Paul C. Buff, Inc. Technical Forum

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Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:50 pm

Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:28 pm
Posts: 7

When I called the paul c. buff customer service number, the service rep. clearly told me that if I was concerned about color temp. shifts to buy the einsteins over the alien bees. She said that with multi light setup I could run into problems with different color temps on the monolights. Based on what I have read, it seems like this can happen to any light, when the lights are set at different power levels (full power and half power, etc.) I am not very technical so I need this simplified for me... I basically need to know if its worth investing the extra money in the einsteins based solely on their color temp consistency when using multiple lights at different power output settings. Thank you




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Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:50 am

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Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:43 am
Posts: 5266

Color temperature will shift about 80K per stop on any light light that uses voltage regulation for power control. Power is adjusted on these lights by sliders, knobs or buttons (like on a TV remote), and are pretty much standard on most mono lights like Alien Bees, White Lightning, Profoto, Elinchrom, Photogenic, etc.. Some mono lights and many pack and head systems will use capacitor switching for power control. This leads to no color shift, but less fine adjustments in power. Often, if the capacitor switching is used, it will be accompanied by voltage regulation for the finer control. This method is used in Zeus, some WLX series lights, and many others.

Einstein, however, is a different breed of light, using IGBT control. With this implementation, we can keep the fine power control and keep the color temperature constant.

However, with any light of any color, the color temperature will change based on the modifier. So, even with "perfect" color from the flash, the color temperature will still have potential for being different.

Changes in color temperature can be bad for catalog or very high end work where color accuracy is a must. But, color temperature is never consistent in real life, either.

Einsteins are great, and better than the Bees for more than just color consistency. However, the Bees are perfectly fine if proper white balancing steps are performed before and/or after the session.




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Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:21 pm

Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:28 pm
Posts: 7

hi just so i am on the same page as you, what white balancing techniques would you use?




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Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:39 pm

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Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:43 am
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Personally, I shoot in RAW 100% of the time. Once I have my lighting set to the way I like it, I will shoot one frame of a quality, purpose made gray/white card. The WhiBal card from Michael Tapes Designs is a good, cost effective solution, though there are others. I would not suggest your standard Kodak gray card, unless it specifically states it is for white balance. If I change my lighting significantly, I will shoot another frame of the WB target.

In post (LightRoom, Photoshop, Aperture, etc.), I will select all images shot under that one light set up, and click the white/gray target to select it as my reference point. Any non neutral color cast will be compensated for, and the settings applied to all selected images. If there is more than one lighting scheme, I repeat the process for each.

There are other methods out there, and each with thier own pros and cons.




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Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:54 pm

Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:28 pm
Posts: 7

ok thanks a lot. i think i am going to go for the busy bee package, it is the most bang for my buck starting out..




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Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:33 pm

Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:23 pm
Posts: 53

For the ultimate in balancing all colors across the spectrum (because each may require a different degree of correction based on the light source), I highly recommend the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport. At $99, it is a bargain. Install the software into Lightroom, Photoshop's Camera Raw, or other compatible editing package then shoot the included color chart during your session. The software will find the patches in the chart and correct each one to the degree necessary. I now use my ExpoDisc as a coffee-mug coaster.




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Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:51 pm

Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:28 pm
Posts: 7

unfotunately, i cant shoot in raw because i have photoshop 7 and it doesnt have a plug in to read the raw file format. so i am shooting in the largest jpeg size. i did the custom white balance on my canon t3i last night using just a white piece of paper and there was such an amazing difference between that and the auto white balance the camera uses. I was planning on getting the white balance card.... I have to check if the product you are talking about will work with the older photoshop software. your product acts exactly the same way as a white card except it corrects all the colors? that sounds really amazing thanks




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Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:15 pm

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Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:43 am
Posts: 5266

Photoshop Elements will allow you to shoot in RAW and is <$100. If there are points in the PS7 you need, you can use both. Mac's Aperture and Adobe's Lightroom are also popular choices.

Color rendition in a photograph, digital or film, is dictated by more than just the color temperature of the light source (directly or indirectly). Coatings on lenses, inherent biases in the sensor, and image processing applied to the image (saturation, contrast, etc; either in camera or in post production) will affect color rendition of the image. Whites can be white, but blues may be slightly purple, or greens a little gray, etc.

If I am reading the post correctly, the XRite software automagically corrects the images based on a known target (the XRite Passport). Pretty neat if true. You will want to check compatability with any software you plan to get. Also, I would suspect it works best with RAW, but may work OK with JPG.




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Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:41 am

Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:25 pm
Posts: 17

Another way to avoid the color temperature issue altogether, is to use Distance to determine the amount of light reaching the subject, that's if you have the room in your studio. The formula to calculate the Distance is: Distance = Guide Number / f-stop. Distance was the method used back in the good old days(and is still being used) to determine lighting ratios in the studio.




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