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Old Apr 26, 2005, 6:04 AM   #1
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Can anyone give me alittle more insight into the colour temperature settings, do you have to change them everytime you use the camera to fit the lighting etc? is there a setting which it is best to use? i have changed then settings sometimes to what i think is suitable or to what manual says but have noticed very little difference, im going wrong somewhere, any advice appreciated. regards.
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Old Apr 26, 2005, 11:41 AM   #2
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Color temperature and white balance are basically the same thing or at least very closely related. It refers to the color of a glowing object when heated to a specific temperature. At different temperatures, the color of the light given off changes.

In photography, color temperature refers to the color of the light that illuminates the scene. Sunlight is generally considered to be white. Incandescent lights are more orange. Fluorescent lights tend to have a greenish tint.

The camera (film or digital) is more sensitive to these subtle color differences than your eyes. As a result, it is necessary to compensate for different types of lighting. For example, referring to film, if you shoot a film that is color balanced for sunlight indoors without flash or correcting filters, the pictures will have a strong orange cast if incandescent lighting is used and a greenish cast under fluorescents.

In a digital camera, white balance is used to compensate for different light sources. Most digital camera have some basic settings for WB such as sunlight, clouds, incandescent (tungsten), fluorescent. There is usually an auto setting and a manual setting. The reason it is called white balance is that the objective is to make white objects look white! In most cases, auto WB works well but it can screw things up.

If you use the sunlight setting outdoors, it will give good results in most situations. The cloudy setting give a warmer color balance and can be used for either cloudy or clear days. I use the cloudy setting on my D100 for all outdoor shooting. The incandescent and flourescent settings are for indoor use or outdoors at night. I won't go into the manual setting here.

If you have the WB set for cloudy or sunlight and try shooting inside under tungsten lights, your pictures will be orange and under fluorescent, green. If you use the incandescent setting outdoors, your pictures will be blue! Consequently, if you are not using auto WB, make sure your WB is set correctly for the lighting conditions where you are shooting.

I hope this answers your question.

Cal Rasmussen

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Old Apr 26, 2005, 4:15 PM   #3
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Many thanks for your clear, well explained advice on WB and colour temps, its made it a whole lot clearer. I should of mentioned the camera i use Canon 20D (dont know if it would of helped) but thanks again.
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Old Apr 26, 2005, 7:02 PM   #4
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Barkerlass...

If you shoot in RAW mode, you can choose to change the color temperature during the conversion process. This is a very subtle method of changing the way a picture looks... much more than the "tungsten", "flourecent", "sunny", "shade" etc. settings offered in the camera. I'm no professional, but have used color temperature to "tweak" RAW images. It's a very accurate way to get the colors just right.
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Old Apr 27, 2005, 3:26 AM   #5
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Wildman, are you saying that colour temp settings is mainly used in RAW mode? as i dont use RAW, (top quality JPeg) its best i just use the WS adjustments?
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Old Apr 27, 2005, 4:34 AM   #6
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What wildman is saying is that the white balamce and colour temperature are software settings they don't actually affect what the sensor records. If you use JPG then the settings on the camera are applied to the raw sensor data in camera and the result is what you see in the JPG. If you shoot RAW the white balance setting is recorder in the RAW file and applied by default when you convert the RAW file on your computer. However if you don't like what you see you can apply any of the other white balance settings as you process the file on your computer. Depending on the software you can also apply custom white balance settings to get exactly the tones you want.
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Old Apr 27, 2005, 8:17 AM   #7
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Thanks, got it now. regards.
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