Tag Archives: passport color profile

Camera Colour Profiles

Olympus EM5, Olympus 12-40mm. ISO200, f/2.8, 1/2500″

Over the past few months, I’ve been contacted with increasing regularity by people looking for Camera Colour Profiles. In case you’re not familiar, these are the profiles that allow Lightroom to convert RAW files into colour images with accurate colour. Although Lightroom comes with a default colour profile (Adobe Standard), this can be improved upon.

Once you create and install a custom colour profile to Lightroom, you can select it when processing RAW files. The option is found under the Camera Calibration tab at the bottom of the interface in the Develop Module. Here you will find a dropdown list with all the available profiles installed to your computer that relate to the RAW file being processed.

A common problem people seem to experience is that the profile they installed isn’t available in the dropdown list. This can often be explained by one of the following:

  • It’s not a RAW file that’s been selected for editing. When a RAW file is converted to an image, the colour profile information is embedded in the image. If you see the words “Embedded” in the dropdown and this can’t be changed, you’re not working on a RAW file.
  • You don’t see the installed profile in the dropdown list. Only the profiles that match the RAW file are displayed. If the RAW file was taken using a Canon 5DMKII, it only displays profiles for that camera. The profiles are specific to the camera model and version.
  • The profiles aren’t installed in the correct location. I have produced a You Tube tutorial showing how to install the profiles to both Mac and Windows computers.

I share a number of camera colour profiles on my Lenscraft Website (Olympus EM5 MKI, Olympus EM5 MKI Infrared, Panasonic GX1, Panasonic GX1 Infrared, Panasonic GM1, Sony RX10 MKI, Sony RX100MKI, Panasonic LX5). If you own one of these cameras, you can install and use these profiles as they may give you an edge over the default “Adobe Standard” profile. If you don’t have one of these cameras you will either need to search the web or create your own.

If you’re interested in creating your own, I suggest the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport which is the system I use. The downside to this is the price; if you only have one or two cameras, it may not be worth your while. If you are a member of a camera club, it may be worth the club buying the ColorChecker and the members sharing it.

I would also like to make an offer. If anyone has, or does create colour profiles for other cameras, would you be willing to share them? If you are, please contact me via Lenscraft and I will add them to the library on my website along with a note of thanks and a link to your website (if you have one). This arrangement would hopefully benefit everyone.

Color Checker Passport

Image

A little while back I mentioned that I was unhappy with some of the colours being produced by my GX1 and also LX5. The greens seemed a little too green and the image overall had a slightly blue cast to it. This inspired me to purchase a Color Checker Passport from X-rite as it could be used to produce a custom calibration for your camera which can then be used in the develop module of Lightroom. Well I have now purchased and used the passport and can report on its performance.

My first reaction when opening the packaging is that you don’t get a lot for your money. The passport itself is small and made from plastic. There is a CD containing the software which you load to your computer but there were no instructions other than a link to the X-rite site. In the end I watched a very good video of how to use the passport and software to generate a profile and all was clear.

The passport is basically a colour checking chart and grey card contained in a plastic cover. It’s small, light and fits neatly in your pocket. The first thing I used was the grey card in order to create a custom white balance for my GX1 (I won’t describe how to do this here as each camera is different). This was very simple and once the white balance setting was registered made an instant improvement to the images, removing the blue colour cast preventing the greens from looking quite so sickly.

Next I took two reference pictures of the colour chart in the passport. One was in direct sunlight and the other in shade, both taken around midday under a sunny sky. Back at home I converted the RAW files for the two images into DNG format using Lightroom and then loaded these to the passport software. A click of a button and 20 seconds later and my profile was ready.

Restarting Lightroom and switching to the Develop module I could see my new conversion profile which when selected had an immediate impact on the image. I noticed that the image contrast improved and some colours (red in particular) became much more vibrant and realistic. Colours also looked completely natural.

I wondered if this result had been a fluke so repeated the process with my LX5. The results were even better and the images now look very lifelike. The image here is of the edelweiss flower (I hope I spelled that correctly) which is actually quite rare and grows at altitude in the Alps. I found this particular flower at around 2,600m under a bright blue sky and took the picture on my LX5. The colours having used the “passport color checker” appear completely natural and subtle.

This tool is quickly becoming an indispensible accessory in my camera bag. I just need to remember to use it.