White Balance Technique

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White Balance Technique

Postby gstark on Tue Jan 04, 2005 1:45 pm

The second of our tutorials, White Balance Technique is now available for download.

Thank you again Cricketfan for your tireless efforts.

Comments and suggestions are welcome as always.
g.
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Postby wile_E on Tue Jan 04, 2005 1:52 pm

This is AWESOME guys!

Thanks for your time on this. I have printed off the articles and will read at home. I'm sure they have already pre-empted some of my 'dumber' questions...

:lol:
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Postby Onyx on Tue Jan 04, 2005 11:33 pm

Ah, the over so criticisor criticising yet again...

In the guide, it's mentioned several times fine tuning the white balance settings +3 warmer to -3 cooler. The reverse is true: -3 gives warmer images (decrease in temperature), +3 cooler (increase in temperature).

It might be useful to note too, that the order in which the white balance settings appear in the top LCD increases in colour temp as moving across to the right - IMO they were carefully chosen to reflect such and not arbitrarily ordered. eg. incandescent is 3000k is leftmost, fluoro is next: 4200k, direct sunlight 5200k, etc. The centre values (with fine tuning at zero) are quoted.

Also, in the section Methods of Setting White Balance, it has a reference of "better" white balance by using preset. It might be a matter of semantics, but it should read "more accurate" white balance is achieved using preset. After all, 'better' is subjective - for example I personally prefer my images warmer than neutral/truthful rendition, so for me preset is not "better" (as it lacks the fine tuning to warm it up).

Additionally, you've omitted one whole other method of setting white balace - using gray point in Nikon Capture Editor (as opposed to colour temperature based off the light source under shooting conditions)

Semantics nazi over and out.
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Thanks Onyx!

Postby the foto fanatic on Wed Jan 05, 2005 8:32 am

Thank you, Onyx, for this post. It raises some interesting points.

These tutorials are meant to be a library for our members to be able to refer to - as such, must be accurate. I therefore have no problems with, and in fact welcome, any mistakes being pointed out so that they can be rectified. This body of work will not be "mine", but will be the property of the forum. I expect any articles I might write will expand and even change over time with contributions from others as apropriate. Gary Stark and I have discussed this very issue, and have planned for such amendments.

The particular tutorials that I have developed thus far are for those newer to digital photography, and have been pitched at that level. Thus these articles may not contain some high-level information which IMHO (as the initiator in this case) may not consider necessary at that time. Other initiators, I'm sure, will have their own methodology.

So, Onyx, to your first point. You are absolutely correct. This mistake will be corrected immediately. Thanks for discovering it so quickly.

Although you are also right with your paragraph about how the white balance settings move up the Kelvin colour scale, this section was actually removed from my original draft to avoid unnecessary complication. It could easily become the topic of a future tutorial - perhaps you might write it, Onyx? :)

I'll stick to my comment about "better". I have even added a note about the limitations of the Auto setting which, I think, demonstrate why that setting is not useful in all cicumstances, and therefore IMHO, not as good.

You can certainly set white balance in Nikon Capture Editor (or other software), Once again, probably the topic of another tutorial about software that you may care to write. The articles written so far are about the camera and its functions.

Thanks again
Trevor
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Re: Thanks Onyx!

Postby Onyx on Wed Jan 05, 2005 1:17 pm

Trevor, thanks for making the corrections. I still disagree with the ambiguous use of the word "better" to describe a more accurate white balance, but hey - you're the author. ;)

cricketfan wrote:You can certainly set white balance in Nikon Capture Editor (or other software), Once again, probably the topic of another tutorial about software that you may care to write. The articles written so far are about the camera and its functions.


I was not merely advocating the use of Nikon Capture to alter white balance, but a completely different method of setting white balance, ie. via the use of a gray point.

The guide is entitled white balance technique, and as such I feel the various options available for achieving accurate or "better" white balance should be explored. Therefore I perceive the lack of information regarding setting of white balance via a gray point a great omission. As it is, and let me be blunt - it seems to be a guide solely advocating the use of preset WB.
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Postby AlistairF on Wed Jan 05, 2005 2:09 pm

I think these guides are really useful, especially around the subject of White Balance, as I've found most camera store staff don't even uderstand the subject. The more people underatnd this topic, the better pictures we'll see being produced by the D70 community, and that can't be a bad thing :D

As this is highly emotional subject, I expect some interesting comments on the following.

Two methods I've successfully been using that I'd like to share are:

1) PREset White Balance in the field using a LastoLite Ezy Balance. It's a collapsable 18% grey card with a focusing target that folds like a reflector into a 10cm pouch. I've found that whites are not all white and can skew colors when trying to balance from white papers, foam cups, pringle lids etc. and don't work well with the D70 trying to PREset in bright light. I've also been told by the people that write my ICC profiles for my printer that some grey cards are not colour neutral and that some are only exposure neutral (maybe just an academic agrument).


2) If you have time, place a grey-card into your scene and your first sample image (use RAW/NEF), then remove it. Then take your second proper image. Using Nikon Capture with the sample image, under White Balance, set the grey point with the marquee tool by selecting a nice and full piece of your grey card. This collects a good average of neutral grey. Then, in the White Balance tool, set the colour temperature using the grey point.
You can now copy this setting to the clipboard from the White Balance tool and paste it to your proper image to set the correct white balance.

Example of method 2: http://www.pixspot.com/albums/userpics/10059/LastoliteDemo.jpg

What is interesting is that even if you set the white balance with the WB PRE, using the White Balance tool in this manner seems to provide a slightly different, if not more accurate result.


This is just my experience and may not be the 100% correct method, but I'd be interested in what other people are doing in this area of setting correct White Balance in PP.

Alistair
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Re: Thanks Onyx!

Postby gstark on Wed Jan 05, 2005 5:34 pm

Onyx,


Onyx wrote:I was not merely advocating the use of Nikon Capture to alter white balance, but a completely different method of setting white balance, ie. via the use of a gray point.

The guide is entitled white balance technique, and as such I feel the various options available for achieving accurate or "better" white balance should be explored. Therefore I perceive the lack of information regarding setting of white balance via a gray point a great omission. As it is, and let me be blunt - it seems to be a guide solely advocating the use of preset WB.


I didn't read it that way; and in fact the methodologies employed, such as the ExpoDisc, are treated almost like an afterthought.

But getting back to the use of a grey point, please correct me if I'm wrong, but while yes, it certainly is another method of achieving a white balance, isn't it also a post processing method exclusively?

IOW, can we set a grey point in the camera? I don't believe that we can, but I'm perfectly happy to be corrected on this point.

Trevor is targetting basic camera techniques in the first few tutorials he is writing, and while you're statement that using a grey point is yet another way to achieve wb, I think you might need to concede that, if it's not an in-camera technique, it just might not be entirely appropriate within this (camera focussed) document.
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Postby Greg B on Wed Jan 05, 2005 5:40 pm

May I say that the discussions about this excellent paper (thanks Trevor) are also highly informative. And entertaining as well. :)
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Be as blunt as you like!

Postby the foto fanatic on Wed Jan 05, 2005 7:55 pm

Hi Onyx
I have no problems with bluntness. I don't shy away from a debate, either. :)

And, I believe a little controversy around photography is not unwelcome. It seems to stimulate the thought processes, don't you think? :shock:

The points you have made in your posts are perfectly valid. As posts.

I had no intention of including software solutions to WB in this tutorial. Sorry. Still have no intention of doing so.

And I hardly think that anyone looking at the WB Technique tutorial in a balanced manner would think that:
Onyx: As it is, and let me be blunt - it seems to be a guide solely advocating the use of preset WB.


I'm fairly sure that if you read it again you will find that I have discussed another method in a fair bit of detail, including which camera controls are used, and also mentioned some others.

And, I did declare my own preferences by saying:
We will discuss the two methods I use: setting WB via the camera using the
top LCD as outlined in the third option above; or using the Preset setting.


Notice the word "two" in there?

But, it wouldn't do for us all to be the same. Healthy differences of opinion should be welcomed.

That way we all learn. :)

Cheers
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Postby Matt. K on Wed Jan 05, 2005 8:54 pm

Gary
For some reason I am unable to open any of these tutorials. I just get a page with a little box with a cross in it. I have Adobe reader on my computer???
Regards

Matt. K
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Postby Raydar on Wed Jan 05, 2005 9:15 pm

There rated PG mate.
You mite not be aloud to view them????? :lol:


Seriously:

It mite be something to do with your fire wall mate I’m having probs with mine on this new PC, I’ll keep pushing buttons until it all works :?

Cheers
Ray :P
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Postby Onyx on Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:03 pm

MattK, what ver of Adobe Reader have you got? They should be fairly straightforward too - there's no fancy graphics or strange widgets in the document (as Peter Inova likes to implement in his ebook).

Alistair's lastolite thing looks impressive. Cheaper than an expodisc I suspect, and it looks as if it can be used for exposure metering purposes too.

Gary, and Trevor - I saw the document entitled white balance techniques, and the main body of text mostly described issues related to white balance, so I mistaken believe it was to do with techniques in relation to white balance (not ignoring software techniques). In any case, Alaistair just wrote a summary for setting white balance via gray point in his post.

Greg B - I'm glad you're entertained. :D
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Postby gstark on Thu Jan 06, 2005 2:16 am

Matt,

Matt,

Matt. K wrote:For some reason I am unable to open any of these tutorials. I just get a page with a little box with a cross in it. I have Adobe reader on my computer???


Which browser are you using? You're not driving the Volvo as you're trying to read these, are you? :)

Try right clicking on the link, and then selecting "save file as" from the pop-up menu, and then select a suitable location on your hard disk for these to go in.

My guess is that although you may have the Acrobat Reader installed, your browser might not be configured for the plug-in.

PM me if you're still having issues, I can give you the direct links, or just email you the files.
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Postby gstark on Thu Jan 06, 2005 2:23 am

Onyx wrote:Gary, and Trevor - I saw the document entitled white balance techniques


And you believed that was what it might contain?

Silly you; go and stand in the corner!

:)

Seriously, yes, your point is well made, but I think that Trevor's response suitably (or maybe just satisfactorily) addresses your points of contention.

Perhaps the one point that hasn't been made forcefully enough is that, as Trevor has said, we do not expect these documents to be static, but they are living, working documents, subject to change over time, and this has been provided for in the sources that we have.
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Postby ajo43 on Thu Jan 06, 2005 8:05 am

I'm just a tinsy bit confused.

Can I white balance from a Grey Card using the in camera Pre function?

I thought that a Grey Card was for measuring exposure and a White Card was for white balance.

Or maybe it doesn't matter??

Thanks
Regards

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Postby Matt. K on Thu Jan 06, 2005 9:38 am

ajo43
A grey card is totally colour neutral and is better than a white card for setting WB...because....Quite often the white card will be too bright and the camera will not be able to give you a GOOD reading. It will fail to set the WB.
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Great question

Postby the foto fanatic on Thu Jan 06, 2005 9:50 am

ajo43 wrote:I'm just a tinsy bit confused.

Can I white balance from a Grey Card using the in camera Pre function?

I thought that a Grey Card was for measuring exposure and a White Card was for white balance.

Or maybe it doesn't matter??

Thanks


G'day Jonesy
Thanks for asking this very good question.
I'll do my best to answer it.
The D70 manual says, and I quote:
"Place a neutral gray or white object under the lighting that will be used in the final photograph."
So it is a tad confusing.
Most grey (the anglo v american spelling is confusing too!) cards have a white card on the reverse, so using a white card would be relatively easy also.
However, I find that the more reflective surface of the white card is slightly more difficult to use. For example, the angle at which the card is placed in the lighting can make a tremendous difference to both WB and exposure metering results.
Thom Hogan, the photographer/writer, says this:
"Practical field tests show that PRE works more consistently using a neutral gray card than it does with a white card (the Nikon manual suggests either). A neutral gray card should, by definition, generate a correct exposure and has no colour cast."
I hope this information has been helpful to you, Jonesy. :D
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Postby ajo43 on Thu Jan 06, 2005 2:37 pm

Very helpful info. This is one of the two questions that has been bugging me for ages.

The other one has to do with the exposure compensation setting on the TTL flash (but I'll have to do some more thinking about how to phrase the question before I ask it!@#).
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Jonesy
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Hi Alistair!

Postby the foto fanatic on Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:16 pm

AlistairF wrote:I think these guides are really useful, especially around the subject of White Balance, as I've found most camera store staff don't even uderstand the subject. The more people underatnd this topic, the better pictures we'll see being produced by the D70 community, and that can't be a bad thing :D


Thanks, Alistair, that is exactly what we are trying to achieve.
1) PREset White Balance in the field using a LastoLite Ezy Balance.

I haven't seen this, or even heard of it before your post, but it sounds neat. I certainly agree that not all whites are white, and that therefore a grey card gives a more accurate colour balance. (For an awful moment, I nearly said "better" then :lol:). I do think it is pointless going to the trouble of measuring a Preset WB with something that would only be a "guesstimate" like a Pringles lid.
2) If you have time, place a grey-card into your scene and your first sample image (use RAW/NEF), then remove it. Then take your second proper image. Using Nikon Capture with the sample image, under White Balance, set the grey point with the marquee tool by selecting a nice and full piece of your grey card. This collects a good average of neutral grey. Then, in the White Balance tool, set the colour temperature using the grey point.
You can now copy this setting to the clipboard from the White Balance tool and paste it to your proper image to set the correct white balance.

Yes, thanks for posting this - it is a perfect example of acquiring a WB using software, and what Onyx was referring to in his post. I don't disagree with using it at all, if you are not setting WB (or have set a WB you later don't like) in the camera.
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Postby Matt. K on Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:16 pm

ajo43
Adding + exposure forces the gun to put out more light and - exposure the gun will put out less light. :lol: :lol:
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Postby AlistairF on Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:35 pm

Yes, thanks for posting this - it is a perfect example of acquiring a WB using software, and what Onyx was referring to in his post. I don't disagree with using it at all, if you are not setting WB (or have set a WB you later don't like) in the camera.
Trevor


No worries Trevor... I used a similar technique to calibrate my Epson Scanner the other day. A couple of weeks ago, I've finally finished my colour workflow. D70 white balanced correctly, Monitor Calibrated, Scanner Calibrated and a custom ICC profile made for my printer. What I shoot is what I see is what I print. It's a beautiful thing.

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Postby the foto fanatic on Thu Jan 06, 2005 5:57 pm

AlistairF wrote: A couple of weeks ago, I've finally finished my colour workflow. D70 white balanced correctly, Monitor Calibrated, Scanner Calibrated and a custom ICC profile made for my printer. What I shoot is what I see is what I print. It's a beautiful thing.

Alistair


It is, indeed, a beautiful thing. :D

It could be the subject of a tutorial - I'm sure members of our forum would be interested in a "real world" account of how you have achieved this.

See ya
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