In the last post, I talked about FastStone Image Viewer. I mentioned that FastStone Image Viewer is color managed. Its user preference does make you think so but it isn’t completely true. As one of the reader commented, it is not a truly color managed application because it doesn’t take consideration of the monitor profile even though it does honor the color profile embedded in the photo.
To confirm that, I arbitrarily selected a different profile for my monitor. Indeed, FastStone Image Viewer displays the image as if nothing happened. Nikon ViewNX and Capture NX2 are monitor profile aware and images look quite different after I made the change.
I then checked other image viewers installed on my computer, a Windows PC running Vista Home Premium. Windows Photo Gallery, Google Picasa, and FastStone Image Viewer are aware of color profiles embedded in photos but they aren’t aware of monitor profile. Windows Live Photo Gallery is aware of both. IrfanView doesn’t seem to be aware of either even though I checked “Use embedded color profiles for JPG/TIF” in properties/settings.
So what happens with photos displayed in the half-color-managed image viewers? It is likely that they assume the display as a sRGB compliant device. The colors look slightly different compared to the fully color managed browsers on my calibrated monitor. However the difference isn’t large enough to raise alarm. Perhaps my monitor doesn’t deviate far from sRGB compliance. For casual uses, it is not as bad as you may think.
Keywords: Color Management, Color Profile, ICC Profile, Image Viewer