The Roscolux sampler pack contains several strengths of both CTO (Color Temperature Orange) and CTS (Color Temperature Straw?). The CTS seems to be a bit yellower than CTO.

What situations would you use a CTS gel instead of a CTO? What types of ambient light match a CTS gel?


1 Answer 1


The CTO and CTS series gels have the both have the same amount of color temprature correction power (e.g. a 1/2 CTO and 1/2 CTS gel will both convert 5000K to approximately 3800K), so they will both correct for Tungsten lighting casts equally well. The only real difference between them is that the CTO has a bit more red, and CTS has a bit more yellow...

From a portrait photographer's point of view the practical usability difference is that CTO will tend to give subjects a bit of a tanned look (depending on the strength of the CTO gel), whereas a CTS will not. My personal 'rule of thumb' is to use CTO on pale subjects who I want to add a bit of 'healthy glow' to, and CTS on folks who already have a tan, and don't need any additional help in that department. :-)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you prefer one over the other for general use? \$\endgroup\$
    – Evan Krall
    Commented Jan 7, 2011 at 3:32
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Generally speaking I tend to reach for the CTO first because I live in Washington State, so 'pale is the new tan' around here and people seem to appreciate a little bit of that 'healthy tan glow' in their portraits. However... Though I've never worked in a warmer climate... say... San Diego or Florida, I suspect that if I did, my go-to gel would end up being the CTS, 'cause most everyone would already have a basic tan... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 7, 2011 at 6:09

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