Nikon D50 Color Shift Problem

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Gray_Wolf, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. Gray_Wolf

    Gray_Wolf Guest

    Hi All,
    A friend of mine is a pro portrait photographer using a Nikon D50 in a
    studio setting. He's telling me that he's getting color balance
    changes between one photo and the next with the same subject, lighting
    and background & etc. After much discussion it seems to me the camera
    is most likely the problem. He going to borrow another camera to try.
    Has anyone here run into this?

    Gray_Wolf, Jul 18, 2006
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  2. Gray_Wolf

    ColinD Guest

    A D50 is most definitely *not* a professional camera, or anywhere near
    it. As a pro he should be aiming considerably higher, D200, Canon 30D

    Colin D.
    ColinD, Jul 18, 2006
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  3. Gray_Wolf

    Ole Larsen Guest

    Gray_Wolf skrev:
    Probably a light or exposure setup that changes without he notices.

    D 50 - unless defect - is fully up to the job
    Ole Larsen, Jul 18, 2006
  4. Gray_Wolf

    Gray_Wolf Guest

    Thanks for the reply. I'll pass that along. For what he's doing he
    says the D50 would be fine if it wern't for the color problem.
    Gray_Wolf, Jul 18, 2006
  5. Gray_Wolf

    Gray_Wolf Guest

    Thanks, I considered that. He says nothing changes in between shots.
    He says he doesn't have this problem with film so I'm betting it's
    the camera. I'll post when I find out for sure.
    Gray_Wolf, Jul 18, 2006
  6. Gray_Wolf

    DD Guest

    If he's shooting RAW he won't have to worry about the colour temperature
    as he can change this with software, but from the sounds of it he might
    have a faulty camera. Best to send it in.
    DD, Jul 18, 2006
  7. Have him check if he has the white balance set to Auto. I've had this
    happen on my D50 a couple of times when I've shot a number of frames in
    succession of the same subject. For some reason the camera decides that the
    lighting on frame 4 of 9 needs the white balance to be different. If he
    sets the white balance to either a fixed setting, or better yet, use the
    preset and measure with a grey card he shouldn't see any shift. Also, if he
    shoots in RAW instead of JPEG, he'll be able to adjust the white
    balance/color temperature to whatever he needs regardless of what the camera

    Kyle and Lori Greene, Jul 18, 2006
  8. Gray_Wolf

    Gray_Wolf Guest

    Thanks for the reply. I just looked at some photos he sent me an I'm
    more convinced it's the camera.
    Gray_Wolf, Jul 18, 2006
  9. Gray_Wolf

    DD Guest

    I had a similar problem with a Canon D60 when I was shooting products
    with the E-TTL lighting system. Almost every shot produced a different
    colour. Of course Canon couldn't explain it, but eventually I just
    packed it in an went back to Nikon.
    DD, Jul 18, 2006
  10. Gray_Wolf

    tomm42 Guest

    If your friend is shooting with sudio strobes with modeling lights he
    may not be waiting long enough for the strobes to recycle, a problem
    with cheaper strobe units. So if he is shooting automatic the camera
    will expose for the modeling lights. With this scenario some pictures
    will be much warmer than others. With many digital cameras the auto
    white balance will work from 4000 degrees K to 7000 degrees K. Modeling
    light are significantly below 4000K.
    Just someting to watch out for, have seen it happen on film and

    tomm42, Jul 18, 2006
  11. There is no reason he can't make professional portraits with a D50. The only
    issue that I see is the lack of resolution as many people really want their
    portraits blown up. That issue will not affect color balance. The OP should
    tell his friend to shoot RAW for a bit and to adjust white balance manually on
    the RAW image and do the post processing himself rather than rely upon the
    camera to do it. If the OP's friend is not being consistant between shots
    (i.e. small lighting changes, position changes, focal length changes, etc},
    there will be differences in how the camara evaluates the scene ... he should
    learn to control these variables before drawing any conclusions.
    Thomas T. Veldhouse, Jul 18, 2006
  12. Negative Film has more exposure lattitude. I am now convinced it is your
    friend not really knowing how to use his camera.
    Thomas T. Veldhouse, Jul 18, 2006
  13. Gray_Wolf

    J. Clarke Guest

    So how would using one of those address the issue that is under discussion?
    J. Clarke, Jul 18, 2006
  14. Gray_Wolf

    Pat Guest

    Randall hasn't been around lately, so I will play Randall for this one
    time and one time only.

    I don't have a problem with the camera he's using, but I think there
    are at least two other problems.

    First, if he's a pro photographer is a studio setting, why doesn't he
    just go grab a back-up body and use it. Nobody should be relying on 1
    body for professional work because somethimes they break or go screwy.

    Second, a person acting as a pro should have a reasonable amount of
    technical savy and knowledge of his equipment. Why is he asking YOU
    and having YOU post to a ng. For any of about two dozen people in this
    ng, I am certain that if you put them in that studio with that camera,
    they would figure out what piece of equipment is causing the problem in
    about half an hour (or less). Given a bit more time, they would
    probably be able to figure out a work-around that would work fine until
    the camera or whatever gets fixed. For example, has your friend turned
    off auto-white balance? Has he custom white-balanced? Has he gone to
    manual mode? Is he independently metering the light? Has he checked
    ALL the batteries in ALL the equipment? What equipment has he swapped
    out? Does it happen in all modes including RAW? Has he checked the
    EXIF data to see if there are any differences? Has he set up a
    still-life scene and shot a couple of hundred images and see if they
    vary? I think any professional, semi-pro, or advanced amature would
    have went right down this list before he/she even thought of asking for
    help. What has your friend done other than complain to you?

    What does he mean by "color balance"? Is it white balance or color
    tempurature? It is saturation or image density? Can he post a session
    with good photos and bad photos?

    I do not want to sound condensending, but if he has checked things out
    you should say what he has done and what the results are. If he
    hasn't, then ....

    Good luck with it.


    (How did I do as Randall's temporary fill-in?)
    Pat, Jul 18, 2006
  15. Gray_Wolf

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Tell "your friend" not to set white balance to automatic in that kind of
    setting. The camera will end up varying it from one shot to the next.
    Since your lighting is controlled and consistent, you don't need or want
    automatic white balance. I mean, he doesn't. If they're studio strobes
    you could set it to 5600k or 5400k, and fix up any slight difference in
    the raw conversion. I mean, he could.
    Jeremy Nixon, Jul 18, 2006
  16. Gray_Wolf

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    With auto white balance turned on (the default), small changes
    in what colors are present in the metering areas can affect the white
    balance in *any* sufficiently advanced digital camera. (Some old ones
    may not have any way to change the white balance, so this does not
    apply there.)

    For consistent white balance with the D50 (or others) in the
    studio, I would suggest either to manually select one of the white
    balance choices from the menu, or better, meter from an 18% gray card to
    set a custom white balance under the studio lighting, and select that
    custom white balance for all of your shots.

    The auto white balance makes some assumptions about what
    percentage of the image area is typical background (white walls, green
    grass, blue sky), and what percentage is the actual subject. It tries
    to guess a white balance from this information, and (as in portraits,
    where the subject can be a very large percentage of the image area) it
    is easy for the clothing, or even an over-rouged cheek, to shift the
    white balance from shot to shot as you go from pose to pose -- even with
    the same subject. If he is running from individual to individual, each
    with their own clothing color choices, it becomes even more extreme, of

    So -- manually selecting a white balance which is close to what
    he is using will help, or (if possible) using the 18% gray card to
    select a custom color balance based on the lighting, and *not* on the
    subject will give a stable balance from shot to shot -- unless the power
    line voltage is drifting up and down, and the lighting is incandescent,
    in which case the auto white balance might be the best bet after all.

    Good Luck,
    DoN. Nichols, Jul 18, 2006
  17. And frankly, for professional work like this, and where white balance is so
    critical, shooting RAW seems like a wonderful solution as the white balance
    selection at the time the image is captured is irrelavent and it leaves time
    for the processor to get it correct. With portraits, there is often a
    significant amount of post processing that occurs anyway, so this should be a
    nit. So, a good default is to set the whitebalance to your favorite setting
    (i.e. flash) or set it to the temperature of the studio lighting (it is easily
    adjusted in post processing with no image degradation).
    Thomas T. Veldhouse, Jul 18, 2006
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