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12-24-2010, 03:45 PM   #1
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New to Pentax -- Indoor Pics too Yellow! Help!

I'm new to Pentax...please Help! I just received a Pentax K-X for Christmas and all the pictures I've been taking inside have been WAY too yellow! It's awful! I read that this can be a problem with this camera...but, does anybody know how to fix it?!
Thank you so much, in advance, for any help!

12-24-2010, 03:50 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by LIGirl Quote
I'm new to Pentax...please Help! I just received a Pentax K-X for Christmas and all the pictures I've been taking inside have been WAY too yellow! It's awful! I read that this can be a problem with this camera...but, does anybody know how to fix it?!
Thank you so much, in advance, for any help!
Can't say for sure, but it sounds like your white balance is off. Is your white balance set to Auto?
12-24-2010, 04:04 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by eccs19 Quote
Is your white balance set to Auto?
Or better yet, set to whatever type of light you are shooting in?
12-24-2010, 04:15 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by LIGirl Quote
I'm new to Pentax...please Help! I just received a Pentax K-X for Christmas and all the pictures I've been taking inside have been WAY too yellow! It's awful! I read that this can be a problem with this camera...but, does anybody know how to fix it?!
Thank you so much, in advance, for any help!
Warm welcome!
I assume you haven't read your manual yet. Do it and pay attention to chapter about white balance.

12-24-2010, 04:29 PM - 1 Like   #5
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You have not noticed it, but interior light bulbs tend to have a color cast of some kind. In fact, lots of light has a color cast, your eye just doesn't notice it - at least until your camera takes a picture. Then for some reason, it looks like a huge mistake. It's not.

Common incandescent bulbs are probably the source of your yellow photos. The camera can be set for this type of light or many other types. The setting is called white balance. Check out page 182 of the manual for the details. You have many options: set it to a preset value that the camera has, set it exactly by taking a photo of a sheet of white paper, or fine-tuning it with the camera. Note that if you set it manually, then start to use flash or go outside, change it back to Auto or another preset, otherwise you'll have interesting blue photos that look like you're on an ice planet.

A lot of software packages have a way to remove color tints to photos you've already taken. But it's better to start with a setting that's close to the correct one.

It's true that some cameras handle white balance differently than the K-x, but no auto white balance is perfect. Cameras that aggressively correct incandescent light can ruin sunset photos, for example.
12-24-2010, 06:36 PM   #6
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Auto white balance (AWB) does not do so well in tungsten light (typical light bulbs in USA homes). There is a tungsten WB setting for those times.
12-24-2010, 06:39 PM   #7
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Thank you all so much for your quick responses! I certainly appreciate it!

QuoteOriginally posted by enoeske Quote
Or better yet, set to whatever type of light you are shooting in?
I tried multiple white balance settings...starting with auto and basically going through all of my options. I couldn't seem to find one that looked right!

QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
Common incandescent bulbs are probably the source of your yellow photos. The camera can be set for this type of light or many other types. The setting is called white balance. Check out page 182 of the manual for the details. You have many options: set it to a preset value that the camera has, set it exactly by taking a photo of a sheet of white paper, or fine-tuning it with the camera. Note that if you set it manually, then start to use flash or go outside, change it back to Auto or another preset, otherwise you'll have interesting blue photos that look like you're on an ice planet.
Actually, I did know that different light casts different colors...here's my follow up question. The bulbs in the house I'm taking pictures in right now are those energy efficient type. Do they create a different color cast then a regular light bulb? That would at least explain why tungsten doesn't seem to do the trick

@ elho_cid -- I'm working on the manual right now!
12-24-2010, 07:06 PM   #8
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Fluorescent bulbs have a very different colour (cooler, or more blue/white generally) than incandescent bulbs. Different types of fluorescent bulbs have different colours. Shooting in RAW and colour correcting on your computer is one option for difficult lighting but it requires learning how to use editing software.

12-24-2010, 07:17 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by LIGirl Quote
Actually, I did know that different light casts different colors...here's my follow up question. The bulbs in the house I'm taking pictures in right now are those energy efficient type. Do they create a different color cast then a regular light bulb? That would at least explain why tungsten doesn't seem to do the trick
OK, I apologize for making assumptions.

The energy-efficient bulbs are all over the map. I have ones in my house that are like incandescent at 2800K, but also 3000K, 3500K and even 6500K. (A chart in your manual decodes these numbers if you aren't familiar with the scale.) Add regular fluorescents at 4100K and some LEDs that are really weird. The different brands might also produce broad or narrow ranges of colors, depending on the chemicals used to coat the insides of the tubes. I can easily get a portrait of someone who's blue on one side and yellow on the other, if they're in the wrong place. The compact fluorescents often are marked with a color temperature, or have it on the packaging.

Setting the white balance with a piece of paper works pretty well. You can free yourself from some WB problems by shooting RAW, which allows you to apply a white balance afterwards. But it won't help if a person is lit by two different color temperatures.
12-24-2010, 07:36 PM   #10
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Welcome!

The bottom item on the WB menu is the manual setting Dave mentions where you take a snap of something white (a sheet of paper should work) and the camera figures out the WB setting from that. This has worked well with my k-x, so it should be worth a try :-) [edit: that white something doesn't need be in focus or fill the screen completely, filling the center circle of the viewfinder should be enough.]

Last edited by jolepp; 12-24-2010 at 07:42 PM.
12-25-2010, 07:55 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jolepp Quote
Welcome!

The bottom item on the WB menu is the manual setting Dave mentions where you take a snap of something white (a sheet of paper should work) and the camera figures out the WB setting from that. This has worked well with my k-x, so it should be worth a try :-) [edit: that white something doesn't need be in focus or fill the screen completely, filling the center circle of the viewfinder should be enough.]
This works.
Kodak used to make a card about 6" by 8" for this, one side white and the other side gray (for metering). I don't know if this card is still being made.
12-26-2010, 04:17 PM   #12
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I suggest shooting in RAW then afterwards changing the white balance in Photoshop (or some other software) to see exactly how the white balance affects your pictures in certain conditions. Most of the time I leave my Kx on Auto WB but I shoot 100% RAW and can change the WB whenever I want and find that most of the time the Kx gets the WB close to perfect. All I need to do is bump it a few notches.
12-26-2010, 07:09 PM   #13
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Something that is perhaps worth mentioning as a side issue to CF light bulbs is to shoot at a fairly low shutter speed if possible. 1/30 second is safe in NA, I suspect 1/25 second in Europe or anywhere else with 50hz electricity.
It's ironic that now that we can finally shoot at high ISO, the kind of lighting we are being hung with won't let us use it effectively.
12-27-2010, 03:24 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Something that is perhaps worth mentioning as a side issue to CF light bulbs is to shoot at a fairly low shutter speed if possible. 1/30 second is safe in NA, I suspect 1/25 second in Europe or anywhere else with 50hz electricity.
It's ironic that now that we can finally shoot at high ISO, the kind of lighting we are being hung with won't let us use it effectively.
I suppose more than a half of the cycle time (> 1/120 | 1/100 s) should be enough since the bulb's output should go trough its cycle in that, that is, the polarity of the half-cycle should not matter to the mercury atoms and electrons inside the tube whose interaction produces the light. Going much faster than that could catch a low/high intensity "sample". I vaguely seem to recall that the tubes may develop a condition where they become a rectifier. A full cycle time (1/60 | 1/50 s) might be needed to guard against that. If this had happened I would think it would be quite evident as a strobe effect at the cycle frequency, though.
12-28-2010, 07:38 AM   #15
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Thank you...

Thank you so much for all your suggestions! I know that I should probably be shooting in RAW, but I'm a little intimidated by it I'll get there though!
After spending more time with the camera (and the manual) I think I have the white balance issues pretty much under control...mostly!
I'm sure I'll have many more questions...so I thank everybody, in advance, for their help! I haven't used an SLR since I was 14 years old!
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