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Color correction/Compensation & Filters

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by PhotoByMark, Sep 25, 2005.

  1. Well, I like to shoot reef tanks and other saltwater aquariums. Typically reef tanks have a very high amount of blue spectrum light (actinic) on them. Now, that I have my my D70s I use raw and set WB to Shade -3 to filter some of the blueness out. Anyway, even after I compensate in PS or NC I am still not happy with the colors in my pics. They still seem off a little bit.

    Soooo - I get this bright idea to get a color correcting filter and put some of the burden of color correction before the camera processes the pic. My initial thought is that I need a blue filter of some sort. My color theory sucks I suppose. As I searched around on the net and found some info on diving pics and color correction, it turns out the filter I need is more of red filter. So I have found at B&H and Adorama this nifty underwater filters. Here is a link.
    Underwater Color Correction Filter for Blue Water

    So now here are my questions for those that are divers or understand the color thing better than I do.

    1) Since, I am shooting in digital is it worth buying the filter? Can I simply do better in post processing and get better pics?
    2) If I do get the filter I have 2 lenses I would like to use it on. My 105 Micro and my 24-120 VR. So, should I buy the 72mm size or the 52mm size and use step up/down rings? Do step up/down rings effect the edges of a picture. Never used one so I do not know if going up lens->filter or going down lens->filter has any positive or negatives about them.
    3) I do know the 52mm filter is half of the price of the 72mm filter.
    4) And I am not sure I want to invest $150 bucks to find out that this did not improve anything for me.

    Hey-Gregory "GHO" - You out there? I bet you can shed light on this for sure!

    Thanks for everyone's help.
  2. heiko


    May 15, 2005
    While Gregory GHO should be the expert on this, I can answer one part of the question:

    You can't use a small filter on a larger lens - so you need the 72mm filter(s)with step-up ring for the 52mm lens diameter.

    I found this lesson on WB on Gregory's website:


  3. Hieko.

    Thanks. I have been to Gregory's site before but, forgot to look there this time. Still wondering though if using a filter would improve quality/color correctness.

  4. Well-I think I answered some my own questions.

    I learned how to do a custom white balance I think that helps a whole bunch.

    So I will be waiting on the color correcting filter I do not think it is needed unless someone persuades me that it would improve things even more.
  5. I think that filter is going to be a bit too much colour correction for you. I think it's mainly for lenses used in underwater diving applications. I have one which came with my Ikelite underwater housing. I think you'd be better off doing a custom white balance with a plastic white card first... if that works, then you're set. Like I said, I think that red filter is for more blue than you're going to encounter as you're not shooting 60' down.... Just my humble opinion.....
  6. Sandi-Thanks for the reply - I think you are right.

    Yes-Custom White Balance is working for me and a whole lot cheaper too!

    So just for fun here is a couple of examples of what I am talking about:

    Example 1:
    WB set to Cloudy -3 - Why you say? To filter out as much blue as possible - I wish Nikon would just specify color temp but, whatever.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Custom WB
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    And one more example:
    Example 2:
    WB Set to Cloudy -3
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Custom WB
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    So in both examples the Custom WB is so much closer to the actual colors.

    And also I have been able to color correct the Cloudy -3 pics to pretty much the custom wb pics. Except that it is a pain and hey, if I can get color right first time why mess with it. Custom WB is very cool!
  7. Mark,

    I see that we share the same passion, aquatic photography. Here are few thoughts.

    #1. I have been keeping and raising fish for past 15 years or so. I dedicated forum just to aquatic photography. We share techniques, tips, knowledge and criticism. Gregory and Patrick became members as well. If you buy TFH, FAMA or AFM, you probably have seen some of my work :) . If you are interested in our forum, let me know and I will pass you the link.

    #2. I would never spend additional money on some "magic" filters. Custom White balance is all I use. With freshwater I have been using Pre Set WB but many times with Reefs, I would use original "actinic" coloration. This is actually what sets Fresh. Photography from Reef Photography. Many would say that "corrected" reef picture doesn't even look like your typical salt water coral or fish. It is personal opinion at the end. Simple use of white card in the water and applying WB to entire session is usually what I would use if I was editing for CORRECT WB.

    Here are few samples:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  8. Jay,

    Thanks for the response. Matter fact I got stacks of the mags. I will have to go look through some of them now! :smile:

    If you are in these mags then I am sure I have seen your work! I apologize as I do not pay attention to names but, your name does seem familiar?

    I hope to someday to generate a little revenue from taking pics at least enough to support my reef hobby and camera hobby. I too, have been keeping fish for about 15 years and doing reef tanks for about 4 years now. Fish and corals is also how I make a living - not photography but selling the critters and supplies and a fair amount of advice too.


    I, until today had not experimented with CWB but, now I am loving it! My reef pics were always slightly off and I always had to mess with white balance in post process. Life should get a whole lot easier - cannot wait to get to work tomorrow and shoot some more corals!

    And - Yes I would love to join your forum as well. Sounds like fun.

    Your tank looks great and I would love to see a bigger pic of it.

    Maybe we can talk reef stuff sometime too?

    Here is what I used for CWB.
    A measuring spoon hanging from a pointy piece of live rock.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    And one more pic
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

  9. Hey Jay!

    Found the site and registered!

  10. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    RE: the red filter

    I'm not much of an underwater shooter, but my best friend is. She says the red filter should be used over the strobe for anything shot deeper than 10 meters.
  11. Here is the link

    This is not my tank. The owner is ADG Company from Houston. We had a "Aquatic Gardneres Association" meeting and the host was ADG. You should check them out one day.
  12. Chris-Thanks for the comment. I have spent some time today learning about filters and white balance. I learned some good stuff today for sure. I was surprised to find out the filter for underwater photography in blueish water is red. Now, I understand though. At least a little better anyway. For greenish water a magenta filter is used. And of course, learning about how to perform custom white balance is very cool! I will be using that all the time now.

    Jay-Joined and waiting for the confirmation email. Thanks.
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