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Old Jan 9, 2014, 5:14 PM   #1
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Default how to make white look white

When I shoot a piece of flat art that has a white surround, the surround shows up on the monitor as not white, but grey, often with a tint contributed by the color of the light source. I'm sure this misrepresentation also affects the truth of the color in the art itself. So how to get the camera to record the white as white?
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Old Jan 9, 2014, 9:08 PM   #2
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You need to be able to set a custom White Balance in your camera beforehand, or correct it in post-process.
To set the WB in camera, you will need a white or gray card. Under the lighting the subject is in, take a shot of the card which fills the frame. Your camera manual will explain the exact procedure for your camera.
Most photo editors have an eyedropper tool which will set the color the tool is on to gray or white.

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Old Jan 10, 2014, 5:05 AM   #3
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Instead of a white or gray card designed for setting custom white balance, you could use a sheet of the photopaper you'll be printing on. This way, if your photopaper isn't exactly white, then it won't apply its color cast to the colors in your photo.
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Old Jan 10, 2014, 5:18 PM   #4
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No printing is involved -- everything's digital. I'm using a Fujifilm Finepix E510 digital camera probably intended for snapshots. But it has a white balance feature. If I fill the frame with an 18% grey card and click the white balance feature, the subsequent shot of the card looks about as grey as it should. And if there's a little white card on the grey card outside the metered area, it looks nice and white on my monitor. But if I then shoot a full-frame white card, the image comes out about as grey as the grey card. So I'm back where I started. The camera also offers an "automatic" white balance. I've no idea how it establishes a white balance or any other kind of balance when the subject contains no white, so I guess I don't understand what white balance means.

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Old Jan 10, 2014, 6:38 PM   #5
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good question you may need set you white balance from you camera manually, then you can get white as white
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Old Jan 10, 2014, 8:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemastre View Post
..... But if I then shoot a full-frame white card, the image comes out about as grey as the grey card. ....
G'day mate

This is a simple issue of exposure - and we all get it when shooting white objects &/or bright clouds

The camera's exposure system reads the white as 'extra-bright' when compared with a landscape [for example] and underexposes it in an attempt to control it

On your camera, find the +/- button and try +1,0EV and see where thai gets you ~ fine tune it from there

Hope this helps
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Old Jan 10, 2014, 8:59 PM   #7
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Lemastre;

As Ozzie Traveller just mentioned, you may just have an exposure issue, as an underexposed photo will look gray.

But, your E510 does not have a custom white balance feature, so I don't know what you mean by "click the white balance feature".

Your camera allows you to switch White Balance between Auto, Outdoors in Sunny Weather, Outdoors in Shade, several different Fluorescent Settings and Incandescent.

But, sorry, you can't set a Custom White Balance with it.

With a camera that has a Custom White Balance, you have a menu option specifically for that purpose (to capture a reading from a white or gray card and store it in a White Balance Memory location). Then, after you capture that reading, you can select that Custom Setting from your available White Balance menu options.

The E510 does not have that feature. See the available options on page 47 of it's manual (sorry, no ability to use a Custom White Balance).

http://www.fujifilmusa.com/shared/bi...510_Manual.pdf

Fuji did add a custom white balance feature to the E550. You'll see that mentioned in the last paragraph of it's review conclusion page here. as one of the benefits the E550 gives you over a model like the E510:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/camer...-review-5.html

But, the E510 does not have that feature.

You may want to try experimenting with the available settings for White Balance (one of the presets that better matches the lighting you're shooting in, like one of the fluorescent options, or the incandescent choice), if the default Auto White Balance setting is not working OK in that lighting

Again, see the available options on page 47 of the manual linked to above.

Or, just capture a photo of a gray card in the lighting you're shooting in and use it to set the white balance in your image eidtor, using the same settings on other photos taken in the same conditions.

Or, as Ozzie Traveller mentioned, make sure you're just not underexposing the image causing your problems.

If not, you're going to have to fix the problem in post processing with an image editor unless one of the preset white balance settings gives better results, as the E510 does not have the ability to set a Custom White Balance.
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Old Jan 10, 2014, 9:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemastre View Post
But if I then shoot a full-frame white card, the image comes out about as grey as the grey card. So I'm back where I started. The camera also offers an "automatic" white balance. I've no idea how it establishes a white balance or any other kind of balance when the subject contains no white, so I guess I don't understand what white balance means.
White balance is the the balance of the three primary colors to produce a neutral gray (so it is actually gray balance the camera uses). Since each color has an 8 bit range (0-255), any color which has equal values for the three colors will be seen as black, a shade of gray, or white.
When you take the picture, your camera is actually exposing for a mid range value, based on normal ranges of brightness. If the entire frame is much brighter than normal, it will end up underexposed, unless, as Phil mentions, you add some positive exposure compensation.

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Old Jan 11, 2014, 5:12 AM   #9
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I appreciate all the info provided in response to my post. It makes it pretty clear that the best I can do in my camera is increase exposure a bit. As JimC points out, the camera's white-balance feature does not provide for true customization. It merely enables selecting one of a few light sources, and I can find the one that pretty closely matches my lights. In fact color isn't the main issue, because the job involves a set of black-and-white etchings containing lines and stippled areas of varying weights. Whether I set the camera to record in b&w or color, I get about the same looking images, although in color, the grey areas have some tint. The problem is that putting the images in my computer and increasing the exposures there quickly leads some of the finer detail to disappear. So I expect the same to happen if the exposure is increased in the camera. And this suggests that getting images suitable for reproduction may require the white areas to go a bit grey.
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Old Jan 11, 2014, 10:19 AM   #10
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Most image editors have a tool to adjust the tonal curve within acceptable exposure limits. Look for the curve tool, or tone adjustment.
I think that perhaps you don't really have enough camera for the job, though.

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