Custom White Balance - Do You Use It?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Frunch, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. Frunch

    Frunch Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 5, 2011
    While taking some photos earlier today, I found that I could not get my E-PL2 to accurately capture some late-day sunlight on a house nearby. I tried all the white balance presets, but none of them came up with the right color. I never set a custom white balance before, but I was thinking that might be the solution for a scenario like that. Would that be the appropriate course of action? If so, how should I go about setting the proper white balance? And if not, what other options do I have?

  2. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Real Name:
    I use custom white balance CONSTANTLY. All you need is something that is white. If you want to get fancy you can carry a gray card but in a pinch, anything that is white will do.
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  3. Frunch

    Frunch Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 5, 2011
    Thanks for the response!:smile:

    So then, setting the white balance would just be a matter of 'eyeballing' something white nearby and adjusting the custom WB until it matches?

  4. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    If by "custom white balance", you mean "adjust white balance in Lightroom every single time I process a shot", then yes, I do use custom white balance.
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  5. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 9, 2011
    Whitehorse, Yukon
    All the time... It only takes three quick button presses to get it set. It's winter right now so I just balance off the snow, indoors it is no problem to find something appropriate.

    Not as important if you are shooting RAW stills but I am trying to get into the habit of doing it everytime, so that when I shoot video I have white balanced every shot.
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  6. nseika

    nseika Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 22, 2010
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    Real Name:
    Used it, was using it.
    Recently, I can't find a custom JPG setting good enough to remove some oversaturated colours (especially the red) so I ends up shooting raw and just fix what the AWB did wrong in PP.
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  7. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I've even reprogrammed one of my buttons to do one-touch white balance, just to make it easier.
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  8. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    Frunch, if you have the Super Control Panel active on your E-PL2 it is easy to set a custom white balance through the White Balance menu in the SCP. You choose CWB and then aim the camera at something white/grey in the same scene/lighting as your subject so the white object fills most of the screen. The camera captures that grey value and uses it as the custom setting until you choose another one.
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  9. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    There are two ways to set a custom white balance. One is to dial in a Kelvin number in the Custom White Balance option. Since we are using full-time Live View on our mirrorless cameras, this is a surprisingly accurate method to use on the fly for ambient light. With DSLRs, it was meant to be used with a light meter.

    The quicker and more accurate method however, is to use a Reference White Balance. On an Olympus camera, this is called "One Touch White Balance". Go to the One Touch setting in your WB menu, and hit the INFO button. It will prompt you to take a shot. Shoot a picture of a white sheet of paper where you will be taking the photo. If you have any strobes or flash, they will be set off with the photo and will be accounted for in the new color balance.

    If you are using speedlights or strobes, then your resulting WB will look overly warm. That's because the strobes will cool it down when you actually snap the shot. :)
    • Like Like x 1
  10. jambaj0e

    jambaj0e Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 31, 2010
    I use it a lot, too, even in daylight. I have the BRNO Balens for my lenses and using the one-button custom white balance on the Olympus and the slower 3-4 button custom WB on my GH2, I can white balance in about 2-5 seconds.

    Even when shooting strobes for a photoshoot, I'd white balance, then take a test shot w/ someone holding a grey card. Usually, the WB is already correct or pretty close to correct. The reason for this is because different modifiers can change the color temperature of a strobe/speedlight.
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  11. Holymoly

    Holymoly Mu-43 Regular

    WB NG Retry

    Ned I have followed you thus far. May I ask what "WB NG Retry" means?.. Is this an indicator of an adjustment I must make? I have the red gold problem too.

  12. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    I use it only for my IR photos.
  13. OhWellOK

    OhWellOK Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 4, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    I have some Lowell EGO CFL lights I use for table top shots - I have a custom WB saved in a My Set I use with those.
  14. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I think this is going to depend on specific camera models. E-P1 & E-M5 are different for example.
  15. jar

    jar Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 25, 2012
    I never futz with white balance in camera. It's much easier to me to just shoot raw and set the WB later. I try to shoot something neutral white/gray in the room to set from if there isn't something in the picture I want already. Then I use the eyedropper tool in lightroom and copy the setting from photo to photo as needed.
  16. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    Just go to the B menu, Fn Function, select One Touch WB.
  17. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2013
    I don't obtain acceptable results fixing white balance later in a raw converter. Mixed light sources become pernicious to resolve after the fact. A couple clicks to set WB in the begining or at the point of capture saves time and mediocre results later.
  18. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    I'm learning new things all the time, but here are my current workflow procedures (I've learned from trial & error) for getting the white
    balance, exposure and colors looking good when using my Olympus E-PL1 or E-M5:
  19. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I use it sometimes but usually only when doing studio type shots. When I shoot out and about I first try auto and if that doesn't get it then I try other settings. If all those fail then I use the manual Kelvin selection mode. For white balancing using the custom mode I use a ColorRight Pro. I got it when they had it on sale for $25.

    ColorRight PRO White Balance Product

    However even when I think I have nailed it, I often find I need to tweek it a little bit in Lightroom.
  20. Holymoly

    Holymoly Mu-43 Regular

    RAW Converter

    My sentiments exactly although I can't comment overly intelligently on the RAW converter. I have tried with 2 free ones and was thoroughly disappointed. I subsequently purchased Paintshop X4 thinking maybe I need to "buy" one. I haven't installed it but instead got rid of my Nikon D60 instead and decided to go the JPEG way with the E-PL2 on the strength of Kirk Tuck's untouched E-PL2 photos.

    Largely this little camera sees things as I do and sets me free from being a technician. I think the couple of clicks you are talking about is going to come under the ceiling of the strenuous limitations I place on myself. My philosophy is that if you get too clever you don't need the magic to happen.. I am acutely aware that I do.