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Thread: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

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    X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    Folks that may be using LR (maybe ACR also), this new "kit" by X-Rite may be of interest to help get more accurate color balances with DNG files.

    http://xritephoto.com/ph_product_overview.aspx?id=1257

    I am a firm believer of shooting a test target to create an in-camera custom WB whenever practical. This new kit with software, seems to be a method for creating more customized profiles for processing DNG in LR for almost any lighting situation one may normally encounter. Not repping this company or anything of the sort, but the concept looks pretty inviting for sure. May be worth having some folks test this out and see what it delivers. Since even the latest update of LR 2.5 has still not incorporated the M9 (or S2), but this kit is able to be used as a plug-in to create a custom profile, it may relieve some headaches for folks while they wait for better profiles to be made for LR, or it may just eliminate the worry for those if you can develop you shooting and workflow to accommodate more custom profiling while you capture stuff. Just something to think about.

    LJ

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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    I want, badly! A very neat solution. I like the fact that when holding it you aren't even near the colour patches. I have the mini macbeth chart and it's very hard to hold up for the camera without getting shadows of fingertips on the patches which of course messes up the whole thing.

    Thing is, now I've been 'converted' to C1, I don't need a gretag chart for creating custom profiles for ACR anymore, C1 is accurate enough without it. As such, for all I'd love to buy it, I don't actually think I need it anymore which is a shame.
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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    Ben,

    I have ordered this todau but it is not yet available at any online source I could find so my dealer had to call X-Rite to get it.

    It mirrors the ACR Calibrator that I mentioned to you in the previous C1 thread. If you have a 24 patch colorchecker from GMB you can download the shareware ACR Calibrator and get used to using it while you wait for the Passport. Neither creates a profile...just a calibration to correct the camera specific profile in ACR.

    It does work fairly well and you can save the camera calibrations as presets to use on files in similar lighting situations.

    Bob

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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    Bob, Ben and others,
    This new "kit" is for calibrating the workflow. The one more automated thing is the software that can create a calibration preset in LR through the plug-in. Nothing all that new, but just more automated and designed to permit the easy creation of various things for a variety of settings.

    There is other software and a different color checker that will allow one to create actual ICC profiles for a camera. That is much more involved. It requires the ColorChecker Digital SG unit, and that gets paired with camera profiling software such as i1Match or ProfileMaker 5 Digital Camera modules to create real ICC profiles. That is the sort of stuff that folks like Adobe or Phase One would be using to create the profiles that are included in LR or C1 respectively. This ColorChecker kit is really just to get more accurate calibration for specific shooting settings. Not a profile, but a set of calibration settings.

    LJ

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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    Don't want to tell anyone on the other thread or they might get upset but after some serious fiddling with the colour settings in ACR and reverting back to an old profile mapped from the D700 onto my 5D, I can get pretty close to the C1 colour if not its film look. On the other hand it's sooo much easier to use with problem images or blown highlights. I'm going to stick with ACR and this profile and leave C1 for the moment.

    In other words - I'm buying it!
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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    Ben,
    Completely understand. What I have found the be the biggest problem has been how the tint has been set in various profiles. That one thing can mess up so much more in other colors. This "kit" is designed to sort of neutralize that headache. I am thinking about it myself. Right now, I use a much bigger calibration target (white/gray/black) to create a custom white balance in-camera, plus to gauge my black and white point peaks to determine any exposure compensation. All can be done with one shot in each new lighting setting. That translates into a near perfect white balance and exposure at the time of the shot, not needing much adjustment later, except for things I want to highlight or change. It also would let me crank out much better balanced JPEGs instantly.....if I used them. That one effort of doing an in-camera white balance under the lighting conditions one is shooting, does more good than anything else I have ever seen. This "kit" provides a target for that, plus the checker in case you did not do an in-camera custom WB to get things corrected to where they need to be. I think it is a very nice way to go, and if one uses LR or ACR/Bridge, this could be all that is needed to get the correct calibrations for color that should rival any profiles in any other app, including C1. The issue then becomes whether the rest of the conversion algorithms are better with respect to noise handling, artifacts, etc., but this would take the color/tint balancing part out of the equation and discussion, for the most part. Lot to be said for that.

    LJ

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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    Bob, Ben and others,
    This new "kit" is for calibrating the workflow. The one more automated thing is the software that can create a calibration preset in LR through the plug-in. Nothing all that new, but just more automated and designed to permit the easy creation of various things for a variety of settings.

    There is other software and a different color checker that will allow one to create actual ICC profiles for a camera. That is much more involved. It requires the ColorChecker Digital SG unit, and that gets paired with camera profiling software such as i1Match or ProfileMaker 5 Digital Camera modules to create real ICC profiles. That is the sort of stuff that folks like Adobe or Phase One would be using to create the profiles that are included in LR or C1 respectively. This ColorChecker kit is really just to get more accurate calibration for specific shooting settings. Not a profile, but a set of calibration settings.

    LJ

    LJ

    You are right. I have i1Photo with SG Colorchecker and have made a couple of profiles for H3DII and soon my M8...no way to use those in ACR. Only can generate calibration settings then apply the profile in PS CS4. So this will allow a quick selection for color in ACR.

    I do think that overall C1 and Phocus have somewhat better raw conversion.

    Bob

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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    Ben,
    Completely understand. What I have found the be the biggest problem has been how the tint has been set in various profiles. That one thing can mess up so much more in other colors. This "kit" is designed to sort of neutralize that headache. I am thinking about it myself. Right now, I use a much bigger calibration target (white/gray/black) to create a custom white balance in-camera, plus to gauge my black and white point peaks to determine any exposure compensation. All can be done with one shot in each new lighting setting. That translates into a near perfect white balance and exposure at the time of the shot, not needing much adjustment later, except for things I want to highlight or change. It also would let me crank out much better balanced JPEGs instantly.....if I used them. That one effort of doing an in-camera white balance under the lighting conditions one is shooting, does more good than anything else I have ever seen. This "kit" provides a target for that, plus the checker in case you did not do an in-camera custom WB to get things corrected to where they need to be. I think it is a very nice way to go, and if one uses LR or ACR/Bridge, this could be all that is needed to get the correct calibrations for color that should rival any profiles in any other app, including C1. The issue then becomes whether the rest of the conversion algorithms are better with respect to noise handling, artifacts, etc., but this would take the color/tint balancing part out of the equation and discussion, for the most part. Lot to be said for that.

    LJ

    LJ, there doesn't seem to be a plugin for ACR so other than using the thingy for building a DNG profile as I've done in the past with a mini Gretag chart and a whibal as well as I prefer the neutrality of it's WB. I can't see that this would actually change anything other than give me more WB options on the card and being in a far more convenient package.

    I profile wedding shots where the lighting is going to be EXACTLY the same over multiple shots, family groups shot with strobes for example. I've found that as soon as you have even a bit of exposure variation between shot to shot, all WB or (one time) profile bets are off, there will be too much varience either due to the amount of varying ambient being introduced or the colours shifting due to the pull/push in the RAW converter. As such a WB or profile is only useful (in ACR/LR at any rate, you need two shots in different lighting to build a real full time use profile) when there is ZERO varience between the test shot and the actual shot.

    Makes WB cards less useful than you may think. Most of the time in shots which may vary, even within a +/-20 of brightness in ACR and that is the norm unfortunately with canon flash, the WB may give you a ballpark but you will be tweaking some 50-150K each way between shots. Personally after years of shooting RAW and using ACR I can pretty much eyeball WB and have it dialed in faster than using the WB tool on the test shot and transferring the value over (boast boast).

    This is a shot of my last assistant doing a test shot for me prior to the family groups at a wedding. This new gadget should make the below even easier and more convenient.

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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    Would be interested to see US prices, only place here offering preorder want the equivelent of $120 for it.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Would be interested to see US prices, only place here offering preorder want the equivelent of $120 for it.
    Link: http://www.xrite.com/product_overview.aspx?ID=1257

    Bob

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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    Just bought it!
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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    I'm wondering about this . Actually it is a nice package to carry around but even in C1 you can use the color checker to WB on. Than if you wanted to warm it or cool it down you can use the other side and than apply it to as many images as you want. Not sure I see why it is LR only, maybe I missed something watching the video
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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    Guy,
    I don't think it is meant to be Lightroom/ACR only. However, what it comes with is a plug in to quicly make a camera profile to apply to the shots. While Adobe has their method of making camera profiles, the video makes it seem like it is an even more automated process. If it is really simple, you would be more likely to make the profile for a given shoot instead of simply having your standar "landscape" or "potrait" profile. For instance, the profiles in LR for Nikon that are already available (without you making a cusstom one) mimic the picture controls from NX but I found that even those didn't get me where I wanted to be when using the D700. I pre-ordered it from Amazon and will try it out/ bring it to Oregon if it arrives in time.

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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    Yea i want to play with this. I did notice there is a plug in for it in LR but that maybe a simple setup that just fines tune the one image and make a actually profile which Adobe does not have to start with. It is a general plug in for the 5DII lets say but even than each sensor is slightly different. And this maybe it's main purpose . C1 has actual profiles so it may not fine tune the camera but still a useful tool. C1 you can build a profile yourself. I think that is what is going on here but we have to investigate it more.
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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    Guy,
    My understanding of this kit from the Web site, video and reading all the peripheral stuff is:
    1) it provides several different, nicely sized targets to help with color calibration
    2) it provides a software tool that through a LR plug-in creates a set of pre-sets that you can name for a particular lighting setting in a shoot or whatever
    3) it does not create any profiles, but helps with the creation of pre-sets for use in processing
    4) it is not exclusive to LR or ACR. The ColorChecker is the standard, but a bit bigger than the mini that they sell. The gray card is a standard. The new twist is the card that includes warming and cooling patches for portrait and landscape shooting. These targets can be used with any processing software by using the eyedropper. The idea of being for LR is related to the additional software that creates the pre-sets automatically for LR as a plug-in.

    So, it is a bit nicer packaging of the ColorChecker, Gray Card, and a new Warming/Cooling balance card, and allows them to be kept together, protected in transit, and set up for whatever reading you may need to take, standalone or held by somebody with much less danger of damage, smudging, etc. Nothing revolutionary, but much more practical, hopefully to be used more often by shooters.

    As I mentioned above, there are separate tools for building actual ICC profiles, but those are not used in ACR or LR, but those can be used in C1, I believe. Those tools (mostly the software) are NOT part of this kit, and you also need the special digital color checker for them.

    Bottom line....this new configuration kit would/could replace using just a white balance card, and also provide an automated pre-set creation tool for those using LR.

    LJ

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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    LJ,
    My language may have been wrong because these would fall into the "camera calibraton" section of Lightroom - the right hand pane of the develop module and not the presets on the left hand pane.

    On the new card with the warming and cooling white balances, do you know what the colored squares do?

    Also, did you get the sense of what you have to do once you invoke the plug in? Does the software automatically "look for" the square patches....that part was all a bit nebulous.

    Even if the software is "iffy" I think the new warming and cooling WB settings will be worth the cost.

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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    Having just recently replaced my mini colorchecker for ~$58, I wish that this new "Passport" was available (and I knew about it) several weeks ago. I would've gladly stepped up the little difference just for the packaging and additional patches. Guess I'll get this one too.

    It's interesting that B&H show it at $30 more (as a special order) than the X-rite site is charging.
    Last edited by Dale Allyn; 16th September 2009 at 18:51.

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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    I ordered (pre-order) from Amazon and it was $99

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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    Why is it better than Rag's scripts for the color checker, other than the convenience packaging?
    thanks
    -bob

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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    LJ,
    My language may have been wrong because these would fall into the "camera calibraton" section of Lightroom - the right hand pane of the develop module and not the presets on the left hand pane.

    On the new card with the warming and cooling white balances, do you know what the colored squares do?

    Also, did you get the sense of what you have to do once you invoke the plug in? Does the software automatically "look for" the square patches....that part was all a bit nebulous.

    Even if the software is "iffy" I think the new warming and cooling WB settings will be worth the cost.
    Terry,
    I do not have the kit at this point, so I only can go by what is on the Web site and the info they are providing.

    With respect to creating the pre-sets in LR.....as far as I can tell, you load a special app that works as a plug-in in LR. You then bring up a shot that has the ColorChecker in it (not sure how big it is supposed to be, but the video looked like it was maybe 25% of total frame), then launch the plug-in from the LR menu. The plug-in finds the ColorChecker and makes all of the adjustments automatically, creating a set of pre-sets for balance. You then name and save that calibration, and it then becomes available in the LR pulldown menu when you are doing your color balance. Looked very easy and seemed effective, even with stuff that was way off in color.

    With respect to the warming/cooling patches....there are several rows of patches. Of the two in the middle, the top one is marked for portraits and the color patches let you experiment with warming skin tones with an overall calibrated tint. The second row is supposed to be for landscapes, where you may want to alter the tinting to get a cooler look. I think the point is that with a shot that has that panel visible, you can experiment with the various color patches to see how strong an effect you want. All this is really doing is making it easier to get a more balanced and repeatable shift. You can still override these settings any way you want.

    Additionally, there is a set of patches that are a gradient ramp from black to white, so that you can see just how much DR you may have, if the shadows are blocking up or if the highlights may be blown a bit. (If you have trouble seeing the difference in shades between adjacent patches on either end, you are probably compressing the gamut too much.)

    On balance, as I mentioned already, this is nothing really new or different than has been available for some time, but this goes a bit further and actually helps you use the color information to get a good calibration throughout your workflow, plus the accompanying app does the work to create the presets easily in LR. I think it can also be used standalone, but I have not looked into that part too deeply yet.

    I basically pulled all this info from their Web site. There is a video with Seth Resnick walking through things, and the tabs with the details do provide a bit more detailed info. Again, I have no connection with X-Rite for this product in any way. I just think they are onto something that finally starts to pull the pieces together for folks to use easily to get better overall color calibration.

    Hope my interpretations help....

    LJ
    Last edited by LJL; 16th September 2009 at 21:56.

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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    Thanks LJ,
    I actually downloaded the brochure. You and I have the same understanding of it. From the previous post when we were using the word profile differently, I got confused.

    On the brochure on the enhanced card the colors are for using the Hue/Sat/Luminance and correspond to the sliders in LR.

    I watched Seth's video....I just couldn't tell if it was as automatic as he led us to believe or if the film was edited with some steps cut out.

    I just got an email back from Amazon that their ship date was in November. So, I ordered from Xrite and we will see what their timeframe is.

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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    According to Eric Chan from the ACR/LR team the software uses a different engine to that of the DNG Profile Editor and the results making a profile are going to be different. According to some people over at LL making a profile with the new software is less accurate than using the DNG Profile Editor. To be honest making a profile using the adobe software takes a few seconds and is dead easy, not sure why anyone would need this software to be honest.

    I'll give it a check though using my example from above a bit later and post the results.
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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    I just like the packaging more than anything. Right now I have a big CC card and a very tiny handheld one but they are not protect very well either and just like this case setup better.
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    Re: X-Rite has new "kit" for color balancing.....

    Guy,
    I think that may be one of the more attractive things about this "kit". The fact that one can carry and easily protect a decent sized ColorChecker, plus a good Gray Card, and now an added Enhanced settings for Hue, Saturation and Luminance, makes it a very practical tool. The added software to automate the slider settings for LR is the other bonus, but for folks not using LR, taking just the various targets along and remembering to pop them into a set-up shot whenever you are in changing light conditions will do a lot for getting a better color calibrated workflow for many.

    As Ben mentions, the new automation software is not going to replace the more sophisticated profiling software, but my bet is that it will get a lot more use from folks using LR, and that will help. The nice thing is that one can easily achieve somewhat more repeatable slider settings more easily, and they will be calibrated to the light conditions under which they were taken. So, knowing to move Saturation 2-6 points, and Hue a couple and Luminance a couple more is great, if the original light of the shot matches what you determined the first time out. But if you suddenly hit some mixed light or the color temp changes, you can still get the same sort of relative adjustments, but now made to go with the new light calibration.

    The key is going to be the discipline to actually take the device along and actually use it whenever shooting. For specific shoots, that may not be so hard. For folks that are shooting casually, getting the cards out and popping a capture shot every time they are shooting in varying light may take a bit more effort. Most folks will just trust the camera AWB setting and then struggle with fine-tuning later, but lacking a good reference to use to get that fine-tuning.

    LJ

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