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Thread started 22 Oct 2004 (Friday) 20:22
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Macbeth Color Chart

 
tofuboy
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Location: Maple Valley, WA
     
Oct 22, 2004 20:22 |  #1

Today during my visit to the local camera store, I asked if they had a Macbeth Color Chart, the guy goes and finds a little card about 3"x2" and shows it to me... $60!! I almost died. Needless to say, I passed on buying that. I checked b&h just now, and they have an 8.5x11" for $66. Why are these so expensive?

How accurate would one be if I downloaded an sRGB version of it and got it printed at mpix.com or whatever?


-Matt Seattle Photography - Nature|Portrait|Event (external link)
'The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and the print to its performance.' - Ansel Adams

  
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ron ­ chappel
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Oct 22, 2004 21:11 |  #2

yeah,they are stupidly expensive ?!

Basically they are made to have very specific characteristics with regards to the response to colour cast so an RGB version would probably be abit of a disaster for acuracy.
The way they work is one (or more) of the colours will change dramatically if the overall colour ballance of the shot is wrong.Each colour on the chart represents an exact filter when printing

I may have got some details wrong as i've never read the instructions but the basic idea is that the colours on the chart have to be exact

Personally -with digital- i wouldn't bother with it at all.Use a grey card instead and set the white ballance in photoshop off that.
-or simply do it by eye and experiment :D
Of course for absolute exact colours you may have to use a macbeth




  
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Jesper
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Oct 23, 2004 01:41 |  #3

Downloading and printing it is useless, it will be nowhere near as accurate as the real thing.


Canon EOS 5D Mark III

  
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DaveG
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Oct 23, 2004 07:56 |  #4

tofuboy wrote:
Today during my visit to the local camera store, I asked if they had a Macbeth Color Chart, the guy goes and finds a little card about 3"x2" and shows it to me... $60!! I almost died. Needless to say, I passed on buying that. I checked b&h just now, and they have an 8.5x11" for $66. Why are these so expensive?

How accurate would one be if I downloaded an sRGB version of it and got it printed at mpix.com or whatever?

I've got an old Kodak Professional Photo Guide that I've had for about 20 years. It has a colour patch/grey patch page that I've used to help with colour fidelity, and it will get used in about three hours from now. I'd have a look for one in a used book store. They are useless in many ways since the films described are mostly a thing of the past (High Speed Ecktachome?) but there's a very useful available light calculator and the grey scale. A Kodak Darkroom Data Guide should also be readily available but it just has the 18% grey card, which of course is better than nothing.

The colour part of the PPG is not very good. It's just a series of colours printed on the page. Who knows how much fading has taken place, or even how "true" they were to begin with. But what is there, and what I use, is a wonderful grey scale. The grey scale is made up of pasted-on patches of photo paper (I think) that range from black to white.

I bring in a RAW shot, correct it for density in RAW and move it to the regular PS. I take my sample shot and use the Colour Sampler tool to sample the near black, middle grey, and near white. Then I create an Adjustment Layer/Color Balance. Then using the Color Balance adjustments and with Info enabled I change the the highlight numbers untill they are all the same. The I do the same thing with the mid tones and shadows. If all the numbers are the same there should be NO colour cast in the image at all. Of course when you adjust the highlights you get small changes to say the shadows. But the numbers are only one or two off, that's pretty much insignificant, and probably as as good as it can get.

This means that monitor fidelity is left out. I'm flying with instruments, not by the seat of my pants, and I think that objective is more accurate than subjective.

So after that's done I have a nice shot of a subject holding the test, which doesn't do me a lot of good. But then I get the next shot in, use Previous Converson in RAW, and bring it into PS. I've left the test shot open and I want to see the layer pallet. All I do then is drag the adjustment layer over to the face of the new shot. The colour correction that I got from the test is now on top of the "real" shot.

That test image is sent along with everything else to the lab and I've been more than pleased with the results I get back.

Of course this technique will only work if you are doing a number of shots that have the same lighting. I'm photographing individuals at a Tae kwon do class later today (stobes, backdrop and so forth) and fully expect to use this technique.


"There's never time to do it right. But there's always time to do it over."
Canon 5D, 50D; 16-35 f2.8L, 24-105 f4L IS, 50 f1.4, 100 f2.8 Macro, 70-200 f2.8L, 300mm f2.8L IS.

  
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tofuboy
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Oct 23, 2004 12:24 |  #5

Thanks for the replies. The main reason I want the color chart is so I can create a few different profiles in Camera Raw for different lighting situations. I do have a White, 18% Gray, and Black card I got with a photoshop book. I guess I'll use that if I'm shooting in similar lighting conditions and use the steps DaveG pointed out.

I would like to eventually get a Macbeth Color Chart, but not until I have mone just burning a hole in my pocket, lol.


-Matt Seattle Photography - Nature|Portrait|Event (external link)
'The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and the print to its performance.' - Ansel Adams

  
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Jon
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Oct 23, 2004 16:44 |  #6

The Kodak Pro Photo Guide should still be available. Kodak also had color control strips at one time. I got a couple and glued them to my Grey Card along with a business card, used it at the start of each roll for color control and identification.

You want a regular Grey Card/White Card for Custom Color Balance in the camera. The MacBeth may not average out to a full neutral colour, which is what you want. But I can see setting CWB with a Grey/White and evaluating with the MacBeth card.


Jon
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Macbeth Color Chart
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