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Author Topic: X-Rite Colorchecker Passport... do you use one?  (Read 5775 times)
Mike Guilbault
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« on: June 25, 2011, 10:53:21 PM »
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I'm considering getting a passport to help with my colour workflow.  I've heard lots of good things about it - mostly on the X-Rite site but would like to hear from working photographers that use it.  How well does it work for you?  I did a quick search on the topic but didn't see much as far as feedback on it's use.
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Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2011, 08:57:24 AM »
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I use the ColorChecker Mini (not the actual Passport, but works just the same as goes the ColorChecker software). For a simple test, I took photos of some flowers, took the images to Lightroom, worked one with the ColorChecker and left the other file without any color adjustments. I picked one of the flowers and placed it under a D50 viewing light and then did a direct comparison. The file that was color corrected using the color checker software was clearly a more accurate rendition.

Overall, I think white balance is more critically important, and while the ColorChecker Mini can be used for white balance, my understanding is the best card for the most accurate white balance corrections is the WhiBal Card: http://mtapesdesign.com/whibal/

I carry both cards, and don't always use them, but they work well when I do. With both cards, the trick is capturing images in the same light as the subject. Depending on the situation, that can be easier said than done, especially with landscape photography.

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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2011, 10:48:33 AM »
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I think like any other tool it depends when and how you use it. 

I use the Xrite Color Checker for those jobs where I want the best possible white balance, or at least the best possible starting point for white balance AND I feel the difference is worth the trouble over the next most accurate and easier to use device (WHIBAL).  I wrote a short review you can read here. (be advised, I made the shots for this tutorial BEFORE I had the accurate srgb mode in my new NEC monitors I enjoy now.  They were 'right' for my workflow and produced great prints, but I struggled with web work.)

In summary, I use the Xrite Color Checker when correct skin tones are my priority.  It lives in the bag I grab when shooting people.  When I'm shooting landscapes, inside temples, or under unusual or mixed lighting and I think the reference point will help, then I use the WHIBAL.

A caution:  With most of my clients we learn they're working either with a monitor which isn't profiled, or is profiled incorrectly, or isn't profiled optimally for their needs.  Correcting this makes the biggest difference.

Second, there is no substitute for spending many hours in front of the computer (with a properly profiled monitor) developing an 'eye' for color.

Third, todays AWB sensors are quite good.  And an experienced user isn't going to use the 'technically correct' WB most of time, instead they'll want to start there if at all possible and/or convenient, and adjust to taste from there.  For most uses any device will get you to that starting point including a regular inexpensive gray card.  But the more critical your needs, and the more unusual the lighting, the more value the best devices have.  For me personally, when I do skin tones I want to start with the most accurate hue and warm/cool it from there.  Others might give that priority to landscapes, product shoots, or whatever they consider the most color critical of their work.

Good luck.
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2011, 11:10:20 AM »
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I use one, mainly when shooting in a portrait setting with strobes. I find that it does a good job of getting skin tones and colors right, beyond just white balance issues. For landscape and general shooting, I don't use it.
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loonsailor
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2011, 12:45:18 PM »
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I use one.  It has several functions, which are used at different times and with different frequencies.

The full color chart, along with the included software, is used to create a camera profile.  Do this once for each camera, for each of a few different lighting conditions (sunlight, built-in strobe, tungsten, shade, ...), make the profiles, and that's it.  The only other time I use this is under very weird light - mercury vapor lamps, etc. - to create a session-specific camera profile, which can make a huge difference.

The "creative enhancement target" gives some different grays from cool to warm (for landscapes) and from neutral to warm (for portraits).  It allows you to try warming or cooling your colors very easily, by using the eyedropper tool in PS or LR to select the "not-quite grays" as neutral.  It works quite well, and I like it, but I don't use it very often.

Finally, there's a big neutral gray target, which works exactly as well as any other neutral gray target.  Personally, I have a little gray target on each of my lens caps http://www.sjphoto.com/graycap.html, and I use this 90% of the time.

If I was gonna get only one thing, I'd get the gray caps.  But, I do really like the color-checker passport as well.  I don't carry it all the time, but I do carry it often, use it sometimes, and I think it's well worth the price.
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stefohl
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« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2011, 02:45:23 PM »
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I did a comparison of the four different camera profiling programs that can create a profile for ACR that I know of, Passport, DNG Profile Editor, Datacolor Spyder Checkr and the QP-Calibration. The three first programs uses a ColorChecker card, in the case of the Datacolor product a slightly modified one. The QP-Calibration uses a totally different chart, the CP-Card 202. The results created withe these four programs were very different. The Passport gave very saturated colours. Many blue colours showed the infamous purple cast as well. The same cast could be seen in many of the profiles that I created with the DNG Profile Editor, but to a lesser degree.

If PassPort gave me images that was too saturated for my taste, the opposite was true with the Datacolor Spyder Chekr. Even if I chose the saturated look, the images seemed a bit gray. Easier to adjust than a over-saturated image, but if I go to the hassle of creating a camera profile, I don't want to adjust every image's saturation. But it gave a better rendition of the blue colours than the PassPort. Skin tones showed a tad too much magenta for me.

The best results, according to my taste, gave the QP-Calibration. Saturation a bit on the low side, although higher than Datacolor. Blue colours didn't turn purple and the profiles had pleasing skin tones when I white balanced on a light grey area.

Stefan
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Stefan Ohlsson
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Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2011, 09:42:24 PM »
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Thanks guys. Food for thought.  I'll take a look at the QP system too.
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Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2011, 12:07:46 AM »
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I ordered one of these a few days ago and just got it today. I was messing with it earlier in some really annoying near-sunset indirect lighting conditions. To my neophyte level of experience it seems rather helpful. Haven't really compared the x-rite software to the DNG Color Profile software yet though. Some of the subtle differences between these systems may be totally lost on me....
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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2011, 07:38:38 AM »
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Recently ran across this which may be of interest:

http://www.rmimaging.com/information/ColorChecker_Passport_Technical_Report.pdf

Includes spectral reflectance graphs of some patches and CIELAB values for all of the patches on the particular chart being tested.
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Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2011, 07:56:50 AM »
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Thanks for that!
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Mike Guilbault
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Peter_DL
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2011, 02:21:43 PM »
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I'm considering getting a passport to help with my colour workflow. 
I've heard lots of good things about it - mostly on the X-Rite site ...

Im preferring the DNG Profile Editor,
although admittedly visual comparison is not easy when it comes to color accuracy (which seldom is the final goal).
Anyway, in my eyes the results from the DNG Profile Editor profile were clearly superior.

From a technical point of view,
I think it was mentioned that the CCP software builds a kind of hexagonal matrix, which goes beyond the calibration of common "triangular" matrix primaries, but which provides by far less "definition" than the Hue/Sat.-selective tweaks as with the Chart Wizard of the DNG Profile Editor. While I deleted the CCP folder, this reference got lost as well. Maybe someone can fill in.

Peter

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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2011, 05:26:57 PM »
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What I did was place the ColorChecker itself under a light and compared it to shots of the colorchecker on a calibrated monitor. I generated a profile from both the X-Rite software and the DNG editor and compared them on the same image.

I think I liked the X-Rite better, but I just got a nice Solux proofing light so I need to try it again with that..... Of course the monitor is calibrated for 6500K and the proofing light is 4700K so I'm not entirely sure what will happen here.....
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Peter_DL
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« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2011, 02:29:54 PM »
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Supplementary:
The earlier discussion I had in mind, e.g. posts #22/23:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=39142.msg326302#msg326302

Peter

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chutterman
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« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2011, 04:39:38 AM »
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Hi Mike

This is my first post, hope you find it useful...

I have been using the CC Passport for around four months now and in certain situations, it is absolutely central to my workflow and gives excellent results.

I use it for portraits (mainly candid of my son and wife) and find in conjunction with Adobe's DNG Profile Editor to give accurate colour and skin tones (obviously on a calibrated monitor). It fits well with my workflow of Photo Mechanic (ingest/sort), Camera Raw and then Photoshop.

When I first started using it with the supplied X-Rite software, I was actually disappointed, the colours were too saturated (particularly the reds) and the image just seemed too contrasty for my tastes (I subscribe to the Thom Hogan 'school' here and start with a neutral/low contrast setting and add contrast in). After doing a bit of reading around on various forums, I discovered that the X-Rite software seems to use the Adobe Standard tone curve by default (and cannot be changed so is baked into the camera profile as it were). So, now using the Adobe DNG Profile Editor and setting the tone curve to 'Base' I now have no oversaturated reds and the contrast is as I think it should be. I look at the pictures on my monitor and they are spot on.

As to the more detailed discussions alluded to re the complexity of the profiles created by Adobe's and X-rites software, the results with Adobe's are so good as to mean I'm simply not worrying about it.

I had previously been using the WhiBal card for white balance, but find the large patch (not the small patch that is part of the multi-part tile) to be just as good and now simply use that.

I would honestly say that the CC Passport has one of the single biggest differences to my images.

Cheers

Mark
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Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2011, 09:45:34 PM »
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Thanks Mark... I pretty much convinced to get one now.  I'll refer back to this when I do.
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Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2011, 10:54:54 AM »
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Hey Mike, I found this eBay store that has great prices on some of the X-Rite stuff, It'll save you $40 vs. Vistek.

http://cgi.ebay.ca/PANTONE-X-RITE-COLORCHECKER-PASSPORT-CAMERA-CALIBRATOR-/130543130855?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e64fa18e7#ht_3859wt_1141

It's where I got my Colormunki and it showed up fast and in perfect condition.
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Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2011, 05:32:37 PM »
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thanks Luca... I'll definitely look into that.. but have to hold off for a bit.  One of my dogs (Rosie) has to spend a few days at the vet (Vestibular Disease) and want to make sure she's taken care of first.  Family first eh!
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Mike Guilbault
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