to be too (downloading it now)

But it is important for me to export with a profile that most viewers will understand, so that my images will look as intended on the web, no matter the viewer used.

RawTherapee takes some getting used to. Yesterday I spent half an hour wondering why it wouldn’t sharpen at all, until it dawned on me: I need to turn the sharpener on :slight_smile:

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And you will only see the impact at 100% same with denoise…even zoomed in to 50% you will see lots of noise in the preview and then a couple of scrolls up to 100 and it will disappear with NR on… it much the same with sharpening…

As for having control for others viewing the best you can do still for the most part is stick to sRGB and hope they have things set correctly on their end…if not then they can have issues as well

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I agree, sRGB is the most robust option. It’s the default for many software. However, having registered your files in this color space doesn’t mean that others will display them correctly if their monitor is not calibrated. You can’t do anything about that, it’s on their side.