ColorRight Pro – Hands On Review

I’ve been reviewing the ColorRight Pro, from ColorRight for sometime now. It is a white-balance aid for photographers and videographers. I can’t remember where I first heard about the ColorRight Pro, but it immediately intrigued me. I am always looking for things that help a “hobby” or “volunteer” user get professional results. When your life doesn’t revolve around a particular technology, you tend to look for things that make it easier to get consistent results, even when you do not do something consistently. The ColorRight Pro, while targeted by the company to professionals, seemed to me to be a tool to achieve that consistency for the non-pro photographer. After the break, I’ll give you my impressions, some pictures, and a video review of the ColorRight Pro.

First, my impressions.

  1. I like it – a lot. It really is a simple tool to use. I really think it is going to be something I use a lot. I find I use it at least once every time I pull out my camera. I suppose that technically, as you move through a space, your lighting changes, so you should take more readings. But I usually only take one reading – unless the light difference is really drastic.
  2. I was surprised it cracked. It feels pretty robust in your hands, so I was surprised when one of my testers returned it with a crack and hole in the flat part. This damage came from simply moving around in her camera bag. That’s a bit disturbing considering the $130 price tag.
  3. I think it costs too much. The ColorRight Pro will set you back $130. While you can easily spend a ton more on pro gear, I think $50 is as much as I would want to spend on one. I’m glad they gave us this one for review.
  4. It taught me something. As an architectural designer, I deal with color a lot, so I was surprised how bad I was at detecting bad light color in an image. In architecture, we deal with a palate of colors that we combine for visual effect. That does not translate to understanding colors photographically. By using the ColorRight Pro, my eyes have learned a lot! I see color so much differently.

OK, now some pictures – by Kelli Appleton:

And now, the video review:

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15 Replies to “ColorRight Pro – Hands On Review”

  1. Great review, Pastor Herb! I have to agree with Michael on the fact that everyone is going to play around with their pictures in post processing, and unless the color balance is way off it’s a simple thing to adjust it after the fact. The fact that it cracked when transported in the same well padded bag that I trust to carry my camera, flash and lenses makes it less enticing to me at such a high price. I enjoyed using it for the above pictures and it did help since this wedding took place in direct, midday sunlight. I felt like I got better skin tones than I had expected under such harsh conditions. I don’t think I got $150 worth of improvement though.

  2. I still think that, for stills, this is a totally worthless device. All you are doing is setting some metadata telling one slider in your RAW editor where to be (everyone is shooting RAW nowadays right??). And even at that, I can’t for the life of me figure out why that is even a good idea. 1. I rarely want my photos to actually have the “correct” white balance. I tend to push it warmer or cooler depending on how I want the feel of the image to be. 2. I still think you should be stand where your subject is.. not where you are shooting (I know the manufacturer says not to, but they also think they have a product worth $150)

    For Video, it seems like a good tool, but a white card will be almost as good.

    1. I have to add that one of the benefits of the colorright is that you can use it with flashes that to me was important being that I use flash most of the time. Other white blance are not able to pick up the flash so the white balance won’t be as accurate if using flashes. That is why I looked at this as a more accurate colorbalance tool and why it may cost more. The cost is high and the company should have provided a protective pouch with the purchase. I do find that it is on point I do less adjusting with my photos when I use it. White cards can’t compare I have two and it they aren’t as accurate with flashes

  3. Hi Herb,

    Thanks for your honest first impressions of our product.

    To summarize, it sounds like you found it to work very well, and you found it easy to use. However, you had a few reservations about the product due primarily to the price and the cracked rear lens. Is that about right?

    Regarding the cracked rear lens. They are not usually brittle. I apologize for any trouble you or Kelli may have had. We have a 1 year full replacement and repair policy for all of our products. Please feel free to return for a new unit or a free repair.

    As regards price, the Pro product is our highest priced product, we also have an $89 product called the Classic.

    The Pro is priced the way it is because it is made here in the USA in a small local plant in downtown Atlanta, GA. When you look at other price guides for plastic parts you are looking at prices for parts that are ordered in the millions and are created using a process called injection molding. We use an entirely different process for smaller volume production that is much more expensive to produce. In addition, we use plastics that are controlled for spectral neutrality and light transmission to a very tight tolerance. They are also hand assembled one by one in that same GA plant. In summary, they are much more expensive to make than you might think.

    Unfortunately, there may be many others who are not aware of this, or maybe don’t care that think the same thing. That is perfectly understandable. The world chose Wal-Mart a long time ago. As we grow we may have to off-shore these like most everyone else to maintain a healthy profit margin. The Lord loves the Chinese too. We’ll see.

    Finally, as regards the notion that everyone should, or does, shoot raw. I think things are actually starting to go back the other way. My wife and I were pro photographers here in Atlanta for 7 years and we went to a lot of the trade shows last year (PPA, WPPI, PMA, DWF). What we saw are many people (even the old timers) who are sick and tired of sitting behind the computer after a shoot. The whole color balanced workflow/ hours of editing was fun for a few years, but most are ready to just get back to shooting and to get back to getting it right at the point of capture.

    YMMV.

    God Bless! Happy Easter!

    Drew Strickland
    President, Inventor
    ColorRight Tools, LLC

    1. Drew, thanks for coming by and responding to the review and comments – I think that’s awesome. Thanks for the clarification on the cost issues, too. One of the technical issues that came up was the issue of “where do you point take the shot?” – the site says to point at your subject, but white-cards are usually placed at the subject – can you explain the technical reasons for this?

  4. Hi Herb,

    No problem.

    We recommend that the pro be pointed toward the subject becuase it was designed in such a way that it will work this way about 98% of the time. It is onerous, time consuming and sometimes impossible to take a reading at the subject position. This is especially true of live events.

    This approach will work whenever the subject is under the same/ similar lighting conditions as the person taking the reading at the camera position. For the 2% of the time when an incident reading is required (e.g., a studio environment, etc.) we suggest that one be taken.

    Hope this helps.

    Thanks,
    Drew

    1. Ok, That makes more sense. So if you want to be technically correct (the whole point of taking a white balance) stand at your subject. But for most situations it is probably just as accurate to stand where you will be taking the shots from.

    1. I read the technical specs on the colorright and the expodisc. The expodisc was my first choice before actually taking the flash into consideration. I found the colorright pro which does what the expodisc can’t and that is:

      1. Take shots from the spot you will be shooting from instead of taking it from the spot the subject will be.

      2. The colorright pro can also read the flash.

      In reference to cost. The colorright can be used on different lenses. You will have to order a different size expodisc for certain lenses which now makes the expodisc more expensive.

      1. well – you could just buy the 82mm ExpoDisc to cover all your lenses – its $109, still cheaper than the ColorRight. Also, technically the reading should be taken at the subject for both products (see Drew’s comments above).

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