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Macbeth Color Checker Experience

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snowfiend131

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Joined
Nov 15, 2007
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Does anyone have any personal experience using the Macbeth color checker? Did it improve your photo's default colors in Lightroom?

I would like to switch to shooting raw all the time, but I simply don't like Lightroom's dull and sometimes inaccurate representation of colors. I happen to like the color of the jpegs from my Canon 2'd (please no raw vs. jpeg debate), and would like to create a preset or calibration that I can apply to my raw files to mimic the color of the jpegs. I have tried to manually adjust the calibration sliders to do this, but have accomplished nothing and am frustrated. I have read mixed results on the use of a Macbeth color checker and the various automatic scripts that help the calibration process. What are your experiences? I don't particularly want to drop $6' on a piece of precision printed cardboard that may not solve my problem.

Additionally, would anyone be willing to rent me their color checker card? I could paypal you full retail price, you send it to me, I send it back, you refund me all but a $1' rental fee....
 
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dudleyrose

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snowfiend131;1185' said:
Does anyone have any personal experience using the Macbeth color checker? Did it improve your photo's default colors in Lightroom?

Additionally, would anyone be willing to rent me their color checker card? I could paypal you full retail price, you send it to me, I send it back, you refund me all but a $1' rental fee....
I've used the Tindeman's script with good results. For my money, it doesn't overcook the reds as much as Rags or Fors. The calibration gets the colors right. You can then make your own preset for the other (not calibration) panels for contrast, saturation, etc. I think the small version of the Gretag Mabeth color checker (unfortunately, almost as expensive as the big one) is worth having in the bag to include in some shoots to get the white-balance, etc. right. Anyway, the one caution is that the scripts run in Photoshop. So, you can't do the calibration itself in Lightroom. You just transfer the settings. But you do need access to Photoshop.

I guess I'd be willing to "rent" the colorchecker, if that's what you want to do.

Dudley Rose
 
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gsansoucie

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I have the small MacBeth Colorchecker and have used it with my 4'D.

I used a script for CS3 that I found online. It was a pain to get the thing to run, but it ran. I am glad I saw this post as I never actually finished this grand project of mine.

The problem, as I see it, is that you have to take into account all the different lighting conditions when you go this route. I had a few photos in sunlight, shade, etc. I need overcast, indoor lighting (especially my indoor lighting), etc.

What I find myself using more is my WhiBal card. It seems like Lightroom was made for the WhiBal (or vice-versa ;)
 

snowfiend131

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Joined
Nov 15, 2007
Messages
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Thanks for the responses. I am becoming more optimistic about sucess using a color checker.

Anyone else? Perhaps a calibration isn't an often done operation for lightroom users....

gsansoucie - I have read in one of the various tutorials on calibration that a single calibration in sunlight or 5'''K studio can provide decent results for other light conditions as well...was this not the case for you?
 

rcannonp

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Joined
Oct 21, 2007
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467
Location
Atlanta, GA
I ran one of those calibration scripts(Fors maybe) and was never really happy with the results. The reds always came out ridiculously over saturated. I was happier just manually adjusting HSL values. Most of the time I never even bother with the color patches on my chart. I wish that I had saved a few bucks and just bought a gray strip. Those are the only patches that I ever really use.
 
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gsansoucie

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snowfiend131;12'17 said:
Thanks for the responses. I am becoming more optimistic about sucess using a color checker.

Anyone else? Perhaps a calibration isn't an often done operation for lightroom users....

gsansoucie - I have read in one of the various tutorials on calibration that a single calibration in sunlight or 5'''K studio can provide decent results for other light conditions as well...was this not the case for you?

To be honest, I haven't done it enough know for sure. I actually read the opposite, that you do have to calibrate for the various lighting conditions.

Also, I seem to have a thing for Black & White lately, negating an anal view of color ;)
 
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It works well for fixed lighting situations. I've used it for studio shots in the past, and I keep meaning to try out the other scripts to see which I like best.

The results do vary across lighting conditions though, and outdoor files to which I applied the studio calibration gave worse results than ' calibration. It's definitely not a one size fits all.
 
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dudleyrose

Guest
snowfiend131;12'17 said:
Thanks for the responses. I am becoming more optimistic about sucess using a color checker.

Anyone else? Perhaps a calibration isn't an often done operation for lightroom users....

gsansoucie - I have read in one of the various tutorials on calibration that a single calibration in sunlight or 5'''K studio can provide decent results for other light conditions as well...was this not the case for you?

There are three scripts that I know of: Fors, Rags, and Tindemans. They all are genetically related to the original Fors script. I've tried them all and found that Fors and Rags both give overfcooked reds by a lot. I have not found that problem with Tindemans', and I have found that a well-exposed color checker image in full sunlight with the sun at roughly 45 degrees (mid-morning or mid-afternoon) leads to a very serviceable universal set of calibration numbers. Information and instructions can be found here:
http://www.21stcenturyshoebox.com/tools/ACRcalibrator.html . I am glad to share the calibration numbers I got with this script for my Canon 35'D, for what they're worth.
 
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