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12-29-2016, 10:54 AM   #1
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White Balance with LED Lighting

Just picked up a used K-50, after my K100D Super started having an issue with powering on*. Came across this forum and devoured the articles. My first camera was a Nikon N4004S in 1989, then a Kodak point-and-shoot in 2000, then the K100D Super in 2006. Had such a great experience with the K100D Super sticking with Pentax was a no-brainer.

My first forum question: I've always had trouble getting the white balance right with the new LED lighting that is showing up everywhere. On the K100D Super, sometimes the 'incandescent' setting was OK, sometimes terrible...same with the florescent setting. Auto rarely worked. I usually had to go through them all randomly to find one with good results ... and then if I shot somewhere with a different LED light I had to do it all over.

With the K-50, what would you recommend for WB settings with LED lighting? Actually match the color temp with the bulb (if its known...)? Are LED lights wavelengths just so varied there IS no way to pick a suitable setting and you have to figure it out under each lighting condition?

In important situations like visiting museums and such I shoot RAW so its not such an issue, but most of my walk-around and family pictures are just JPEG and this has bother me for years ...







* (Turned out it was one bad NiMh battery of the group, but I got a new camera out of it!).

12-29-2016, 11:38 AM   #2
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LED lights do vary a fair bit in colour temperature a quick look brings anything from 2700 k to 6000 k just in standard bulb (Specialty bulbs and tubes will be different again.
If it seems off with a test shot carry an 18% gray card and do a quick custom WB setting , that is my normal go to method (indoor nightclub lighting is even worse because lighting guys will decide the like magenta which is missing the entire green channel (club LED lighting is colour tunable from the board) it's a nightmare to come close to white balanced and is particularly noisy
12-29-2016, 12:19 PM   #3
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Shooting in raw helps a lot. You can adjust white balance after the fact.

LED's are complex - particularly white one's.
http://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/125500/cool-white-led-bulbs-a...-full-spectrum
12-29-2016, 01:28 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Spectrum varies widely, and most choose high efficiency over good color rendition. It's rather difficult to even find e.g. LED spots with a color rendering index in the 90s, Osram did make some, but most of their newer ones seem to be around 85 only. So best to shoot raw, use a gray card and still prepare to not be disappointed by ugly/weird colors. Your camera can't capture what's missing in the LED spectrum.

12-29-2016, 01:47 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by JensE Quote
Your camera can't capture what's missing in the LED spectrum.
this is the real issue, particularly when it is led used for colour lighting light stage sets and clubs (only someone on a very tight indie budget would even consider them for a film shoot) colour cast even in what is purportedly white is an issue. In live music shoots I frequently move to b/w because then it is about quantity of light not just colour of light)
12-29-2016, 02:24 PM   #6
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Bring an 18% grey card with you and do a custom balance, Biscuit. You already paid for the camera to have this function, might as well use it.
12-29-2016, 07:13 PM   #7
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While an 18% gray card may be marginally better, you can use a plain old white sheet of paper to do a custom white balance. Check your manual on how to do this, but once you get the hang of it, it is very quick and easy. Just hang that sheet of paper out in the light situation you have and take the calibration shot. I ALWAYS do this if I have a question about the light source.

12-29-2016, 07:24 PM - 1 Like   #8
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I let the camera decide for these shots, using a simple LED light from hardware store. The color balance could be offf, but I don't think so.
[IMG][/IMG]

Last edited by robgski; 12-29-2016 at 07:44 PM.
12-29-2016, 10:38 PM   #9
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In sheer desperation in the past I have successfully created custom white balances by holding a clean white tissue in front of the lens (I did not have anything else) and took a custom white balance shot. (Look up the manual how to do this) To my amazement the result was perfect.
12-30-2016, 07:12 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by AstroDave Quote
While an 18% gray card may be marginally better, you can use a plain old white sheet of paper to do a custom white balance. Check your manual on how to do this, but once you get the hang of it, it is very quick and easy. Just hang that sheet of paper out in the light situation you have and take the calibration shot. I ALWAYS do this if I have a question about the light source.
I have a white, grey and black card in my bag, they are actually samples of finishes but the grey is 18% and they are metal so durable . I actually got them years back someone had posted a thread here on the company providing samples of the finishes by request. I'm sure they got overwhelmed for a while on the three finishes with no requisite increase in orders lol
12-30-2016, 10:39 AM   #11
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I just read about using a CDROM to reflect the light from a light source and get a quick read on the light spectrum from it. LED vs compact fluorescent colour spectrum There wasn't quite enough detail to recommend it as something to carry around in a camera bag. But I have a stack of unused CDROMs and I can cut a slit in cardboard, so I'll test the idea myself.
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