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Re: 10D White Balance and color temperature

Bill Hilton
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>> Removed)dy (Bill Hilton) wrote:

>> If you have a color temperature meter like the Gossen or Minolta
>> then you can measure the precise color temperature and
>> enter that value in the menu and choose 'custom'.

>From: (E-Mail Removed)
>Is light color *really* that one-dimensional, though? Wouldn't it be
>better to take a picture of a white card, and use it for the custom
>white balance?

With the color temp meter you're measuring the light thru a white translucent
bubble (similar to a flash meter or incident light meter). I don't see why
it's "better" (or worse) to measure reflected light off a card vs incident
light with a dedicated meter. Since the sensor is larger and it's a dedicated
instrument you'd think the $1,000 meter gives more accurate readings ... since
my wife now has a 10D maybe I can test it both ways and see

I certainly wouldn't recommend plunking down a grand for a color meter if you
have a digital camera like the 10D, which has other ways of determining color
balance, either when shooting or post-processing. But for film cameras it's
very useful in certain situations that I often work in.

>"color temperature" model assumes a curve where each color channel peaks
>out-of-phase with the others, no? How would such a model differentiate
>between light with different ratios, like my example?

I use my Gossen 3F when shooting film in high altitudes (over 5,000 ft, up to
about 12,000 ft) and in open shade or with clouds (prefer low contrast light
for slide film). Regardless of your theoretical musings, in practice it works
very well indeed. People who recommend warming filters often write like an 81b
is really warm, but at 10,000 ft and in open shade I often get readings of
9,000 - 12,000 Kelvins and need a lot more warming than that (I think the 81b
corrects for only 6,500 K). I've started carrying an 81EF and 85C now (grin).
It makes a difference, especially with yellows, like say shooting fall aspens
in Colorado at 8,000 - 10,000 ft.

>Is the color temperature model really useful outside the context of hot,
>glowing metals?

The color meters work fine in real life, so who really wastes time with
questions like this outside of physics class?

Here's a good write up on color temperatures and color meters for those
interested in delving further on this topic. Note especially the chart at the


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