I am leaving my camera set to aRGB. Since I'm shooting mainly in JPG anyway right now. That and I read that there really isn't much difference in image quality between JPG and RAW. Difference is RAW contains a lot more data (depending on the compression mode used) so if you like to do a lot of color post processing...
All wide gamut monitors have a "native gamut mode"? I assumed people would choose to use the aRGB preset. Why have it if people aren't using it? Or for that matter...why sRGB?
As for colorimeters...I'll likely pickup a Colormunki Photo ($540.00 CAD). Was looking at the Spyder 3 but read some reviews. Said the results were negligibly better. i1 Extreme ($1800.00 CAD...calibrates multiple devices like the Colormunki Photo) is terrific but overkill for any one not running a processing lab or some graphic arts business.
Every monitor has to have a native gamut by definition, that's what the monitors lighting plus filters/phosphors/etc. put out, it does what it does.
There is no sense in using anything other than native gamut in a color-managed program since that gives you all it can do and nothing more (not possible) and nothing less (not desirable). Many people do change the native white point and native gamma but the gamut should certainly be used native.
Some people have no calibration tool and don't want to buy anything more so if they put it in AdobeRGB mode then it's already pre-calibrated to that (to better or worser degrees depending upon the monitor) and then any program will work fine. Without a calibration tool and software even color-managed stuff will fail.
sRGB emulation modes are very important for those who ever want to do anything beyond photo editing and viewing. Games, blu-ray and DVD player software, tv tuner card software, the pc desktop, none of that stuff is color-managed and it will all look nasty on a wide gamut monitor unless it has a good sRGB emulation mode. If for some reason you MUST use IE and not something nice and color-managed like Firefox, then you need sRGB emulation mode for that too.
yeah the i1Pro is expensive at around $800ish (i1 extreme at $1800 sounds like some fancier package, for a monitor all you'd need is the i1Basic which includes the i1Pro but even still it's $800, not cheap as I said)
Before you rush into a colormunki though, first see what monitor you get, if it turns out to be an Eizo or NEC you might actually get results as good or better using their custom calibrated i1D2 or DTP94b pucks than with the colormunki for only $199.
RAW is nice since if you mess up the white balance you can change it later, although Nikons have in camera chromatic aberration removal, Canon cameras do not yet and shooting RAW you can remove that later and with some lenses it can radically improve image quality, you can also do a LOT more with the exposure and bringing out detail in shadows and taming highlights that might look blown on JPG. etc.