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What are you using to color calibrate your A7 camera...

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by tomO2013, Aug 15, 2015.

  1. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014
    I'm getting a little frustrated trying to match color output from my A7s and A7ii. I acknowledge that Sony has really put a lot of effort into improving the color engine - but if you are shooting a two body setup, it can be frustrating.

    I'm interested in picking up either the datacolor spydercheckr 24 or the xrite color checker passport but I don't want to be locked into solely a ACR or Lightroom workflow (I've heard that there is also color eyes software but that is very expensive).

    I use more than one raw developer typically (ACR, PhotoNinja and moving more recently to Capture One) and I have heard that the datacolor solution while excellent for Lightroom and ACR cannot generate dcc or icc profiles - i.e. nothing that is usable by PhotoNinja and Capture One.

    If I go for the xrite solution I don't have the option of generating an ICC without paying stupid money for monaco profiler or now extinct profile maker 5. Xrite look to want us to buy their i1 publish pro 2 to generate icc profiles .... silly money.

    So if you have the spydercheckr or color checker passport or a macbeth chart ,, what are you using to generate your camera ICC profiles for your A7r's and A7ii's etc...

    Thanks for your help,

    Tom.
     
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  2. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    I only use 1 camera body at a time, the A7 at this moment so no problems with balancing colors between multiple bodies. Once upon a time I had a Panasonic G1 which had an awful color balance and I corrected that by getting an X-rite Colorchecker chart and generating profiles with the Adobe DNG Profile Editor for Lightroom/Camera Raw; from that moment on I was satisfied with the G1, before that the camera's colors frustrated the hell out of me. I have done this profiling since for every camera I got. The Sony NEX-6 and A7 benefitted only marginally, but I still use my home-made profiles.

    I also bought a Colorchecker Passport with the associated program to generate profiles but these didn't turn out as good as the ones from the Colorchecker chart so I only use the grey card of the Passport which is reputed to be very accurate.

    I also had a Datacolor thing of some sort, don't remember what and I returned it: the color patches were arranged in a different way so that Adobe DNG Profile Editor couldn't work with them. I tried to find a way to make my own profiles in Capture One but like you I only managed to find some expensive solutions to generate the appropriate profiles; I essentially gave up on Capture One because it doesn't allow home-made profiles for lenses so I didn't delve any further.

    I think in your case I'd first try if I could make profiles for each camera in more or less controlled situations (overcast sky and halogen lighting is what I usually do) and see if they work for the normal shooting situations, might be that you'll find out you don't have to make profiles for each individual shoot.
     
  3. dmward

    dmward TalkEmount Veteran

    200
    Mar 21, 2015
    Metro Chicago
    David
    Generating profiles for the camera bodies is one approach. I do it for all my cameras.

    Getting uniform color balance between two cameras that are being used to shoot the same scene in the same light can also be accomplished by shooting a white balance reference target with each camera. Or, using a common white reference. For example if I'm shooting a wedding with another photographer using a different brand camera we can get the color close between the two using the same white reference to get a color temp. i.e. shirt collar.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2015
  4. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014
    Agreed, setting the white balance between both is a great place to start. What I find though is that greens render slightly different between both, similar for sky blues and also skin tones.
    A white balance will only get me part of the way....

    @addieleman@addieleman the newest capture one allows you to create custom LCC profiles :) Fairly simple too.


    It's a pity that there isn't an affordable way to do this outside of LR and ACR :/
     
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  5. dmward

    dmward TalkEmount Veteran

    200
    Mar 21, 2015
    Metro Chicago
    David
    If C1 can create ICC profiles using a color checker they should be quite close to similar profiles created with Adobe profile editor. If they are standard compliment ICC profiles then any software that accepts ICC profiles should accept them.
     
  6. dmward

    dmward TalkEmount Veteran

    200
    Mar 21, 2015
    Metro Chicago
    David
    Thinking about this some more. If getting color to match between multiple cameras is critical, then it seems investing in the appropriate software tools to get everything calibrated is a reasonable investment.

    I expect that's why the software has a relatively steep price tag. The people using it can justify the investment based on the need for the output to satisfy customer requirements.

    Its still just the first step in a color managed workflow.

    One approach, at least in Lightroom, would be to create a preset in the develop module and then have Lightroom apply it during import by serial number. I expect that C1 has similar capabilities. Especially considering that its initial customer base was mostly commercial photographers using digital MF backs.
     
  7. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014
    Sorry David the comment about LCC was directed at @addieleman@addieleman who was asking about custom lens profiles :) I must have typoed in ICC instead of LCC when mentioning the lens profiles.
    I don't think that Capture One has the mechanism to adjust color accuracy with a greg macbeth color chart - I could be very wrong. The mention that I can find relating to custom ICC in capture one is this article http://blog.phaseone.com/tag/share-icc-profiles/ but really that is tweaking a pre-existing profile based on subjective rather than precise colour and colour balance.
    In fairness to capture one, I find that it renders the most realistic skin tones out of the box - I"m actually happen enough with the interpretation of colour that they use for Sony. It's excellent. Not necessarily super accurate but it's beautiful to my eyes anyway. The problem is when using two different bodies even from the same manufacturer! A7s and A7ii!!

    I think you are right - I may just have to pony up the money can get an i1 photo 2 or publish 2 and get on with it!
     
  8. storyteller

    storyteller TalkEmount Veteran

    322
    Sep 25, 2011
    I have a similar problem but I am usually shooting with either the A7S or the A7 and not often matching color. I use a Spyder 4 but only to calibrate my monitor.
     
  9. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014
    I'm in the same boat. I profile with an i1 display pro and the differences between A7s and A7ii is quite obvious. They actually meter for grey different against the same scene too! Grey card helps this, neither are bad for colour, but I was helping a buddy out with a shoot recently and took both bodies and having trouble getting the two precisely alike.
     
  10. dmward

    dmward TalkEmount Veteran

    200
    Mar 21, 2015
    Metro Chicago
    David
    Several years ago, I was trying to get a Nikon D700 to deliver skin tones similar to a Canon 5D for an associate who used C1. The only way to do it, and not perfectly, was to shoot a MacBeth chart with each camera, then go into C1 and tweak the colors for each square, concentrating on the RGBMCY row. Checking the skin tone square to see how much it changed.

    I don't remember about C1 but Lightroom offers two places to adjust colors one is in the camera calibration window and the other is in the HSL/Color window. That's where I'd do it in Lightroom. Lightroom also offers an eye dropper type tool that can be placed on the square and clicked then by moving it up or down pull the color change to where you want it without arbitrarily altering the three channel percentages.

    Since, ultimately, we all want the color to match visually, this approach was reasonably successful. The result was a preset for the Nikon while letting C1 do its thing with the Canon.

    I take from the comment about C1 doing better than Lightroom with skin tones that the objective is to have C1 get the input color close enough that no other work has to be done. That's putting a lot of reliance on default color rendition for the rest of the color management workflow.
     
  11. dmward

    dmward TalkEmount Veteran

    200
    Mar 21, 2015
    Metro Chicago
    David
    Another question comes to mind; are all the images being made in controlled lighting conditions? My experience is that mixed color temperature light sources illuminating a shot will have much more impact than any variations in the cameras.
     
  12. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    375
    Dec 11, 2014
    The last shoot that I did was outdoors but with fairly consistent lighting. One body with the FE90mm and the other with the FE55/FE35.

    It's probably one of those things that I was happy being oblivious to before I stumbled down the color correct workflow when I got real serious about my printing!
     
  13. dmward

    dmward TalkEmount Veteran

    200
    Mar 21, 2015
    Metro Chicago
    David
    Lenses have an impact as well.
    If you're attempting to get cameras to fit uniformly into a color managed workflow to printing, then profiles to a Macbeth color checker are what Ive found most beneficial. There are three steps, input to software, software color correction (requires profiled monitor) and output to printer using ICC profiles.

    For me, the key is working on techniques to get color right during editing. If the color is a bit off coming in from the camera that is an input variable that I can deal with while processing.