X-Rite ColorChecker Camera Calibration Question
I hope this is the proper forum for this...
I just got the X-Rite i1Display2 and X-Rite is adding (as a bonus for recent orders) a ColorChecker target and software for camera calibration (D300, in my case). Does anyone have any experience with this? Is it really useful/necessary, or is it just yet another way to fiddle with my gear?
I'm looking forward to your opinions.
#1. "RE: X-Rite ColorChecker Camera Calibration Question" | In response to Reply # 0Robp Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Fri 12-Nov-10 11:44 AM
The ColorChecker target is useful; at the beginning of a shoot, simply take a shot of the target and you will have a nice neutral grey spot with which you can accurately set White Point during post processing. Of course you can do this with any neutral grey target, but you'd have to find, and probably pay for, one, so the ColorChecker solves that problem.
BTW, when i say "the beginning of a shoot", I'm actually referring to the beginning of a specific lighting condition when shooting; if the clouds begin to occlude the sun, it's a new shoot.
Camera calibration is an interesting exercise which, in my opinion, serves mainly as a learning tool to help familiarize yourself with with your camera's handling of White Point data. If you calibrate your camera for a specific lighting condition, and you can recognize that condition in the future, you can select the calibrated state at the beginning of the shoot and expect that the images will be properly White Point balanced. I calibrated my camera for Bright Sunlight, Sunlit Shade, Overcast, and Incandescent lighting; White Point settings were generally slightly better than similar selections provided as defaults by the manufacturer. These presets are usually not as good as ones obtained for the specific lighting conditions at the time of the shoot using a grey card, but they are useful if you didn't bring the card with you.
So, "is it just yet another way to fiddle with my gear?". Yes, but that's how we learn to use the gear.
Is there a better way to obtain accurate White Point balance? Yes, there are several, including always pre-setting White Point at the beginning of each shoot with a Color Balance Lens (CBL), but that cost more money. Three point White balance technique is another. But, you won't necessarily get better results unless two things are in place; the conditions are different from those existing when you calibrated your camera using the ColorChecker Target and you properly use the CBL lens or the some other, more esoteric, method. All of the techniques require an understanding of White Point balance and the methods of obtaining such, and that understanding can only come from attempting to employ the techniques.
Then too, as an artist, you may elect to change the White Point setting to achieve an effect; then pre-calibration isn't really important. Also, the newer DSLRs have outstanding automatic White Point detection, so improvements gained by these other methods are not as dramatic as they were several years ago. My D700 with the latest firmware version is pretty good at White Point detection.
Bottom line; use the ColorChecker, at least for a while, and learn.
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#2. "RE: X-Rite ColorChecker Camera Calibration Question" | In response to Reply # 0esantos Nikonian since 10th Nov 2002Fri 12-Nov-10 07:54 PM
These are very useful particularly shooting commercial products when you need to get accurate color or in the studio where the lighting situations are relatively constant. They are less useful in the field under natural lighting since, as Rob points out, the lighting conditions can change quickly and dramatically. Plus when shooting landscapes you sometimes want to use artistic license to enhance the scene by skewing the white balance one way or the other.
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#3. "RE: X-Rite ColorChecker Camera Calibration Question" | In response to Reply # 0
#4. "RE: X-Rite ColorChecker Camera Calibration Question" | In response to Reply # 3Sun 14-Nov-10 03:16 AM
Thanks for the replies.
In this case I'm referring to a color calibration profile for the camera itself. I shoot 95%+ in the field, so things that affect my very limited studio shooting , while good, would be of limited utility to me. That said, I'm always happy to learn new stuff.
#5. "RE: X-Rite ColorChecker Camera Calibration Question" | In response to Reply # 4barrywesthead Nikonian since 06th Nov 2006Sun 14-Nov-10 10:45 PM | edited Sun 14-Nov-10 10:51 PM by barrywesthead
>In this case I'm referring to a color calibration profile for
>the camera itself. I shoot 95%+ in the field, so things that
>affect my very limited studio shooting , while good, would be
>of limited utility to me. That said, I'm always happy to
>learn new stuff.
I have made accurate color profiles for several cameras which are useful to me when producing limited edition Giclee reproductions of original art. However, an accurate profile usually results in a pretty bland image lacking in contrast and saturation, even though the color matching to a Color Checker is spot on. Some makers of profiling tools will state that you will probably want to boost contrast and saturation to get a pleasing image.
I never use the accurate profile for any photography other reproduction of original art, and even then it is usually merged with other interpretation layers at about 30% transparency when working toward a print that is “indistinguishable” from the original.
In short, for traditional photography I don’t find an accurate profile to be of much value since you still end up adding your own interpretation to the image to get an acceptable result.