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Thread: Custom white balance, do you use this often and if so why?

  1. #41
    Member dodgyexposure's Avatar
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    +1 on AWB and shoot raw. I find AWB is usually fairly accurate outdoors, but chancy indoros (not surprising, given the higher chance of mixed lighting). Most PP software allow you to make blanket WB adjustments to a batch of photos, which can cut down on processing time for a lengthy shoot.

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    Ausphotography Regular poorman's Avatar
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    wow lots of different opinions about the white balance / more for my plate I guess , think ill stay raw and awb

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poorman View Post
    wow lots of different opinions about the white balance / more for my plate I guess , think ill stay raw and awb
    I prefer using daylight. Shows things as they are most of the time (even if the photos not taken in daylight).

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
    I prefer using daylight. Shows things as they are most of the time (even if the photos not taken in daylight).
    Well kind'a!(but not really!)

    If you're shooting under man made lighting .. then daylight will be off by a few orders of magnitude!
    If you're shooting in the shade on a cloudy day .. same as above.

    etc. etc.

    BUT! To be sure here: If you're shooting in your cameras raw format, it makes no difference what WB you shoot with in camera. You're software has the ability to reset WB(if needed) to whatever the camera is capable of setting it too.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
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    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC

    {Yongnuo}; -> YN35/2N : YN50/1.8N


  5. #45
    Ausphotography Regular John King's Avatar
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    I always shoot RAW + LSF JPEGs (LSF = 2.7:1 compression rather than the far more common LF = 4:1 compression). Almost always use AWB except for sunrises/sunsets.

    It helps to remember that a RAW file has a far greater amount of data than any JPEG file. Other than that, a RAW file does not have 1) bit depth; 2) colour space; or 3) white balance assigned in the camera, so these can all be modified with no data loss in post processing (other than changing the bit depth to a smaller bit depth ... ) .

    All JPEG and TIFF files produced in-camera have the bit depth, WB and colour space "baked" into the image file, and these can only be altered later with potentially massive data loss. Certainly with significant data loss (mostly ... ).

    I always post process using a 16 bit, ProPhotoRGB colour space using either PSD or TIFF files as the target file type. If this needs to be used on the web, I then convert the file to 8 bit, sRGB colour space and save as a .JPG with a modified filename.

    It helps if you work in a fully colour managed environment and have a monitor that can display an aRGB colour space with a greater bit depth than 8 bits ...

    After this, it rapidly becomes a can of worms ... .
    Regards, john

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  6. #46
    Ausphotography Regular poorman's Avatar
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    Have got my daughters wedding this sat / so taken my camera along for some quick snaps ...ill do a wide range of photos all in raw and awb .

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    I use the K setting alot. I especially like wacking it up to 7300 or more for sunset shots. Makes the red more vivid.
    Cheers, Ann

    60D, Canon 18-200mm, Canon Fisheye, Canon Macro, Canon 50mm prime, Tripod. Photoshop Elements, Picasa.

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  8. #48
    Member stephendean's Avatar
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    The only time I would use custom WB is if I was only shooting JPG. It will make no difference with RAW files.
    Canon Fan from way back
    http://stephendeanphotography.wordpress.com/ My Photo Blog
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  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephendean View Post
    The only time I would use custom WB is if I was only shooting JPG. It will make no difference with RAW files.
    No difference to the raw files per se: often using a CWB can make a big difference to the workflow processing of the the raw files, though.

    WW

  10. #50
    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Set indoor work with artificial light aside. That is a whole different can of worms and, thankfully, I hardly ever need to do it.

    For everything else, I set it to daylight and leave it there. This is the only way to get consistent natural colour when you photograph the natural world.

    (I sometimes adjust it later in a raw converter, of course, but only in unusual circumstances, and I wash my hands carefully afterwards.)
    Tony

    It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.

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    Ausphotography Addict Geoff79's Avatar
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    My problem is that every single time I manually set the custom white balance I forget about it.

    It's very rare it happens, but sometimes on overcast days I can get an unpleasant overly blue/cold cast to my images, not representative of what I'm seeing. So I'll set cwb to 5200, is my default for this. Those images come out well but then invariably, I'll take photos later either inside or in the sun and they'll come out drenched in yellow, because I've forgotten to go back to awb.

    Thankfully it's usually pretty obvious and I rectify it the first time I review my images. But it's still annoying and probably has cost me shots in the past... Shooting in JPEG when it can't be as easily undone.


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  12. #52
    Ausphotography Regular Nick Cliff's Avatar
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    The collapsible grey/white cards are useful for me photographing plants if I need to have the colour correct.
    The WB card can be used as a shade over flowers or insects in bright light or can be used as a light reflector in low light or on rainy days even as an umbrella for your camera

    cheers Nick

  13. #53
    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff79 View Post
    ...My problem is that every single time I manually set the custom white balance I forget about it.

    It's very rare it happens, but sometimes on overcast days I can get an unpleasant overly blue/cold cast to my images, not representative of what I'm seeing....
    Not only the post quoted above, but also others...

    WB is not important at all if you are recording in raw format. If you also or only record in jpeg and want to use the latter, then
    set a suitable WB. It is also useful for the in-cam image preview. But you can select the WB later in raw conversion, so it doasn't
    really matter.

    For all my shots (raw only) I leave WB set to Daylight. When converting raws I change it to Auto. (I must remember to just
    leave it on Auto in camera.)

    So to recap: it doesn't really matter if you shoot in raw.

    According to avid "full spectrum shooter" acquaintance of mine, WB is important for that, as there are no pre-set values for FS.
    Last edited by ameerat42; 31-07-2017 at 10:29pm.
    CC, Image editing OK.

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    . . . For all my shots (raw only) I leave WB set to Daylight. When converting raws I change it to Auto. (I must remember to just leave it on Auto in camera.) .
    There is a difference in the functionality and outcomes of those two procedures: that difference can make a difference. That was part of the point in Post #49.

    For example, if you are shooting a series of shots where the Subject has much the same lighting on them, but the Background lighting occasions subtle changes, it can be very useful (for the Post Production workflow) to set a White Balance, rather than use AWB. One reason being that once set then every file will open at that set WB and the corrections of CT and Tint may be calculated with a comparative of all the shots with the same base CT and TINT: both the correction and subsequent (batch) processing can be easier/more efficient from that base.

    Also (for the same reason above) it can be useful to set a WB when shooting under Cyclic Lighting when the Tv is faster than the electricity's cyclic rate.

    The WB, to a lesser degree, also drives the Histogram and "Blinkies" as well as the in-camera preview.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 31-07-2017 at 9:01pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Cliff View Post
    The collapsible grey/white cards are useful for me photographing plants if I need to have the colour correct. . . "
    Acknowledging that the OP was made in 2012 and also that the thread resurrected in 2016.

    Now again the thread is revisited with a slightly different conversation, so maybe worthwhile re-making the opinion that "colour correct" is very rarely required. (Please see Posts #24 #26 and #28)

    Absolutes and Blanket Statements are easily made factoids and it is worthwhile addressing these, sometimes.

    That's neither being pedantic concerning the phrased used, nor a trivial photographic point.

    It's understood that the grey/white cards are a good tool to use for Flower Photography and also its understood why they are a good tool to use, I concur, but in reality, when in the Digital Darkroom, I'd bet a Mars Bar that the Image is subtly tweaked to make it "look good" and it would be rare that a Colour Patch is shot on the first frame; rare that the lighting is held consistent on the Subjects; rare that the Studio Monitor's Calibration is correlated to the Test Shot containing the Colour Patch before editing any of the image files; rare that the Studio Monitor is situated in a room with controlled lighting; and rare that the end print (or screen image) is always viewed under controlled lighting conditions.

    That's a detailed explanation of why Colour Balance & White Balance are, in reality, Subjective and Interpretive.

    For nearly every shot that we will ever make, even when we desire "accuracy" and "correct", that accuracy and correctness is very so much in the eye of the beholder.

    In the context of the more detailed and targeted discussion that this thread has taken, is also worthwhile addressing another blanket statement which has made factoid status - "If you shoot raw, then it makes no difference what WB you use."

    I think that posts #49 and #54 address that one.

    WW

  16. #56
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Post #49
    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    No difference to the raw files per se: often using a CWB can make a big difference to the workflow processing of the the raw files, though.

    WW
    Post #54
    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    There is a difference in the functionality and outcomes of those two procedures: that difference can make a difference. That was part of the point in Post #49.

    The WB, to a lesser degree, also drives the Histogram and "Blinkies" as well as the in-camera preview.

    WW
    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    .....

    In the context of the more detailed and targeted discussion that this thread has taken, is also worthwhile addressing another blanket statement which has made factoid status - "If you shoot raw, then it makes no difference what WB you use."

    I think that posts #49 and #54 address that one.

    WW

    With respect to post #49 I agree that it can make a difference, but more specifically I think that difference is attributable to the raw processing software used.
    ie. that it makes a difference to the workflow is due to the software being used, not so much the choice of using a certain white balance value, or mode used in camera.

    What I mean by that is: I use the camera manufacturers raw processing software for 99.99999% of my images(all raw).
    When I use the Nikon software the appreciable difference to workflow is acknowledged, but is so insignificant that this lack of appreciable difference could still easily be described as 'no difference'.
    The difference described here as insignificant is a simple two or three step batch processing of the images to the same


    Note that my preference is to always use AutoWB, and I can count on one finger the number of times I've used any other WB value or feature seriously(ie. not in testing).
    ps. I totally disagree with Tannins assertion that sticking to daylight gives the most consistent natural colour rendering too tho. But as the saying goes, each to their own!

    With respect to Post #54, the WB is a major factor in driving the histogram, and possibly the blinkies(if that's how One chooses to shoot).
    But with that, that is one of the major reasonings for the common theory that the WB chosen in camera when shooting raw .. "makes no difference".
    ie. if you're going to choose a WB in camera simply based on the histogram(and hence blinkies), but then tweak that WB tint/warmth setting later on in PP ... then all you've done is waste your time setting WB in camera!


    I've found over the years that thirdparty software gives me 'unpleasant' colours in PP that I'm simply not used too, and 'have to work' to get right.
    When I use the Nikon software for Nikon raw files, all camera settings translate exactly the same way in the Nikon raw file software.

    So,as a quick example, If I shoot a scene and the WB comes out as 5200K and 0 tint as the recorded WB value(from camera to Nikon raw software), in all thirdparty raw software, using those same WB values gives a completely different colour rendering(from memory, usually stronger magenta). Even allowing the same thirdparty software to calculate what it thinks the cameras WB values were, while the image may not look bad, it's not the same colour rendering. All thirdparty software render Nikon raw files differently to how the camera records it, and Nikon raw software also render it.
    pps. I reckon I've tried them all, on Windows.

    "One reason being that once set then every file will open at that set WB and the corrections of CT and Tint may be calculated with a comparative of all the shots with the same base CT and TINT: both the correction and subsequent (batch) processing can be easier/more efficient from that base"
    I've never seen software that calculate the WB value for an image based on the WB of all the other images.
    To me it makes no sense at all to do so either. The assumption would be that all images are or have to be shot in exactly the same light conditions for ever more .. and we all know that's not really an option.
    So for software to have this ability seems like a silly feature only complicating already complicated programming .. and with that my guess would be a good reason to avoid such software!

    with raw files the base WB value recorded in the file has no bearing on the final WB value chosen on that file either. So to have a more accurate WB as a starting point to make is easier/efficient to tweak the WB value in the final image is not an issue in a raw file.
    You can easily change the WB value in software from a recorded 2500K(I think about the lowest value most cameras will allow) to 10000K(or 9999K) as the maximum value that most camera also allow.
    Doing so on a jpg file is an exercise in 'wild creative license' . On a raw file tho, that massive change in WB is no problem. The 10000K file will render exactly as per a camera generated raw file set to 10000K.
    ppps. I've done the tests.


    So for all intents and purposes the common acknowledgement that WB set on an in camera raw file "makes no difference" still holds.
    and for a by the way: that reference is more specifically targeted at the aility for that raw image to render in a specific manner using a specific WB value .. not really related to any differences in workflow methods.

    As for workflow during processing we each have our own methods and they usually don't translate, transfer, transcend or transpose easily or very well from one person to another.
    What one may find an annoyance(eg. me any my gripe with thirdparty software and Nikons raw files) may appear to "make no difference" to another.

  17. #57
    Ausphotography Regular Nick Cliff's Avatar
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    William for personal photos granted I will experiment a great deal with the white balance however if I am asked to take a photo for instance of an insect for scientific ID purposes then colour accuracy really does matter as was the case with a newly found and possibly introduced insect in Queensland.
    I was interested that sharpness can help with insect ID where I was advised sometimes the number of hairs on an insect can be useful information for the entomologists,

    Cheers Nick

  18. #58
    Ausphotography Regular Nick Cliff's Avatar
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    Re the white balance discussion this article on the dress may be worth revisiting,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_dress

  19. #59
    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    The dress?! - Wow! That's old hat!

    It finally passed out of human distraction, and now it's back

  20. #60
    Ausphotography Regular Nick Cliff's Avatar
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    Sorry about that old dress

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