Paul C. Buff, Inc. Technical Forum

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Sun May 19, 2013 10:55 pm

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Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:49 am
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CraigBennett wrote:
Luap wrote:
Feel free to comment or ask questions about this.

As a retired electrical engineer, now photographer full-time, I like this brochure. It was the one biggest reason that I purchased my first PCB product. It arrived today, the E640 with Power MC2 and your Vagabond Mini. I see a lot more coming this year!

I have already put it through it's paces and the unit works perfectly. Thank you for designing this product.

Tomorrow, I plan to run a color test against my SB-910's in graph form. I suspect the E640 will perform as designed.

It is refreshing to see someone (Paul) that actually knows how to tell the truth and fully understand the design decisions that go into making a quality product......and yet not gouge the customer for the performance/quality. I know of only one other US company that lives for that purpose.

With Best Regards,
Craig


Thanks Craig. If you test a speed light using manual power adjustment, you will find a severe increase in color temperature as you reduce power . . . more shift than Einstein in Action Mode.

Speed lights used in TTL mode use a preflash to determine the color temperature change, then the camera adjusts to compensate and create a consistent color balance at different flash levels.



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Mon May 20, 2013 8:24 am

Joined: Tue May 14, 2013 6:22 pm
Posts: 10
Age: 57
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Luap wrote:
Speed lights used in TTL mode use a preflash to determine the color temperature change, then the camera adjusts to compensate and create a consistent color balance at different flash levels.


Hi Paul,
That description is different from my understanding. The pre-flash(s) are used by the camera to automatically adjust flash output and communicate CLS data, but is not used for WB compensation.

If the camera is set to Auto or Flash WB, the camera sets it's WB to 5400K (unless a flash filter is attached, then it sets WB according to the filter attached). I have never seen any reference to compensation for WB versus power levels. That would be sweet if it did.

My statements are with regards to Nikon's flash system, perhaps other manufactures' are different?
Regards,
Craig




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Thu May 23, 2013 8:11 pm

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Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:49 am
Posts: 1432

CraigBennett wrote:
Luap wrote:
Speed lights used in TTL mode use a preflash to determine the color temperature change, then the camera adjusts to compensate and create a consistent color balance at different flash levels.


Hi Paul,
That description is different from my understanding. The pre-flash(s) are used by the camera to automatically adjust flash output and communicate CLS data, but is not used for WB compensation.

If the camera is set to Auto or Flash WB, the camera sets it's WB to 5400K (unless a flash filter is attached, then it sets WB according to the filter attached). I have never seen any reference to compensation for WB versus power levels. That would be sweet if it did.

My statements are with regards to Nikon's flash system, perhaps other manufactures' are different?
Regards,
Craig


According to Rob Galbraith, Canon and Nikon camera indeed either read or interpret color temperature and white balance from the preflash, and adjust the camera accordingly. This only applies when the flash/camera is hotshoe mounted and TTL is used. If the flash is used in manual mode, the color will shift by about 1000K from full to 1/64 power.

I'm not an expert on camera mount speedlights, so perhaps someone more knowledgeable on the subject can chime in here.

David (tech)?



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Fri May 24, 2013 2:37 pm

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Luap wrote:
According to Rob Galbraith, Canon and Nikon camera indeed either read or interpret color temperature and white balance from the preflash, and adjust the camera accordingly.


I don't want to claim more knowledge, but I did research this a bit.

By definition, pre-flashes happen before the shutter opens, so in order for a camera to be able to see color without using its main sensor, it must have a color sensor somewhere else. I have found that in higher end Nikons, the 3Dmatrix meter sensor is also sensitive to color, and is used to help calculate white balance separate from the main sensor. Also, some of the Nikons have a white dome over the prism that meters the ambient light, and this measurement is added to the calculation.

For the Nikon system, it seems that any digital era speedlite, including pop up flashes, will be used for this metering proceedure. I would expect a speedlite does not NEED to be in the hotshoe, as long as the camera knows it is communicating (i.e. the CLS system). Also, some newer Nikon speedlites come with flash gels which are coded (kind of like a bar code or DX-code) that tell the flash and camera what type of gel the flash has on it. On these cameras, the gel code, ambient light, preflash, and information gained from the actual image sensor upon exposure are used to calculate white balance.

I do not think all Nikons use this system and I did not specifically see any information about a similar Canon system , but I would not be surprised if one existed. Without this system in place, the preflash would just be used to calculate flash exposure, and a camera would base its white balance on information gathered during exposure, and the fact a flash was attached. Logically, the color temperature of the flash should be calculable based on the output. I would not be surprised if some systems account for that.

Again, a speedlite would not necessarily be in the hotshoe, but would need to be recognized by the camera. Flashes triggered by a basic radio remote or optical slave would not impact the camera in the same way.

It also seems the system for calculating AWB evolves over time, so that one camera/flash combination my act different than any other combination. This can change even with a firmware revision of the camera or flash.



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Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:12 pm

Joined: Tue May 14, 2013 6:22 pm
Posts: 10
Age: 57
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Technical Support wrote:
Luap wrote:
According to Rob Galbraith, Canon and Nikon camera indeed either read or interpret color temperature and white balance from the preflash, and adjust the camera accordingly.




You are correct.

In my quest to understand, I found a couple of references that shed light on the subject, the main one being Nikon themselves. https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/9520/using-nikon-d-slr-cameras-with-wireless-flash

"Flash Color Communication
In Auto White Balance mode, the master unit attached to the digital SLR camera transmits flash color information to the camera. Voltage, flash duration and other variables can affect flash color information, so the camera uses data like this to achieve optimum white balance."

Thanks!




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