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Is it really necessary to use a colour chart? (R10)

albionshire
Contributor

I am using a calibrate colour chart but I'm starting to come to the conclusion that's it's not necessary, I seem to be getting better results without it. Am I doing something wrong? I am taking pictures on a R10 of fabric and I have two lights either side set at 5600k and 100% intensity, I'm finding that the colour chart isn't really helping that much at all. Are there instances where using a colour chart isn't a good idea? The colour chart has this concept of the 4th gray patch has to be RGB 128 which to me seems a bit odd because that means I have to overexpose the photo. Here's where it's mentioned the white balance for the 4th patch should be RGB 128: https://calibrite.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/White_Balance_and_Colour_Calibration_in_Photoshop_A...

Could this just be bad advice?

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

rs-eos
Elite
Elite

When needing colors in your images to be absolutely accurate, using a color chart is really the only way to go.   Especially if your lighting cannot produce consistent results shot to shot.

However, it can be tricky in certain situations in using color charts.  One of the main issues I have is with the reflectivity of the color chart itself.  If your lighting setup will lead to lightrays boucing off the patches and directly into the camera, that will lead to poor results.   Datacolor seems to have solved the majority of this issue with their ultra-matte color chart.  However, that only comes in a small size.  I have their larger ones, and it's easy in certain situations to end up with too much glare on the chart.

Also, I see in the provided document from Calibrite that the patch to use to set the white balance is extremely tiny within the frame.   I prefer having more of the chart fill the frame.

 

--
Ricky

Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers

View solution in original post

4 REPLIES 4

rs-eos
Elite
Elite

When needing colors in your images to be absolutely accurate, using a color chart is really the only way to go.   Especially if your lighting cannot produce consistent results shot to shot.

However, it can be tricky in certain situations in using color charts.  One of the main issues I have is with the reflectivity of the color chart itself.  If your lighting setup will lead to lightrays boucing off the patches and directly into the camera, that will lead to poor results.   Datacolor seems to have solved the majority of this issue with their ultra-matte color chart.  However, that only comes in a small size.  I have their larger ones, and it's easy in certain situations to end up with too much glare on the chart.

Also, I see in the provided document from Calibrite that the patch to use to set the white balance is extremely tiny within the frame.   I prefer having more of the chart fill the frame.

 

--
Ricky

Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers

rs-eos
Elite
Elite

Having said all that, if your lights are extremely consistent such as what is offerred by both Profoto and Broncolor, your flash will be the only source of light in the scene, you can dial in a manual Kelvin value that would match your flash and that should give you good results.

--
Ricky

Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers

MarkASteele
Apprentice

using a color checker in the instance you are doing it is useless.  You may as well just use a gray card, which you should be using, but only mainly for your exposure.  After that, you should some type of color calibration system.  I use the Spyder X2 Elite, but there are others.  With this system, your would calibrate your monitor, expose a gray card to get the base exposure, then the color checker card.  You would take the image of the color check into Camera Raw (I assume you're shooting RAW, if not, please do), then use Spyder Utility to create a profile for your "system".  This profile will change color settings once used in order to bring each of the colors to their required settings.  Once you have this profile, you apply it to the final raw image when processing your file.  Every file photographed under the same conditions should use the same profile.

Waddizzle
Legend
Legend

Using a calibrated monitor is a good step in the right direction, but you need to make some correction “upstream” from viewing on a monitor.  Calibrate your image sensor.

I use the Color Checker system.  It samples your image sensor and creates a custom color profile for your specific camera models that can plug into Adobe Lightroom.  Their app creates a custom color profile that you can select by name, instead of using “As Shot” or something similar.

C8C3BA59-3BA9-43B5-960F-1C877829C95D.jpeg

I have found this to be especially useful when shooting with multiple cameras.  I can get nearly identical colors from multiple cameras.  It is the greatest thing since they put bubbles in beer.

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