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Custom white balance.... How-To?
#1
So I have this great 'custom white-balance' (WB) feature on my Panny, but the instructions are a little vague... The camera tells me to point it at a white surface and press the shutter to set the WB. Not too complicated, BUT:

Does the white (and I assume the whiter, the better) have to fill the frame? Can I use the zoom to make sure it does? If I'm using a piece of paper, will a little black text on the paper mess up the WB? If the cam won't focus (no contrast) does it matter? What if where I'm standing is lighted differently then where my subject is (shadows, etc.).

So many questions!!

Any help would be appreciated...
<><
Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ10
Image Management/Editing:ArcSoft PhotoBase4
Advanced Image Editing: Adobe PhotoShop 7
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#2
Yes - it should fill the frame. To do this properly you should buy a KODAK color sheet from a camera store that is made specifically for this purpose rather than use a printed page - I believe it is actually a light grey. Any custom white balance setting that you store is specific to the lighting conditions at the point you store it only. If you move to a different lighting setup - it won't work how you want.

The only real value for storing a custo setting (IMO) is if you have a specific lighting situation that you shoot in a lot, but that your camera does not handle effectively - you can load in your tuned white balance setting and you know it will work for that specific situation.

The Kodak card is still a good idea - you can keep it in your camera bag and use it to set your white balance manually in unusual lighting situations - i.e. a concert.

Better yet - use RAW and never worry about white balance - correct it later if the camera screws up.
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#3
Well, I don't think I can 'save' WB settings I just have a 'custom' setting that I can re-set as required. If I could shoot in RAW, I would, maybe.
<><
Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ10
Image Management/Editing:ArcSoft PhotoBase4
Advanced Image Editing: Adobe PhotoShop 7
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#4
If you want a decent looking colour but not 'perfect' then point it at whatever you can that would be white under normal lighting conditions and then when you shoot in the same light it should be properly colour balanced.

If all else fails take a white piece of card with you and do the same trick, close to correct is better than not at all.

It works a treat if you are shooting in the shade or under something that is casting a tinge to the lighting.
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#5
Check your manual as to whether a 18% grey card is required, or a white card...
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#6
not familiar with your camera, so i'm not sure if you really need to fill the frame with white. my cameras only use the center of frame for custom wb. read the manual and test it yourself?

it's ok if the white card is out of focus.

i don't think you need an 18% grey card. those are for exposure?

yeah, in most situations, just pointing your camera at something close to white will do. other things you can try are putting a pringles lid or 3 stacked white coffee filters in front of your lens, point it at the light source, and set wb that way. mileage may vary.

funny thing is, most white paper isn't really pure white. most paper is a little yellowish or bluish.

i don't always want the most accurate white balance. if the cast of the light is creating a certain mood that i like, i sometimes just leave the camear on auto wb. or sometimes u can do something in the middle by shooting something that isn't pure white. e.g. under yellow light, you can keep some yellow by using something slightly bluish to set wb.

you could always do it in post processing, but i figure that with colour, the closer u are to start with, the better.
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#7
Hey pai, long time no see! Good to have you back! Big Grin

Thanks for those tips! Very useful indeed, especially the pringles lid. I've heard others using that too.
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#8
Thanks, all!
<><
Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ10
Image Management/Editing:ArcSoft PhotoBase4
Advanced Image Editing: Adobe PhotoShop 7
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#9
If you are really adventurous try measuring something that is nothing like white and then shooting and see how your colours come out. If you play around with these you may learn how to predict what colour things will come out when they have a tinted light colour on them.
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#10
I know it doesn't have any relevance to white balance but metering is another matter and I found this rather interesting.

http://www.daystarvisions.com/Docs/Tuts/Meter/pg2.html
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#11
one thing i still struggle with is wb in mixed lighting, e.g. orange indoor lighting with blue evening light coming in through the window. i've tried doing separate colour adjustments using layer masks, but some areas (e.g. highlights) still give me a headache.

any tips?
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#12
Convert it to B&W Big Grin

That is a hard one to deal with Pai, my best tip is to avoid using mixed lighting, if you want to capture someone in natural light coming through the window then do that and turn off your interior light and use a reflector to bounce the light back. Either that or you can use your flash its a fairly neutral colour compared to tungsten lighting although it may give the person a washed out look.
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