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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk
Thread started 23 Jul 2007 (Monday) 12:54
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Kelvin White Balance...5200K? Higher?

 
jnick
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NY, USA
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Hey guys,

I wanted a little input in regards to the color temperture the majority uses for thier "K" WB setting. I read that the Speedlite flashes fire at a color temperture of 5200K and therefore, I have set mine to 5200K (actually, I think that's the default).

In all honesty, the only time I really use "K" as the WB is when I'm in low light situations and need to use the flash as the primary source of light. In that case, I dial in "K" in hope of getting the most accurate/natural results.

However, through some testing yesterday, it appears that 5200K may be a little on the blueish side. In all honesty, I haven't reviewed the pictures on my monitor, only on the LCD of the camera. I'll definitely check them out on my monitor when I get off of work though :). Though through the LCD, it appeared as if the colors were to cool. Like I said, it could have been just because of the small screen, though.

What do the majority of you guys use?

Thanks!

Jul 23, 2007 12:54

Canon 40D + Grip | Canon 7D + Grip | 17-40mm f/4L | 70-200L 2.8 IS | 100mm f/2.8 Macro | Canon 50mm f/1.8 | 430EX | 580 EX II

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Curtis ­ N
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The K white balance setting is only useful with lighting of a known color temperature (such as studio strobes).

You did not mention what "Speedlite" you're using. The newer ones (430EX, 580EX, 580EX II) report their color temperature to the camera. All you need to do is set the WB to Flash or Auto. With other flash units, Flash WB will generally get you pretty close. A flash unit's color temp will vary with the power output, so using a K setting will not necessarily be any closer.

Of course, if you're bouncing the flash then none of this matters. The light will take on the color of the surface it bounces off of.

If you want to make sure of the correct white balance setting, then a custom white balance or post-processing adjustment with your RAW converter will be the best options.

Jul 23, 2007 13:38

"If you're not having fun, your pictures will reflect that." - Joe McNally
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jnick
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I have the 430EX. The only reason I decided to shoot with 5200K is because according to a video I have, it states the flash fires at a color temperature of 5200K.

I totally understand about correcting it later via PP in a RAW converter, if shot in RAW. Actually, I hear it a lot. However, wouldn't you want the photo to be as close to perfect without at PP? I know I definitely would. Granted, no photo is perfect. It can always benefit from PP. But something as important as color balance...I'd think one would try and get the correct at the time during shooting, no?

When you say:

Curtis N wrote:
If you want to make sure of the correct white balance setting, then a custom white balance...

This would vary based on each shooting place, correct? Every room indoors would have a specific color temperature to get the correct WB. For instance, my living room and my basement both would not use the same color temperatures given that the rooms color (paint, rug, etc) is different, right?

Thanks for all your help Curtis.

Jul 23, 2007 16:25

Canon 40D + Grip | Canon 7D + Grip | 17-40mm f/4L | 70-200L 2.8 IS | 100mm f/2.8 Macro | Canon 50mm f/1.8 | 430EX | 580 EX II

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Curtis ­ N
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jnick wrote in post #3598170external link
something as important as color balance...I'd think one would try and get the correct at the time during shooting, no?

The white balance setting in the camera doesn't change the light captured by the sensor or the data in the RAW file. It merely changes how this data is interpreted to create an image. You could shoot a bunch of frames under tungsten light with your camera set to shade WB and adjust the RAW file in post, and the result would be just as good as if you used Tungsten WB or a custom WB.

As for setting a custom white balance - It's best to do it for each environment and situation. As you noted, there are many things that can influence the color temperature of the light in a scene.

Jul 23, 2007 16:37

"If you're not having fun, your pictures will reflect that." - Joe McNally
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Flash Photography 101 | The EOS Flash Bible external link| Techniques for Better On-Camera Flashexternal link | How to Use Flash Outdoors| Excel-based DOF Calculatorexternal link

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gcogger
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jnick wrote in post #3598170external link
I have the 430EX. The only reason I decided to shoot with 5200K is because according to a video I have, it states the flash fires at a color temperature of 5200K.

I totally understand about correcting it later via PP in a RAW converter, if shot in RAW. Actually, I hear it a lot. However, wouldn't you want the photo to be as close to perfect without at PP? I know I definitely would. Granted, no photo is perfect. It can always benefit from PP. But something as important as color balance...I'd think one would try and get the correct at the time during shooting, no?

Applying the colour temperature during RAW conversion on your computer is exactly the same as when the camera applies it at the time of shooting a JPEG. If you choose a colour temperature in-camera but you shoot RAW, then this is only stored as a 'hint' that you are free to change when you do the RAW conversion.

Edit:
Oops - beat me to it :)

Jul 23, 2007 16:40

Graeme
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jnick
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Curtis N wrote in post #3598230external link
As for setting a custom white balance - It's best to do it for each environment and situation. As you noted, there are many things that can influence the color temperature of the light in a scene.

Now when you refer to a custom WB, are you referring to when you take a photo of a white piece of paper in the area you'll be shooting, then use that photo to have the camera determine the color temperature in the menu list? Once that is complete, then set the WB to 'Custom' and begin shooting..?

Jul 23, 2007 23:52

Canon 40D + Grip | Canon 7D + Grip | 17-40mm f/4L | 70-200L 2.8 IS | 100mm f/2.8 Macro | Canon 50mm f/1.8 | 430EX | 580 EX II

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Kelvin White Balance...5200K? Higher?
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