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Author Topic: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?  (Read 18509 times)

Synomis192

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Re: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2012, 06:45:39 AM »
I'm just trying to find a solution where I can work with what I have, which is my camera and Lightroom.

Thus, I repeat - get a WhiBal or SpyderCube (I like the latter because it also offers deep black and specular highlight references for exposure, but the WhiBal is flat), include it in a picture, shoot RAW, dropper it to set WB in post for the series of shots in the same light.

I'll definitely grab a whibal soon, probably by next week. I've been eyeing certain models but I'm unsure of what to get. That sypdercube looks cute, I'll invest in one so I can play around with it blacks are kind of mt main worry point because I can never understand the true color of black. Not getting it because of looks though I promise. I'll make a post once I do. Neuro, I expect you to be the first reply hahaha. Not really :)

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Re: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2012, 06:45:39 AM »

Sith Zombie

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Re: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2012, 06:56:16 AM »
Just in case the op is getting confused, white balancing is basically getting your camera to see colours the way your eyes do in different types of light. Making sure white is white and not leaning towards either end of colour temperature [cool or warm]
For example: if you are in a room with white walls, wether your light source is a bulb or sunlight from the window, the walls will appear white because your brain does the white balancing. A camera will see a blue or orange hue, depending on the type of light and the white balance settings that are being used.
Auto white balance can generally do a decent job and Raw allows you to change the white balance but it's one of the things I like to have control of in camera, wether to use it artistically or not.

marekjoz

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Re: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?
« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2012, 07:03:55 AM »
I would share some experiences and give you some advices to avoid difficult choices later:

1. Shoot RAW, correct WB in PP.

2. To have better insight in PP, before shooting use some grey card - anything from the above suggest list of accessories to get the WB reference

3. Don't change lightning between calibration and shooting because it will change your WB setting. If you use ambient light a little different than the main source, even changing ISO and shutter speed will influence your WB reference

3. Avoid shooting at lights having different temperature:
a) in rooms the tv can cast a strong lighting changing instantly - turn the tv off when shooting because no grey card will help you if the tv's light has an influence on subjects on the photo
b) if you have to use ordinary bulb lights and flash at the same time, try to get most lighting with the flash or the opposite way (avoid mixing different lights in similar proportions, unless you really know what you do). You can achieve this by setting the flash to ETTL and camera to  low ISO, 1/200s casting the light from the ceiling (if white or natural grey)m- this makes more light from the flash than ambient. This will cause the flash to fire with more power and will override the ambient light from the bulbs having different temperature and making mess. You can first fire flash in manual mode with full power (M 1/1) to check what are its the capabilities in your current situation. The opposite situation - to get only some enlighting fom the flash will be achieved with opposite settings - high ISO, low shutter speed, ETTL mode. This you can check by setting (M/128) on your flash and setting all the other exposure parameters accordingly.
c) candles, tungsten, bulbs, flash are sources of difeerent temperature so will give you different WB settings. Try to avoid mixing them
d) some fluorescent bulbs blink with 50 or 60 Hz frequency. If you will shoot with shutter speeds above 1/30s you can be surprised how different your photos will be depending on which moment of the bulb's phase you have pressed the shutter :)

4. On your final photo try to find a natural WB reference - white or natural grey material which can serve as the WB reference. It helps often just to pick it.

5. When you do not control your light in most cases you will just have some kind of compromise...
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 07:09:58 AM by marekjoz »
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PeterJ

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Re: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?
« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2012, 07:41:08 AM »
Here is a article written by Stefan Ohlsson the swedish Bruce Frazer  and color handling educator for professional photographers     http://translate.google.se/translate?sl=sv&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=sv&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sfoto.se%2Fteknik%2Ffarghantering-kalibrering-och-utskrifter%2Fkalibrera-din-kamera&act=url  http://translate.google.se/translate?sl=sv&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=sv&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sfoto.se%2Fteknik%2Ffarghantering-kalibrering-och-utskrifter%2Fkalibrera-din-kamera&act=url

One of mine pictures from Cape Town are  in the article and showing the differences in colors and problems with for example over saturation  red colors in different profiles
I agree with you the SpyderCheckr photo on that page does look the best. It looks the most vibrant and almost jumps out from the page.

bdunbar79

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Re: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?
« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2012, 08:46:38 AM »
Getting the WB wrong can't necessarily be fixed.  With the 1DX I've gotten it wrong with mixed lighting sources and this will leave green tinted or pink tinted shadows that cannot be repaired in post, or if they can, not worth the copious amount of time to do so.  So I agree, you gotta get it right.

In that case you can't get it right because the color balance was changed by the light. Each of those light sources has a different white point and a different color balance.

This is why white balance is a misleading concept. People start thinking that you can get the color balance right by changing the white balance. The only time when you can get it right is in standard light (like D65 light sources), because that's the context in which (human expected) color (balance) is defined. In any other case, you can only get an approximation whose accuracy depends on the spectral power distribution of all present light sources. In many cases it may be good enough, but in some cases it may make people think that they've done something wrong.

For mixed types of light, things like ColorPassport are better because they affect the color balance, not just the white balance. Differences may be significant even in broad daylight because sunlight is not really a D65 light, plus it varies constantly.

For example, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illuminant_D65 says that "D65 corresponds roughly to a midday sun in Western Europe / Northern Europe".

Thanks.  My situation pertains to indoor volleyball, in terrible lighting.  I took 4 different WB readings at 4 different parts of the court, and got 4 different readings, and it mattered big time.  So I agree with you that it is ultimately color balance, with which rapid changing action and parts of the court, this may be something that cannot be remedied and I'll have to do the best I can both during shooting and in post.  Indoor gyms sometimes are terrible for good photography.  I just hate to spend an hour on each photo when I have 90 of them to get the color balance right if it's wrong.  I could also simply pick 10 of the absolute best, fix those up, and print those vs. trying to make a DVD full of printable photos.  Maybe make the DVD "as best as I can get it within reason" then print maybe 10 of those shots with more time spent in post.  It's really challenging compared to outdoors, where I have to do very little.  How have you guys handled this?
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marekjoz

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Re: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?
« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2012, 08:49:11 AM »
Here is a article written by Stefan Ohlsson the swedish Bruce Frazer  and color handling educator for professional photographers     http://translate.google.se/translate?sl=sv&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=sv&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sfoto.se%2Fteknik%2Ffarghantering-kalibrering-och-utskrifter%2Fkalibrera-din-kamera&act=url  http://translate.google.se/translate?sl=sv&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=sv&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sfoto.se%2Fteknik%2Ffarghantering-kalibrering-och-utskrifter%2Fkalibrera-din-kamera&act=url

One of mine pictures from Cape Town are  in the article and showing the differences in colors and problems with for example over saturation  red colors in different profiles

There is something in this, that using serious tools you still achieve different results. One would expect, that serious tools should lead to objective, similar results. The problem with this which I see is: should the result be the most accurate - most similar to the live spectator of the event or it should be the most entertaining for the final photo viewer?
Since the results achieved are so different, I still find it as a problem in more subjective than objective matter, as final results may be quite differently graded by the final viewers.
I agree of course, that using tools gives you serious advantage over only subjective eye justice, but anyway - what you will finally do with it will be just your own vision and personal taste.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?
« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2012, 10:41:03 AM »
WHY?
QP-CARD incl profiling  software cost 2 dollars more, and  in none of your products (what I can se) we can make a  own profile in less then  5 sec and  in the shooting light  and  get better color accuracy.  The profiles in the raw converters are not as well written for indoors light as you can generate by qp-card and by your self

Because the QPCard is heavy paper, and it will quickly become a crumpled mess if I carry it around in my camera bag.  I can shoot with flash in the rain, and that's mixed lighting.  A wet piece of paper won't work well in that scenario. 

There is something in this, that using serious tools you still achieve different results. One would expect, that serious tools should lead to objective, similar results.

This is a key point.  I agree that there is such a thing as 'correct' WB and color balance, but achieving it in practice is not simple. 
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Re: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?
« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2012, 10:41:03 AM »

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Re: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?
« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2012, 11:57:48 AM »
WB is a completely subjective thing but generally, You want it accurate.

Different Light sources give out different shades of light, Tungsten is more orange, Florescent is greenish, daylight is bluer, Flash is always 5600K Etc.

The tint control allows you to tweak the Green-magenta to fine tune the color more.

You can Lie about the true colors on a scene with mixed lighting to impressive results.

NotABunny

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Re: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?
« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2012, 01:39:36 PM »
My situation pertains to indoor volleyball, in terrible lighting.  I took 4 different WB readings at 4 different parts of the court, and got 4 different readings, and it mattered big time.  ... I just hate to spend an hour on each photo when I have 90 of them to get the color balance right if it's wrong. ... How have you guys handled this?

I shoot RAW, in available light, never bother with custom white balance (because my shooting is too dynamic, especially when you consider that the lighting at 1/200 seconds has phases of different colors), and correct everything in post, shot by shot. However, with normal indoors lighting, the white balance can be corrected in bulk. But the really nice shots, I correct manually.

mirekti

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Re: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?
« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2012, 04:40:25 PM »

Has anybody tried using Expodisc? Apparently produces great results, but it is a bit expensive, though.

I remember I read somewhere that even though one can correct WB in post it sometimes leads to wrong colors afterwards. Like, changing WB in post doesn't treat all colors the same, for example blue becomes darker blue while red doesn't and I belive some cast was mentioned. Does anybody have an idea about this issue?
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Re: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?
« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2012, 05:21:09 PM »

Has anybody tried using Expodisc? Apparently produces great results, but it is a bit expensive, though.

I remember I read somewhere that even though one can correct WB in post it sometimes leads to wrong colors afterwards. Like, changing WB in post doesn't treat all colors the same, for example blue becomes darker blue while red doesn't and I belive some cast was mentioned. Does anybody have an idea about this issue?

I have one for 77mm thread. It works great, but I found that using a normal A4 sheet of paper or a napkin does the job as well. Save the money for something else :)
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Re: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?
« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2012, 04:02:17 AM »
I've found great results with this particular WB lens cap
http://www.ebay.com/itm/77mm-White-Balance-Lens-Cap-For-Canon-Sony-Nokin-Lens-/280680216117?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4159d83635

The construction is as cheap as the price, but the functionality is great.
It renders the WB just a smidge warm, which I prefer.

I've tried two other types of WB lens caps, and find them wildly unreliable.
They have a version of this cap that I haven't tried, as it is like 50 some-odd dollars, but this appears to be the same thing.

Being able to grab the camera and run is important to me, which is also a factor.
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Re: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?
« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2012, 04:02:17 AM »

slowcar1DX

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Re: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?
« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2012, 05:48:19 AM »
just wondering if expodisc is any good for setting WB...

http://www.expoimaging.com/product-overview.php?cat_id=1

Thx!

trygved

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Re: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?
« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2012, 09:57:57 AM »
just wondering if expodisc is any good for setting WB...

http://www.expoimaging.com/product-overview.php?cat_id=1

Thx!

I've used a knockoff of this unit and it was the worst of the batch.
Could have been the cheap materials or whatever, but it provided a ridiculously cold WB, sometimes tinting it purple.  :P

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Re: What is white balance and what's the correct way to use it?
« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2012, 09:57:57 AM »