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Author Topic: Mixing Lights of different brands  (Read 1949 times)

orc73

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Mixing Lights of different brands
« on: October 21, 2014, 02:39:55 am »

Hi

I read mixing different brands in light setup would not be a good idea, because of color balance. I can understand, that this could cause problems.
On the other hand, even the same brand, or even the same type of head, can cause differences, especially when set to different power output.

Any recommendations on that one?
I do have Elinchrom Bxri, Ranger, and Profoto B1. And then I like to use the Metz to fill, which is not uncommon.

Any thougths on that?

best regards
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synn

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Re: Mixing Lights of different brands
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2014, 03:04:11 am »

The Elins generally play nice with each other, but when I mix them with a speedlight, i have to gel the speedlight as it has a cooler color temperature.
Most Chinese brand lights are warmer than the Elins.

The rest, I guess you have to either get a color meter or do a few tests and see how it works out...
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Some Guy

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Re: Mixing Lights of different brands
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2014, 11:24:52 am »

Ditto on getting a color temp meter, or renting one.  Sekonic C-500 is what I use (~$1,200, and $1,300 for a Pocket Wizard model.).  The Lee filters are cheap to correct them at about $6 per 22" square sheet out of the local stage lighting house.

Power levels, age of bulbs (going warmer) come into play, as does the modifier.  I know my small Nikon SB-900 speedlights run way cold, maybe 6,300K where the studios run around 4,900K on low power and 5,300K on high.  I would have thought Nikon would have designed a better light and color, but they even shut down after a few full-power shots and Nikon screwed up there too (Common thermal shutdown issue with the SB-900 which led to the SB-910.).

I have an old Vivitar 285 speedlight which is still working and reads 5,200K and it has the yellowish-looking (filtered) flash window too.  Guess they built them better back then for color balance with film, and now let digital fix whatever comes out of the clear speedlight windows now with camera's Auto-White Balance and fixing in PS.

SG
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David Eichler

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Re: Mixing Lights of different brands
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2014, 11:25:21 am »

Seems to me that, as long as the CT characteristics are consistent and you are fully aware of those characteristics, you can always apply CT filters balance. Not ideal, but if you have to.... I would think that, with high quality strobes that have digital power control, CT shifts would tend to be smaller, though the base CT at full power of different brands might still be slightly different.

BTW, does anybody know of any comparisons of the CT characteristics of a broad range of major strobe brands? I recall seeing a small one on the Web somewhere between Profoto, White Lightning and one other major brand, but that is all.

Also, note that the plastic fresnel lenses of speedlites yellow with age and exposure to light and the elements. Furthermore, speedlites tend to get cooler at lower power levels while "studio" strobes tend to get warmer.

Do you really need a color temperature meter these days, with digital, for the purpose at hand? I would think that just a controlled environment in which to fire the flashes and then taking readings with software would do well enough.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2014, 11:31:34 am by David Eichler »
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Some Guy

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Re: Mixing Lights of different brands
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2014, 11:47:45 am »

Seems to me that, as long as the CT characteristics are consistent and you are fully aware of those characteristics, you can always apply CT filters balance. Not ideal, but if you have to.... I would think that, with high quality strobes that have digital power control, CT shifts would tend to be smaller, though the base CT at full power of different brands might still be slightly different.

BTW, does anybody know of any comparisons of the CT characteristics of a broad range of major strobe brands? I recall seeing a small one on the Web somewhere between Profoto, White Lightning and one other major brand, but that is all.

Also, note that the plastic fresnel lenses of speedlites yellow with age and exposure to light and the elements. Furthermore, speedlites tend to get cooler at lower power levels while "studio" strobes tend to get warmer.

Do you really need a color temperature meter these days, with digital, for the purpose at hand? I would think that just a controlled environment in which to fire the flashes and then taking readings with software would do well enough.

I've played around in the yard and just doing a 360 with the color temp meter can see a 4K difference.  Syncing up color in one direction can really mess up just turning 90 degrees.

As it is, I'll set up Control Points in NIK Vivieza 2 or Nikon Capture NX2 to warm or cool areas in a scene in post, maybe up to a dozen due to light variations to even it all out.  If it were a properly filtered scene to begin with, it might not be necessary - I'd think?  Digital makes it easier for sloppy technique, but I got a bad feeling that even trying to filter digitally isn't the best result as it applies the filter to blacks and whites and other colors as well.  If it were done prior at the source, it might result in a better shot with less color crossovers from the various Kelvin sources, and whatever is done in post as well as it may mute the colors somewhere else.

I also shoot with PF-330 flashbulbs (filtered at the bulb) and I was pretty amazed at the color quality off them over electronic.  It was like I had a new camera.  Guess they cover more of the spectrum maybe than electronic.  ColorChecker Passport was pretty spot on with them without a odd cast with electronic.  Sometimes the old pre-digital film related stuff just seems to work better since digital is a fix-all where film had to be spot on in the pre-PS era or else it looked bad.

My two-cent opinion anyway.

SG
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Mixing Lights of different brands
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2014, 12:41:48 pm »

Hi

I read mixing different brands in light setup would not be a good idea, because of color balance. I can understand, that this could cause problems.
On the other hand, even the same brand, or even the same type of head, can cause differences, especially when set to different power output.

Any recommendations on that one?
I do have Elinchrom Bxri, Ranger, and Profoto B1. And then I like to use the Metz to fill, which is not uncommon.

Any thoughts on that?



Are you seeing wildly different results when you use the Elinchrom's, the B1 or the Metz individually or in concert with each other? If not I wouldn't worry about it. 

Unless I am doing very color critical studio still life or copy work (in which case I use  either the Einsteins or Broncolor) , in the real world  mixing different makes of flash is usually not that large of concern.

A larger concern is what your various light modifiers are doing to the light your lighting instruments are emitting.
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