How do you White Balance?

Started 7 months ago | Discussions thread
JohnLindroth Senior Member • Posts: 2,773
Re: How do you White Balance?

MarkWW wrote:

JohnLindroth wrote:

MarkWW wrote:

JohnLindroth wrote:

MarkWW wrote:

I usually do white balance in camera first (from a grey card).

Unlike other cameras, you can't really manually set white balance in post, just select among presets.

Setting the white balance in camera gives me the option of keeping that setting or using presets.

Does anyone know how the camera + SPP work with manual white balance files? Are the calculations significantly different from the preset white balance settings?

(I'm shooting a DP3 Merrill, but this is a general question.)

I started with Foveon using an SD14, and realized that the only way to get natural colors was to start with a Custom WB. I did some testing with images in each built in WB, and a CWB, and then using the dropper tool in SPP to see if I could get a correctly colored image from each internal WB, compared to the CWB. I couldn't - there were always colors that did not look right when correcting an incorrect WB with the dropper tool in SPP. I don't know anything about the internals of WB in SPP, but can definitely say that CWB is always better.

I always used a grey card for setting. And often set a CWB for mid morning sunlight, and just kept that in the CWB settings and used it for general shooting. It usually gave me a reasonable daylight setting anytime I needed one. And then there were the built in settings for inside shots.

Now I'm using an sd Quattro. The internal WB there is better, and I'm saving as DNG and use Lightroom for processing, so I don't worry much about using a CWB.

-John

Thanks John, that's very informative and jibes with my own experience.

You're happy with the DNG files out of the sd Quattro? I was afraid they'd lose a bit of the Sigma magic.

Yes, I think the DNG files are great for the way I use the camera. I'm not using the camera professionally, and my photos are just for my own benefit. My main concern was the dynamic range of the RAW files. I shot some test shots, and didn't notice any difference in the ability to use the 'top' and 'bottom' of the files in post processing. I'm not sure how much of the in camera settings end up in the DNG file - I believe they are treated more like a RAW file, without the settings that a JPEG would have.

I suspect it's more like the TIFF files out of SPP - some non-reversible decisions have been made, but there's still considerably leeway to work with the files - dynamic range, white balance, etc.

You know you can open a JPG in Adobe Camera Raw and adjust the white balance? It starts to fall apart if you get to extreme with the adjustments, but you can do it.

My point is if you change the white balance or exposure in SPP, SPP probably re-does the three layer math from scratch with different results. The DNG file has the "math" baked in to some degree, so changes made to the DNG wouldn't necessarily yield the same results as changes made in SPP, so perhaps extreme changes in white balance might "fall apart" in a way similar to the JPG opened in ACR.

If you shot on a white balance setting that resulted in compressed reds (near clipped etc), the DNG would have the resulting math for the near-clipped red channel & would have less leeway to recover detail than in SPP where the calculations can be redone from source material (the X3F file), and maybe more red detail could be recovered - because the clipping was done when creating the DNG file, not on the sensor.

Honestly, the best images from the camera come from the SFD mode. It amazes me how much finer the details become in those shots. Of course, that means I'm still stuck with SPP. But I only shoot with SFD in very limited situations.

I've never played with SFD (is it even an option on Merrills? maybe it is) - I rarely shoot landscapes etc. so the extra detail at the cost of extra time (tripod etc.) wasn't of much interest to me.

As far as I know, SFD is a Quattro option only.

-John

 JohnLindroth's gear list:JohnLindroth's gear list
FinePix XP70 Sigma SD9 Fujifilm X-E1 Sigma sd Quattro
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