D700- available light, white balance and skintones

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D700- available light, white balance and skintones

Postby Samjstern » Mon 19 Oct 2009 14:30

I love the D700 for it's low light available light portraiture. When out doors I have found that using a PRE white balance nails the skin tones. Auto white balance with lots of foilage can give you an inaccurate and very unflattering look.


JUst a simple example. I use a Lastolite EZybalance to do the PRE. Works with or without flash.

Image

By StanyB, moderator:
In a related post Sam explained his D700 settings in order to get his favorite skintones:
Click here to go to that topic.
Sam J Stern wrote:I feel if one learns how to use the picture controls in the neutral preset the D700 skin tones can be better in JPEG -out of camera files as well as RAW files.
Some D700 Neutral Settings (Good skin tones) (revised August 2008)

1. Set your LCD brightness to -2 ,( find it in Setup Menu. )
0 is too bright and not close to what we actually see.

2. Set your white balance to A. (automatic) . OR
With the SB-800 using white balance of "flash" is very DEAD ON.

3. In Shooting Menu go to set picture control and make these
settings: Go to NEUTRAL
*******************Sharpening to 5
*******************Contrast to +1
*******************Brightness to 0
*******************Saturation to 0
*******************Hue to -1 ( 1 click to the left of 0
)

****Don't forget to click OK after you make the adjustments and before you exit the menu.

4. Page 294 in manual. Set b6 , matrix metering to – 1/6 . This has really helped A LOT with not blowing whites and with almost perfect JPEGs. Fine tuning the optimal exposure has helped incredibly to get great flash shots.
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Re: D700- available light and white balance

Postby pam.meier » Mon 19 Oct 2009 17:20

Lovely image! I would take it easier on the vignetting, though, but I guess that is a matter of taste.
I usually slightly tune WB into a warmer direction, not too much, though.
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Re: D700- available light and white balance

Postby Samjstern » Mon 19 Oct 2009 22:23

Appreciate your response to my wife's picture.
I like vignetting. Like you say it is a personal taste thing.
Sometimes I use a gold reflector to add a little glow.
I'll see if I can find one and post it.
Take care.
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Re: D700- available light and white balance

Postby Leen Koper » Mon 19 Oct 2009 22:30

Same with me, I prefer a slightly warmer tone, but the colour is absolutely correct. But still, there is something, je ne sais quoi, about the color where Fuji shines more. I wish I could tell you what it is, but I can't.
I like to vignette too, but I try to do it a little less visible.
Oh yes, I almost forgot to say, the shades of blues are gorgeous.
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Re: D700- available light and white balance

Postby Samjstern » Mon 19 Oct 2009 23:44

thanks, Leon.
My backyard is looking good after all the work I did on it this summer.
I think this is the first pic I did out back.

Shame for you and others, Fuji is out of the DSLR business. ALomost impossible to pick up an S5 anywhere.
You may have to be stuck with a D700 or D3. LOL!!
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Re: D700- available light and white balance

Postby Leen Koper » Tue 20 Oct 2009 07:40

Sam, it is a pity: I 've got two Fuji camera's left. So it might take years before they give up. ;-)
As I am 61, I wanted to retire, but unfortunately my wife died in June, so I decided to keep on working till I,ll become 65. I'm going to rebuild my studio (and sell my home) to a place where I can live and work. The work starts in November. I think both my Fuji S5 will survive and I will happely use those for the next 4 years.
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Re: D700- available light and white balance

Postby Samjstern » Tue 20 Oct 2009 09:32

Good luck with the studio.
Post a pic when it in completed.
Here is one of mine:
Image
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Re: D700- available light and white balance

Postby Samjstern » Tue 20 Oct 2009 09:38

and this is the interview area.

Image
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Re: D700- available light and white balance

Postby pam.meier » Sun 1 Nov 2009 14:57

Very nice studio, Sam, from the backdrop to the cat, very "gemütlich" ;)
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Re: D700- available light and white balance

Postby Samjstern » Sun 1 Nov 2009 18:33

that is Cloe,
she is a doll and the clients love her.
She's the best part of my studio.
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Re: D700- available light and white balance

Postby pam.meier » Tue 10 Nov 2009 19:53

Great idea, Sam ;)
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Re: D700- available light and white balance

Postby Alan Brown » Sun 14 Feb 2010 23:23

Hi Sam


this my first post here (Stany invited me here) and it's strange seeing your name here.. I knew your presence in DPR Nikon DSLR forum..


onto the subject. they say a picture (or two) paints a thousand word.. well your setup is interesting. It's easier to learn by looking than reading. I'm not surprised the clients like Chloe :)

I'm hoping I can contribute something useful here, now

regards

PS My DPR name/ID is Alan Brown
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Re: D700- available light and white balance

Postby Samjstern » Mon 15 Feb 2010 09:22

Thank you Alan,
welcome here and hope to see more of you both here and DP review.

Sam
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Re: D700- available light and white balance

Postby pictureman » Wed 28 Apr 2010 01:06

This my first post on this forum, on the Fuji forum on DPreview I was know as mmmmmmmmmmmm. When I regestered on this forum I took the name of "pictureman" which is what most of the kids in my home town call me as I have photographed most of them over the years.

First of all, Leen, I am sorry to hear about your wife dying in June. I am sure this has changed your outlook on life and also what you intend to do Photography. At 61 you are still a "pup" and have many good years left. You and I have much in common as I am 66 thinking I was going to retire but at the last moment I changed my mind. Other than riding my bicycle and scooter I would get bored.

Sam and I also have much in common as both have studios in our home. I love the pictures of Sams studio and reception area. My shooting room measures 11.8 feet by 18 feet. I also have another 14 feet which I can an "overflow" area so I can shoot as much as 30 feet. I use three 10 foot wide backgrounds and several 7X8 feet backgrounds as well as muslins.

OK, back to the D700. I shoot the D700 RAW and I also use the settings that I got from Sam. I will probably shoot only RAW in the near future as I will stop projecting the wedding pictures at the reception. The RAW files work up really great and I get really great color. Like Leen, I also have 2-S5's s left so I must start thinkiing of the replacement camera. The D700 is a great camera but I would like to see the file size at least 17mb to 21mb like the canon. This way I can shoot both vertical and horizontal at weddings without turning the camera and still have a least a 10mb file.

We all know that the S5 is probably the last good Fuji camera and quite frankly, the file size is adequate for pictures up to 20X24. The WB of the S5 produces a very pleasing color which some say is not totally natural. When I can, I usually shoot a custom WB with both cameras. I will try to post some S5 and D700 wedding samples as soon as I figure out how to do them on this forum.

My biggest problem with Nikon has been the SB-900 flash which overheats easily as I do a lot of bounce lighting off walls, reflectors, etc. Yesterday I purchased a Quantum flash which cost about the same as three SB-900 flashes!!

One more thing I like about the Nikon D700 is shooting school basketball games with the Nikon 85mm1.4 lens at ISO6000. I shoot these Jpeg with a custom WB. The color is quite good and the noise is not bad.

Ok, I know this wasn't all about the D700 and WB but I will zero in on my next post and concentrate on the topic.
Respectfully,
David Miller
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Re: D700- available light, white balance and skintones

Postby Leen Koper » Sun 16 May 2010 10:10

David, my studio annex small home is almost finished now and as soon as I figured out how to do it, I 'll post some images of it. It is pretty small, because it is a 18th century workers home, so space is extremely limited. That has the advantage of the need to clear out all the rummage I collected over the years. I'll post the images in a separate thread.
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