Firefox 3 and photography


Firefox 3 lands on the coming Tuesday, June 17, and is big news for me as a photographer.


Because it finally supports color management. When enabled on a color calibrated monitor, I’ll see exactly what the photographer had in mind color-wise, if the images are appropriately tagged with the right colorspace.

There’s a lot of information in that last sentence and to get more in-depth knowledge require a bit of reading, and to be honest, I know how it works, and my monitor is calibrated, but there’s still much I don’t know about it. To get a quick overview of how it affects the images you see, take a look at this page with examples of tagged and untagged images with different colorspaces.

Apple Safari browser already supports color management for both Apple and PC platforms, but unfortunately, I’m not using Safari for other reasons, hence my eager wait for Firefox 3.

The big downside is that color management isn’t on by default! What were they thinking??

To enable it, you need to go into a special configuration mode by typing on the URL box:


Now look for gfx.color_management.enabled entry and set it to true. If it doesn’t already exist, create it and set it to true.

Also, if you’re using the Exif Viewer add-on like I am (I reviewed several EXIF add-ons here before selecting Exif Viewer), it’s already been updated to support FIrefox 3, so no worries there.


4 Responses to “Firefox 3 and photography”

  1. 1 paikiiimagery

    Thanks for the info about color management. I haven’t messed around with the betas or RC’s so I didn’t know the feature was turned off.

  2. 2 Asa Dotzler


    Why wouldn’t you want it turned on?

    So, if color profile support is so awesome (and it really is, in my opinion), why won’t it be on by default for Firefox 3? There are two main reasons.

    First, color profile support causes a roughly 10-15% performance hit in many of our performance tests. If the images that you’re viewing are of a reasonable size, that’s probably negligible. If they’re large, it could be noticeable. We’re working on improving the performance of this feature so that we can turn it on by default in future releases.

    Second, plugins do not currently support color profiles. What this means is if a plugin has been color-matched precisely with other parts of the page, it may no longer match when color profile support is turned on.

  3. 3 TopL

    Excellent info Asa! I didn’t know that, so it’s good to know about the performance hit, but I’ll take the hit to have correct color. Thanks!

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