Lightroom: What is the color space used for high-quality previews?

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Question: What is the color space / gamut used by the lightroom previews in quality "high"? Is it AdobeRGB or ProphotoRGB?

The manual states "The Library module stores Low and Medium quality previews in the Adobe RGB color space, and High quality previews in ProPhoto RGB."

However, various web sources, and Victoria Bamptons LR FAQ, state that Adobe RGB is always used for previews.

A simple experiment when I set my monitor profile to ProPhoto and imported a ProPhoto images with maximum saturated colors into LR leads to the same conclusion: The previews in library module always seem use Adobe RGB with quality setting "high" - they appear less saturated then the develop module.

Ist the manual wrong?

P.S. I know that for "normal" wide-gamut monitors with AdobeRGB-like gamuts, this is irrelevant. However, it would be good to know when using monitors that exceed AdobeRGB at some colors.
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Posted 9 years ago

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Lee Jay

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This has changed. It used to be ProPhoto, and now it's Adobe, primarily because ProPhoto is too big for 8-bit (posterization).
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Thanks... yes, avoiding posterization makes sense.

I have seen JPEGs in Prophoto where the sky looked awful because of the posterization in areas with subtle tonal changes of the blue. Prophoto is really only usedful with 16 bit formats like 16 bit TIFF or PSD.

P.S. So the manual should be updated ;-)
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Julie Kmoch, Sr. Development Manager

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Official Response
Yes, we neglected to clarify that change in 3.0 with our help writer. We will correct it, thanks. The reason for the change, as Lee Jay suggests, was that with some of the processing changes we were seeing very bad posterization when we saved ProPhoto images as JPEGs for the high quality previews. Switching to AdobeRGB reduced that problem.
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Anita Dennis

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Official Response
The Help topic, About color management in Lightroom, has been corrected.