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Thread: Setting white balance using the viewfinder

  1. #1

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    Setting white balance using the viewfinder

    Does it make sense to have a camera setting where one can set the white balance through the view finder? Does any camera already have such a feature?

    Like the way we select focus points through the view finder, does it make sense/non-sense to have a setting by which one can point to a neutral area or any other point(while looking through the view finder) to use that as the white balance for the image.

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    Re: Setting white balance using the viewfinder

    Are you talking about custom white balance? The following link might be useful:

    http://www.ehow.com/how_2258690_set-...nce-canon.html

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    Re: Setting white balance using the viewfinder

    I can set W/b, iso, exposure comp and what ever else I want and see the change in real time. It can make for quick adjustments and save a few shots when trying to get just what you want.
    I shoot the Sony A77. It is able to do this in the viewfinder due to being an OLED finder rather than optical. I had some worries because past electronic view finders have had glitches. Blocking in shadow and highlight or being slow and stretching the scene with movement. Also the resolution was quite low. The A77 has none of these glitches and the resolution is pretty incredible. I had reservations but will not go back now, too spoiled.

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    Re: Setting white balance using the viewfinder

    I never thought about a need to adjust the white balance in the viewfinder. I virtually always shoot in RAW and auto white balance does a pretty good job. I tweak the white balance when I open the image in Camera RAW. That enables me to get a very accurate WB.

    However, very often, I either include a white balance target or shoot with custom white balance.

    My new WhiBal card (bought on Donald's recommendation) does an excellent job in helping me adjust the balance. It seems to work a lot better than a plain white index card that I used to use.

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    Re: Setting white balance using the viewfinder

    Quote Originally Posted by ninefivepm View Post
    Does it make sense to have a camera setting where one can set the white balance through the view finder? Does any camera already have such a feature?
    As one who greatly prefers spot metering to any other fancy method, I believe it makes sense for some folk. There would be a "spot WB" mode and you would point the camera at the neutral object (which, obligingly, is the size of the spot or bigger) and go click! - no picture is taken but your custom white balance setting is updated accordingly for next time you use it, kinda sort thing. Very useful for those who are not into that long, arduous RAW workflow but do have a healthy mistrust of the camera's auto white balance "feature".

    Ted
    Last edited by xpatUSA; 24th May 2012 at 04:27 AM. Reason: cain't hardly speak good English . .

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    Re: Setting white balance using the viewfinder

    I've never seen this on any camera. It would be useful for people shooting JPEGS, but like Richard, I don't. There are lots of advantages of raw, one of which is that white balance stops being a problem. Like Richard, I also take a small whiBal with me much of the time (Mine fits in a pocket), and if I am uncertain, I take a shot with the card in it.

    Ted, I share your fondness for spot metering. I shot an FTb for years, and I came to love the control that spot metering offers. In fact, once I got used to spot metering, I never found a need for an incident light meter at all. however, I disagree with you about the "long, arduous RAW workflow". I avoided raw for a while because I thought the workflow would be long and arduous, but it isn't--or, at least, I don't find it so--and I really regret not having switched earlier. For example, in Lightroom, which I use, you can set the software to use one of the camera's photo styles as import settings, giving you pretty much the appearance that you would have gotten shooting jpeg, but with all the advantages of raw still there. I did that very briefly, but I found that the Adobe standard settings are generally a very good starting point. Once an image is imported, setting white balance--if it needs to be re-set at all--often takes only a matter of seconds. I'm not trying to persuade you--folks should do whatever works for them--but I wouldn't want to discourage people from trying raw and deciding for themselves what workflow they like most.

    Dan

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    Re: Setting white balance using the viewfinder

    Without going into the bag beside me, taking the camera out and looking, I actually couldn't tell you what the WB setting is. I'm sure it will be auto. But given that I shoot RAW 100% of the time, the camera WB setting is irrelevant.

    As Richard alludes to, I use a WhiBal card - all the time. Take a shot of the card. Get back home, load them up, click on the Whi bal image to get a reading, export that setting to every other file in the series. Job done.

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    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: Setting white balance using the viewfinder

    Though I can, I have to agree with the guys above. I almost always use auto W/B. I also shoot a card with most everything except while birding.

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    Re: Setting white balance using the viewfinder

    Ninefivepm,

    I don't know about the camera you use but my x)D and 7D cameras have an LCD at the top which identifies the White Balance Selected. Since I virtually always use RAW, I seldom pay attention to what the white balance is set to.

    The only time I change the WB is when I am shooting in JPEG/ I sometimes (seldom) do this when I want to email directly from the CF Card and never even put the images on my computer. I cannot remeber the last time I did this or why I did it, but it is possible.

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    Re: Setting white balance using the viewfinder

    My Canon compact camera and my Nikon DSLR both have that function. With the Canon compact I select the custom white balance setting, fill a small box in the center of the LCD view with my reference target, press menu, and the camera take a picture and sets a custom white balance. On my Nikon I'll first set the WB to Pre and then press and hold the WB button for two seconds. "Pre" will start to flash, and I can now frame and shoot my reference target, which is supposed to fill the frame (although covering just the 9 focus points in the center of my D90 seems to work fine.)

    I carry a WB card with me and I always set a new custom white balance when stepping into new light. It's just too easy not to.

    I've performed the xrite color-ordering test three times and got it 100% right on all tries. Still, I've never been able to set a white balance with the sliders that looks as good as a custom white balance. The human eye is a terrible calibration tool, which is why we need hardware to calibrate our monitors. If we can't calibrate our monitors by eye, I don't see how we can set white balance by eye.

    http://www.xrite.com/custom_page.aspx?PageID=77&Lang=en

    Taking a picture of the WB reference is a good way to set WB if you have the opportunity to do so and have software that allows you to take settings from one image and apply them to another.

  11. #11
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Setting white balance using the viewfinder

    Quote Originally Posted by ninefivepm View Post
    Does it make sense to have a camera setting where one can set the white balance through the view finder? Does any camera already have such a feature?
    Yes. But not most dSLRs.

    My Panasonic G3 4/3 camera has an EVF (electronic viewfinder), where all the menus can be brought up in the viewfinder just as they are on the LCD while I'm shooting. I can set my white balance without removing my eye from the viewfinder.

    Like the way we select focus points through the view finder, does it make sense/non-sense to have a setting by which one can point to a neutral area or any other point(while looking through the view finder) to use that as the white balance for the image.
    Actually, I do that in post-processing, with the eyedropper.

  12. #12

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    Re: Setting white balance using the viewfinder

    Several cameras I use have the feature of a custom WB setting in the simple way for jpegs, and I think the best would be both worlds. To my knowledge, it is only Canon among the non-pro DSLR cameras that only can set WB by first taking an image of the reference object. All other cameras set it in one operation, although not all do it within the actual viewfinder.

    There is one advantage to the Canon way, and that is when you use flash, because the direct method does not work with flash. As flash is often rather far off the flash setting in the menus, this is worth to think about for those that prefer shooting jpeg. But it is rather easy to find a tweak by adjusting colour for the flash setting, and no flash has a continuous spectrum anyway, so you cannot get a really good representation of daylight with flash unless you filter it.

    So as the question is put I guess it must be a Canon DSLR shooter that hasn't become friends with the Canon way of handling it. Neither did I, so that Canon DSLR that I could have for free is sitting idle on a shelf. I bought a mirror-free camera instead, which has many features that I wanted, and some of which were not available on any DSLR. I mostly shoot jpeg, and I frankly don't see any great advantage with always shooting RAW, as the jpeg is simpler and gives acceptable quality in most cases. The difference when working from RAW is not very noticeable in most cases where the jpeg won't work. About one extra step of DR and smoother shadows when they have to be lightened a bit.

    There's also another thing, as all RAW converters don't have lens corrections for all cameras and lenses, while the built-in jpeg conversion in the latest models do correct distortions and colour fringing, producing sharper and crisper images than raw converters that lack that feature. And I didn't become friends with SilkyPix, which is the one that came with my camera. It only works with Windooze, and I loathe that software. I keep Microsoft outside of my computers, and I don't like adding an extra layer of software between the system and the program. So I shoot jpeg because it mostly renders better quality than shooting RAW with the original lens for my camera. However when I use those splendid Zeiss lenses from my old Contax, I get good image quality also from RAW. It is possible to correct those flaws manually or making scripts to do it, but I prefer the simplicity that makes me think more about the image than the technique behind.

  13. #13
    xpatUSA's Avatar
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    Re: Setting white balance using the viewfinder

    Quote Originally Posted by DanK View Post
    Ted, I share your fondness for spot metering. I shot an FTb for years, and I came to love the control that spot metering offers. In fact, once I got used to spot metering, I never found a need for an incident light meter at all. however, I disagree with you about the "long, arduous RAW workflow".
    Dan
    Yes, Dan, I was being sarcastic (typical Englishman). My current workflow is perforce RAW (Sigma SD10 for the macro work) and Sigma Photo Pro 5.1 seems to produce sharper JPEG images than ACR. SPP's white balancing, although quite strange with that CMY hue circle, seems to work: you have to think "more blue = less yellow . .", or just color-pick it. Then, after exposure adjustment, it's off to PSE 6 via a max quality JPEG for cropping, light setting and final sharpening. I guess I could travel via TIFF but it's just watch pics for the 'net when all said and done. Sadly, the SD10 has reduced me to center-weighted metering.

    Sorry, I don't know what an "FTb" is - but the only "real" camera I had was a Praktica MTL3 (snaps) from the early 80's until Kodak compact digitals came along.

    best regards,

    Ted
    Last edited by xpatUSA; 28th May 2012 at 08:50 PM. Reason: getting old . . .

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