Jinbei MSN400 vs HD600 studio strobes white balance shift

Lately I have been asked on the Facebook page regarding the Jinbei HD600 and how bad their white balance shift is.

Differences, and confusion regarding modeling light.

So first I should mention that the Jinbei MSN400 have a Halogen 300W modeling light built in that gets very hot. Especially if you have an inclosed softbox as the hot air has nowhere to go.

The Jinbei HD600 have a 5Watt LED modeling light which does not get hot. And because of that, the HD600 lights does not have a loud fan blowing all the time (which would also drain the battery considerably and defeat to purpose of the mobile lights).

The main confusion here is that the Halogen modeling light is a lot warmer in temperature than the LED modeling light leading people to believe that it will affect the white balance of the photo. 

However, the modeling light is nowhere near as powerful as the actual flash, and will therefore not affect the actual photo. (and during this testing all modeling light was turned off)

So the setup for this test is as follows...

Each shot is done with:
Canon 6D + Canon 70-200mm IS II L lens mounted on a tripod, and shorting at the x-rite color checker passport neutral grey card.

  • Shutter: 1/180sec
  • ISO: 100
  • Aperture: F2.8 ~
  • WB: Manually set to "flash".
  • Modeling light: off

Shooting tethered into LightRoom 5.4 WB set to "As shot" and with the white balance color picker clicking the neutral grey card, and recording the difference in kelvin and tonal change per power increment on each Jinbei light. 

Note that both the MSN400 and the HD600 lights have kelvin 5500 -/+200k listed in the manual.

Lightroom measured the all photos as the same kelvin and tint before adjusting anything.

And although the "pre change" value is not as the Jinbei manual of 5500k, we have to account for differences in the way the canon sensor measures the light, and the way LightRoom interprets it. The important point is that al photos had the same baseline once in Lightroom, and then difference from that measurement when corrected at each power level of the lights.

Using the white balance tool on the same neutral grey square of the x-rite color checker passport I then noted the kelvin and tint changes in the table below. 

Personal note...
Using the white balance correction in Lightroom with the neutral grey patch on the color checker passport, it seemed very warm to me, even if it was supposed to be "correct", and I would never have left the WB at such a high Kelvin. For instance at 1/128 power "correct" kelvin should be 10500k according to LR, but around 8600 seemed more natural to me. (either one however is way off form the original 6500k measured of course )

 

Note! Keep in mind, that this is an abstracts test in a controlled environment, and the changes recorded might be negligible for real world use. 

Conclusion 

There is a massive change in kelvin from the lowest power setting to the highest. The "+/-200k" noted in the manual of each light seems to hold true only for the 1/1 power setting. the changes were so big that I kept doubting if I was doing something very wrong in my test setup, and redoing the test multiple times with and without the modeling light, and underexposing the grey card a little to ensure I did not have any clippings, using color-checker profiles for each setup etc etc, but the results were basically same, several 1000's of kelvin difference. 

So what does this mean for real world use?

Well I noticed that the picture was warmer at low power from time to time, but as I pretty much always shoot with a grey card, or adjust the 1st photo and sync WB chances in LR, means that this has never been an issue for me in the past, and nothing is likely to chance that going forward.

However, if you are shooting in an environment with multiple different light sources it can be tricky to correct, even if there are ways around it, so something to keep in mind. And definitely use a grey card whenever possible.

 

Final words

If anyone have had similar experiences, or can spot the error in my setup, do please share. I would welcome being told what is wrong in my setup, redo it and compare results.

For a motion freeze test between the 2 light have a look at the previous test performed here -> LINK