My new Nikon D5100 camera can be set either for sRGB or for Adobe
RGB colour space. Which do you recommend? Is the choice influenced by the editing software used? I own Adobe Photoshop Elements 8.
This is a common camera feature these days, Samuel. In fact, all current DSLR cameras and some compact digicams include a menu item that allows for selecting Adobe RGB colour space. Still, sRGB remains the default setting because this colour space is “universal”: ideal for computer monitors, Web browsers and so on. Most print-making services (including on-line photofinishers) have standardized on sRGB because that is the colour space that 95% of their customers use. Such images are also fine—if not ideal—for making ink-jet photo prints.
The Adobe RGB option was designed to encompass the broader range (or wider gamut) of colors that can be printed using certain printers, including the ink-jet machines. (Do note that the full term for this colour space is Adobe RGB 1998.) When printing from an image in Adobe RGB, such printers will provide slightly richer cyan-green mid tones, a bit more detail in dark green tones and more pleasing orange-magenta highlights (as in a sunset photo). For additional technical specifics, review the article here. In truth, the difference is very subtle, not likely to be noticed by the vast majority of people.
So, as you see, the choice of colour space that you select in the camera is not really based on the brand of imaging software that you use. Most programs support both, although some of the inexpensive entry level programs do not; they would automatically convert any Adobe RGB images to sRGB.
Note: There is another colour space, used by some serious imaging enthusiasts and professionals who own pro software. You can find additional information about this in an article entitled Understanding ProPhoto RGB.
If you often make ink-jet prints, it makes sense to set the camera to the Adobe RGB colour space. Later, if you decide to use some of the images on the Internet, you can convert them to sRGB if you prefer the very slightly different look provided by that colour space. Also, if ordering prints from a mass production lab, you may be required to make the conversion to sRGB.