ColorChecker | Fuji Superia 200

September 6, 2020

Sometimes it’s useful to know how a particular film stock captures colour (e.g., as a reference for setting the correct white balance). But sometimes you may want to create a preset to apply to a digital image that’s capable of emulating the colours and tone of a particular film stock. With a photo of a ColorChecker taken with film and another with digital, it’s possible to create your own film preset.

Step 1. All you need to do with the film version, is sample the eight colour patches from the ColorChecker that match those that can be adjusted from inside the HSL / colour panel in Adobe Lightroom or ACR. It is also necessary to model the tonal response of film by sampling the lightness of the six grey patches too.

Step 2. Now you can adjust the same eight colours in the digital version of the ColorChecker to match the colours in the film version. And (more importantly), adjust the point curve (or sliders in the basic panel) to match the lightness of the six grey patches in the film version to emulate the tonal response of film. This is basically the method for developing some popular film presets.

Here, I present (top image) a scanned photo of a ColorChecker taken with the Ricoh FF-9 and Fuji Superia 200 colour film in daylight (for those wanting to check their own scans of the same film).

Below is a digital image of the same scene taken with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR camera that quite accurately mimics (well it’s good enough!) the colours and tonal response (and even the grain & vignette) of the scanned 35mm film version taken with the Ricoh FF-9 and Fuji Superia 200 colour film.

So, why waste money with presets when you can create them for yourself! It’s really straight forward (and very rewarding!).

I shall reveal how I scan my 35mm negatives (and the film inversion process) in more detail in a future blog post.

I hope you find this tip useful.

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