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  1. #1
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    white/grey white balance

    Do you use this thing every time you take a photo?

    specially these snowy days..?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: white/grey white balance

    Outdoors - almost never, auto white balance does a pretty good job with outdoor color temperatures. For indoor shots, almost always. Fortunately with digital, you can immediately review your image and color channel histograms to see if the color temperature is acting properly.


    *edit - actually I am not sure how your camera may review the histogram, it may be all one lump histogram, or it may be a variety of colors in one, mine shows each individual histogram for RGB. Although, thats not really super necessary to check white balance, usually a simply glance will tell you what you need to know.

    I see you use RAW, so white balance before shooting isn't a major issue. Still, if you set white balance right when you shoot, I think thats easier than adjusting a totally off white balance in conversion.

  3. #3
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    Re: white/grey white balance

    Thank you for replying.

    Yes I shot RAW all the time, but I merely use auto-white balance well if I'm experimenting though yeah but if I can see that the lighting is like tungsten-ish i go for the tungsten option that kind of thing.

    Well I'm kinda all over indoor and outdoor to be honest so yeah I was just getting some ideas if its really necessary to use this white balance card thing.
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    Nikonowhore zerodog's Avatar
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    Re: white/grey white balance

    If you want the best color and sometimes exposure, WB is #1. Even shooting RAW. I have 2 items that work very well for setting WB. A pop out photoflex gray card. It is about 10"x10" with a little target on it. Set this in a scene or have someone hold it. Use this to set WB in post. But for setting custom WB on the camera I really have been loving the Expodisc. That thing is worth its weight in gold when shooting weird mixed light conditions.

  5. #5
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    Re: white/grey white balance

    I saw this one from jessops I dont know how big it is but i think its foldable.

    http://www.jessops.com/online.store/...8987/show.html
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  6. #6
    Nikonowhore zerodog's Avatar
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    Re: white/grey white balance

    Something like that is what you need. Run Auto WB , shoot a picture with that thing in the scene near the main subject. Then in PP pick that as your neutral WB point and paste it to all photos in the group. Easy, fast and accurate. Whenever I set up flash shots I have someone hold the WB thing and I do a few test shots.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: white/grey white balance

    I find the gray card more useful for setting an exposure, and the white card better for color temperature. Almost all of the time something simply white - business card, piece of paper - does just fine for WB.

    Zero - thats sort of a roundabout way of doing it, the easier way would be to set it to that white balance in custom within the camera, before it turns to raw. Accomplishes the same thing, and no extra workaround in raw conversion.

    The gray card I use is very simple and can be purchased at a photo store for like $7, but I mostly only use it calibrating studio exposures.

    *edit - a company I used to work with had those targets just like the one linked, but it would include black, gray and white. pretty handy, but they were like $120, they aren't THAT handy haha. I guess I'm just a cheap-o

  8. #8
    Nikonowhore zerodog's Avatar
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    Re: white/grey white balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Anbesol
    I find the gray card more useful for setting an exposure, and the white card better for color temperature. Almost all of the time something simply white - business card, piece of paper - does just fine for WB.

    Zero - thats sort of a roundabout way of doing it, the easier way would be to set it to that white balance in custom within the camera, before it turns to raw. Accomplishes the same thing, and no extra workaround in raw conversion.
    White is not always white, especially when it comes to paper. Trusting paper or a sheet or towel is a sure way to make a person look like golum. But it can get you close. As close as auto WB? Depends on your camera. My pop WB disk was $20? Great tool for $20. The expodisk is $100 and worth every penny for indoor shooting without a flash.

    Setting in Camera WB with the card is not always practical, and will not always yeild the best result. Throwing the card in the scene even if you have already set it close is a great idea. Sometimes when you are setting up a shot you do not have much time either. And you are lucky to even get someone to hold the card for you. It only takes a second to use this in a program like Lightroom to sync the WB setting for all of the photos in a set.

  9. #9
    Senior Member freygr's Avatar
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    Re: white/grey white balance

    The gray card in the photo will make the Post Processing faster in getting the WB correct. Unless the light is changing you only need one exposure with the gray card, as you just apply the settings to all the photos in that session.

    With RAW there is not a WB per say, just a reference setting in the file, the RAW data is saved just as the sensor see's the image. The Gama, Color Balance, and Contrast are again jest values stored in the information section of the RAW file. All the settings DO NOT change any values in the RAW data, and are applied when the RAW data is processed for viewing, or saving to an different file format.

    RAW is the only format at which you can't loss image data. With TIFF you can lose data by adjusting curves or Gama at the extremes highlight/shadows, or all over by using JPG
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    Re: white/grey white balance

    how would you take a picture of your white/grey card? shall I use either manual or AV priority as long as it covers the whole view finder?
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  11. #11
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    Re: white/grey white balance

    Go to the Custom White Balance in the appropriate menu and then be sure that the center portion (or spot meter indicator) of the viewfinder is completely surrounded by the 'white' card; then take the 'picture'. The camera will report that it has 'set' the custom white balance.

    Depending upon the model of Canon you have, I can give you more detail if needed.

    Do not use a grey card for White Balance. Use a grey card for setting the exposure level by metering off the card. In other words, put the grey card in a place where it is lit by the same light as your subject(s) and take a meter reading off the card ThruTheLens or with another reflective meter. It still may require a bit of fiddling as grey cards are not exactly perfect for exposure except in specific conditions. It will get you very close and except for extremes, it will be more than adequate, particularly with a RAW image.
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  12. #12
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    Re: white/grey white balance

    If I do a CWB reading with a white card is it best to get someone to hold it where the picture will be taken (of the subject) or somewhere else? Also is it best to zoom right in to the card or step back and just make sure the card is in the centre?

    It's most like likely I will only use the CWB setting (for now anyway) for indoor pictures with lights on.

    I was tempted by the expodisc but bit put off for what I really need it for. Someone said it sets really good CWB if not using the flash. If I shoot indoor when lights are on I will most likely need the flash.

    Seems like the expodisc is useful when different lights enter a room (ie during day).

  13. #13
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: white/grey white balance

    the benefit to zooming in on the card is having a more isolated and exact histogram, though it really can be done either way. I zoom in so the viewfinder is completely covered in the gray card, and then my histogram should only show one big jump right smack in the middle. Some cameras may have an issue focusing on the gray card, draw an X with a sharpie in the center (if there isn't already a target).

    When using a flash, I don't bother setting white balance, just set white balance to flash. The only variation there could be is what little ambient light affects it, which is usually very very little to zilch.

    Trusting paper or a sheet or towel is a sure way to make a person look like golum
    I have never seen a situation where a white sheet of paper did anything but set a very good white balance. It has always been better than auto white balance on everything except super bright outdoors, in which AWB does the same. So I'd have to say that your statement is entirely false.

  14. #14
    Nikonowhore zerodog's Avatar
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    Re: white/grey white balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Anbesol
    I have never seen a situation where a white sheet of paper did anything but set a very good white balance. It has always been better than auto white balance on everything except super bright outdoors, in which AWB does the same. So I'd have to say that your statement is entirely false.
    Every time I have tried the white paper/sock/towel trick it is not so hot. Maybe I need better paper.

    The gray card should be put in your shot and then used in PP. This will give you killer results every time.

    The expo disk is a great tool for mixed, weird indoor lighting. There is nothing I have tried that comes close.

  15. #15
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    Re: white/grey white balance

    So I'm confused on using the cards now. I bought one of Scott Kelby's CS3 books and it came with a card with white, black, and two grays on it. He says to use the lighter gray to set the white balance in camera raw. Is that not correct? Should I be using the white part of the card? It seems to me like AWB on my XSi always comes out too cool. I have some photos though, maybe just the shade causing problems, that the gray makes everything a bit yellow looking when I set white balance by clicking on it in ACR.

  16. #16
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    Re: white/grey white balance

    Thanks for advice.

    I've just had a quick go in living room just using white paper (will get white card from camera shop) and the results weren't too bad.

    When taking the picture of the white paper I had to use manual focus as the auto would shoot. The histogram wasn't straight down middle. It was slightly to the left.

    When i took a few pictures I noticed that there was nothing in the very light section of the histogram. Is this normal for indoor pictures with lights on?

    For taking picture of white paper and photos I used the following settings:

    Program
    ISO 800
    Shooting mode: AE
    Metering mode : Evaluative

    Is this ok to take picture of white paper using these settings?

    I look forward to some feedback on these queries and I'll look into getting some white card.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: white/grey white balance

    The histogram shouldn't be in the middle for the white paper, it should be in the middle for the gray card. your white should be far left, almost the the tip of the left side of the histogram.

    The point I mention for using white paper is adjusting it through the cameras menu, through custom white balance. It should allow you to set the white balance yourself, access that part of the menu, then click 'set', then it will prompt you to shoot something white.

    Use Av or Tv for better control over your results, instead of automatic mode. (or, full manual for that matter)

    Evaluative metering is the most foolproof, but the least amount of precise manual control.

    You shouldn't need manual focus, if your camera doesn't focus on the piece of paper (a lot wouldn't), then try drawing an X on there and placing the center crosshair over that X, it should be able to find the contrast in the X.

  18. #18
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    Re: white/grey white balance

    Although I was quite happy with the results I had the other day I would like to be able to use the flash as there could be be blurs if you using shutter speeds of 1/50.

    Using the flash mode in WB didn't really work.

    What's the best way to get a reading using the flash? Would I just taking a picture of white card with the flash on?

  19. #19
    Nikonowhore zerodog's Avatar
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    Re: white/grey white balance

    Yes a good way is just take a picture of your gray card in your scene using the flash or any other lighting used in the shot. Setting WB is just compensating for the color of the light. The more light sources in a photo the more important it can become to do a custom setting.

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