How do you know if you colour is accurate?

Started May 21, 2013 | Discussions thread
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james laubscher Senior Member • Posts: 1,224
How do you know if you colour is accurate?

I read a strong case being made recently for using Nikon Capture NX2 for processing Nikon .nef files, the argument being that this would produce the best colour.

Now I need help/guidance from all you really experienced photogs out there.

To start, (I guess that) like the majority of readers, I use a standard off the shelf PC monitor, in my case a Samsung 923nw. I've calibrated it for the darkest and lightest points using the black to white scale shown on this website. But that is it. I have no idea how accurate it's colours are, to start with and using software visual colour matching is not a foolproof method.

Next, I use a published test photo to try out different softwares. In this image, there is a standard colour card. When I mouse over the colours, for example white, I don't get a reading of 255,255,255 but rather it reads 220,220,220 (using my software of choice, DxO Pro, set to the camera color curve of the camera that captured the test image).

If I brighten the image to raise the white patch to the 255 values, the image is obviously over-exposed. )The test image is photographed under studio lighting designed to evenly light the whole colour spectrum).

Now here comes the kicker. DxO Pro offers a large variety of colour profiles defined as typical camera profiles for different brands and models. But altering which profile I apply, I can get substantial shifts in exposure value, colour tone and saturation. By eye, I can select profiles that look attractive but how do I know if the colour reproduction on screen is life accurate?

And to extend the argument, how do I get colours to be balanced? For example, with the Pentax KR, red colours always appear over-saturated or is this a fault of my monitor?

So how do I produce a colour balanced image?

Inserting a colour card into every batch of pictures I take is hardly practical.

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance.

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Pentax K-r
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