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Back to school...for me

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by pixelpuffin, Nov 9, 2020.

  1. pixelpuffin

    pixelpuffin Well-Known Member

    Following on from my other thread regarding using lower resolution. The topic drifted towards RAW.
    I've been reading about RAW for the past hour, Was going to download DPP but when It requested camera I was stumped as I own several. But I'm also inclined to think it will probably make me even lazier than I already am as it seems no matter what you get wrong, there's a strong possibility RAW will correct.

    I want to take jpeg a little further.
    Two questions, both of which have stumped me since day one using digital.
    White balance
    Correct exposure.

    I'm more than happy to use either a grey card or separate lightmeter to determine correct exposure. I often point the lens towards the grass (real grass ) and determine from there.
    But the white balance is what I'm trying to understand. Is there a quick and simple way to meter/measure the white balance I'm referring to the Kelvins. I've seen white caps? that I assume are placed over the lens,? But if I'm honest I'm completely clueless. Are those for white balance or to fool the meter into a incident meter acting as a invercone?

    Would someone care to say how they measure the white balance.
    I'm ashamed to admit that I always rely on AWB. Want to up my game.
    I also want to fully understand using the histogram, again I stay away from it as it looks incredibly technical
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
  2. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    I happened to read an excellent article on white balance yesterday evening, on Photography Life (https://photographylife.com/definition/white-balance)

    Personally, I used to leave my camera on Auto white balance until a couple of years ago when the JPEG of a clump of primroses, photographed in a wood under a canopy of spring-fresh green leaves, showed me flowers with white petals around yellow centres! I now switch to the appropriate preset (provided I remember, but as I save RAW files as well, I can make corrections if necessary).

    I struggle to read the information on my camera without glasses, and on a couple of occasions I’ve accidentally switched to indoor lighting settings when photographing outdoor scenery, and intending to make different adjustments. Fortunately, my RAW files could replace the awful blue JPEGs I’d taken.

  3. cliveva

    cliveva Well-Known Member

    Fist I shoot RAW, I have a grey card, that I photographed then take my photos, at home when prossesing I use the grey card photo to find the white balance and apply to the subsequent shots. How well this would work with jepeg, I don’t know, but you could set a custom WB shooting the card, if your camera allows. White balance meters are expensive.
  4. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Canon website is set up to identify the latest software version appropriate to each camera. Each camera has its own support page. Put in your newest camera. It should give you DPP4 which is now back compatible with all cameras. When it first came out there was a period of about a year when it was necessary to run DPP3 for older cameras. It is complicated as both Windows and Mac are moving to run only 64 bit code. You will need to input a serial number to do the download.

    Camera AWB is pretty good. If I alter white balance from ‘as shot’ in raw processing it is more usually for reasons of taste (slightly warm or slightly cool) than for reasons of correction.

    The circumstance the camera can get it wrong is when there is a genuine colour cast in the light. Woodland scenes in early summer are an example where the light is coming through new foliage, or artificial light, or light reflected off a coloured wall. Setting a custom white balance off a grey card (not a white card) can help if you are shooting in one place and the light is constant but it is a pain to do if you are moving about a lot.
  5. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    I use auto white balance for general stuff unless I can see there is an obvious colour cast to the light that I don't want in my images or there is more than one colour in play from different light sources. That's when I set a custom white balance. It's dead easy to do and is only really a pain if you are moving from one set of lighting conditions to another in fairly rapid succession.

    As far as the histogram goes, it's not that scary at all once you understand what it actually represents. It is essentially a glorified bar chart providing a visual representation of how much of each tone from dark to light there is in your image. Blocked up black is on the extreme left and burned out white is on the extreme right and all other tones are inbetween with mid grey being in the middle funnily enough. Where you see a spike in the graph that means you have a large amound of that particular tone. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' histogram because it depends on what you are shooting and what you wanted the image to look like. It is useful as a quick guide because assuming you want a 'generally well exposed' image you can see if you have a kind of 'elephant under a blanket' histogram with a curved bump in the middle and low levels of blocked black/burned whites without relying on the unreliable image that the back of your camera gives you. Or, it can quickly show you if you have lots of blocked shadows or burned highlights. But that's all.
  6. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I think these are diffusers to simulate an incident light reading, as you would use with a hand-held incident light meter. The camera measures reflected light so can get confused if the subject is very dark or very bright because it is calibrated for a scene of average reflectivity. So like a hand-held meter you’d stand in front of the subject, looking back toward where the camera will be, and take an exposure reading, then use that. They might also allow white balance to be set but I’m not sure.
  7. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Geren covered it. Lots of books send you scurrying to “chimp” away at the LCD to stare at the histograms. You can also, Andrew wrote it the other day somewhere, turn on the “blinkies” which will make the replay picture show overexposed (histogram spiked right edge) and underexposed (histogram spiked left edge) areas by making them flash in the review picture. The “blinkies” quickly get annoying because almost any bit of sky will flash like mad.
  8. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    White balance isn't something I worry about when shooting because in Nikon Capture there is a "White Point" selection which can be positioned on something that the user judges to be White (there are also Black and Mid selectors) and I use this when there is an obvious colour cast. I always shoot raw so I don't have any of the compromises associated with JPEGs. As you are using JPEGs you have the problem that adjusting the colour balance will affect the quality of the image because you are re-compressing an already compress image. There is an excellent explanation on your previous thread.

    Correct exposure is a bit of a minefield, one persons idea of correct exposure is another's idea of over exposed or under exposed. You need to determine what you consider "correct" and then work out how to achieve that consistently.
    Learning, Geren and EightBitTony like this.
  9. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I have found that the ability to adjust the colour temperature one of the greatest advantages of working with RAW files.
    This is so easy to do that I now leave my DSLR body permanently on 'daylight'. I have tried its automated white balance, and found that I always want to adjust it in RAW anyway. Also, my Photoshop Elements 7 software has an 'auto' setting I can try if I want to. If the adjustment is only minor, the same result can usually be achieved by working with the camera body's JPG file, but if a large adjustment is needed the better results can be produced from the RAW file.

    I recall trying to take pictures many years ago using 'daylight' Kodachrome under tungsten light (the old-type filament light bulbs) and the darkness of the 85A/85B filters required. However careful you were, the results never looked ideal. Adjusting the colour temperature of a digital RAW file is so easy... but make sure your PC monitor has been carefully adjusted first or you might be wasting your time.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2020

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