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02-17-2007, 06:19 AM   #1
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Incandescent Auto WB issues?

I typically use studio lights or off-camera strobes/speedlights for the majority of my work ... but I still do a good amount of work in available light and I've noticed that if I don't set the WB to Incandescent or shoot RAW that the WB is way off under incandescent lighting.

I've had a number of DSLRs with less than perfect AutoWB, but incandescent lighting seems to be a real issue for Pentax. No, I'm not getting rid of my K10D's or DL, but I'd love for Pentax to work harder on fixing AutoWB under incandescent light.

My wife's $200 pocket/purse digital camera does a better job with autoWB under incandescent light ... so I know that Pentax can fix this.

Does anyone else feel this way or is it just me?

02-17-2007, 06:33 AM   #2
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Agree, Pentax AWB is horrible in Tungsten light. I've experienced it on the D, Ds,
and K10d. I don't shoot that often in Tungsten but when I do I switch WB to the Tungsten setting, shoot RAW, and then use the eyedropper to set white point or gray point. This gives reasonable results. I've never used a Pentax P&S digi, but I'd be interested if they have the same problem.
02-17-2007, 06:34 AM   #3
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JJJ, you're not alone. I prefer shooting candids with available light. I always have to remember to switch my WB mode everytime or shoot in RAW.

I've noted this problem to myself with Nikon D50 and D70 as well as the Fuji S2 and S3, but the Fuji's aren't too bad. The only company that I think got this down somewhat ok was Olympus. Didn't know how to navigate the Canon D-Rebel's menus to try.
02-17-2007, 07:52 AM   #4
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Fix what???

QuoteOriginally posted by JJJPhoto Quote
I typically use studio lights or off-camera strobes/speedlights for the majority of my work ... but I still do a good amount of work in available light and I've noticed that if I don't set the WB to Incandescent or shoot RAW that the WB is way off under incandescent lighting.

I've had a number of DSLRs with less than perfect AutoWB, but incandescent lighting seems to be a real issue for Pentax. No, I'm not getting rid of my K10D's or DL, but I'd love for Pentax to work harder on fixing AutoWB under incandescent light.

My wife's $200 pocket/purse digital camera does a better job with autoWB under incandescent light ... so I know that Pentax can fix this.

Does anyone else feel this way or is it just me?
AWB is not set to work in incandescent. It should really be named auto daylight balance as far as I'm concerned. AWB works from 4000-8000K per K10 manual.
Tungsten 2850K......
Houshold tungsten bulbs
Most normal tungsten bulbs for household usage are about 2600 to 2800 K at 120 volts. Photoflood type A is 3400K; type B is 3200K; DAYLIGHT tungsten BLUE studio bulbs are 4800K. ALL these are different in color temperature than Daylight; which is 5200 or 5500K.
Standard "cool white" fluorescents and metal halide lamps have a color temperature of about 4100k though this is complicated by the fact that the spectrum is not continuous.
Metal halide PAR lamps (like outdoor reflector type lamps)are usually available in 3000k or 4000k color temperatures.
Now WHY Pentax chose the color temp point where they did is a mystery. My guess is that they wanted to pigeon hole the AWB range to make it more accurate, though that is a stretch.. Since tungsten and other indoor low level light sources vary so much maybe they figured that either RAW and/or a custom WB was the only true way to achieve accurate, professional results.
You can only "fix" what is broken, which in this case it is not.


Last edited by jeffkrol; 02-17-2007 at 08:12 AM.
02-17-2007, 10:19 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by JJJPhoto Quote
My wife's $200 pocket/purse digital camera does a better job with autoWB under incandescent light ... so I know that Pentax can fix this.
Actually, your observation is correct - a P&S can outperform a DSLR in Auto WB. Reason? They use the CCD and the whole scene to set WB. Similarly, using live preview CCD can potentially get more accurate exposure.

DSLR metering sensors can only see a portion of the image, while all of the 5-10M pixels of a live preview CCD can be used for exposure and WB setting.
02-17-2007, 10:35 AM   #6
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I second what jeffkrol said.

I don't know WHY the AWB effective range is 4000K-8000K, but it is, so as long as we keep that in mind, the necessary adjustments can be made prior to pressing the shutter.

I don't believe this is a Pentax-specific issue. My Sony H1 is no better than my K100D, and I believe this "problem" exists across camera brands.

But, let's face it, under difficult or "non-standard" lighting conditions, it's probably better to use a specific setting or a custom WB rather than relying on AWB anyway.

If you haven't already, check out the coffee filter to set white balance thread. It's a pretty cheap way to set white balance. (I haven't tried it yet, so I can't personally vouch for its effectiveness at this time).
02-19-2007, 06:09 PM   #7
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The DSLRs that cope best with difficult lighting situations are the ones that couple external WB sensors with the data that is collected off of the sensor. How hard would it be for the Next K10 or the K1 to have one of the little white blobs there for an external WB sensor.
02-19-2007, 07:59 PM   #8
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the new Adobe Camera Raw 3.7 has much better profiles for theK10D, so shooting RAW and using the adjustments in ACR makes things a lot easier,

02-19-2007, 08:06 PM   #9
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Comparable cameras to the K10, the Nikon D200 and the Canon D30 have AWB of 3500-8000K and 3000-7000K respectively. Arguable identical.

I've tried several brands of coffee filters Typically they have a 50-150K red shift from midday daylight 50% cloud cover. This red shift may give a slightly more natural tone to skin-especially in high UV areas (small N or S latitude and high elevation).
02-20-2007, 04:20 PM   #10
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I agree with the JJJPhoto. I do think it is something they need to improve, on all K-level DSLR:s. To have a AWB that do not span lower then 4000K is not a good idea to begin with. I really feel this should be the priority for a firmware update. Why? Because in this respect Pentax is poorer then most of the competition.

Both Canon and Nikon:s entry level DSLR:s handles AWB "indoors" with artificial lighting better then Pentax. That is not to say that Nikon, Canon and Sony is perfect when it comes to AWB.
02-21-2007, 05:36 AM   #11
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I have a real problem understanding what the issue is here.

Correct me if I am wrong, but the K10D especially has a multitude of settings such that you can customize things for your exact situation.

If you are working in a studio, and have predefined lighting, which I can only assume that you spent hours (maybe years) perfecting, why do you not spend the same level of interest setting up the camera so that it works correctly with your lighting situation and save these settings to the user mode.

Just because the camera has a lot of auto settings, this does not imply that we turn our brains off when we pick up the camera. The camera is a tool USE IT!
02-21-2007, 07:10 AM   #12
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My apartment has a mix of different types of incandescent lights (some "daylight" bulbs, some not, etc.) and compact fluorescents and decent but of course very variable lighting from windows all around. This means correct white balance is different from frame to frame, and it'd be nice to have a camera that can do a reasonable job.
02-21-2007, 07:13 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by nosnoop Quote
Actually, your observation is correct - a P&S can outperform a DSLR in Auto WB. Reason? They use the CCD and the whole scene to set WB. Similarly, using live preview CCD can potentially get more accurate exposure.

DSLR metering sensors can only see a portion of the image, while all of the 5-10M pixels of a live preview CCD can be used for exposure and WB setting.

But, shouldn't the white balance be applied *after* the image is captured? In other words, the raw sensor data goes to the in-camera processor, which should analyze it and produce the adjusted final jpeg?

(Sorry for two posts in a row here)
02-21-2007, 07:30 AM   #14
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Lowell,

You understand this all too well, sir! I believe you are coming to the same conclusion as I. Errr, pair of conclusions: these 'never enough WB folks' are trolls AND some people think WB is the solution for all color problems.

The way WB is being used is an atrocity, an abomination! It's sole purpose seems to be to remove the 'photo' in photograph!!!

There was a time when the color of light, it's cast, it's warmth or coolness was a part of the scene--hell it's what MADE the image; both by it's activation of the chemistry AND it's addition to the story. Most folk today think it's just either too bright or too dim--damnable!


Will,

I got both the K100 and the K10 and your question/this thread has 'popped a gasket' with me; I'm about to 'lose my cool' (what little I have); I'm going over the top/edge/limit; I'm gonna blow/spew/erupt/take-off.

It may get me banned or censured or killed, but I'll be back after some errands, a haircut and breakfast to give you my take on the two cameras and a whole lot more---buy if you want; but 'please stand by'.
02-21-2007, 07:56 AM   #15
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I have a real problem understanding what the issue is here.

Correct me if I am wrong, but the K10D especially has a multitude of settings such that you can customize things for your exact situation.

If you are working in a studio, and have predefined lighting, which I can only assume that you spent hours (maybe years) perfecting, why do you not spend the same level of interest setting up the camera so that it works correctly with your lighting situation and save these settings to the user mode.

Just because the camera has a lot of auto settings, this does not imply that we turn our brains off when we pick up the camera. The camera is a tool USE IT!
In the studio or for on-location shooting under controlled lighting I use preset white balance and/or shoot RAW. The reason that I'm complaining about AUTO WB with jpegs is that much of my bread-and-butter work is weddings.

There are plenty of wedding photographers who cover a handful of weddings each year and shoot in RAW for all of them, but that doesn't work for me anymore. The issue is volume and time.

While I do shoot RAW from time to time (which makes the WB issue a non-issue most of the time) I cover enough weddings now that if I shot and archived everything in RAW I would have to start charging 2 times the price per wedding in order to cover the expense of all the hard drives I need to archive old images. Anything older than 3 months goes to the archive HDs and I already have six 250GB hard drives that are nearly filled ... and that's with me making CD/DVD archives of stuff older than 2 years and pulling those really old files off the hard drives.

If you've ever photographed a modern wedding you know that things move fast and more and more clients expect the photographer to cover every second (practically like a videographer with still images). Sure, the traditional/posed shots aren't like that, but most clients want a ton of candids of the ceremony and reception. If you have to work as fast as possible to capture once-in-a-lifetime moments and need to be able to use both flash/strobe and a wide range of available light ... then you need flexible and accurate auto white balance.

You might say, "Shoot everything in RAW and don't worry about it. If archiving RAW is an issue then shoot RAW and then convert to JPEG and save only JPEGs." That's nice in theory. In reality it means that much more processing time. Time is money ... and time is also life. I work hard at my job. On any given day I'm taking portraits of executives for a corporate website and press release, shooting products for a commercial website, or covering a wedding with three dozen people in the wedding party and several hundred guests. In between I'm a salesman, a photo editor, album designer, accountant, tech support, etc., etc., etc.

On top of that, I'm also a husband and a father who wants time for his family.

I'm just asking for better Auto WB to make my life a little easier so that I have a few more minutes to devote to things I care about.

Now, I've wasted too much time on this response and I have to meet with a client in a couple of minutes.
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