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Old Nov 8, 2009, 12:11 PM   #1
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Default Anyone ever have a measurable difference in color on a specific lens?

Hey all,

I've been struggling with what I've started calling a "bronzing" effect that I've been dealing with for a while, more than a year while.

In short, Most of the portraits I've done in studio type of lighting have had copper tones that shouldn't be there, heck, I've been getting it on some rather fair-skinned people of Irish decent.

It's a rather deeply saturated, almost metallic-looking type of orange that just should not exist. Oddly enough, it's only prevalent on skin tones that I'm aware, and most noticeable under studio lights.

I had hoped that the problem would be resolved once I upgraded from the Alpha 100 to the Alpha 350, it wasn't.

This week I started wracking my brain trying to figure out the source of the issue. My first hunch was the CCD vs CMOS. I had taken some shots in a studio lighting class that showed no such color cast while using a Nikon, as they didn't have a flash adapter for the wireless trigger available for Sony at the time.

But then I remembered that Nikon body was actually using the same sensor as my Sony. Then I remembered the only thing that has continued on from the a100 to the a350, the original kit 18-70 3.5-5.6 Lens.

Today I set up some studio lights, took a number of shots (5) with each of my 3 main lenses, the 50mm f/17, the 75-300 f/4.5-5.6, and the kit.

The kit was visibly off-color on the back of the LCD. I pulled the images into Phase One Capture One 5 Pro, and did more checking, and found the color temperature between the 50 and the 75-300mm were fairly stable and fairly similar, but the kit was a huge margin difference.

I measured the Kelvin to be 200+ degrees cooler, while the magenta/green tint was oddly enough 4-5 to the green side. One must remember, Capture One maxes out at 50 on each side of the tint slider, this is a difference that equates to 10% of the range!

Does anyone know what the heck is wrong with this lens?
Has anyone ever seen anything similar to this before?

Dan O.
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Old Nov 8, 2009, 2:34 PM   #2
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Sure. You can see a pretty large difference between lenses (some are cooler, some are warmer, some are more neutral).

I've made the mistake of setting a custom white balance using one lens, then changing lenses later and seeing a big difference in the results. So, I've learned to make sure I set a custom white balance with the lens I'm using. lol

The way Auto White Balance works can also vary a bit between lenses (as can the presets). I'd figure out what setting works best for the lens and lights you're using, then set it in advance (for less tweaking in post processing).

If you're using studio strobes with the kit lens, try using a Kelvin Temperature of 5500K, with a Magenta/Green Compensation setting of M1 and see if that gets you close. Then, tweak from there. That way, you won't have as much work to do in PP if you use the as shot white balance.

I use a pair of Sunpaks with my A700, and I just use the Sunny Preset for White Balance, and that works fine with them using most Minolta lenses (slightly warm, but I prefer that to neutral). But, the kit lens may be a bit different (and the settings above are what some users have found works well with the 18-70mm).
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Old Nov 8, 2009, 3:57 PM   #3
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If you'll be using flash, set the white balance accordingly.

If you'll be using studio lights, use a gray card to set a custom white balance.

Since there's obviously a difference in color from one lens to another, I think the studio lights and a custom white balance is a better idea.
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Old Nov 8, 2009, 5:11 PM   #4
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I think he probably means studio strobes versus continuous lamps (given the comments about not having a wireless trigger available for the Nikon when he saw neutral colors with it). But, if it's continuous lighting, sure, use a custom white balance.
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