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Old Jan 6, 2006, 11:54 PM   #1
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I use a 350 D Canon that has eight different settings of white balance. I am interested in the last one: custom white balance. Generally I use Automatic White Balance. I seem to realise that by not using the full potential of my camera, I am loosing out. Hence the need to be educated by you.

First of all, I need to know the importance of White Balance: If anyone can share this knowledge. What difference it makes to use the different settings. Please don't be so technical in your explanations.

Since I shoot in manual mode a lot, I think the custom white balance will allow me a latitude of creativity. Now my understanding is that I may use a white sheet of paper or a 18% gray scale to set the custom white balance (CWB). I have a number of questions in this regard:

a) which of the two is best in creating CWB?

b) When I set the CWB is it for a specific shooting climate or I can use it generally whenever I shoot? I have a feeling it cannot be the latter.

c) When I am setting the CWB, do I need a lot of light during this process and does the exposure and shutter speed matter?

Will really appreciate your contributions.

Kind regards.

Jaki.


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Old Jan 7, 2006, 6:22 AM   #2
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Different light sources have a different colour temperature, even the sun changes through the day. This means that the colour of objects changes during the day or under different light sources. Our eyes adjust to the light available so that unless it is extreme we do not notice the difference. A camera cannot always make this adjustment. Auto white balance tries to make the adjustment and is very useful. The other 6 settings are available for specific lighting conditions and again of very useful.

I have a Nikon D70 and rarely use auto. I use flash for flash pictures and most often cloud or shade to outdoor pictures. The sun setting is rarely right for UK shooting.

I've only ever used a white card for setting white balance and this worked well. On the D70 the card doesn't need to be brilliantly lit but below a certain light level it will fail to set the white balance. I tested the custom white balance under yellow street lights and produced a reasonable picture of a holly bush with green leaves and red berries when any other setting would have produced a horrible orange colour.

I consider the custom white balance as a useful tool for extreme lighting conditions, particulary artificial light. It is not necessary under normal daylight conditions.

Sometimes using the custom white balance can work against you. Set the white balance manually at sunset and you'ree likely to get something that looks like it was shot at noon rather than the sunset tones you're looking for.
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Old Jan 7, 2006, 10:23 AM   #3
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Try shooting in RAW mode and adjusting the color temperature during post processing.
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Old Jan 7, 2006, 11:27 AM   #4
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Use your 18% gray in natural light conditions, and a white sheet under artificial. Here is a basic list of custom settings for diffrent conditions you can also use.




[align=right]Candlelight1500K


40 W incandescent lamp2860




200 W incandescent lamp3000




Sunrise/sunset3200




Tungsten lamp3400




1 hour from dusk/dawn3400




Xenon lamp/light arc/ 4000 - 5000 average sun = 5000




Sunny daylight around noon5500




Electronic photo flash5500 - 5600




Overcast sky6500 - 7500




Blue sky9000 - 12000
[/align]

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Old Jan 7, 2006, 12:05 PM   #5
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Thanks you Nangasaki for the detailed information. Thanks Wildman for the suggestion to shoot in Raw and Steve for the colour temperatures. If I have other questions, I will let you know.

Kind regards.
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Old Jan 8, 2006, 3:38 AM   #6
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I agree with the advice about shooting RAW but I think it's still worth setting the custom white balance in tricky lighting situations. You can make adjustments during the RAW processing but it's easier if you are close to start with.
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Old Jan 8, 2006, 8:22 AM   #7
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Nangasaki, thanks for the advice. Jaki
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