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Thread: Colour Temperature Meter - Buy or Not Buy?

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    Senior Member rayyen's Avatar
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    Colour Temperature Meter - Buy or Not Buy?

    I am considering to buy a colour temperature meter, such as Sekonic 500 or an old Gossen sixticolour. I guess if I can get the colour temperature right every times when I go out do landscape, it can save me hours from guessing the right colour when I back home sitting in front of computer editing my photos...

    Anyone still using colour temperature meter nowadays? Having considered WB seems to be reliable on IQ backs...

    Thanks in advance for your generous sharing

    Ray
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    www.raymondchak.com

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    Re: Colour Temperature Meter - Buy or Not Buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by rayyen View Post
    I am considering to buy a colour temperature meter, such as Sekonic 500 or an old Gossen sixticolour. I guess if I can get the colour temperature right every times when I go out do landscape, it can save me hours from guessing the right colour when I back home sitting in front of computer editing my photos...
    Incident color meters only help you assuming all three of the below are true:
    1) you're standing at the same light as the subject matter
    2) you want the white balance to be neutral and not slightly warm or cool
    3) the numbers will translate directly from the meter to the program you're using

    I'd wager the vast majority of the time one of those three is not going to be true.

    You'll find for landscape that literally three or four settings will cover 90% of the images you shoot. Just tweak 2 or 3 images and save their white balance as styles or presets. Then when you import select all (or select a range of similar images) and hover over each style and decide which one flatters the image best.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: Colour Temperature Meter - Buy or Not Buy?

    what he said. They are pretty useless now. I use one on set with hmi so I can see just how far off they are from neutral to decide if I want to gel or not.

    Pretty much only useful for measuring light that is falling on a subject at the subject, and even then, in any one area the values can vary wildly. For example if you were copying artwork with continuous lights you could use them to make sure you had consistent temps across all your bulbs but even then, on digital, the eyedropper readout in C1 for example would be far more useful.

    In a landscape I have no idea how you would use it since it is incident.

    Probably a holdover from the days of shooting chrome.

    You want a fixed reference for digital shooting in landscape- here's an idea...Shoot Film.

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    Re: Colour Temperature Meter - Buy or Not Buy?

    If you'd want to do "correct" you'd have to capture the whole light spectrum as color temperatures will only be an approximation of the actual spectrum, and then we have how the camera records it, and the eye's experience, and the print/screen medium. It's impossible to make the whole chain fully "correct".

    The more extreme the light is (farther from "daylight" standard), the harder it is to make it appear "correct" in the recorded image. Landscape is often shot in light which is quite far from midday daylight.

    So for landscape the best is to give up correctness, and just try to recreate the "feel" of colour when you develop your image. Ie if you experienced the colours to be very yellow and saturated from the low sun, make the image look very yellow and saturated to a degree that "feels right" and don't worry too much about correctness.

    The best strategy I think is to make a "reference" development as soon as possible from when you made the shot, or write down notes of how the scene was experienced at the site. Having a few rough presets and using the closest at the time of shooting is also a good strategy, but I think one often needs to tweak a little in post-processing to get the right feel.

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Colour Temperature Meter - Buy or Not Buy?

    Ray, this is the Medium Format Forum. Of course you should buy it!
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    Re: Colour Temperature Meter - Buy or Not Buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by rayyen View Post
    I guess if I can get the colour temperature right every times when I go out do landscape...
    Easy. 5,500K. That is daylight. Everything else is just preference. If you want a color temperature meter, just use auto white balance. That will give you a computed temperature. When you open in your RAW processor, you can see what AWB does, you can set the temp to 5,500K, and then you can make a good decision about what you want.

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    Re: Colour Temperature Meter - Buy or Not Buy?

    Don't buy a color meter unless you want to waste your money . I have a SEKONIC C-500 R color meter and it is my most superfluous photographic item .
    It works rather good in the studio but is useless for landscape and outdoor shooting . Any setting on your back , like daylight , cloudy etc . is more accurate than the reading from the meter .
    Regards . Jürgen .
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