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quality photos in florescent lighting

 
 
digi
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      11-04-2007
I have a Nikon Coolpix 7900 that is about 3 years old. I am
considering replacing this camera with another point and shoot digital
camera (not SLR), because the quality of the pictures I take in
florescent lighting is poor. I have tried resetting the white balance
feature and that didn't help. l would like a camera with a larger LCD
display and a lithium battery. Does anyone have any suggestions for a
camera that takes good pictures in poor/low lighting, and/or
suggestions of how to take better pictures in poor/low lighting? I am
tired of having to lighten so many pictures in Photoshop!

 
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Joseph Meehan
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      11-04-2007
There are two problems. First there is not one florescent light color
there are many. Second it the light is not continuous spectrum. That means
while one camera or setting may work well in one situation, it likely will
not work well in another. It is a moving target.

I don't know if one or another CAMERA may offer better results, I
suspect some will, but you may also need to do more post exposure
processing and a RAW image would help there, but again I am not sure many or
any point and shoot cameras offer that option.

Of course you may already know all that.

Good Luck

"digi" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) ups.com...
> I have a Nikon Coolpix 7900 that is about 3 years old. I am
> considering replacing this camera with another point and shoot digital
> camera (not SLR), because the quality of the pictures I take in
> florescent lighting is poor. I have tried resetting the white balance
> feature and that didn't help. l would like a camera with a larger LCD
> display and a lithium battery. Does anyone have any suggestions for a
> camera that takes good pictures in poor/low lighting, and/or
> suggestions of how to take better pictures in poor/low lighting? I am
> tired of having to lighten so many pictures in Photoshop!
>


--
Joseph Meehan

Dia 's Muire duit



 
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Stefan Patric
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Posts: n/a
 
      11-05-2007
On Sat, 03 Nov 2007 18:15:28 -0700, digi wrote:

> I have a Nikon Coolpix 7900 that is about 3 years old. I am considering
> replacing this camera with another point and shoot digital camera (not
> SLR), because the quality of the pictures I take in florescent lighting
> is poor. I have tried resetting the white balance feature and that
> didn't help. l would like a camera with a larger LCD display and a
> lithium battery. Does anyone have any suggestions for a camera that
> takes good pictures in poor/low lighting, and/or suggestions of how to
> take better pictures in poor/low lighting? I am tired of having to
> lighten so many pictures in Photoshop!


First, pick a camera that permits you to set the exposure (f-stop and
shutter) manually. Then bracket your exposures and pick the best one.

Learn how to use fill flash and color compensation/correction filters
over the flash to balance it to the ambient light.

As to color balance, get a camera that has a Custom White Balance option,
where you point the camera at a white target (I use general sheet of acid-
free, drawing paper) under the light source you're shooting under and
click the shutter. You're color balanced or, at least, color balanced to
the best the camera can be. Tweak in Photoshop.

Stef
 
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Joseph Meehan
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Posts: n/a
 
      11-05-2007
"Stefan Patric" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:mcwXi.873$(E-Mail Removed)...
> On Sat, 03 Nov 2007 18:15:28 -0700, digi wrote:
>
>> I have a Nikon Coolpix 7900 that is about 3 years old. I am considering
>> replacing this camera with another point and shoot digital camera (not
>> SLR), because the quality of the pictures I take in florescent lighting
>> is poor. I have tried resetting the white balance feature and that
>> didn't help. l would like a camera with a larger LCD display and a
>> lithium battery. Does anyone have any suggestions for a camera that
>> takes good pictures in poor/low lighting, and/or suggestions of how to
>> take better pictures in poor/low lighting? I am tired of having to
>> lighten so many pictures in Photoshop!

>
> First, pick a camera that permits you to set the exposure (f-stop and
> shutter) manually. Then bracket your exposures and pick the best one.


I agree, exposure can play a surprisingly big part in this issue.

>
> Learn how to use fill flash and color compensation/correction filters
> over the flash to balance it to the ambient light.


As suggested the flash would need to be "corrected" to match whatever
florescent light was in use. This could be next to impossible for a
professional and likely impossible for the vast majority of us real people.

>
> As to color balance, get a camera that has a Custom White Balance option,
> where you point the camera at a white target (I use general sheet of acid-
> free, drawing paper) under the light source you're shooting under and
> click the shutter. You're color balanced or, at least, color balanced to
> the best the camera can be. Tweak in Photoshop.


Yes that is about the best and only solution available. I would also
suggest that different cameras have different abilities and some
experimentation may prove helpful.

Balancing florescent is a challenge for all photographers and and
cameras as there are so many different "florescent" colors and they are
"bright line" not continuous colors so they do some very strange things.

>
> Stef


--
Joseph Meehan

Dia 's Muire duit



 
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Jamie Dalton
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      11-05-2007
On Sat, 03 Nov 2007 18:15:28 -0700, digi <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>I have a Nikon Coolpix 7900 that is about 3 years old. I am
>considering replacing this camera with another point and shoot digital
>camera (not SLR), because the quality of the pictures I take in
>florescent lighting is poor. I have tried resetting the white balance
>feature and that didn't help. l would like a camera with a larger LCD
>display and a lithium battery. Does anyone have any suggestions for a
>camera that takes good pictures in poor/low lighting, and/or
>suggestions of how to take better pictures in poor/low lighting? I am
>tired of having to lighten so many pictures in Photoshop!


Just out of curiosity, are you having to lighten all your photos in post
processing or only certain ones? If it is all of them then you might need your
monitor calibrated properly, or a better monitor. Your constant white-balance
problem points to this as being the suspect in the crime too. Most cameras these
days do a pretty decent job with their presets for fluorescent or auto
white-balance options.

If you are using a PC download this graphic for gamma 2.20 and view it on your
screen

http://www.aim-dtp.net/aim/download/..._gamma/220.png

If all bands appear as even shades of gray with no obvious color shifts in them,
then your monitor is doing okay for color balance. If you can see the black and
gray squares in the top right band and only black (no gray squares) in the
bottom right band, then your dark values are also set properly.

If you are using a Mac, then download this one instead for a monitor gamma of
1.70

http://www.aim-dtp.net/aim/download/..._gamma/170.png


View either one in your browser or graphic viewer at 100% resolution. If you use
any resizing on it (enlarging or reducing) it does not work for testing your
monitor's white-balance and gamma.

If the image doesn't look right, color shifts in the gray bands, can't see the
gray squares in the top-right black band, or you can see them in the lower-right
black band, then adjust your monitor's colors, brightness, and contrast settings
until all appears correct.

If that's been the problem all along then, sadly, every photo you've edited all
this time has been badly shifted in editing and needs to be redone.

 
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Stefan Patric
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Posts: n/a
 
      11-07-2007
On Mon, 05 Nov 2007 05:52:22 -0500, Joseph Meehan wrote:

> "Stefan Patric" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:mcwXi.873$(E-Mail Removed)...
>> On Sat, 03 Nov 2007 18:15:28 -0700, digi wrote:
>>
>>> I have a Nikon Coolpix 7900 that is about 3 years old. I am
>>> considering replacing this camera with another point and shoot digital
>>> camera (not SLR), because the quality of the pictures I take in
>>> florescent lighting is poor. I have tried resetting the white balance
>>> feature and that didn't help.
>>> [snip]

>>
>> Learn how to use fill flash and color compensation/correction filters
>> over the flash to balance it to the ambient light.

>
> As suggested the flash would need to be "corrected" to match
> whatever
> florescent light was in use. This could be next to impossible for a
> professional and likely impossible for the vast majority of us real
> people.


Not anywhere near next to impossible: Difficult, sometimes; fairly easy,
most of the time. Did it for years, when all there was was film. With
digital, it's a snap.

>> As to color balance, get a camera that has a Custom White Balance
>> option, where you point the camera at a white target (I use general
>> sheet of acid- free, drawing paper) under the light source you're
>> shooting under and click the shutter. You're color balanced or, at
>> least, color balanced to the best the camera can be. Tweak in
>> Photoshop.

>
> Yes that is about the best and only solution available. I would
> also
> suggest that different cameras have different abilities and some
> experimentation may prove helpful.
>
> Balancing florescent is a challenge for all photographers and and
> cameras as there are so many different "florescent" colors and they are
> "bright line" not continuous colors so they do some very strange things.


FWIW: 97% or so of all fluorescent tubes used in commercial and
residential buildings are Cool Whites. A .30 to .35 Magenta filter over
the camera lens with the camera color balance set to "Daylight" will get
you within a few points of balanced 98% of the time. The other 2.9% of
the tubes are Warm White Deluxe, which are almost dead-on 3200K color
temperature. Set your camera to Tungsten. No filter needed. Tweak in
post.

To balance flash to Cool Whites, Rosco Industries' "Window Green" works
great!

In some industrial uses, and convention and exhibit halls, the artificial
lighting is true daylight balanced. Usually no correction is need or at
most, set the camera to "Electronic Flash" to warm things up a little.

Check out Rosco's web site. They have just about any color correction,
color alteration media you'll ever need. http://www.rosco.com/ Or
almost as good is http://www.leefilters.com/

Stef
 
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Hank Meillsen
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      11-07-2007
On Wed, 07 Nov 2007 06:06:12 GMT, Stefan Patric <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>On Mon, 05 Nov 2007 05:52:22 -0500, Joseph Meehan wrote:
>
>> "Stefan Patric" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>> news:mcwXi.873$(E-Mail Removed)...
>>> On Sat, 03 Nov 2007 18:15:28 -0700, digi wrote:
>>>
>>>> I have a Nikon Coolpix 7900 that is about 3 years old. I am
>>>> considering replacing this camera with another point and shoot digital
>>>> camera (not SLR), because the quality of the pictures I take in
>>>> florescent lighting is poor. I have tried resetting the white balance
>>>> feature and that didn't help.
>>>> [snip]
>>>
>>> Learn how to use fill flash and color compensation/correction filters
>>> over the flash to balance it to the ambient light.

>>
>> As suggested the flash would need to be "corrected" to match
>> whatever
>> florescent light was in use. This could be next to impossible for a
>> professional and likely impossible for the vast majority of us real
>> people.

>
>Not anywhere near next to impossible: Difficult, sometimes; fairly easy,
>most of the time. Did it for years, when all there was was film. With
>digital, it's a snap.
>
>>> As to color balance, get a camera that has a Custom White Balance
>>> option, where you point the camera at a white target (I use general
>>> sheet of acid- free, drawing paper) under the light source you're
>>> shooting under and click the shutter. You're color balanced or, at
>>> least, color balanced to the best the camera can be. Tweak in
>>> Photoshop.

>>
>> Yes that is about the best and only solution available. I would
>> also
>> suggest that different cameras have different abilities and some
>> experimentation may prove helpful.
>>
>> Balancing florescent is a challenge for all photographers and and
>> cameras as there are so many different "florescent" colors and they are
>> "bright line" not continuous colors so they do some very strange things.

>
>FWIW: 97% or so of all fluorescent tubes used in commercial and
>residential buildings are Cool Whites. A .30 to .35 Magenta filter over
>the camera lens with the camera color balance set to "Daylight" will get
>you within a few points of balanced 98% of the time. The other 2.9% of
>the tubes are Warm White Deluxe, which are almost dead-on 3200K color
>temperature. Set your camera to Tungsten. No filter needed. Tweak in
>post.
>
>To balance flash to Cool Whites, Rosco Industries' "Window Green" works
>great!
>
>In some industrial uses, and convention and exhibit halls, the artificial
>lighting is true daylight balanced. Usually no correction is need or at
>most, set the camera to "Electronic Flash" to warm things up a little.
>
>Check out Rosco's web site. They have just about any color correction,
>color alteration media you'll ever need. http://www.rosco.com/ Or
>almost as good is http://www.leefilters.com/
>
>Stef


Fluorescent lights and photography is not just as simple as trying to find the
right filter or getting the right manual or preset white balance. Shutter speed
will also have an effect on what color you are receiving from fluorescent
lights. Not only do the phosphors from each type put out particular spectral
lines, meaning there's no continuous spectrum to deal with and each and every
type of sensor will see that light differently, but during the 60 (or 50) Hz
cycle that powers most fluorescent lighting, those phosphors go through a
drastic color shift each cycle. This is not true of many of the newer compact
fluorescent lights that use a high frequency high-voltage to power them. But for
your average, straight tubed, 60/50Hz ballast operated fluorescent's, then yes.

This spectral color-shift is most often noticed when viewing a spinning fan
blade under fluorescent lights. The light acting as a 60/50 Hz strobe will show
blurry edges of those blades when they sync. If you look more closely you'll
often see that the leading and trailing edges are also of two different colors.
One edge strongly hued in reds or orange and the other in blues.

The simplest way to observe this effect is by looking at any fluorescent light
through the EVF of any decent P&S camera. As you crank up the shutter-speed the
EVF will match what the shutter-speed is seeing. At certain speeds the
fluorescent light will slowly grow brighter and dimmer continuously in the EVF.
So dim in fact, that during part of its cycle it looks as if the fluorescent
light isn't on at all.

If you are fortunate enough to have a Canon P&S camera that is running CHDK,
using CHDK's advanced RGB full color histograms, you can watch that histogram
swing wildly through various cyclings of color shifts. First the blue histogram
graph will be most prominent, then the red while the blue recedes, etc. To your
eye it all seems as if blended into white. The camera with faster shutter-speeds
will only pick up one brief moment during that 60/50 Hz spectral montage. At
slower than 60th of a second shutter speeds you'll at least get 1 averaged
white-cycle, but then only a portion of one of the hue-shifted cycles. So even
using slower shutter speeds will have this problem.

This is also why using manual white-balance may not always work. Unless the
camera is using a shutter speed slower than 1/30th of a second to get an average
sampling of two full cyclic shifts in colors, that white piece of paper you are
using for your manual white-balance will be reflecting the same drastic color
changes. If you only sample a portion of the full cycle of light intensity and
colors your white balance will be off. You may have to sample several times
before you are lucky enough to hit on an average section from the fluorescent
light's kaleidoscope of colors.

I knew of this color-shifting property of fluorescent lights from my childhood
and when experimenting with the physics of light. When first testing the
capability of the RGB blended histogram of a CHDK enabled camera I could think
of no better test than seeing how it would show the changes in a fluorescent
light. It showed it admirably. It's fun to watch it graphically display what I
had only seen as a multi-colored strobe effect on fan blades until then. You
just have to pick the right shutter speed to get it to sync and sample the
fluorescent light to the best effect.

Any of you that have a CHDK capable camera I urge you to look at any
ballast-powered fluorescent light though it while having the blended RGB
histogram active. (This won't work on compact fluorescents that I've tested so
far, due to their high-frequency power source.) It's a fun science experiment
and will show you why trying to white-balance for those lights can be a
nightmare hit & miss lottery with every photo taken. Try a shutter speed of
about 1/320th of a second, that seems to work well for displaying the best color
shifts that occur, chopping them up fine enough to match the speed of the CCD
and EVF display elements. But so do other shutter speeds. A CHDK equipped camera
and the RGB histogram capability makes an excellent light-source analyzer. About
as good as (or better than) anything you might find in a simple physics lab. How
many of you even knew that compact fluorescents put out a "cleaner" white than
ballast powered ones until now? You can see it happening if your camera is
equipped to see it.

Taking video under fluorescent lights is even a greater challenge to get white
balance right.

Just because you can't see it happening doesn't mean it's not there.

I often wonder if people who post those elaborate white-balance tests online are
even aware of this. They never seem to be.
 
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George Kerby
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Posts: n/a
 
      11-07-2007



On 11/7/07 12:06 AM, in article oBcYi.1923$(E-Mail Removed), "Stefan
Patric" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> On Mon, 05 Nov 2007 05:52:22 -0500, Joseph Meehan wrote:
>
>> "Stefan Patric" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>> news:mcwXi.873$(E-Mail Removed)...
>>> On Sat, 03 Nov 2007 18:15:28 -0700, digi wrote:
>>>
>>>> I have a Nikon Coolpix 7900 that is about 3 years old. I am
>>>> considering replacing this camera with another point and shoot digital
>>>> camera (not SLR), because the quality of the pictures I take in
>>>> florescent lighting is poor. I have tried resetting the white balance
>>>> feature and that didn't help.
>>>> [snip]
>>>
>>> Learn how to use fill flash and color compensation/correction filters
>>> over the flash to balance it to the ambient light.

>>
>> As suggested the flash would need to be "corrected" to match
>> whatever
>> florescent light was in use. This could be next to impossible for a
>> professional and likely impossible for the vast majority of us real
>> people.

>
> Not anywhere near next to impossible: Difficult, sometimes; fairly easy,
> most of the time. Did it for years, when all there was was film. With
> digital, it's a snap.
>
>>> As to color balance, get a camera that has a Custom White Balance
>>> option, where you point the camera at a white target (I use general
>>> sheet of acid- free, drawing paper) under the light source you're
>>> shooting under and click the shutter. You're color balanced or, at
>>> least, color balanced to the best the camera can be. Tweak in
>>> Photoshop.

>>
>> Yes that is about the best and only solution available. I would
>> also
>> suggest that different cameras have different abilities and some
>> experimentation may prove helpful.
>>
>> Balancing florescent is a challenge for all photographers and and
>> cameras as there are so many different "florescent" colors and they are
>> "bright line" not continuous colors so they do some very strange things.

>
> FWIW: 97% or so of all fluorescent tubes used in commercial and
> residential buildings are Cool Whites. A .30 to .35 Magenta filter over
> the camera lens with the camera color balance set to "Daylight" will get
> you within a few points of balanced 98% of the time. The other 2.9% of
> the tubes are Warm White Deluxe, which are almost dead-on 3200K color
> temperature. Set your camera to Tungsten. No filter needed. Tweak in
> post.
>
> To balance flash to Cool Whites, Rosco Industries' "Window Green" works
> great!
>
> In some industrial uses, and convention and exhibit halls, the artificial
> lighting is true daylight balanced. Usually no correction is need or at
> most, set the camera to "Electronic Flash" to warm things up a little.
>
> Check out Rosco's web site. They have just about any color correction,
> color alteration media you'll ever need. http://www.rosco.com/ Or
> almost as good is http://www.leefilters.com/
>
> Stef

I'm so glad SOMEONE came into this thread that knew what the hell they were
talking about. The rest is NOISE. Thanks, Stef, for some facts!

 
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Joseph Meehan
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Posts: n/a
 
      11-07-2007
"Stefan Patric" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
newsBcYi.1923$(E-Mail Removed)...
> On Mon, 05 Nov 2007 05:52:22 -0500, Joseph Meehan wrote:
>

....
>>
>> As suggested the flash would need to be "corrected" to match
>> whatever
>> florescent light was in use. This could be next to impossible for a
>> professional and likely impossible for the vast majority of us real
>> people.

>
> Not anywhere near next to impossible: Difficult, sometimes; fairly easy,
> most of the time. Did it for years, when all there was was film. With
> digital, it's a snap.
>

...
>>
>> Yes that is about the best and only solution available. I would
>> also
>> suggest that different cameras have different abilities and some
>> experimentation may prove helpful.
>>
>> Balancing florescent is a challenge for all photographers and and
>> cameras as there are so many different "florescent" colors and they are
>> "bright line" not continuous colors so they do some very strange things.

>
> FWIW: 97% or so of all fluorescent tubes used in commercial and
> residential buildings are Cool Whites.


I would not say 97%, but it is a high percetage.

> A .30 to .35 Magenta filter over
> the camera lens with the camera color balance set to "Daylight" will get
> you within a few points of balanced 98% of the time.


It is not that simple. If you are talking about balancing a gray card,
yea, I could agree with that. However when you are trying to balance skin
tones, someone's wedding dress, or maybe a painting or just about any real
life subject, it is more like 18% of the time. Of course that does depend
on your personal judgment of what is acceptable.


> The other 2.9% of
> the tubes are Warm White Deluxe, which are almost dead-on 3200K color
> temperature. Set your camera to Tungsten. No filter needed. Tweak in
> post.


Sure, but they are not smooth spectrum, so they seldom are close to real
life results.


>
> To balance flash to Cool Whites, Rosco Industries' "Window Green" works
> great!
>
> In some industrial uses, and convention and exhibit halls, the artificial
> lighting is true daylight balanced. Usually no correction is need or at
> most, set the camera to "Electronic Flash" to warm things up a little.


Same problems.

It appears that you lack real life experience or you have a much wider
range of what is acceptable than I do.

>
> Check out Rosco's web site. They have just about any color correction,
> color alteration media you'll ever need. http://www.rosco.com/ Or
> almost as good is http://www.leefilters.com/
>
> Stef


--
Joseph Meehan

Dia 's Muire duit



 
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Marty Fremen
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Posts: n/a
 
      11-08-2007
Hank Meillsen <hmeillsen@no_spams.com> wrote:

> How
> many of you even knew that compact fluorescents put out a "cleaner"
> white than ballast powered ones until now? You can see it happening if
> your camera is equipped to see it.
>


The compact fluorescents I have give a pronounced lemon yellow colour,
presumably to mimic the warm colours people are accustomed to with
tungsten lighting. The tint isn't obvious to the eye until you try
taking a photo using daylight balance. I find custom white balance gives
a very good correction to the colour cast, perhaps a slight
overcorrection in fact, I find it looks better if I red-shift the
resultant white balance to restore a hint of warmth to the light. Some
auto white balances do a modestly good job too, but as with all
fluorescents it's better to do a custom setting.

I think compact fluorecents typically flicker around 30KHz instead of
the 100/120Hz that normal strip lights do, so there shouldn't be any
problem regarding clashes between shutter speed and flicker etc.
 
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