Lastolite Ezybalance - the white side doesn't look white

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Peabody, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. Peabody

    Peabody Guest

    I just got the 12" version of this, and one thing about it is
    curious. The white side looks a bit creamy. In fact,there's a
    stitched border around the perimeter of the white material, and the
    border is clearly whiter than the main field.

    I need to do some experimenting using the white side to set custom
    white balance, and then the grey side to do that, and see which
    seems better. But I just wondered if there was an explanation for
    why the white side looks like that. The grey side looks pretty
    neutral to me.
     
    Peabody, Nov 14, 2011
    #1
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  2. Peabody

    Peabody Guest

    Savageduck says...
    And is the grey side also the correct side for setting
    custom white balance in the camera?
    If what he says is true - that light grey, not 18%, is what
    you want for white balance, then if I use the Ezybalance
    grey it looks like I should shoot it at +2 stops or
    thereabouts so it's light grey in the picture. Does that
    make sense?
     
    Peabody, Nov 15, 2011
    #2
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  3. Peabody

    tony cooper Guest

    I have - and use - a WhiBal card from Michael Tapes, but I don't use
    it prior to set a custom white balance. I use it for table-top
    photography where I'm using external lighting. I take one shot with
    the card in the image, and then the next shots without the card. All
    shots are done with a fixed aperture and speed setting (M).

    When I process the image, I use Photoshop Curves and use the white,
    black, and gray points on the card to set the curve, save that curve,
    and apply it to subsequent shots done under the same lights.

    Most of the time, it works a treat. Sometimes, though, it's really
    off. In those cases, I set the curve manually and save that.
     
    tony cooper, Nov 15, 2011
    #3
  4. Peabody

    PeterN Guest

    You can easily set WB in PS.

    Duplicate the layer.
    Filter | Blur | average
    create a levels layer
    touch the middle pointer to the blurred image
    that will set layers to neutral gray.
    delete the blurred layer
    your image will be color corrected.
     
    PeterN, Nov 15, 2011
    #4
  5. Peabody

    PeterN Guest

    That method is fine if you enjoy carrying an extra thing. Also it will
    not remove color casts when you are shooting animals through glass in a
    zoo.
     
    PeterN, Nov 16, 2011
    #5
  6. Peabody

    Peabody Guest

    I appreciate the responses. But at the risk of shocking you, I
    have to tell you that I don't have ACR, or Bridge, or PhotoShop, or
    Elements, or Lightroom, or any other software that costs money.
    That's just the way it is. And I've been shooting jpeg. So, I
    need to be able to set custom white balance in the camera.

    So is there any free software for XP that has the eyedropper WB
    correction function for raw files? Or even for jpeg files? I've
    been using XnView, but I don't think it has WB adjustment at all.

    I bought the camera used, with no disks. Should I look at the
    Canon software that comes with the camera? I've never heard of
    anybody actually using it, and just assumed it was awful. But
    maybe that's not right.
     
    Peabody, Nov 16, 2011
    #6
  7. Peabody

    tony cooper Guest

    I do carry my WhiBal card in my camera bag. When I was at the Gay
    Pride Rally, though, I wasn't about to ask the people I photographed
    if they'd hold up the card for the first shot for me. I've used the
    card in the field less than half a dozen times in the last two years.

    I find white balance to be a very, very minor problem 95% of the time.
    It's usually correctable in post processing if it is a problem.

    The only time it concerns me is shooting under artificial lighting
    from more than one type of light, and when there is a series involved
    and the colors have to be true throughout the series. In this
    situation, I shoot the card and set up a curve to use on all the
    shots.
    I don't think anyone deliberately seeks out subjects that are
    problems. What we do is deal with problems that arise with subjects
    we stumble on that are good photographic material.
     
    tony cooper, Nov 16, 2011
    #7
  8. Peabody

    Peabody Guest

    Savageduck says...
    Sorry. It's a T2i.
    Ok, I'll find that on the Canon site. Thanks.
     
    Peabody, Nov 16, 2011
    #8
  9. Peabody

    PeterN Guest

    I must confess that I have rarely seen WB as an issue with landscapes.
    Why adjust the WB when I seek to capture the color that is present. If
    you set WB for daylight at sunset, or sunrise, you will get closer to
    the colors you want. If I need to make a WB adjustment, I do it in ACR,
    by eye. If you don't like shooting in zoos, that's fine. There are many
    ways to make adjustments. And it is nice to learn about alternatives. It
    would be a dull world if we all liked the same thing. I still like my
    method to remove unwanted color casts.
     
    PeterN, Nov 16, 2011
    #9
  10. Yes, moving to a purely raw workflow was a big, productive, step upwards
    for me.

    A custom white balance can still be useful; while you can produce any
    result from raw later without it, it can be considerably easier.
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Nov 16, 2011
    #10
  11. Peabody

    tony cooper Guest

    Yes, we know that's what *you* do. Careful, though, that you don't
    try to convince others that this is the only, or the best, way.

    From what I've seen of your output, you shoot for single photographs.
    You may click the shutter multiple times, but from various angles and
    with various settings to produce a single photograph selected from
    multiple choices.

    Some of my output is the same, and I shoot RAW when I'm in that mode.
    However, there are times when I shoot multiple shots of the same event
    for multiple photographs. For example, my grandsons (7 & 8)
    experienced their first season of Pop Warner football. At each of the
    eight games I took an average of 150 photos. The games were played on
    Saturday mornings on high school fields. I had to photograph from the
    stands.

    I'd review the 150 photos and pick 20 to 30 to process. Most were
    just cropped or maybe a Levels or a Shadows/Highlights adjustment.

    I shot the first game RAW because that was what I'm used to. It took
    far too much time to process the images. The second game I shot
    RAW+jpg, but used the .jpg on every shot. The rest of the games I
    shot jpg-only. I never had a shot where I wished I had the RAW
    version to go back to.

    I also shoot .jpg only when I'm doing table-top photography. In this
    case, I'm shooting multiple shots for a single-photo output, but I'm
    usually shooting several series using different placement of the
    external lights or arrangements of the subject. Sometimes I shoot
    tethered to my laptop, and sometimes not.

    Thanksgiving we're all meeting at a state park and dining al fresco.
    For the family snaps, I'll probably shoot jpg-only. I might switch
    back to RAW for the traditional group portrait, though.

    RAW certainly has its place, but let's not take the position that RAW
    is the only, or the best, setting for all photography. In some cases,
    it only adds steps to the processing job without any advantages.
     
    tony cooper, Nov 16, 2011
    #11
  12. Although I've heard arguments making it seem at least passably sane not
    to shoot raw in some special situations, I do think it's far and away
    the best way, and anybody not doing it is leaving a lot of image quality
    on the table.
    You are using inadequate tools. It was adding Bibble Pro to my toolkit
    that made shooting RAW full-time practical for me. From what I hear,
    Lightroom is also workable in that mode.

    I shot over 900 exposures at a roller derby bout last Saturday evening.
    Going way back, I've done weddings, too (part-digital most recently). I
    routinely deal with hundreds or very occasionally thousands of shots
    from a weekend, all in raw form.

    What you say you do now is roughly what I did before that -- used RAW
    for special cases that were especially important. However, that's
    exactly the *opposite* of when RAW is really useful. RAW is useful when
    I'm coping with rapidly-changing dynamic activities around me and trying
    to capture all the important bits. For landscapes, or studio work, I
    can take my time, and get it right in-camera. No real need for RAW
    then. But when shooting sports, or kids at play, they run from sun to
    shade, something exciting suddenly happens behind me, and I move around
    a lot -- sometimes it's impossible to get right in-camera because
    there's just too much brightness range. But with the extended range of
    RAW, I can make a good image from it.

    Your never having wanted to have a RAW to go back to suggests to me that
    it was an easy situation (suggested a bit by shooting from the stand --
    one location, fairly constant distance), or that your standard for image
    quality isn't up to mine, or that your exposure skills are considerably
    better than mine.
    Maybe, but I find myself using it now and then even for studio shots. I
    do say it's a choice so powerful that, if you don't choose it, I really
    have to wonder why.
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Nov 16, 2011
    #12
  13. Peabody

    tony cooper Guest

    Inadequate tools? Damn, do I love supercilious "experts" who, without
    knowing what I have or what I'm doing, tell me what I have is
    inadequate.

    I have Lightroom2 and Photoshop CS4. Normally, I upload via Bridge
    converting the NEF files to DNG files (if shooting RAW).

    When a DNG file is opened in Photoshop, the file is actually opened in
    Adobe's Camera RAW 5.0 window, and then in Photoshop. It's an extra
    step that is really not needed for many situations.

    When that extra step is potentially useful, I set the camera to shoot
    RAW. When it is not potentially useful, I set the camera jpg.
    A roller derby is an indoor event under artificial lighting. I'd
    shoot RAW there, too. I described a Saturday morning outdoor event in
    bright Florida sunlight that allowed shooting at 1/500th to 1/1000th
    on game days.
    Nah...I'm just a hack at this and you are obviously 'way out of my
    league.

    I've submitted images for every Shoot-In for the past couple of years,
    linked to my images frequently, and linked to my SmugMug galleries.
    You've had ample opportunity to see and judge my output.
     
    tony cooper, Nov 17, 2011
    #13
  14. From here, it looks like you started it; I was just following suit.

    Just to be clear -- I apologize if I made it seem like I thought I was
    "more expert" than you. We clearly disagree on some things, but I see
    you as somebody with whom it's suitable to discuss such differences (and
    I might learn something), rather than somebody whom I might deign
    enlighten from my "superior position".

    What I was intending to convey (and I admit I was being snarky about it)
    was that, if it took a lot of extra time to process RAW images compared
    to JPG images, you clearly weren't using tools well-chosen for
    processing RAW images.
    Sounds like you don't use Lightroom, though you have it? For me, I use
    Bibble for big batches -- event photos generally. The thing that makes
    it really super-wonderful (which I think LR also does) is that I can
    adjust *groups* of pictures (and then overlapping sub-groups). So I end
    up with semi-custom adjustment on each photo, without having to work
    each one individually. (This gets me roughly what video-analyzed prints
    from a pro-lab got me back in the day.) Then, I can take that last 1%
    that either I screwed up so badly (and yet need the shot) that I have to
    take drastic measures in Photoshop, or that are so good that they
    deserve full custom printing. Those numbers are small enough that
    going through ACR on the way in doesn't bother me.
    I'm not comfortable with the phrase "not potentially useful", but okay.
    I'm not trying to claim that, so I'll take that as snark that I may have
    earned rather than seriously.
    And have not so far taken them, I'm sorry to say. I'm a lazy bum, and
    with screen and ssh between me and the news, links aren't live AND copy
    and paste is harder than usual. I'll try to do better in general.

    Which reminds me that gnus doesn't seem to be finding my .sig file,
    shoould fix.
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Nov 17, 2011
    #14
  15. Peabody

    tony cooper Guest

    True, that. Most daylight, outdoor, family snaps taken in ordinary
    conditions require little to no processing as .jpgs out of the camera.

    When my daughter and her husband came down for one of the grandson's
    football games, I was able to upload my .jpg images taken at the game
    to her laptop when we were still in the parking lot. She has Elements
    9.0, so she can open DNGs, but she's never worked with RAW before.
    The reason that I mention table-top is that it is an area where
    artificial light sources are used. All of these - some of which have
    appeared in the Shoot-In - are in that category:

    http://tonycooper.smugmug.com/Other/Table-Top-Photography/7892732_v9Df9h#P-1-12

    I'm sure people like Allen Browne whip out these type of images easily
    because they are used to using studio set-ups and studio lighting.
    They're a bitch for me, though. I work with clip-on lights from Home
    Depot, a mix of bulbs, and a jerry-rigged background arrangement.

    It takes me dozens of attempts to get the lights positioned right.
    I'll shoot a series, look at images, go back and move the lights, and
    start over. The initial series are always done in jpeg only because
    I'm looking for how the light and shadows work, and sometimes
    reflections on shiny surfaces, and I just want quick and dirty
    feedback. Once I have my positioning I'll shoot RAW.
     
    tony cooper, Nov 17, 2011
    #15
  16. Peabody

    Bruce Guest


    I'm not comfortable with that phrase either. You can never be 100%
    sure before shooting that you won;t need RAW.

    With most cameras aimed at enthusiasts and above, it is possible to
    shoot RAW + JPEG. Why not simply do that all the time, and when you
    don't need the RAW files, just discard them?
     
    Bruce, Nov 17, 2011
    #16
  17. Peabody

    tony cooper Guest

    Look...it's not like the old days when you loaded the camera with a
    particular ASA film and were stuck with that film for 24 or 36
    exposures unless you wanted to waste a roll.

    I can set my camera to jpg only, shoot x number of photos, open Menu
    and change to RAW or RAW+jpg, shoot one photo, and then switch back to
    jpg only. It's no more difficult than changing the f/stop or the
    shutter speed or the ISO.

    I pretty much know when I'm going to feel comfortable with jpg only
    and when I want RAW and when I'm going to straddle the fence.
     
    tony cooper, Nov 17, 2011
    #17
  18. Peabody

    tony cooper Guest

    I do and I don't. I use it as an filing system, but not as an editing
    system. I love it as a way to categorize, keyword, and keep track of
    my images. I don't use the editing features because I've been using
    Photoshop for so many years that I'm comfortable with it. I sometimes
    play around with Lightroom as an editor, but I'm so slow with it
    compared to PS that I give up and go back to CS4. I know I'm
    under-utilizing Lightroom, but it doesn't bother me.
    There's a link in another post to my Table-Top SmugMug gallery.
    You've never seen any of my photographs, but you are sure that I would
    benefit from being able to do RAW processing the way you do? I've
    never shot 900 images in a single day, or week, in my life. I've
    never processed 900 images in one session. I think my high might be
    30 to 50 even though three times that number of images were taken.

    I don't mind if you criticize my images, but I think it's absurd for
    you to criticize my workflow when you have never seen what type of
    images I take. I'm a reasonably intelligent person with the capacity
    (but not always the interest) to learn how to do just about anything
    in this area of photography.

    I also think that it is absurd for you to think that your system is
    the system I should be using just as I think it would be absurd for me
    to suggest that you do things my way.

    I think it's fine to say "This system works for me, and here's what I
    do...", but I don't agree with the presumption that what I do/use is
    inadquate for *my* use.
     
    tony cooper, Nov 17, 2011
    #18
  19. Peabody

    Bruce Guest


    That's a very poor analogy because it has no relevance to the point
    being discussed.



    I think you are making things unnecessarily difficult for yourself. I
    repeat, why not simply shoot RAW + JPEG all the time, and when you
    don't need the RAW files, just discard them?

    That way, you always have RAW files when you need them, including when
    you later find that you need them. When you don't need them, discard
    them. You don't need to remember to switch.

    It ain't rocket science. ;-)
     
    Bruce, Nov 17, 2011
    #19
  20. Peabody

    tony cooper Guest

    It's extremely relevant because it points out that you are thinking
    old-school where relevant choice at the beginning of a shoot
    determines the choice during the entire shoot. It no longer does.

    No, I'm doing things the way I choose to do them. Not the way you
    want me to, but the way I want to. I really don't need a reason.
     
    tony cooper, Nov 18, 2011
    #20
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