Canon S1 IS (and others) White Balance: Auto / Presets / Cusom

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Renee, Nov 12, 2004.

  1. Renee

    Renee Guest

    This is sort of a continuation of a previous thread, only I'm not about to
    get baited this time. The subject of white balance is a worthy discussion
    and I thought it deserved a post of its own.

    I eventually will come to a question but until then, here's some (rambling)
    notes of interest you're welcome to comment upon even if you're not an S1
    owner:

    In all fairness to the uninformed, newbie digital camera shopper, this much
    should be said. Any reasonable, somewhat experienced digicam user will agree
    that the topic of having to adjust white balance is not camera-brand
    specific. Practically all digital cameras have an adjustment for it, for
    good reason.

    Out of curiosity I did an internet search and found tons of web articles and
    Google posts written about it.

    One article on the subject has a pretty good display of white balance photo
    examples. Most importantly, it doesn't refer to a particular camera brand as
    having more or less of this problem. So no matter what your brand, it's best
    to learn how to best deal with it. And practically all digital cameras have
    ways to help you do so.

    Although the article doesn't go into the subject of adjusting Kelvin
    temperature or anything more technical, it's still worth a look.

    Here's the link if you're interested

    http://tinyurl.com/42tad

    When I first got my current camera, I read in a generic digital photography
    book that it's advisable to avoid using AWB indoors. I don't have the source
    of reference or exact quote because I no longer have the library book I
    checked out. It didn't mention a camera brand, it just said to avoid it
    indoors. It also said that AWB works best outside in sunny conditions. The
    author was a professional photographer with a much more sophisticated camera
    than I own, so I took his advice to heart.

    Since then, the only times I have purposely used AWB indoors, in few short
    months I've owned this camera, was when I had absolutely no idea how to set
    the white balance preset. It was on some of my theater photos where the
    stage light colors and intensity kept changing and were unpredictable. I
    have also used AWB outdoors on my sunrise photos because I was not sure what
    preset would work best. In both cases, I was really happy with the results.
    I know that's not saying much since I'm not a professional photographer.

    As a casual shooter, I hardly ever do post-processing and have been quite
    happy with indoor skin tones using the tungsten preset of my camera. The one
    time did post-processing was to get rid of someone's shiny forehead, not
    anything to do with color.

    That's all besides the point, since here's what I've been wondering:

    After perusing the internet, it's my understanding now that you only do a
    custom white balance adjustment indoors when you're shooting without a
    flash. Maybe that's what you all meant, and I somehow missed the point. Is
    this correct? I've only played around with the presets and haven't tried to
    do a custom white balance with my camera yet. I wonder whether the custom
    adjustment will work, as someone mentioned, on a white spot instead of using
    a white paper or gray card. A spot would be much more convenient for casual
    shooting. Will it work if the white spot doesn't completely fill the center
    of the frame? I guess you could try zooming in on it first so it does. I'll
    have to give that try when I get a chance. Meanwhile, does anyone else use
    custom white balance with the Canon S1 IS, when and how do you use it, and
    what kind of results do you get?

    TIA

    Renee
    Renee, Nov 12, 2004
    #1
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  2. Renee

    S Lee Guest

    Renee choreographed a chorus line of high-kicking electrons to spell
    out:

    [snip]

    > After perusing the internet, it's my understanding now that you only
    > do a custom white balance adjustment indoors when you're shooting
    > without a flash. Maybe that's what you all meant, and I somehow missed
    > the point. Is this correct?


    Custom WB has a lot of uses indoors, yes. "Only?" Not
    necessarily, but indoor lighting can be very hard to pin down.

    > I've only played around with the presets
    > and haven't tried to do a custom white balance with my camera yet. I
    > wonder whether the custom adjustment will work, as someone mentioned,
    > on a white spot instead of using a white paper or gray card. A spot
    > would be much more convenient for casual shooting. Will it work if the
    > white spot doesn't completely fill the center of the frame?


    "Spot" as in a highlight on a surface? A totally white highlight
    is not a good idea since it might not have any underlying color info. It
    also might not be totally white, if the surface underneath is colored.
    You can get a Custom WB point from a not-totally-white frame, but filling
    the frame is safer. A small gray card or a fresh white index card can do
    the job if you're holding it close to the camera lens, just make sure
    that it is not in your own shadow.


    --
    ______________A L L D O N E ! B Y E B Y E !_________________
    | __ "The Internet is where lunatics are
    | (__ * _ _ _ _ internetworked worldwide at the speed of light.
    | __)|| | |(_)| \ *This* is progress?" --J. Shinal
    S Lee, Nov 12, 2004
    #2
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  3. Renee

    Renee Guest

    "S Lee" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Renee choreographed a chorus line of high-kicking electrons to spell
    > out:
    >
    > [snip]
    >


    That's very original and very funny! : )

    >
    > "Spot" as in a highlight on a surface? A totally white highlight
    > is not a good idea since it might not have any underlying color info. It
    > also might not be totally white, if the surface underneath is colored.
    > You can get a Custom WB point from a not-totally-white frame, but filling
    > the frame is safer. A small gray card or a fresh white index card can do
    > the job if you're holding it close to the camera lens, just make sure
    > that it is not in your own shadow.
    >


    Sorry, I'm probably not making my question clear. I guess "spot" could
    technically mean something that I'm not familiar with. When I said
    "Spot" I was referring to something white in the photo such as a white
    collar on a shirt.

    Also, when I said "frame", I thought the manual was referring to the small
    frame in middle of the viewfinder or LCD, like the AF frame or Spot Metering
    frame.

    Does frame, in this context, mean the entire image in the entire viewfinder
    or LCD? Or the smaller frame inside the window? Sorry if this is a dumb
    question but the manual is not clear on this.

    Thank you again for your reply

    Renee
    Renee, Nov 12, 2004
    #3
  4. Renee

    DHB Guest

    On Fri, 12 Nov 2004 15:05:50 GMT, "Renee" <> wrote:

    SNIP....
    >
    >Here's the link if you're interested
    >
    >http://tinyurl.com/42tad
    >
    >When I first got my current camera, I read in a generic digital photography
    >book that it's advisable to avoid using AWB indoors. I don't have the source
    >of reference or exact quote because I no longer have the library book I
    >checked out. It didn't mention a camera brand, it just said to avoid it
    >indoors. It also said that AWB works best outside in sunny conditions. The
    >author was a professional photographer with a much more sophisticated camera
    >than I own, so I took his advice to heart.
    >


    SNIP

    >That's all besides the point, since here's what I've been wondering:
    >
    >After perusing the internet, it's my understanding now that you only do a
    >custom white balance adjustment indoors when you're shooting without a
    >flash. Maybe that's what you all meant, and I somehow missed the point. Is
    >this correct? I've only played around with the presets and haven't tried to
    >do a custom white balance with my camera yet. I wonder whether the custom
    >adjustment will work, as someone mentioned, on a white spot instead of using
    >a white paper or gray card. A spot would be much more convenient for casual
    >shooting. Will it work if the white spot doesn't completely fill the center
    >of the frame? I guess you could try zooming in on it first so it does. I'll
    >have to give that try when I get a chance. Meanwhile, does anyone else use
    >custom white balance with the Canon S1 IS, when and how do you use it, and
    >what kind of results do you get?
    >
    >TIA
    >
    >Renee
    >


    Renee,
    I'll do my best to answer your question(s) but I don't own a
    Canon S1 IS, though I do own a G2, A40, A60, A70, & a Digital
    Rebel/300D DSLR. My suspicion is that the author of the book you
    referred to probably had most of his/her experience with a DSLR. For
    reasons, I can't explain, it seems that most DSLR's set to AWB don't
    do as well as P&S (Point & Shoot) digital cameras in AWB mode.

    My Digital Rebel/300D is a good example of this. Even under
    100% incandescent lighting, it almost always has a yellow tone, this
    surprisingly remains true even if I set it's WB preset to
    incandescent. With the incandescent preset, it's better but still too
    yellowish. Incorrect WB is also common under almost all fluorescent
    lighting, again in both AWB or Fluorescent WB preset. The solution in
    both cases is to set a custom WB.

    Now as to my P&S digital camera experience (mostly with
    Canon), AWB seems to do far better under all situations than my DSLR.
    The same is also true of using the preset WB settings such as tungsten
    which I routinely set when indoors under mixed lighting. By mixed
    lighting, I refer to daylight coming in from the windows & the use of
    some incandescent indoor lights being on, such as a lamp over the
    dinner table. The Canon S1 IS falls into the P&S category, though
    it's a rather specialized camera due to it's 10x IS lens. No insult
    intended but it's largely an A70 with a much nicer lens, thus I would
    expect it to act much the same as my A70 with regard to AWB
    performance. As stated, my P&S cameras do very good in AWB in 90% of
    the lighting situations that I use them in. Thus I generally leave
    them in AWB mode with the exception of mixed indoor/outdoor lighting
    situations.

    In most cases when you set a custom WB, only 3/4 of the
    picture need have a white or gray card in the frame. I rarely use the
    gray side of my white/gray card because I find the white works better
    especially in low lighting indoor situations. As to what you use if
    you don't have a white/gray card with you, this can be a little
    tricky. Generally most places have copy/printer paper & that is
    generally close enough to a neutral white to work well. In fact, I
    always keep 2 or 3 sheets of quality white printer paper folded & in
    each of my camera bags for just this reason.

    A word of caution with using a white card or paper to set your
    WB: Get the exposure correct! Too dark or too bright (saturated) &
    your WB setting may not be accurate. It would be nice if my DSLR had
    3 custom WB settings instead of just 1. They could call them custom
    user WB presets, (Canon I hope your listening).

    Bottom line, most P&S just seem to do fine with AWB in most
    situations, so find out what works well for you & your camera & use
    that. Also in situations where AWB does not do well, note the
    lighting that was being used & if possible revisit the location & use
    different WB presets to see which works best. Also take a few shots
    after setting a custom WB too. Check the results & use what works
    best.

    With more & more homes & businesses converting to much more
    energy efficient lighting such as compact fluorescent lamps, having a
    custom WB & knowing how to use it can be important. My house now has
    about 95% warm white fluorescent illumination. It does not take too
    long for them to pay for themselves in energy savings which in turn
    reduces air pollution often produced in power generation.

    We (all human beings) have made such amazing technological
    strides forward & yet we are nearly all still using 100 year old
    internal combustion engines to power vehicles. Sorry, I got off topic
    but I do hope we are able to pressure our governments & industry to
    seek out non-polluting alternatives & make them practical for
    everybody.

    Hope something I have offered is of help to you & or others.
    I'm also an amateur photographer & digital camera enthusiast, even
    with 25+ years in 35mm SLR & 3+ years in digital photography I am far
    from considering myself a professional & likely never will.

    Respectfully, DHB

    "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President,
    or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong,
    is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable
    to the American public."--Theodore Roosevelt, May 7, 1918
    DHB, Nov 12, 2004
    #4
  5. In Message-ID:<ax5ld.28587$> posted on
    Fri, 12 Nov 2004 16:28:54 GMT, Renee wrote:

    >
    >Sorry, I'm probably not making my question clear. I guess "spot" could
    >technically mean something that I'm not familiar with. When I said
    >"Spot" I was referring to something white in the photo such as a white
    >collar on a shirt.
    >
    >Also, when I said "frame", I thought the manual was referring to the small
    >frame in middle of the viewfinder or LCD, like the AF frame or Spot Metering
    >frame.
    >
    >Does frame, in this context, mean the entire image in the entire viewfinder
    >or LCD? Or the smaller frame inside the window? Sorry if this is a dumb
    >question but the manual is not clear on this.
    >
    >Thank you again for your reply
    >
    >Renee
    >

    I know you can change the auto exposure/focus point by moving the
    rectangle spot to different parts of the frame, but am not sure if the
    manual set WB reading is taken from that same region. If the WB is read
    from that zone, and the area of interest in your scene doesn't fill it,
    you could zoom until it does, then after setting, return to the
    composition you desire.
    I've only played with my WB manual set under outdoor high pressure
    sodium lighting to see how much it could compensate, and in my case I
    used a large gray target that filled the whole frame.
    --

    JK
    Justín Käse, Nov 12, 2004
    #5
  6. Renee

    Renee Guest

    "DHB" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Fri, 12 Nov 2004 15:05:50 GMT, "Renee" <> wrote:
    >
    > SNIP....

    Bottom line, most P&S just seem to do fine with AWB in most
    situations, so find out what works well for you & your camera & use
    that. Also in situations where AWB does not do well, note the
    lighting that was being used & if possible revisit the location & use
    different WB presets to see which works best. Also take a few shots
    after setting a custom WB too. Check the results & use what works
    best.
    >SNIP
    >
    > Hope something I have offered is of help to you & or others.


    Yes, you did, and thank you. I will certainly use your suggestions.

    Though I haven't really felt the need to use it before, I hope to test this
    custom white balance thing soon to see the differences.

    Renee
    Renee, Nov 13, 2004
    #6
  7. Renee

    Renee Guest

    "Justín Käse" <> wrote in message
    news:4195f2e7.13031312@chupacabra...
    > In Message-ID:<ax5ld.28587$> posted on
    > Fri, 12 Nov 2004 16:28:54 GMT, Renee wrote:
    >
    >>
    >>Sorry, I'm probably not making my question clear. I guess "spot" could
    >>technically mean something that I'm not familiar with. When I said
    >>"Spot" I was referring to something white in the photo such as a white
    >>collar on a shirt.
    >>
    >>Also, when I said "frame", I thought the manual was referring to the small
    >>frame in middle of the viewfinder or LCD, like the AF frame or Spot
    >>Metering
    >>frame.
    >>
    >>Does frame, in this context, mean the entire image in the entire
    >>viewfinder
    >>or LCD? Or the smaller frame inside the window? Sorry if this is a dumb
    >>question but the manual is not clear on this.
    >>
    >>Thank you again for your reply
    >>
    >>Renee
    >>

    > I know you can change the auto exposure/focus point by moving the
    > rectangle spot to different parts of the frame, but am not sure if the
    > manual set WB reading is taken from that same region. If the WB is read
    > from that zone, and the area of interest in your scene doesn't fill it,
    > you could zoom until it does, then after setting, return to the
    > composition you desire.
    > I've only played with my WB manual set under outdoor high pressure
    > sodium lighting to see how much it could compensate, and in my case I
    > used a large gray target that filled the whole frame.
    > --
    >
    > JK


    Guess I'll have to play with the custom WB to find out then. Thank you for
    your reply.

    Renee
    Renee, Nov 13, 2004
    #7
  8. >After perusing the internet, it's my understanding now that you only do a
    >custom white balance adjustment indoors when you're shooting without a
    >flash. Maybe that's what you all meant, and I somehow missed the point. Is


    My preference is never to use custom white balance. I use the closest
    camera setting I can, and then adjust the photos afterwards. I find
    that the amount of time it takes me to adjust the photos afterwards is
    considerably less than what it would take me set the white balance.

    -Joel

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please feed the 35mm lens/digicam databases: http://www.exc.com/photography
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Jan 5, 2005
    #8
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