Determining color temp when using custom white balance

mikekeck

I'm New Here
Mar 14, 2018
7
7
Texas
#1
On my 6Dii and 6D, when I set the white balance to anything other than "custom," I can clearly see what color temperature is being used. But, when I use a gray card or Expodisc image to set "custom white balance," I'm not seeing IN-CAMERA what color temperature the image is being shot at. Is there a way to see this (degrees Kelvin) info in-camera? If you are wondering why I care: basically, I am looking for a way to measure the ambient light color temperature (so I can quickly add the appropriate gels to my speedlites) without buying an expensive color-temperature light meter.
 

YuengLinger

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 20, 2012
2,096
122
Southeastern USA
#2
I think this is an interesting question, but in practical terms, how precisely do you need a gel to match color temp? Before buying an expensive meter, simply experiment with a pack of correction filters such as this:

https://honlphoto.com/products/copy-of-honl-photo-autumn-filter-kit-for-speedlights-1

Also, here is a short article, a few years old, but still completely relevant, that offers suggestions to dial in Kelvin values and match filters to various lighting situations. In fact, there are only a handful of commonly used indoor lighting for most locations, and once you are familiar with how the correction filters work, you might find you are covered for 99% of situations:

https://fstoppers.com/post-production/learn-shoot-proper-white-balance-using-kelvin-temps-3328

But it would be cool to see the detected Kelvin values in-camera. Still, tweaking in post would likely be needed.
 

mikekeck

I'm New Here
Mar 14, 2018
7
7
Texas
#3
Thanks for your reply, YuengLinger. I will read those articles. It doesn't have to be perfect, just "ballpark." The problem I get into is that many of the indoor venues where I shoot have a mix of tungsten, and multi-temperature fluorescent and LED lighting (so you can never really get it "perfectly" balanced). I am wanting to avoid "testing" multiple gels until I get the best one. It would be nice if I could just see a dominant degrees Kelvin displayed in the camera and just put the appropriate gel on.
 

YuengLinger

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 20, 2012
2,096
122
Southeastern USA
#4
Thanks for your reply, YuengLinger. I will read those articles. It doesn't have to be perfect, just "ballpark." The problem I get into is that many of the indoor venues where I shoot have a mix of tungsten, and multi-temperature fluorescent and LED lighting (so you can never really get it "perfectly" balanced). I am wanting to avoid "testing" multiple gels until I get the best one. It would be nice if I could just see a dominant degrees Kelvin displayed in the camera and just put the appropriate gel on.
Couldn't you find a variety of indoor lighting to try the gels and get comfortable before an actual shoot? Offices, schools, your home, your garage or a parking garage, etc. Basically there's incandescent, halogen, fluorescent (including CFL) and LED. LED, so popular now in canned lighting (recessed in ceilings), as you said, can be anywhere from very warm to quite cool. The point is, I think with a little testing on your own, well before a shoot, you can learn to get very close and know which of the filter gels will serve you best. You can look at how the light plays on the back of your hand, get a sense of the temp in the room, look at the lights themselves, and decide which gel to go with.

And some events just work best with the mix of lighting, not trying to get everything a "proper" skin tone, but catching the character of the lighting as it actually played on faces.

Black and white is one resort!

Then there is another factor. If the walls and/or ceiling of the venue are close to white, and you use bounce flash, the flash is going to dominate. In a way, this can make life easy, as your flash will help produce pleasing skin tones regardless of the lighting. However, if you have to bounce off colored walls, that's another challenge, one you'd want to work out early, before the event starts.

At some point, changing gels during event photography is going to result in lost precious moments. If a certain lighting is dominant, ok, but what if each room has something different? Maybe "fixing" things in post isn't ideal, but events can be so quick, so hectic, and often unpredictable.

It can be a lot of fun learning by playing without the pressure of an actual event. Have a friend stand in.
 
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Mt Spokane Photography

Spends Too Much Time on This Forum
Mar 25, 2011
14,832
268
#5
I have had difficulty determining the detected color temperature in post processing. Adobe Lightroom gives substantially different numbers between my EOS R and 5D MK IV after mounting them identically, using the same lens and lighting and exposures, even after setting the cameras manually to the same color temp..

The results in DPP are closer, but its obvious that the detected color temp varies from camera to camera, so it may not be worth it to expect accurate results. DPP recognizes the manually set color temperature and uses that. However, I can see that the colors are different when I do that.
 
Aug 29, 2013
196
1
#6
I don't know if this is an answer that will specifically help you as it's more of adjusting what you want to see as seeing what the camera choose.
What I learned long ago, was how to roughly set white balance for a shot. Using live view, you can see "live" the various changes that you make to your white balance. It's slow, it's not the most accurate because the screen on the camera isn't likely the most colour accurate, but it will give you immediate feedback as to what setting you choose will make to your photo. Again, I don't know if this is exactly what you're looking for as this is you choosing a setting rather than the camera showing you what it chose but maybe it will help anyway.
 
Likes: YuengLinger