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12-12-2013, 02:39 PM   #1
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Wacky white balance with remote trigger studio flashes for K5

I was recently using my K5 in a studio set-up with profoto flashes and a camera-mounted remote trigger. I set the camera white balance to "flash" and initially everything looked fine: the color histogram had all three colors nicely lined up. After 20 or 30 shots, the white balance no longer was right. It would shift, randomly, between too red and too blue. The attached frames (with the subject deleted, for privacy reasons) were taken in succession, a few seconds apart. They go too red, too blue, and back to too red. The color shift occurred a few other times, too. I don't think it is because the flashes did not have time to fully recharge - other shifts occurred with longer intervals between shots, and some very short intervals (a second or less) do not show changes. Fortunately, I had a second body (my K30) to switch to, and all was fine for the rest of the day (5 or 6 hours and hundreds of shots). The same problem occurred a year ago - the K5 went white balance bonkers during a nearly-identical studio shoot (my K20 to the rescue that time!). These two events are the only time I've used such a set up. Without going back over thousands of frames, I can not tell for sure whether or not this has not happened under other shooting conditions, but I don't think so. I don't shoot a lot of flash, though.

I think the K5 mode was set to X (which I discovered, the K30 does not have!). Any ideas what happened?!?!

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12-12-2013, 09:12 PM   #2
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My first guess would have been the strobes, but I can't think why you would get a shift with the K5 and not the K30.

In general, I found the K20 more reliable syncing with strobes of all kinds, but I've not had the color shift.
12-12-2013, 09:34 PM   #3
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Lock the white balance by setting it with a greycard and you should have perfect balance, or the lights are faulty.
12-13-2013, 10:38 AM   #4
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I did set WB to "flash" via the WB menu on the camera, checked it with a gray card and it was fine (plus the backgrounds were either gray or white, so you could check continuously that WB was OK). There were 3 or 4 other shooters at this event, using the same strobes and triggers, and NOBODY else had WB problems (they were using Canons and Nikons). Same thing with this camera last year - it is definitely something to do with the K5 - not the lights.

12-13-2013, 11:00 AM   #5
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still, why use flash whitebalance? Loch it on the gray card instead so it can't get tricked.
12-13-2013, 02:24 PM   #6
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Trying to figure out what VisualDarkness means by locking, I think I may have figured it out. A detailed reading of the manual (always a good thing!) helps.

As I understand it, but the manual is NOT totally clear on this, if you are using manual white balance (which I often do, but did not during this episode), the camera will never adjust the white balance on its own - I guess you could call that locking the WB, but as noted below, I would have hoped/thought that picking any other WB (other than AWB) would also "lock" your choice. But NO: if you are using the various preset white balances (i.e. not manual or kelvin), the camera MAY try to adjust white balance even further - even if you are not on AWB. This was a surprise to me. Apparently, you need to set Custom Menu item #10 White Balance Adjustable Range (under C menu 2) to "2 FIXED." If you have it in "1 Auto Adjustment" the camera thinks it is smarter than you are (damn annoying and verging on reprehensible IMHO - why does it think I picked some WB other than AWB!?!?) and tries to fine tune the WB.

Turns out, I did have #10 set to the (default?) of 1, so I guess the camera was diddling the white balance on the fly. This is consistent with the past episode, too. Actually, I have used this set up two times previously. During one of them, WB was set to "flash" (it's in the EXIF data) and that was when I got similar white balance problems. The other time, I had done an actual manual WB and left the camera set that way, and the white balance was OK during that entire shoot.

So, I was partly right: It was something in the camera. However, I guess I also have to accept "operator error" since I naively assumed that setting WB to one of the menu choices was sufficient to "lock" it to that choice. I think the default for custom menu item #10 should be "FIXED" rather than allowing the camera to vary the WB on its own.

If this thread resonates with you, you might also want to take a look at custom menu item #11 - that one has three choices that let you decide whether the camera should 1)use AWB when the (on camera - I think) flash is activated
2) not change whatever WB you already have set (still subject to the vagaries of #10, I guess!) or
3) switch the camera to "flash" WB (again, subject to your #10 setting, too?)
12-19-2013, 07:51 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by AstroDave Quote
Trying to figure out what VisualDarkness means by locking, I think I may have figured it out. A detailed reading of the manual (always a good thing!) helps.

As I understand it, but the manual is NOT totally clear on this, if you are using manual white balance (which I often do, but did not during this episode), the camera will never adjust the white balance on its own - I guess you could call that locking the WB, but as noted below, I would have hoped/thought that picking any other WB (other than AWB) would also "lock" your choice. But NO: if you are using the various preset white balances (i.e. not manual or kelvin), the camera MAY try to adjust white balance even further - even if you are not on AWB. This was a surprise to me. Apparently, you need to set Custom Menu item #10 White Balance Adjustable Range (under C menu 2) to "2 FIXED." If you have it in "1 Auto Adjustment" the camera thinks it is smarter than you are (damn annoying and verging on reprehensible IMHO - why does it think I picked some WB other than AWB!?!?) and tries to fine tune the WB.

Turns out, I did have #10 set to the (default?) of 1, so I guess the camera was diddling the white balance on the fly. This is consistent with the past episode, too. Actually, I have used this set up two times previously. During one of them, WB was set to "flash" (it's in the EXIF data) and that was when I got similar white balance problems. The other time, I had done an actual manual WB and left the camera set that way, and the white balance was OK during that entire shoot.

So, I was partly right: It was something in the camera. However, I guess I also have to accept "operator error" since I naively assumed that setting WB to one of the menu choices was sufficient to "lock" it to that choice. I think the default for custom menu item #10 should be "FIXED" rather than allowing the camera to vary the WB on its own.

If this thread resonates with you, you might also want to take a look at custom menu item #11 - that one has three choices that let you decide whether the camera should 1)use AWB when the (on camera - I think) flash is activated
2) not change whatever WB you already have set (still subject to the vagaries of #10, I guess!) or
3) switch the camera to "flash" WB (again, subject to your #10 setting, too?)
Thanks AstroDave! From my experience today, The adjustable range seems also active when you set the color temp using Kelvin input.
I shot in M mode, manual WB and still had drastic variation of the white balance for some shots only a few seconds apart.
I just changed the setting you mentioned, hopefully this won't happen anymore.
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