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07-13-2009, 12:42 PM   #1
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White Balance

Anyone care to share tools and techniques associated with getting proper white balance, especially where variable tungsten lighting is concerned?

Some, it seems, wait for PP and do it there. Some prefer to get it right in camera, etc., some use presets and some use custom balance.

How do you do white balance and what are the tools you use? I bring this up because I have a large number of files that need balancing. Some came out fine, others will need PP. I personally would prefer getting it right in Camera and doing as little PP as possible, but the fact remains that I am currently stuck with a PP job.

And no, I can't reshoot...

Seaain

07-13-2009, 01:09 PM   #2
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If you shot RAW, getting WB right in PP would be as easy as clicking on something that is supposed to be white (or neutral gray), and/or moving the WB sliders manually. If you shoot JPEG, first thing I'd do is look into a program like Lightroom, Lightzone, Aperture, or others that make adjusting WB ifor JPEG as easy (if not nearly as effective!) as it is for RAW. You won't be able to elimiante strong colors casts as well for JPEG as for RAW, but if you're just doing a bit of fine tuning, any of those programs would do a good job.

Otherwise, best I can suggest is experimenting with whatever color controls the software you use provides. Generally speaking, WB is a matter of assigning different relative weights to the R, G, and B channels, so I'd strat with whatever tool you have that lets you do that. R+G = yellow, so if it's too yellow, pull back on those two channels and increase B. Not yellow enough, add more R & G but pull back on B. Some programs that don't otherwise treat JPEG like RAW do have a "remove color cast" control that also work by clicking on an object you want to be neutral, and if you need fine tuning beyond that, you can use the RGB control.
07-13-2009, 02:41 PM   #3
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+1 for Marc's comments.

Here's an older thread around the topic: How to reduce red channel saturation ?

My plan is to take a light blue filter the next time and also I am looking for FL-D filters in different sizes. These are said to behave much better with mixed light sources than an original film could (obviously this has to be tested on digital). The reasoning behind the coming back to filters on digital is the red channel clipping on digital sensors which are preset to daylight WB as discussed in the above thread.

Another way to influence the outcome would be to pick a cooler lens.

The other very obvious workaround is a black-and-white conversion .-)

Best, Georg (the other)
07-13-2009, 05:56 PM   #4
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My K10, and K7 have a wonderful interactive WB setting capability.

I shoot mostly JPEG and therefore setting WB correctly is important. on these cameras, and I believe the K20 as well, (but not sure about K200) once you take a shot, as long as it is stored in the buffer (until you trun off I think) you can select WB and watch the image change as you make adjustments. this allows you to tune it very close right in the camera. the adjustments do nothing for the shot you took, but every future shot will be with those settings. Even if you shoot raw, most editors use the incamera settings as a first approach, so the closer you get it, the less work in post processing.

One thing I find with the post processing tools and selecting WB by clicking on a subject that is between white and black but only supposed to be shades of grey is the images come out looking too cool. A little "warmth" looks good, it gives people color.

07-13-2009, 06:36 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
My K10, and K7 have a wonderful interactive WB setting capability.

I shoot mostly JPEG and therefore setting WB correctly is important. on these cameras, and I believe the K20 as well, (but not sure about K200) once you take a shot, as long as it is stored in the buffer (until you trun off I think) you can select WB and watch the image change as you make adjustments. this allows you to tune it very close right in the camera. the adjustments do nothing for the shot you took, but every future shot will be with those settings. Even if you shoot raw, most editors use the incamera settings as a first approach, so the closer you get it, the less work in post processing.

One thing I find with the post processing tools and selecting WB by clicking on a subject that is between white and black but only supposed to be shades of grey is the images come out looking too cool. A little "warmth" looks good, it gives people color.

+1 and the ten character rule
07-14-2009, 01:30 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by woof Quote
I personally would prefer getting it right in Camera
That's what I prefer, too. If the lighning is challenging (mixed) then I just point my cam to a white surface and set manual white balance on that.
07-14-2009, 02:54 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
My K10, and K7 have a wonderful interactive WB setting capability.

I shoot mostly JPEG and therefore setting WB correctly is important. on these cameras, and I believe the K20 as well, (but not sure about K200) once you take a shot, as long as it is stored in the buffer (until you trun off I think) you can select WB and watch the image change as you make adjustments. this allows you to tune it very close right in the camera. the adjustments do nothing for the shot you took, but every future shot will be with those settings. Even if you shoot raw, most editors use the incamera settings as a first approach, so the closer you get it, the less work in post processing.
Fortunately, you can do that on the K200 as well. Saves my bacon in variable type lighting situations.

07-15-2009, 08:43 PM   #8
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I use this for setting a custom WB and absolutely love it. Perfect results in all sorts of mixed lighting situations. Much cheaper than the ExpoDiscs, as well.
07-15-2009, 09:28 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by woof Quote
Anyone care to share tools and techniques associated with getting proper white balance, especially where variable tungsten lighting is concerned?

Some, it seems, wait for PP and do it there. Some prefer to get it right in camera, etc., some use presets and some use custom balance.

How do you do white balance and what are the tools you use? I bring this up because I have a large number of files that need balancing. Some came out fine, others will need PP. I personally would prefer getting it right in Camera and doing as little PP as possible, but the fact remains that I am currently stuck with a PP job.

And no, I can't reshoot...

Seaain
You've had some good advice for what to do at your next shoot, but for what's already shot...
If you have something to key on that is a neutral, then that is good. If you don't, then remember that ultimately, photography isn't about numbers and what happens in post processing or software.
Photography is about holding in your hand a graven image, something you have created with your own hands and heart, and saying "this really sucks".
No seriously, it is about the picture.
It's about what we see.
One of the biggest problems with digital photography is that now people are hung up on minutiae that isn't important.
Pick a file that seems representative of the majority of the files and adjust it and batch process the lot of them at the same settings.
If you have several different white balance issues, try to group them and batch process by group.
If you really feel the need to do each file on an individual basis, just adjust the white balance until it looks right. If it looks right to you, more than likely it will look right to most people.
07-16-2009, 09:17 AM   #10
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if the lighting doesnt change often, i will take jpg after check white balance.

if its like a club or events, then i take Raw and worry about the white balance in PP.
08-21-2009, 10:55 AM   #11
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For on camera WB, I use expodiscs. However, enoxatnep (post # 8) discovered another very good alternative solution.
08-21-2009, 11:20 AM   #12
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I have several 8"X10" 18% gray cards back in the film days. I cut them up into small pieces to carry around.

Not only they help with white balance, they can help with metering in some cases.

The problem of using a random "white" object happening to be available for white balance is that it may not be pure white (maybe it's just me not being able to tell) and it's so bright that it fools the camera's white balance sensor.
08-29-2009, 11:11 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by kibipod Quote
For on camera WB, I use expodiscs. However, enoxatnep (post # 8) discovered another very good alternative solution.
They're also super-portable, much smaller than 8"x10" gray cards since you stick them right in front of/on your lens. Light passes through them instead of bouncing the light off a gray card.

Anyhow, I've also done the experiment lately of just setting my outdoor WB to 5500K (using the Color Temperature WB setting) - morning, midday, and evening - and capturing the warmness of sunrises and sunsets and the coolness of shade and overcast skies. I've been very pleased with the results.
08-30-2009, 04:33 PM   #14
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White balance is one of the main reasons I switched from jpeg to raw.
08-30-2009, 05:13 PM   #15
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When I remember to use it () the WhiBal card works well for me. Otherwise, I adjust in RAW by eye. (You'll need a calibrated monitor.)

Digital Photography - RawWorkflow.com - Michael Tapes: photo news and commentary
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