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06-14-2011, 07:13 PM   #1
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Tungsten Light

Is tungsten light even around anymore? I use CF bulbs everywhere. I don't have a single bulb in the house. I know you can get halogen "tungsten" light, but I don't know where I'd even go to get real tungsten light anymore. It seems everything is florescent. That being said, setting the white balance to tungsten often looks better than the florescent settings. Are CF bulbs mimicking tungsten light now?

06-14-2011, 07:23 PM   #2
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Do you live in a tiny town? Normal Tungsten bulbs are everywhere (local convenience store/pharmacy, Target, Wal-Mart, supermarket). I don't even use CFL bulbs.
06-14-2011, 07:44 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
Do you live in a tiny town? Normal Tungsten bulbs are everywhere (local convenience store/pharmacy, Target, Wal-Mart, supermarket). I don't even use CFL bulbs.
Target has overhead florescent bulbs, so does Costco, perhaps it's a California regulation? I live in a pretty big metro area. I haven't bought a traditional bulb in ages, other than the ones that came with the new vanity fixture I installed. I thought it was so odd that they packed it with traditional bulbs, but I had them recycled.
06-14-2011, 07:44 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenafein Quote
Is tungsten light even around anymore? I use CF bulbs everywhere. I don't have a single bulb in the house. I know you can get halogen "tungsten" light, but I don't know where I'd even go to get real tungsten light anymore. It seems everything is florescent. That being said, setting the white balance to tungsten often looks better than the florescent settings. Are CF bulbs mimicking tungsten light now?
Tungsten bulbs are pretty consistently the same color temperature. I think Pentax cameras use 2850K as the color temperature for tungsten. The bulb surface can be coated to slightly alter the color but the light source is still a burning tungsten filament.

Compact fluorescent bulbs are available in all kinds of color temperatures. Most of the time the temperature is stated on the package in tiny letters. In larger letters the package will say Soft White or Daylight or something. The color is produced by phosphor coating inside the bulb, and different formulas produce different colors. I have bulbs that are roughly equivalent to tungsten at 2800K, plus 3100K, 3500K, and 6500K. I have regular fluorescents at 4100K, and these also vary because they use the same phosphor technology. I would like everything to be around 5000K, but my wife prefers 2800K. I think halogens are usually 5000K but we don't have any.

Once you have invested in CFLs, LED bulbs are going to be the next thing to buy. Probably the first or cheapest ones are going to have a really awful color distribution, something that looks OK to the eye but not to the camera.

06-14-2011, 07:51 PM   #5
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Thanks dave, you and riorico always seem to chime in with what I'm looking for. That makes sense why under CFL light the tungsten white balance sometimes is best. I usually go for the daylight versions, but we have a mix going on in the house right now. I wonder if I should go out and buy more. Or move all the yellow looking ones into rooms I don't take pictures in. I will have to take notice of the numbers next time.
06-14-2011, 08:04 PM - 1 Like   #6
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As I have been invoked, I shall blather: I leave my K20D on AWB and fix the temp / balance in RAW development. For shots from outdoors under clear sunny skies, I often must to set the balance to CLOUDY or SHADE to kill the blue. Indoors with various CFL's, tensors, other light sources, I usually must set the balance to TUNGSTEN. My one LED lamp seems tuned for DAYLIGHT, so no problem.

But one of my big gripes re: the K20D is that AWB is pretty stupid. Not that it's just a Pentax thang -- all my Sony P&S's have similar problems. (My Olympus P&S seems to do better.) That's pretty much why I PP *everything*. REMOVE COLOR CAST is my best friend in PaintShopPro. Fixing color in RAW seems cleaner than de-casting JPGs & GIFs & TIFs.
06-14-2011, 08:12 PM   #7
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Thanks rico. I have been shooting raw+ because I OCD over PP. Mostly because I really don't know what I'm doing, but I'm going to calibrate my monitor this weekend and read some guides.
06-14-2011, 09:18 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
Tungsten bulbs are pretty consistently the same color temperature. I think Pentax cameras use 2850K as the color temperature for tungsten. The bulb surface can be coated to slightly alter the color but the light source is still a burning tungsten filament.

Compact fluorescent bulbs are available in all kinds of color temperatures. Most of the time the temperature is stated on the package in tiny letters. In larger letters the package will say Soft White or Daylight or something. The color is produced by phosphor coating inside the bulb, and different formulas produce different colors. I have bulbs that are roughly equivalent to tungsten at 2800K, plus 3100K, 3500K, and 6500K. I have regular fluorescents at 4100K, and these also vary because they use the same phosphor technology. I would like everything to be around 5000K, but my wife prefers 2800K. I think halogens are usually 5000K but we don't have any.

Once you have invested in CFLs, LED bulbs are going to be the next thing to buy. Probably the first or cheapest ones are going to have a really awful color distribution, something that looks OK to the eye but not to the camera.
I will definitely be skipping the mercury laden CFL's and switch to LED's once they become cheaper and more available.

06-14-2011, 09:53 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenafein Quote
Is tungsten light even around anymore? I use CF bulbs everywhere. I don't have a single bulb in the house. I know you can get halogen "tungsten" light, but I don't know where I'd even go to get real tungsten light anymore. It seems everything is florescent. That being said, setting the white balance to tungsten often looks better than the florescent settings. Are CF bulbs mimicking tungsten light now?
Depends on your location. In some countries, Australia being one, Tungsten is rare because of the inefficiency of those globes and government steps to regulate against inefficient products. There are still some around where all that waste heat is used to advantage.
There has been research into more efficient Tungsten globes but most of it has been dropped.
Many other countries also have the same goals so expect Tungsten use to drop worldwide. Although, if US metrification is any indication, it will take them 50 years.
I think you can get "warm" CF which is more similar to the colour temp of Tungsten. We seem to generally expect artificial home lighting to be "warm" - one reason AWB correction for Tungsten is set to "subtle" and still shows a slight colour cast.
06-14-2011, 10:05 PM   #10
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Should be able to go to any electrical supply house and find tungsten lighting products
in a variety of configurations.Like Dave says,color tone is primarily based on
white-hot element and phosphors.Doping agents are added to phosphors at times to adjust tone.
In addition,neodymium is sometimes added to glass to produce
a warmer tone.Supply level is critical also.
06-15-2011, 03:47 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Hi, Kenafein
You can try Manual White balance procedure on a gray card or a sheet of white paper.
-select manual focus and spot metering to make it easier during setting.

Also using AWB try setting a stop or so underexposed in the light then add fill flash with a diffuser or bounce.

K-9 There are calculations on various sites that show a cfl energy usage emits less mercury and about 3 times less CO2 than the equivalent old incandescent,even if it is broken and sent to land fill at end of life.
CFL collection centers result in further mercury emissions.
06-16-2011, 02:48 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
I will definitely be skipping the mercury laden CFL's and switch to LED's once they become cheaper and more available.
+1.
In our little corner of the universe our government moved to ban the use of tungsten bulbs... so everyone would have had to use cfls and suffer the mercury risk from breakages.
There was no provision made for safe disposal collection points so all cfls and their toxic payload were destined for landfill.

Just before this was due to become law there was a change of government and the compulsory change to cfl bulbs was rescinded.

(By then we had a closet full of tungstens, maybe 10+ years supply, as we were buying 4 on every weekly trip to the grocery store.)

We hope that LED technology will improve and costs reduce over the next decade so when we finally run out of tungsten we can switch seamlessly to LED and skip cfls altogether.
06-16-2011, 03:31 AM   #13
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It's getting increasingly hard to find incandescent bulbs in the UK
06-16-2011, 03:34 AM   #14
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a little common sense can go a long way.Switch back and forth between CFL
and tungsten,depending on season of year.Really like to know were waste
heat from tungsten goes in my house,during winter.
White balance modes in my K20 does seem 'goofey' at times.
Rico lays it out pretty good though on how deal with,resort to what wombat2go
says often.
As an electrician,have always had to be careful during calls to establishments that
display meat and cool white vs. warm white flourescent lamps.Always want to
ensure warm whites are used or butcher has some awful dead looking meat.
Contaigous also,word gets back shop,and theres more dead meat.
06-16-2011, 07:59 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by wombat2go Quote
Hi, Kenafein
You can try Manual White balance procedure on a gray card or a sheet of white paper.
-select manual focus and spot metering to make it easier during setting.

Also using AWB try setting a stop or so underexposed in the light then add fill flash with a diffuser or bounce.

K-9 There are calculations on various sites that show a cfl energy usage emits less mercury and about 3 times less CO2 than the equivalent old incandescent,even if it is broken and sent to land fill at end of life.
CFL collection centers result in further mercury emissions.
Incandescent bulbs do not contain or emit Mercury. The issue is about the coal power plants using more energy and mercury which puts more mercury into the atmosphere than personal use of the more energy efficient CFL bulbs. However, I'd rather have the mercury in the atmosphere than on my tile floor.
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