Do digital sensors have a "native" lighting source or illuminant?

Started May 22, 2012 | Discussions thread
NDT0001
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Re: Do digital sensors have a "native" lighting source or illuminant?
In reply to xpatUSA, May 22, 2012

I wondered this for a long time, and it was explained to me quite eloquently by a camera tech recently.

Im having trouble understanding what it is you want to know because of all the fluff you write after your subject line question. So ill try and answer what it is i think you want to know.

You can adjust non-destructively, the CT of a RAW image with software. So assuming all the lighting sources are same CT, you can happily correct in post. Whether you do it in camera or not is of no consequence, as long as you shoot raw.

If your true question is 'do sensors have a native white point', the answer is... sort of.

They are generally balanced for around 5600k. This means that all RGB channels are set equal. If you shoot Tungsten, the blue channel is amplified slightly to balance. In practice this wont affect the image in general shooting as the channel amplification is very small. However it will be apparent if you have to pull shadows heavily in post or shoot at a very high iso.

So as a general statement, camera sensors (at least canon anyway) are balanced to daylight, and you will achieve cleanest images from your camera if you shoot with 5600k lighting and your camera set to 5600k.

Hope this answers your question.

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