Definitely shooting in Adobe RGB is much better than sRGB.
Adobe RGB has a wider gamut than sRGB; which means that it has a wider range of colors.
sRGb is good when you post your images on the Web (never post Adobe RGB image on the web, the colors won't look right).
For the 1.8 lens, a 50mm, 1.8 is fairly good... and cheap (at least the Canon's are).
For what it's worth, I use the AdobeRGB profile for my Nikon, and for my scanned 4 x 5 film - yeah, I still shoot some silver capture.
also I use a NIKON DSLR D80 and I want a crisp clear fast lens with a 1.8 apeture zoom what would I look for??
First a question, and then a comment. What zoom range are you looking for? Also, I don't think that there is any f/1.8 max aperture zoom in the Nikon lineup. You can get either a prime 35mm, or a prime 85mm f/1.8. With digital, the max. aperture is less of a draw, than when we all used film. The only real benefit from a wider max aperture is DOF, which is increased in digital. Most of the fast zooms are in the f/2.8 max aperture range. This Web page is pretty much up to date.
As suggested the 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8 Nikon lens (get a modern "G" or "D" series for use with a D80) is a great inexpensive top quality choice; strongly recommended as anyone's first lens (or the f/2.8 60mm macro which costs more but adds macro capability). However note that it is a "prime" lens not a zoom, and it is a mild telephoto when used with the D80 - particularly good for portraiture.
All zoom lenses compromise to achieve zoom capability. Zoom capability is often hugely useful so that is usually (not always) ok. The D80 has a 1.5 Framing Factor, so for all practical purposes your lenses will present as 50% more telephoto than would be experienced with a full frame camera like an F series or a D3. So when selecting a zoom lens look to the wider sizes. The 17-55mm f/2.8 lens is ideal but expensive; financially most folks deal better with a 50mm for speed and shallow DOF plus a less expensive zoom like the 16-85mm (24mm-127mm in 35mm equivalence) for versatility.
I apologize in advance for shouting, but DO NOT BUY NON-NIKON LENSES. Non-Nikon lenses are fine for fully aware pro photogs with specialized needs, but for non-professionals there are huge downsides to third party gear in the digital camera world because third party manufacturers do not know what proprietary tricks like iTTL, CLS, etc. Nikon has planned a few years down the road. Lens purchases IMO should be for a lifetime so it is worth it to pay Nikon's premium.
Which profile is "best" depends on what you want to do with your pictures afterwards. Assuming you plan to keep as many options as possible without compromising on quality, then selecting RAW format and the "Adobe RGB" profile in the camera are best - in that order of importance. Next, RAW files only yield excellent quality if they are properly processed; this takes the appropriate skills and competence as the foremost ingredient – and also a decent RAW converter software such as, for example, Photoshop Lightroom or Capture NX 2 for your Nikon SLR. This expands the range of selectable working colour spaces and profiles that can be embedded upon exporting your files.
Lightroom uses "Pro Photo RGB" natively because it has the largest gamut of those most commonly used in the professional field. The obvious advantage of a large colour space comes at a price however: To retain the finer nuances, data must be stored at 16 bit depth per channel which doubles the file size and is not compatible with compression methods such as JPEG. So if photos are exported after the editing, it is often advisable to convert them to a smaller colour space, either Adobe RGB, sRGB (for general or web use respectively) or the particular printer's profile for direct output.
Capture NX 2 works similarly; here, you can actually select any installed ICC profile for the working space and override the camera setting that is embedded in (but not applied to) the RAW file. For reasons too numerous and too scientific to elaborate here, my favourite working space profile is eciRGB v2 which is also recommended for professional imaging workflows by the European Colour Initiative (ECI). Among the distinct advantages of eciRGB v2 over Adobe RGB, it has a D50 (5000 Kelvin) white point and an L* lightness curve instead of a gamma curve; this translates to a significantly better match with typical printing spaces (Adobe RGB can clip some pure ink colours even in relatively small offset printing spaces, e.g. ISO coated v2) and coding efficiency for 8-bit-per-channel data (which means less problems with soft gradients or skin tones because the L* curve closely matches human perception).
eciRGB v2 is available here: http://www.eci.org/doku.php?id=en:colourstandards:workingcolorspaces
Interesting information, warzenbeisser
I looked at the site and downloaded the profile. Perhaps you can step me through the setup as a working color space in Color Settings. I assume that's where it is installed..
For openers, there are two spaces v2 icc and v2v4 icc. Which do you use?
Second, what gray gamma is selected? I notice reference to 1.8, then a different curve altogether. I use gamma 2.2.
I'm afraid I lack the time for more details but take a look at page 5 of the Fogra Softproof Handbook:
You can load the same curve as in the CMYK profile's black ink for grayscale and spot colour by loading "custom" gray/spot and selecting the 4c profile (which in the US might be Gracol or SWOP rather than ISO coated v2, depending on what your printer asks for) from its location on the system disk. Finally, you can save the whole setup with the respective button at right in the color settings dialog window. HTH
I was writing about the Photoshop colour settings only – Camera RAW is a different story, the same actually as in Lightroom that also uses Camera RAW for opening RAW files. I know of no workaround to circumvent its limited working space options; if you want to edit RAW photos in Photoshop using eciRGB_v2, you have to first open them through Camera RAW with the Pro Photo RGB profile and in 16-bit mode, then convert the image to eciRGB_v2 (preferably leaving color depth at 16 bit until after you finish editing – I usually keep a layered 16-bit master file without any sharpening if I foresee additional editing of a particular image, but the copies I send to clients are usually 8 bits per channel).