Custom White Balance

Discussion in 'Australia Photography' started by John Kecskes, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. John Kecskes

    John Kecskes Guest

    Camera instruction manual recommend using a WHITE card to do a custom
    white balance setting, but have seen where recommend a 18% GRAY card
    to do the custom balance, which would be correct way to do it?
    Any comments what should be used and what most of you use, the camera
    auto setting or your own custom setting.
    John Kecskes, Dec 28, 2008
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  2. John Kecskes

    Noons Guest

    John Kecskes wrote,on my timestamp of 28/12/2008 3:26 PM:
    White balance has got nothing to do with 18% gray cards.
    It deals with colour balance, not exposure. Gray
    cards are exposure aids. To do a custom white balance
    operation, use a white card or in fact any white surface.
    Noons, Dec 28, 2008
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  3. John Kecskes

    Mark Thomas Guest

    With a couple of minor provisos, a white OR grey card will be fine for
    setting white balance.

    The provisos are:

    - the white or grey must be neutral

    'White' paper often has a blue or cream tint, and if you were to print
    your own grey cards, or use cheap ones that were only intended for
    expsoure metering, you could end up with colour casts. Having said
    that, if you can't see the cast on the card, you are unlikely to spot it
    on the final result. And some folks (like me) think that using a
    slightly blue-tinted card will give more pleasant skintones and warmer

    - the card must not be anywhere near the limits of the sensor's range

    Ie it would be unwise to use a dark grey card in low light, or a bright
    white card in direct sunlight! You really want your setting to be made
    in the linear range of the sensor, and if you are really fussy, then a
    card of similar brightness to your subject will give a white balance
    that is 'tuned' to those tones.

    Me? I usually have my camera set to daylight (sunny), given the stuff I
    normally shoot and the typical weather hereabouts. I sometimes use a
    white card (or that bluish card if I am organised, or whatever I can
    find) to manually balance. I sometimes use auto (eg city streets where
    lighting keeps changing) and rarely use the other presets. Before each
    shot I try to think about it!
    Mark Thomas, Dec 28, 2008
  4. John Kecskes

    John Kecskes Guest

    Thank You for this that's what I thought, I have used white card, but
    seen a post in Goggle recommending a 18% gray card.
    cheers, John
    John Kecskes, Dec 28, 2008
  5. John Kecskes

    John Kecskes Guest

    Have to part agree with you on this, but some Image manipulating
    software also ask you to click on a white or gray part of the picture
    to set a white balance. cheers, John
    John Kecskes, Dec 28, 2008
  6. John Kecskes

    D.Mac Guest

    If you want to avoid any stray colour reflections hampering the white
    balance, don't use a card at all. Get hold of a white balance filter
    (white-bal) which you put over the lens. It makes the whole scene an out of
    focus white and pretty much guarantees as perfect a white balance as you'll

    If you are not looking for scientifically precise white, you could use a
    white paper bag or even a tissue to do the same thing.
    D.Mac, Dec 28, 2008
  7. John Kecskes

    Mark Thomas Guest


    D-Mac should really read the instructions, or perhaps try to explain a
    little more accurately. It is NOT designed to "make the whole scene an
    out of focus white". If you simply put an 'Expocap' or similar white
    balance filter in front of the lens and point it at the scene, as D-Mac
    seems to imply, you are using it wrongly. You may be lucky and still
    get a decent white balance, but only if the scene averages to neutral...

    The way it should be used is to place the camera *in* the scene/near the
    subject, pointing *back* towards where you will take the shot, and take
    the custom reading then. That way the camera+filter is balancing for
    the light that is illuminating the scene. The filter is designed to
    average out all the incident light *falling* on the scene, NOT the scene
    itself. The two are quite different.

    By the way, most of the cheap knock offs of these filters found on Ebay
    are quite good, it seems from the reviews, and will obviously save you
    some money..
    Mark Thomas, Dec 28, 2008
  8. John Kecskes

    Noons Guest

    John Kecskes wrote,on my timestamp of 28/12/2008 6:29 PM:
    Image manipulating software has got nothing to do with
    camera white balance, which is what I thought you asked. Camera
    white balance is an ambient light colour temperature adjustment.
    The two things are completely different.

    What you do with the imaging software and a 18% card portion is
    calibrate a white balance of whatever the software is examining,
    so that it "knows" what "perfect"1 gray should look like.
    When you click on the white part of the picture, what you
    are doing is telling the image software what the brightest white
    is supposed to be in that image, so it adjusts its exposure response
    to make it appear "snow" white. Many others will also allow you to
    click on a supposedly "perfect" black in the image. Again: so that the
    software can establish the dynamic range of the image and how to
    adjust its basic sensitivity response curve to match that image and
    make it look "standard".

    Once again: custom white balance calibration in a camera has got
    nothing to do with gray cards or imaging software's black,
    gray and white points.
    Noons, Dec 28, 2008
  9. John Kecskes

    John Kecskes Guest

    Interesting I will keep this in mind, however I never heard of a white
    balance filter before this
    cheers, John
    John Kecskes, Dec 28, 2008
  10. John Kecskes

    John Kecskes Guest

    I thought once I set my camera white balance I won't have to do much
    manipulating in the software, I always seem to have trouble to set my
    picture up the way I like it. I want to get a way from post processing
    as much as possible.
    thanks, I see know it is only the actual picture dynamic range when I
    set the white and black point in the software
    John Kecskes, Dec 28, 2008
  11. John Kecskes

    John Kecskes Guest

    In sunlight pointing towards the sun will damage the camera sensor, so
    I think using the white/gray card measure the light falling on to it.
    Very true
    John Kecskes, Dec 28, 2008
  12. John Kecskes

    John Kecskes Guest

    On Sun, 28 Dec 2008 21:15:36 +1000, Mark Thomas

    I will have to investigate further, but it seems it's getting to
    technical, may be best just set my white balance on auto and forget
    everything else
    John Kecskes, Dec 28, 2008
  13. John Kecskes

    D.Mac Guest

    There is always a smart arse prepared to chime in with their rendition of
    improving on my advise but the curious part and one that should have you ask
    their credibility before taking them seriously is: If he is so

    How come he kept you in the dark about the Photographer's worst kept
    "secret" in the first place? The wanker didn't even know what a white
    balance filter was until I posted an article about them!

    Consider too, that he claimed then this very same group, that the
    "knock off" he just recommended to you didn't work. Maybe they only work
    when he recommends them? Notice the one I linked to is already a "blue"
    tint? Funny that, isn't it? Did he recommend a "blue" white card for skin
    tones? More useless and misleading information. And...
    If Larry Thong knows so much, how do you get 18% grey out of white?

    This idiot calling himself Mark Thomas who used to call himself
    using the name of Charles Stevens as he made an idiot out of himself then,
    extolling the virtues of owning a Daiwoo car back in 2003 ...would try to
    have you believe he is the world's expert source of everything in
    photographic information... Even to the point of telling lies about me, a
    working Professional that this idiot has been cyber stalking for 5 years, as
    he attempts to asert himself as some sort of expert - WITHOUT ANY
    QUALIFICATIONS or evidence he can take a decent photo with his little Fuji
    Point and shit.

    If he could "read the instructions" himself, at the time he tried to spread
    lies about me not having a EPA permit to take photo tours into restricted
    areas, marine parks and defined recreational areas, he's have at least read
    the name of the department that issued the permits before publicly accusing
    me of lying about it with "Liar, the EPA doesn't issue permits to photogrpah
    in National parks". Dyslexic, stupid or just
    a plain old stalker?

    I guess he thrives on stalking. He certainly doesn't hold back with his lies
    and defamation. Like when he tried to tell the world I couldn't make wall
    posters from postcard size images. Odd that in 2004, when I showed them to
    the world. he changed his attacks
    from "can't be done" "you can't do it" and then to "the resolution is poor".
    I wonder what his story will be now?

    Later (in 2005) a world recognized expert in photography. One of America's
    foremost fine art photographers "didn't want to believe" I could do it
    either. At least he had the guts and principals to admit he was wrong whilst
    writing a paper, based on the examples I sent him.

    Just to get in early in case he tries this furphy:
    D.Mac, Dec 28, 2008
  14. John Kecskes

    Mark Thomas Guest

    Yes, but only if the sensor is exposed to a focused image for more than
    a few seconds (it *isn't* exposed to a focused image when the filter is
    attached). Examples of such damage are rare, and 'normal' photography
    briefly including the sun should not be a problem - DSLR sensors are
    also protected by the shutter until the actual exposure, so they are
    less likely to be affected than a p&s.
    I agree. It's simple and effective.
    Mark Thomas, Dec 28, 2008
  15. John Kecskes

    Mark Thomas Guest

    Mostly OT, just dealing with the troll.

    ANY advise [sic] would be an improvement in this case.

    Readers will note that:
    1. D-Mac's advice was CLEARLY wrong, and he spent the rest of this post
    avoiding that fact.


    2. D-Mac, despite being a self-proclaimed professional, obviously
    doesn't know what incident light metering is or he would not have made
    such a beginner's mistake. I see even Rita picked him up on it - that's
    gotta hurt.
    Because a simple white/grey card will work for 99% of situations. D-Mac
    seems to forget he was the one suggesting it, but with bad advice on
    how to use it.

    I don't use a white balance cap, but I accept that some do. If someone
    offers them as an alternative, they should at least give correct advice
    on how to use them. Using them as D-Mac suggested would make them FAR
    less useful than a card.

    That's a picture, not an article. And what a strange (deluded?) thing
    to say. How exactly would D-Mac know when I found out about them, and
    why is it even vaguely relevant? One thing is certain from this thread
    - do not go to D-Mac pages looking for advice - he has already proven he
    doesn't even know the basics about incident metering...
    Link? Cite? Context? This is D-Mac's modus operandi - make a claim,
    but no supporting information.

    POST A LINK, or stop making stuff up, Douglas.
    Yes, I did. There is a link here to further discussion on that topic,
    by people who actually know what they are talking about.
    'Larry'/Rita was quite correctly referring to the fact that your camera
    averages the exposure, so the white image will be adjusted to grey
    before the neutralising.. The camera doesn't know it is white, d-mac.
    No, I always admit I have much to learn. But threads like this one make
    it clear who *doesn't* give correct advice, and I'll leave it to others
    to judge who is correct.

    (By the way, I'm not sure what cheap cars have to do with anything, but
    that same little DaEwoo Lanos is still running fine at over 300,000km,
    original engine, and the worst that has happened was a leaking radiator
    hose once.. Ask any mechanic - the Lanos is a very simple and reliable
    design and has an almost indestructible engine as long as you replace
    the timing belts every 100,000 or so (quite cheaply). I wouldn't want
    to be in a crash in one, tho..)

    Getting back to the topic, incident light metering is a relatively
    simple subject, yet 'inexplicably'(for someone who is taking the high
    road or knows anything about photography) D-Mac got it *completely* wrong.

    The remainder of this deluded crap has been dealt with numerous times,
    and will be again in the near future..:
    Mark Thomas, Dec 28, 2008
  16. John Kecskes

    Jeff R. Guest

    Oi! Oi! Oi!

    Don't forget:

    Do the Manly thing, Doug.

    Jeff R.
    (still patiently waiting for the service of the "Cease-and-Desist"

    Jeff R., Dec 29, 2008
  17. John Kecskes

    John Kecskes Guest

    I am sorry, I did not realize my simple question going to cause so
    much ill feeling
    cheers, John
    John Kecskes, Dec 29, 2008
  18. John Kecskes

    D.Mac Guest

    Let me know if you ever get a brain Charlie. it might rattle a bit but at
    least you'll know there's something between your ears then.
    D.Mac, Dec 29, 2008
  19. John Kecskes

    Mr.T Guest

    As is a white plastic drink cup (the really cheap thin ones work pretty
    well) and will save you even more money :)

    Mr.T, Dec 29, 2008
  20. John Kecskes

    Mr.T Guest

    In fact both methods simply provide an adjustment of pixel-value mapping, so
    to say one has nothing to do with the other is totally wrong, or simple
    ignorance of what is actually being done to achieve the end result.

    Mr.T, Dec 29, 2008
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