Photographer Hugo Rodriguez has created a “new generation” of color chart called the HR-1 SuperChroma that blows your ColorChecker out of the water. Using 999 evenly distributed color patches, Rodriguez claims his chart can produce more accurate results than anything else on the market today.
We first heard about the HR-1 SuperChroma in February, when Rodriguez was preparing to share it with the world. This chart, he claimed, is “the highest resolution card on the market by far,” blowing away even the most advanced competition like the HutchColor chart.
It achieves this in two main ways. First, by including more color patches than anything else on the market: the ColorChecker uses 24 patches, the Hutch chart uses a little over 700, and the HR-1 SuperChroma uses 999. Second, by distributing those patches more evenly across the color space.
“On charts like the IT8 or the Hutch, which were created based on the concept of gradients, there is a lot of patch density in certain areas (especially near grayscales) and very little or no patching between the extremes of maximum gradient saturation,” explains Rodriguez. “This makes the patch distribution uneven and consequently worse for a color profiling program.”
You can see this in the chart below, which describes the Hutch chart. Some colors areas, like black and white, have a very high density of redundant patches, while others do not:
In contrast, the HR-1 SuperChroma’s patches are evenly distributed, so that it produces less redundant information and gives you a more complete data set to work with when creating a color profile in a program like Lumariver or BasICColor Input 5.
Combine that with the sheer number of color patches that Rodriguez has included on the SuperChroma, and you get much broader coverage of the visible color spectrum than any other chart on the market today. This applies especially well to charts printed on chemical paper, which introduces its own limitations:
The HR-1 is based on 3 years of work and 17 years of experience professionally calibrating cameras for dozens of retail clients and art galleries, and it’s not a brand new creation. Rodriguez has been using the chart for some time now, and has plenty of examples to prove its superiority.
“The HR-1 SuperChroma has been designed mainly for use in e-commerce and artwork reproduction,” explains Rodriguez. “Therefore it can produce excellent results in a scene-referred workflow and also in an output-referred too.”
Online stores in particular have an issue with presenting a color that is not accurate to the product that the customer receives. As you can see from the examples below, the SuperChroma produces different (and Rodriguez claims, more accurate) results:
Admittedly, this will be a niche product for only the most discerning studio photographers who demand the most extreme color accuracy. As Rodriguez mentioned, commercial product photography, fashion, and artwork reproduction are his main targets, but plenty of other photographers will see this and want to pursue the most true and accurate colors possible, regardless of genre.
To learn more about the HR-1 SuperChroma or if you want to pre-order one yourself, you can do so here. A standard reference chart will run 350 Euro, or about $381, and availability will begin a few days after the lockdown ends in Spain, where Rodriguez is based.
And if you want to dive deeper into the nitty gritty of how Rodriguez can claim that his chart is more accurate than the competition, he’s shared an in-depth breakdown on Luminous Landscape that’s worth a read.
Image credits: All photos and charts provided by Mr. Rodriguez, and used with permission.