Define Tungsten

ang

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I'm new to photography, I've got a pretty good understanding of outdoor photography, but now I want to explore indoor photography.

Simple question:
Is household lighting considered tungsten lighting? I mean are the two interchangeable. Please define Tungsten lighting for me, I'm a little confused on the terminology.

Should I use tungsten film or a filter with daylight film for portraits? I plan on using general indoor floodlight and household bulb.

Thanks.
 

Big Mike

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I'm no expert but yes, household lighting is tungsten. You can use either tungsten balanced film or a filter to get proper color tones. I don't know which would be better for you. Try them out and see which you like better.

Oh, Welcome to the forum :cool:
 

voodoocat

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Tungsten lighting is the same as your household incandescent lighting. The color temp is about 3200k which is much warmer than what daylight film is balanced for. This causes the photos to have a strong yellow color cast. You can either a)buy tungsten film, b)use a color correcting filter or c)use digital and use tungsten whiting balance (or better yet, use a custom white balance)
 

ksmattfish

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Tungsten films and filters are not balanced for household incandescent bulbs. They are balanced for tungsten photoflood bulbs, which are seriously more powerful than anything that goes into a normal lamp. Photofloods have a color temp of 3200 or 3400, depending on type. Household tungsten bulbs usually have a color temp much lower than 3000 (unless they have a blue coating like some new bulbs). Using tungsten film or filters with household bulbs will eliminate some, but not all of the red/orange cast.
 
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ang

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Matt,

what would you use to eliminate the orange/red cast that results in shooting with household lighting?

do you really have to switch to photoflood lights?

is a photoflood light the same as an indoor floodlight?

thanks
 

ksmattfish

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A photoflood is a tungsten lightbulb that is designed to have a specific color temp (3200 or 3400) that is balanced out by the tungsten film or filter. They are most often used in copy stands and for product work. They are usually very powerful (250 or 500 watts), and would probably melt or burn any household lamp. They are so hot that they usually are not good for working with living subjects (it would be like being in a tanning bed or a toaster!). It is not the same as a household or yard flood light.

The problem that you are going to run into is that household bulbs vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. The solution is to use a blue filter; how much blue is going to vary with the situation. You'll notice that the standard filters for use with the photofloods are already very blue. You will need even more blue for household bulbs.

You can try the standard filters and see what you get. Maybe it will eliminate enough of the orange cast.

To totally eliminate the orange cast of household bulbs I either turn them off, or use an electric flash that just overpowers them. Sometimes I combine a slow shutter speed with the flash: this lights my main subject with the white light of the flash (actually a smidge blue, which is why you might use a warming filter with a flash), and allows some of the warm orange in the background.

Flashes are relatively cheap. I'd concentrate on learning to use them. For portraits I think that your choices are use flashes, or only natural light. Pro strobes and studio setups are just overgrown flashes.
 

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