As soon as you find your camera has RAW and you start to shoot in it, color becomes an issue.  There are many ways on how to go about geting correct color in post and in camera.  This is another way which is going to do so much more than just white balance.

I have constantly looked for vibrant colors without being over saturated and true life colors and have tried many attempts to get the color i want, however none have satisfied me.  Many times these boost some colors but not others and its always unbalanced.

I found the XRITE Color Checker Passport product and started reading some reviews.  Unfortunately all i found was marketing material with obvious issues with the incamera shoot to try exaggerate the effects of the color card, however i still loved the idea of it so i looked further and decided to take the plunge and buy one.  I have been shooting for a couple of weeks with it and must say that i have found it to be beneficial beyond belief.  This really has given me a greater color correct control.

First off, i am not at all endorsed by X-Rite or any resellers of their products so these are purely personal opinions.  However is resellers and X-Rite want to endorse me with freebies then your more than welcome to approach me 🙂

So what do you get for your money?

  • Color passport
  • cd
  • thats about it…

Pretty expensive i would have though, im not sure what i was expecting, but it was at least more than this.  That being said, the software and passport itself is built brilliantly and i cant fault it.  Its hard build (the passport) and is fine to throw around, this is a big advantage for me.

So this is a review on a “somewhat real world” shooting scenario using the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport.

First off this is my setup:

  • Kitchen bench with project plan of recent work on it
  • random colored objects which were close to me
  • light meter
  • Canon 1ds Mk3.
  • Tripod to hold camera still cause i couldnt be bothered turning on more lights.

One clause in this review is that there are 3 different types of lighting coming into this room at the moment.

  1. Fluro over head providing 95% of the light
  2. Tungstan spashback lights
  3. Ambient light providing little to no light to the overall shot.

I did not use the dual illuminati ability of the PassPort i just used the single image to compile the colors, however if you are shooting in a client situation, i would heavily recommend this to get absolute 100% color (there is more info on that on the cd if you decide to get one).

So, what did i do?

  • Made myself a coffee
  • Set camera to 1/15 ISO 640, F/6.3
  • Took the 1st picture with the default canon FLURO white balance
  • Took that same picture and custom white balanced it in Lightroom with the eye dropped on “grey” square (bottom right corner, 3rd from the bottom – next to red)
  • Used the inbuilt Lightroom X-Rite Color Profile Creator to make a profile and applied.
  • Exported images, made a movie and wrote a blog post
  • Drunk cold coffee

Here are the results.


Unfortunately it doesnt demonstrate as well as what this does to the image due to being a GIF, so i have included another one displaying all the colors on the color checker.

So what does it do?

For lack of a better phrase, it does for white that white balancing does but for all colors.

Is it worth it?

Yes / No.  Are you concerned about color? If the answer is yes, then its “probably” worth it.  If you are obsessed with color and are shooting for clients, then you HAVE to get one (or any color card profile making thingy for that mater).

In a long winded conclusion, the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport will be used on all my shoots.  If i didnt purchase it, i would have purchased something else to fix color.  I dont believe you can get the same results out of post as what you can with the ease of this.  The profiling software is very beneficial and built into lightroom is always welcomed as thats where most of my development is done.  This provides a great base to do image development and i highly recommend everyone to get one or at least get a color profiling solution.

I have attached ALL the files created for your reference and ability to download and scrutinise 🙂