Color Checker Passport vs near Uni WB...?

Butlerkid

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Will creating a WB balance setting using XRite's Color Checker Passport result in a WB that is the same or similar to creating a near Uni WB?
 
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I have an XRite CC Passport and I highly recommend it for ease of use. You can easily create profiles for use in the future so you can build your database.
 

Butlerkid

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Thanks, Lady Tori! I appreciate the response!

I've purchased the Passport and will use it this weekend.

I had read several threads here on the Cafe about UniWB and wondered if anyone had compared them.
 

Butlerkid

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Thanks, Rich.

I used the Color Checker for 2 days of photographing Dart frogs using flash and indoor lighting. The custom color profile that resulted really make a big improvement in the color accuracy of my shots.

Now I just have to remember to USE the Color Checker when shooting!
 
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So, because of this thread I went to the Xrite site to see what this is all about. Can one of you users give a quick run-down on how you use this, and if you can use this out in the field or only in static situations where light is not changing?

The specs also talk a lot about creating DNG profiles, do any of you work in NX2 with raw and if so what is your workflow?

Thanks, I really need to find something else to spend money on :biggrin:
 

Butlerkid

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Bill,

Sounds like you are like me....always looking for another great addition to my photography bag!

Seriously...Here's how I used the Passport Checker...I'm going by memory here!

1. Started shooting raw images of dart frogs indoors using combo of flash and overhead lights.

2. Remembered to use the Passport. :tongue: Took it out of bag, opened it up. Took a raw photo of it. Done!

3. Continued to shoot for 2 days. In this case, lighting was consistent.

4. Got home, loaded Passport Checker s/w on my PC.

5. Opened raw image of Passport Checker taken in 2. above in ACR, made sure that all ACR settings were -0-!!!!. Then in lower left corner, saved image as .dng.

6. Opened Passport Checker s/w, and found the .dng file. Opened the file. S/w automatically detected the color blocks. Since it knows that the colors are supposed to be, it then created a custom profile to "interpret" the colors correctly.

7. You are then given the ability to save this profile (I named mine "frogs"). I believe the software knows where to save the file!

8. Then I started opening my raw frog images using ACR and selected the Frogs custom profile (instead of Adobe standard, etc.). This custom profile rendered the colors much more accurately than any of the other profiles I had. I was surprised at how much of a difference it made.

To get an idea of the colors I was shooting, check out the Dart Frog gallery on my website! LOL!

That's all there was too it!

If you were outside and the lighting was changing a lot, you could simply re-shoot a raw image of the Passport checker.

The Passport Checker is fairly small and light, so it's easy to take with you.

If you have any further questions, I'll do my best to answer them!
 
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Will creating a WB balance setting using XRite's Color Checker Passport result in a WB that is the same or similar to creating a near Uni WB?

As far as I know, Uni WB is a "neutral" whitebalance setting that allows you to capture the same tonal range in all three RGB channels. Alledgedly you then have maximum room to play with when you're adjusting the whitebalance later on.

Setting the WB to adjust for the color of the light with a passport is almost the opposite: it will get your Wb away from "neutral" as far as is needed to get neutral grey tones.

I prefer the colorchecker. First, it's less work afterwords, second the results are usually amazing, and third, you get better light metering. Keep in mind that your histogram is always based on the JPG image (embedded in raw if you're shooting raw) and that in turn is based on your whitebalance settings.
 

Butlerkid

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Lurker,

Thanks for making sense out of this for me!

Since the Passport can provide even richer colors, I think perhaps watching the historgram is even MORE important. Blowing out reds is sooooo easy.....

Perhaps both the UniWB and the Passport are needed??????
 
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Bill,

Sounds like you are like me....always looking for another great addition to my photography bag!

Yeah, I think this is an "occupational hazard" :eek:

Thanks for the detailed explanation. From the website I gathered that the automation seemed to be very tied to Adobe and DNG. Since I do all my processing in NX2, and never convert to DNG, I'm not sure this would do much for me. Unless you, or others, have other suggestions?
 

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Bill,
You only convert the test shot to .dng. This is because a custom profile must be a .dng file. Can't you convert a raw image to .dng using NX2? You would only do it in order to create the custom profile. Then you would use NX2 to process your shots as you normally do but using the custom profile.

I assume NX2 allows you to use custom profiles? ???
 
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A serious question ..honestly. I've looked at the color checker remarks and reviews both pro and con. The question is, given many particular shooters do quite a bit of tweaking is the investment in time and effort to use the color checker worth the difference in the images? Mind you I've been at this digital game now since 1997 and only a very few products have yielded an image significant enough to see a noticeable difference (i.e without a loupe) and in the last three years I would be very hard pressed to notice any of the newer stuff (LR3 luminance noise and sharpening being the only exception).

For example I see discussions bordering on flame wars about NX2 and, say LR3 and white balance. The argument goes that since only Nikon knows the exact composition of the NEF file only Nikon's software can yield the most accurate colors. While this is theoretically true, from a practical standpoint, the instant a user makes an adjustment to any of the color and exposure-related controls this argument becomes redundant.

Before anyone knee-jerks to respond to the last paragraph, please stop yourself. My point is we do so many varied techniques on an image to get it to match our mental memory of it how can a single procedure by itself distinguish itself among all the others we employ?

Short question...does the cost in time and money necessary to use color checker yield significantly enough a difference in an image (all other things being equal) to justify it?

Thanks, Rich
 
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<snip>
Short question...does the cost in time and money necessary to use color checker yield significantly enough a difference in an image (all other things being equal) to justify it?

Thanks, Rich

Is accurate color reproduction important to you? There is a dramatic change in blues, purples, and some reds that I've seen with my D300.

The cost is ~$100 and time is minimal. It only takes a few minutes to shoot the card and set up basic profiles for the lighting conditions (ie daylight, flash, tungsten, dual-illuminant, etc.). Once you have those, you really only need to create a new profile when you find yourself shooting in mixed lighting condition. And you can just shoot the card at the beginning of a shoot to check exposure and set the WB (or so you can quickly change WB in PP).

If you want to see what the CCP can do take a look at the videos on the product page here:
http://xritephoto.com/ph_product_overview.aspx?action=support&id=1257

Or see a more in depth demo here:
http://xritephoto.com/ph_learning.aspx?action=webinarsarchive&eventid=985&eventdateid=4777
 
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Since I was already involved in this thread I'll throw in my 2¢...

My preferred “color workflow” is:
  1. Set custom whitebalance in camera using the gray card in the color passport. Once set, make a shot of the color card in the passport as a help for post processing
  2. If multiple lighting scenarios occur, set custom white balance for each (my D7000 can store up to four). For instance, a few weeks ago I was shooting a workshop where the presenters where in predominant blue (LED) light, while the audience was sitting under red (incandescent) light. So I stored whitebalances for both.
  3. After the shoot most images where good (easy to check with the color card shots); but in those cases where I forgot to set the right white balance I can copy it over from other images.
  4. There's always that image that doesn't fit you custom white balance. Those I set afterwards. When there's no neutral color available I resort to the white of the eyes; it's not perfect but it usually gets you close enough (and tweak it manually).

Using the passport this way hardly costs more time than not using it, but in though lighting situations the colors come out (relative to the light you had to work with) amazing.

It's a lot cheaper to use a cardboard color card; in that sense there's no added value to the fairly expensive passport. But since it's nearly indestructible I can put it in a “direct access” position in my bag and I end up using it a lot more because of that. For me, that is the added value of the passport (compared to a regular color card).
 

Butlerkid

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Rich,

I think you are right to question the benefit.

I personally have been unhappy with Nikon color since the D200. To me, JMHO, Nikon seems to have lost that beautiful "POP" in color they used to have. The algorithms in camera have changed....and even if they hadn't changed, Nikon is still providing a means of interpreting color.

Specifically, I was shooting very brightly colored dart frogs on very brightly colored plants. Unlike Bruce and Lurker, I did not set a custom white balance in my camera! My WB was set to AUTO! :eek: Maybe I should re-think that, but....

I spent a couple of minutes shooting an "extra" image - a raw of the Color Checker Passport (CCP).

Before processing my frog images, I opened the raw CCP file, saved it as a .dng, the s/w took less than a minute to generate the custom camera profile and I save it.

For me, it was very interesting to compare the custom camera profile with the other profiles. There was a BIG difference in reds and blues. Colors were cleaner and simply more true to the scenes I had been shooting.

On the other hand, I have sometimes spent a lot of time trying to correct a strange color cast in a image. Sometimes it a landscape, sometimes the color cast is due to mixed lighting.

For me, the CCP is a time saver!
 
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When I first started using the Color Checker Passport I still had a D2x and was blown away by what a difference it made to my color. The differences with my D3 and D3s are much smaller, but it is still a great tool to use when (a) accurate color is critical and (b) you are shooting an event (e.g. wedding) with several cameras. I use the CC and an Expodisc and color issues are pretty much a thing of the past.
 
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It is not really 'needed', but I prefer using the Expodisc for in-camera custom WB. As a backup, I may include the CC in a shot to double-check the WB in post, but it is rarely significantly different. However, when color is critical I will use the CC to create a custom Calibration for use in Lightroom. That of course, is different to WB.
 
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