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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎10-30-2017

Custom White Balance kinda sucks

It could be so much simpler, couldn't it?

 

It takes 10 operations to set up a custom white balance, which seems ridiculous for something that should be a quick and easy single button operation during a shoot. For a start it shouldn't require the image to be shot as it only takes the resultant setting anyway. Just stick the settings in the metadata. Secondly, it shouldn't require that the entire screen is filled with the grey card. If you're on a wide lens, it requires moving the camera to the card (light may be different where the camera is). It should just take into account say, 100 pixels in the center of the image.

 

As it is you have to;

1) switch to an auto exposure mode

2) zoom in to fill the frame with your calibration object (or move the camera). If you don't fill the frame the colour is skewed.

3) Take Photo

4) Press Menu

5) Find Menu 2 under camera settings

6) Enter the custom white balance option

7) Scroll to the photo you just took

8) Select it.

9) Confirm selection

10) make sure your camera is in 'custom white balance mode'.

 

Needless to say, this is unnecesarrily slow and cumbersome during high pressure shooting environments.

 

I know people will say just to dial it in by eye using Kelvin, but that won't balance for the Magenta/Cyan axis the way a proper white balance does.

 

Markus

 

Reputable Contributor
Posts: 858
Registered: ‎02-06-2013

Re: Custom White Balance kinda sucks

Hope you felt better after ranting Smiley Happy.  I agree that the custom white balance is cumbersome.  If correct balance is important to me, I'd take a picture with a gray card and adjust balance on others based on it in post.  Shooting RAW, it doesn't matter what  the white balance is.  You can apply the correct white balance to all pictures very quickly in post.

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Diverhank's photos on Flickr
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎10-30-2017

Re: Custom White Balance kinda sucks

True, but for video (unless you're taking an un-compressed feed from the HDMI) you dont have the same latitude that RAW stills give you to change colour in post. And using a grey card is not much of a solution if your lens is not super long because you will have to adjust the camer position to fill the screen. Just seems like it could so easily be a simple 'fill square with white, then press button' type operation.
Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,426
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Custom White Balance kinda sucks


Stonius wrote:
True, but for video (unless you're taking an un-compressed feed from the HDMI) you dont have the same latitude that RAW stills give you to change colour in post. And using a grey card is not much of a solution if your lens is not super long because you will have to adjust the camer position to fill the screen. Just seems like it could so easily be a simple 'fill square with white, then press button' type operation.

First, I do not know what sort of post processing you use, but I can set a WB in post just as easily as a photo.  Take a reference shot, and keep going.

 

Second, if choose to go the route of implementing a custom WB in the camera, the test shot does not have to fill the entire frame.  Covering the center 2/3 should be sufficient.  In fact, it seems to work for me covering only the active AF point, and a few surrounding points.

 

Finally, I suggest that you setup custom WB in a custom menu, so that you do not have to go hunting for it ever time that you wish to use it.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,813
Registered: ‎02-26-2015

Re: Custom White Balance kinda sucks

[ Edited ]

Stonius wrote:

It could be so much simpler, couldn't it?

 

It takes 10 operations to set up a custom white balance, which seems ridiculous for something that should be a quick and easy single button operation during a shoot. For a start it shouldn't require the image to be shot as it only takes the resultant setting anyway. Just stick the settings in the metadata. Secondly, it shouldn't require that the entire screen is filled with the grey card. If you're on a wide lens, it requires moving the camera to the card (light may be different where the camera is). It should just take into account say, 100 pixels in the center of the image.

 

As it is you have to;

1) switch to an auto exposure mode

2) zoom in to fill the frame with your calibration object (or move the camera). If you don't fill the frame the colour is skewed.

3) Take Photo

4) Press Menu

5) Find Menu 2 under camera settings

6) Enter the custom white balance option

7) Scroll to the photo you just took

8) Select it.

9) Confirm selection

10) make sure your camera is in 'custom white balance mode'.

 

Needless to say, this is unnecesarrily slow and cumbersome during high pressure shooting environments.

 

I know people will say just to dial it in by eye using Kelvin, but that won't balance for the Magenta/Cyan axis the way a proper white balance does.

 

Markus

 


Steps 4,5 & 6 can be combined into one step by setting up Custom White Balance as the first choice under 'My Menu' and setting the camera so 'My Menu' comes up whenever you press the menu button.

 

As far as Step 7, I believe it defaults to the last photo taken, so is scrolling really necessary? 

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,078
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Custom White Balance kinda sucks

I suspect the reason I don't read more complaints about the multi-step process to use custom white balance... is because hardly anybody does this.

 

You would use custom white balance if you shoot and save your images as JPEGs.

 

But I find that as soon as photographers get fussy about things like white balance and color... they quickly learn they should be shooting and saving as RAW -- not JPEG.  White balance is used to allow the camera to convert and save the image as a JPEG -- it's not used if you shoot RAW.

 

In other words... those who are fussy about the accuracy of such things, are not using this process. 

 

If I'm shooting causally, I don't worry about whtie balance and I adjust it by eye.  (All my computer displays are color-calibrated using a ColorMunki -- so I know I can trust my displays.)  

 

If I'm shooting something where color accuracy matters (and I do), then I have a gray card.  I just make sure at least one frame has the gray card in it.  Once I use that gray card to balance the color cast on that frame... Lightroom lets me sync that white balance to all other photos that I shot at that location.

 

Basically I click the white-balance eye-dropper tool, then click the mouse on the gray-card and it's done.

 

If there are other images that need to be white balanced, then I select the range of images and click "sync".

 

But since I shot RAW instead of JPEG... I not only have good control over white balance, I also have 14-bit data (vs. JPEG 8-bit data) with a lot more dynamica range and no loss of original data.   So now I can also adjust my white point, my black point, I can adjust highlights & shadows and do some detail recovery... I can do so much more with the data than I'd have been able to do with JPEG.

 

Shooting RAW does require that you have some tools to allow you to post process the RAW files.  Canon includes Digital Photo Professional (free) and it does it.  It's a good editor but the workflow is a bit slower because it's meant to edit images one-at-a-time.  There are commercial applications that make the workflow faster because you can move from image to image very rapidly and many types of adjustments that you would make to one image would also be made to all the rest of the images shot in that same location & lighting... so they make it easy to sync changes across images (you get to control which types of adjustments are sync'd.)

 

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
Super Contributor
Posts: 127
Registered: ‎02-13-2016

Re: Custom White Balance kinda sucks

I'm still unclear if the OP is trying to set W/B for still photos or video... ??

Reputable Contributor
Posts: 858
Registered: ‎02-06-2013

Re: Custom White Balance kinda sucks


BurnUnit wrote:

I'm still unclear if the OP is trying to set W/B for still photos or video... ??


I think he mentioned video in his response to my post.

================================================
Diverhank's photos on Flickr
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎10-30-2017

Re: Custom White Balance kinda sucks

Yes, it's for video, guys.

 

Thanks for the input - there were a few ideas to make it easier I hadn't thought of.

 

In reply to Waddizzle - I did some tests to evaluate whether the *entire screen needed to be white, or just the central portion. I did the tests to see if I could place a colour chart on the edge without changing the white balance, or even label the individual white balance shots so I know what they are (as in 'daylight', 'tungsten', 'light of unknown color temp') and then maybe use that as a way of figuring out which gels are required in order to balance a scene. Anyhow, I digress...

 

I had a bounceboard and a blue sheet. First image just bounceboard. Second image, I lay the blue sheet across the bounceboard such that it took up the left third of the frame. Final image, the entire frame was filled with the blue sheet.

 

I only did it once, but there was a shift in colour temperature in the one-third blue shot. Now you're telling me the opposite maybe I should go back and repeat it a few times to make sure it wasn't just experimental error.

 

Still, I think the original hypothesis that it's waaay more complicated than it needs to be is valid.

 

Thanks

 

Markus

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,078
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Custom White Balance kinda sucks

The gray-card doesn’t need to fill the entire frame... the camera really just centers the central area of the frame.  If it occupies roughly 1/3rd of the area then it’s probably enough.  I deliberately throw the lens out of focus whenever I’ve done this so that any localized tonal variations would get blended out to an average value.

 

 

 

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
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