How to Get Medium Format Colors With Your Full-Frame Camera

Medium-format cameras have long been known for their excellent image quality and incredible ability when it comes to rendering colors. Phase One's latest camera, the IQ3 100MP Trichromatic, takes this a step further and you can now get extremely accurate and effective colors, straight out of the camera. To learn more about the Trichromatic and how it compares to the "standard" 100MP back from Phase One, check out my previous article. The main issue with medium-format cameras such as these is that they cost significantly more than what most of us would like to pay. What if we could attain that level of quality without needing to spend anywhere as close?

In my latest video, I compare the Canon 5DS R and the Phase One Trichromatic to demonstrate how with just a few adjustments, you can take your images to the level of medium format and possibly even beyond that. To do this I use an X-Rite ColorChecker Passport. Many of you have probably seen the results this device can help create, but, chances are you've probably never seen it compares to medium format let alone the trichromatic. In my view, it's nothing short of incredible how much of an impact this can have on your images. Colors are extremely important and I highly recommend this relatively cheap option. 

Check out the video for the full comparison, images are available for download using the link the video description.

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Size should not matter and colors should be accurate wether it's a 1x1 Sensor or 6x6. But then some believe in the tooth fairy.😕

Usman Dawood's picture

Do you mean sensor size? The colours from medium format are not due to sensor size but because the 100mp backs produce 16-bit raw files. The smaller medium format sensors still only produce 14-bit files so they won't have any real advantage in that area.

The Trichromatic, however, is different in that not only does it have 16 files but it's also been redeveloped to produce the best possible colours.

Its all about the bit size. Saying that a new processing technique would produce best colors, does that mean that all other medium format cameras are developed NOT to produce the best color?

I think Chuck is speaking about "color accuracy" rather then color range. Color accuracy is different per camera

Usman Dawood's picture

No sensor can produce perfect colour but all sensors are developed with colours in mind some will obviously be better than others. Bit rate is important but how the pixels perceive colour and how the individual filters in the sensors are developed make a huge difference too. Consider Fovean sensors for example.

Technology moves ahead and newer sensors are going to be better developed (in general) for most aspects including colours.

"does that mean that all other medium format cameras are developed NOT to produce the best color" you're asking the wrong question here.

It would be similar for me to compare the iPhone 8 to the iPhone 3g and then ask was the iPhone 3g not developed to be the best phone?

dose dont the color depend on that profile program you use to do the profile to?

Usman Dawood's picture

Yes it does, but you will still need the colour checker passport to create that profile.

i know i have a checker passport.. So that progam is the best to use do get de best colors?

Usman Dawood's picture

For this comparison, I profiled the Canon image in Lightroom and then brought it back into capture one to compare it to the Phase One.

if you do a profile in lighroom and then one adobe dng editor you will se a big diffrens.. :)

Usman Dawood's picture

Thank you for that suggestion Viktor, I'm going to give that a try.

Kyle Medina's picture

Not worth the money for anybody, next.

Usman Dawood's picture

I would fall into the "anybody" category and I strongly disagree. Did you watch the video?

Colours are extremely important in photography and also consider the price difference between medium format and the passport. I think it's worth every penny and possibly more.

Kyle Medina's picture

Sure did and I laughed the whole way through.

Usman Dawood's picture

Well, what matters to me is that you watched my video. Thank you anyway.

I want to see video of this

it is..

Justin Berrington's picture

What is your workflow for getting the profile since Capture One does not have a ColorChecker plugin like lightroom?

Usman Dawood's picture

I should have made it clear in the video I apologise. I profiled the Canon image in Lightroom then brought it back into Capture One. Normal Colour Checker Workflow.

Justin Berrington's picture

I figured this was your workflow but I had recently read that you can use the i1 profiler which Viktor just posted.

Photo Kaz's picture

So you are no longer raw processing in C1? I recently abandoned Lightroom in favour of C1 simply for performance reasons. Also, for files well exposed it seems to get to a nice result faster than LR. Anyway, wondering if you can process raws and apply a custom color profile just in C1.

"Also, for files well exposed it seems to get to a nice result faster than LR."

If by it you mean how the image first appears, that's only because C1 is by default already applying adjustments, whereas LR is just applying color noise reduction and slight sharpening. All one would need to do is change the devopment defaults in LR and you could achieve the same thing.

Photo Kaz's picture

I tried that Bob, but the problem is no one development default (and I have many) ever looks great in LR. In C1, it looks quite good. I don't want to leave LR and learn a new tool, and it's not the results as much as the speed. I can get similar results with both. LR is just an absolute pig. I have a very fast PC and some operations are just slow (brushes, cloning, even some of the sliders) that I just can't edit with LR. It is just a frustrating waste of time.

Photo Kaz's picture

Thanks Viktor, I have read that PDF before. Like I said, I can get to similar results with both tools but find LR lacking in speed. The efficiency gain with C1 is worth the cost alone. This is also coming from someone much more familiar with LR than C1.

I do miss some of the tools in LR though :/

im going to try C1 trail and see if i like it.. :)

Justin Berrington's picture

Thanks Viktor. Now I get to play around tonight to see the difference between what lightroom produces vs the i1 profiler? Curious if anyone else has already tried this and noticed a difference?

i know that when you do Dng profile for lightrom or ACR its a diffrent depend on that program you use to make the dng

Usman Dawood's picture

I tried the i1 profiler and I just couldn’t get good results with it. I tried some software called Lumariver which produced incredibly accurate results to the point where I couldn’t tell the colour checker apart from the colours on my screen. Works really well I. Capture one too.

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