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So lets say I somehow got my hands on the gorgeous Leica M9M

If I simply include a color card in the image. Will I be able to capture color information perfectly?

Howewer what I am interested is. What is needed to colorify the images? Will the Photoshop CS6 be enough or I need NASA grade software? Is there an simple step by step tutorial?

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If I simply include a color card in the image. Will I be able to capture color information perfectly?

No. A color target recorded in monochrome does not carry the information necessary to reconstruct color information. We can think of color as being comprised of three basic parts: chroma (or hue), saturation, and lightness (or value). When you record a monochrome image, you are effectively only recording the last bit. It may be true that the samples on the card have different lightness as well, making it possible to distinguish them, but there is no chroma or saturation information.

You can see this yourself simply by taking a photograph of a colorful scene and converting to gray scale. In almost any example, you will be able to find areas of the result which are the same shade of gray but which were very different colors in the original.

Howewer what I am interested is. What is needed to colorify the images? Will the Photoshop CS6 be enough or I need NASA grade software? Is there an simple step by step tutorial?

In order to colorize an image like this, you will need to add color information from an additional source — either imagined or an educated guess. Today, the most advanced software uses machine learning to make those guesses — see this for example.

Another approach would be to actually record color information in the first place, by taking three separate images with three different color filters — green, red, and blue. You can then mix these images as "color channels", creating a full-color image. This is essentially how the first color photograph was created. Of course, this is not practical with moving subjects.

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No, but you could get a sturdy tripod and three colour filters (red, green and blue). If you shoot the same scene using each of the three filters, you can combine the three monochrome images to make a full-colour image. This is how the earliest colour photographs were made, and is the basis for the (three-strip) Technicolor film process. You can, of course, do this using an ordinary digital camera (just for fun).

Wikipedia: Technicolor

  • Photoshop will do this. Load each separate image (the red, green, and blue image) to Photoshop and assign to its respective color channel. When you switch to the combined RGB view you'll see the full color image. This is common among astrophotographers who own monochrome cameras (and usually a filter wheel to automate the process of changing filters). – Tim Campbell May 25 '19 at 15:51
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One photographs a color card to aid in white balancing in post. The colors on the card are known values and need to be photographed in the same lighting as the images to be modified. Hard shadows should not befall the card - lighting should be consistent across it.

In post, this allows you to select a color and then a global change is made to get that color to where it needs to be. Same with every other color. The result is that global changes have been applied and your white balance should be perfect.

Working the other way around - starting with a value of grey and then swapping that with a color, would work for that particular level of grey. But what about all of the shades and tones in between? What about similar levels of grey that come from differing colors? What about a grey that should remain grey?

I don't mess around with colorizing software and could be very wrong here - but I'd think that an initial color swap may get you started...but you'll be hand painting the rest at best.

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No. It's a black & white sensor: the colour information is simply not there, only luminance. If you want a colour camera, buy a colour camera.

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