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Old Feb 20, 2007, 12:25 PM   #1
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Being very new to Dslr, im trying to understand white balance, or better still custom white balance, if i have all the other white Balance settings, like oudoor, shade, flash, ect, why would i need Custom WB, what is the purpose of it, how do i set it up
is there somewere were i can read about custom WB?
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Old Feb 20, 2007, 1:27 PM   #2
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well as good as the preset white balance settings are on most DSLR cameras they all can still get fooled in certain conditions. The fluorescent setting on my 20D does a pretty good job under fluorescent lights, but not perfect. A custom setting will get it correct. Your manual should explain how to set a custom white balance. With my 20D I just fill the frame with a 18% gray card or a piece of white card stock making sure the lighting condition I'm shooting in is hitting the card and take a picture of it. Then I select custom white balance and choose that picture. This tells my camera that this is what white should look like under these lighting conditions.
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Old Feb 20, 2007, 1:46 PM   #3
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So do take the gray card pic in daylight, or room light or doesnt it matter
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Old Feb 20, 2007, 2:46 PM   #4
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Doc,

When you take the picture of the card it has to be under the exact lighting you will be shooting under. Outdoors this can be tricky - lighting is too variable outside - shade, sun goes behind clouds, etc. So a custom WB outdoors MAY not have a long life.

Indoors, it has to be under the lighting conditions you shoot in and again it can vary by location - so each location requires a different 'master shot'. As an example I shoot indoor sports. Every gym I shoot in, I take a new 'master shot' to set my WB in. And to make matters even more interesting, about 10% of these gyms have older lights that cycle in such a way that the light temperature is not constant. It looks constant to your eyes, but not to a camera. So, take 10 shots and you may have 4 different light temperatures. Which means a custom WB won't work.

Also, in these situations remember the lighting you take the 'master shot' in must be the lighting your subject is in. For example, lets say you're shooting a stage play - if you take a shot of the grey card in the stands it won't match the lighting conditions that exist on the stage where your subject is. So, keep that in mind.
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Old Feb 20, 2007, 5:55 PM   #5
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John G.

I was shooting basketball this last weekend in our new gym, which is only a year old. I shot off 3 frames in a row and after reviewing them I noticed all 3 had diff. lighting. I assume this must be the cycling you are talking about. ( I was using AWB)

Given that, would it not be better to shoot in raw and adjust the WB after, whenshooting in those conditions where custom WB won't work either?

Does the WB affect sharpness of a picture?

Thanks

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Old Feb 20, 2007, 7:40 PM   #6
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I always shoot in RAW mode, but still will set my white balance to the lighting I'm in. I don't usually do a custom wb unless doing portraits where I know the lighting is going to be the same.
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Old Feb 20, 2007, 7:47 PM   #7
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btrips,

my answer depends on what WB mode you were in when you shot the 3 frames. If you were in auto WB then it's possible the camera's algorithms just weren't right. If you had set a custom WB and got that affect then yes it is cycling lights.

Unlike Caboose, I prefer not to shoot sports in RAW. Taking 500 raw shots uses a lot of memory. And it's added workflow. And it slows down the buffering of my 20d. So, I tend to shoot RAW as a last resort and only do so if the WB is tricky (like cycling lights) or if dynamic range is great. But 98% of my sports work is jpeg. I just don't see the benefit raw provides for the added work when the exposure and WB aren't tricky.
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Old Feb 21, 2007, 5:30 AM   #8
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Like JohnG I rarely shoot in RAW... :?
Once or twice a year may be for that once in a lifetime shot, but I stay in JPEG 99% of the time (again for the same reason)!

Automatic WB does not just varies with the lighting - It also varies with the combination of the color the subject is wearing: for example when you zoom in or out and the % of the color content changes the AWB varies with it.
-> If you used fixed WB settings instead such as daylight or tungsten then your workflow will be easier as well since the color cast (if any) is fix and easily changed in post processing batch
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