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Archive 2012 · 5D Mk II LR4 White Balance Problem - Advice?
  
 
Bruce n Philly
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · 5D Mk II LR4 White Balance Problem - Advice?


Questions and thanx so much for the help!!!

1 - Do others have a "common" color cast issue with your 5D Mk II and is it consistent?
2 - I think I can compensate for this in LR4 with Camera Calibration no? Any tips for doing this?
3 - I only shoot RAW... the cast appears to be always Tint too much towards magenta but the amount is inconsistent so I am a bit gun shy about using Camera Calibration.... Opinions on this?
4 - Tips on improving my white balance adjustments in general? If I put the eye dropper on the bird's white, the picture turns into a mess... can't find a good neutral in the picture. All the presets like daylight etc, look worse than "As Shot".

Disclaimer: I am a real amateur and not an artist so my learning curve has been steep. But as I shoot more and more, my eyes are getting more sensitive to white balance and I am starting to see a common problem with my camera's bias to magenta.

My monitor is a good one and I calibrated it... tried a Spyder but it sent it way off due to what I think is the lack of professional controls.... I calibrated it using some tools I found on-line and I think it is fairly neutral. At least none of the pictures I see here on FM have a magenta shift, only my own.

After all adjustments and moving "As Shot" tint from +12 to 0 and no adjustment to Temp:





Before with white balance as it was out of the camera, "As Shot", with Tint at +12:






The link to my original RAW:
Original RAW

Thanx again for any advice!

Bruce
www.TravelThroughPictures.com
More Plover Pics on my blog



Aug 18, 2012 at 03:26 PM
mmurph
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · 5D Mk II LR4 White Balance Problem - Advice?


You should use the Spyder to calibrate your monitor. If you are unsure about color balance, that is ALWAYS the first step. You can't adjust by eye.

The camera assumes that whatever is in front of it will average out to neutral grey. I'd you have a big area of one color - like the blue - it will add the opposite color to balance the image to neutral. (Yellow. Pairs are Red-Cyan, Green-Magenta, Blue-Yellow. Think of it as Red - Minus Red, etc.)

To get a true neutral, you need to get a grey card, then take a picture of it in the light you are shooting under. Then you use that image to set a "custom white balance."

I use a WhiBal card. Have followed that process for serious work for more than 10 years, never been disappointed. You might read up on that. At the very least, put a grey card like that in one of your images so that you can use it to set a grey point.

Your first image looks good.

Good luck!
Michael



Aug 19, 2012 at 03:10 AM
redcrown
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · 5D Mk II LR4 White Balance Problem - Advice?


I downloaded your raw and analyzed it. On my calibrated monitor, the "as shot" colors look good to me. Hard to tell with this shot since there is no true neutral anywhere.

Yes, the birds feathers might be white, and the beak is probably black. But that's the problem with picking neutrals from an image. Things that the mind's eye thinks should be white, black, or any neutral tone in between are rarely true neutral. Once you get a good gray card and place it in images, this lesson becomes clear. When you set white balance on the gray card, and then again on different objects that you think should be neutral, huge differences are common. White, black, or gray clothing is a good example. Few items of clothing are really neutral.

But having looked at your raw and reading your description, I'd bet your monitor is off. I say this because I find no "magenta" cast in the image. The proof of that is in the numbers. In ACR, place a color sampler in the water at bottom of the image (where there is flat tone, no detail). On my sample point I get RGB=91/99/109 under the "as shot" WB.

Then set the WB using a point somewhere in the feathers. Don't pick the brightest or darkest point in the feathers. Go somewhere in between. When I do that, my sample point in the water becomes RGB=77/98/128. Now compare those RGB numbers. The Green value only changed one point (99 vs. 98). Green is the opposite of magenta. If there was a magenta cast in the "as shot" version, there should be a huge difference in the Green numbers.

The Red value went down (91 to 77) and the Blue value went up (109 to 128). That indicates the "as shot" version has a Yellow cast, not a Magenta cast. Again, if you are seeing a magenta cast, I'd suspect the monitor. The RGB numbers don't lie, but monitors do.

I get a pleasing image by setting WB on the feathers. The water goes to a vivid blue, the feathers are definitely white, but there is little color in the back feathers. That's because they are brown, and setting WB on the white feathers takes out a lot of red and yellow.

When you are forced to pick a neutral point in an image to set WB, avoid highlights and shadows. Try to find a midtone. Midtones generate much more accurate WB settings. And do the WB before you do any other tonal changes.



Aug 19, 2012 at 04:08 AM
James_N
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · 5D Mk II LR4 White Balance Problem - Advice?


There is a technically "accurate" White Balance and a "pleasing" White Balance and in most instances you want to achieve a White Balance that is pleasing to the eye rather than accurate unless you're shooting something like a clothing catalog where color accuracy is critical.

I looked at your first JPEG in Photoshop and while there is a slight yellowish/brown color cast (RGB equals 12/7/4 in the shadows and 250/243/227 in the Highlights) its certainly not objectionable especially if shooting early in the morning or late evening. If you look at the numbers you'll see them biased slightly towards yellow (red + green = yellow in additive color theory), or put another way, yellow is the opposite of blue on a color wheel. Notice the lower numbers for blue in both shadows and highlights.

I don't use a 5D Mark II but its possible to "color correct by the numbers." Google the phrase and you'll see tons of information on how to do so. For your photo I used the Dave Cross Threshold Layer technique to accurately determine the shadow, neutral, and highlight points in the photo; then used a Curves adjustment layer to tweak the individual RGB curves, then finally changed to blend mode to Color so luminosity information is not affected. While the White Balance is now technically accurate it is debatable whether its more pleasing to the eye.













The obvious problem though is that the Dave Cross Threshold layer technique cannot be used on a raw file. So I suggest using either an X-Rite ColorChecker Passport or a ColorChecker Mini to take reference shots at each shoot that can later be used to correct the WB in your photos. An additional benefit is that you can use the ColorChecker Passport or Mini with software provided by X-Rite or Adobe to create custom color profiles (Dual Illuminant) in Lightroom/ACR that are specific for your camera. The dual illuminant profile(s) can be set as the defaults in Lightroom and they significantly improve the color rendering of your photos.

See these links:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q89NW8jtn_8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_m44L8o2Fwk

http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/reviews/photography/colorchecker-passport_1.html#two_camera_profiles



Aug 19, 2012 at 10:24 AM
Alan321
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · 5D Mk II LR4 White Balance Problem - Advice?


Bruce, which monitor do you have, and which Spyder device are you using to profile it ?
I suspect that there is an incompatibility between the two, which is common for new monitors and old colorimeters. The old model colorimeters worked well on CRT monitors but new LCD/LED and wide gamut monitor technologies require an up to date colorimeter (or whatever).

- Alan



Aug 19, 2012 at 11:10 AM
Bruce n Philly
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · 5D Mk II LR4 White Balance Problem - Advice?


Wow, great stuff guys. Thanx so much. It is Sunday morning as I read this.... need to go for a run and then assimilate all of this. I hope to comment again at the end of this day.

My Monitor is a Gateway FPD2485W 24-Inch Widescreen High-Definition LCD Display
Model: LP2407 and is about seven years old. I borrowed a friend's three (?) year-old Spyder and it sent the colors obviously way off so I undid these settings; the Spyder manual said something about not working well with some monitor types. With this monitor, I can not specifically set temperature or tint etc.; the slider controls available are for: Brightness, Contrast, Gamma, Red, Green, Blue. My Nvidia software is set at its default of "let applications control....".

I took these shots at around 6:30 PM in NJ with direct sun and some nice "glow" starting to appear. Official sunset at around 8:00 PM.

Let's assume that a newer Spyder won't work as didn't the Spyder I used. How do I calibrate my monitor? As I noted, I used some on-line resources to do it. X-Rite? Another topic: what monitor characteristics do I look for if I want to buy a new one? I would like a larger one than the 24" I have now.

Oh, I do know how to use a grey card... I did not bring one with me for this shoot. I guess I will have to start bringing it more often. But won't it "neutralize" the golden hour glow? Given that the birds were across a body of water from me, I could just shoot the card where I stood no?

Again, thank you all for your time.... just like going to school. I will assimilate the techie stuff and comment back later today.

Bruce



Aug 19, 2012 at 02:13 PM
 

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Bruce n Philly
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · 5D Mk II LR4 White Balance Problem - Advice?


What do you think of this tool combo?

B&H has the X-Rite Passport and Colormunki tools bundled for $219?

I am still worried that the Munki will not work as didn't the Spyder and therefore I will be wasting money - or then be driven to spend more on a new monitor. So... I just fired off an email to X-Rite tech support with my system configuration and asked them if I should have trouble with their Munki product.

I wish I could remember what the Spyder manual said about problems with some monitors..... I just downloaded the manual for the Spyder 3 tool and it did not have any warnings on problems..... hmmm..... I know I read that back when I used it.

Off to do more research and assimilate all of your comments.....

Bruce
www.TravelThroughPictures.com



Aug 19, 2012 at 08:50 PM
mmurph
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · 5D Mk II LR4 White Balance Problem - Advice?


If your monitor &/or graphics card don't have a lot of options, you try to set it to a preset that is close to 5000, 5500, or 6500 K.

Then calibrate it using the "native white point.". Brightness and contrast should be way down from standard "game" settings. Saturation too.

Sounds like you are getting serious enough that a monitor and calibration device are worth the money. Otherwise you drive yourself crazy, constantly chasing your tail.

A grey card will neutralize out the sunset glow. But it is good to have a neutral, repeatable base. Then adjust according to artistic intent.




Aug 19, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Bruce n Philly
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · 5D Mk II LR4 White Balance Problem - Advice?


Ok, some embarrassment.... gotta be honest. I think you folks are on to something here. I set my desktop background as 119,119,119 and now 70,70,70... one massive grey card. Guess what? I had to turn down the RED slider on my monitor a bit and it looks better.

I pulled up LR4 and looked at that plover and it did look better but I still see a magenta cast albeit not as strong.

I wonder why this happened? We had a massive power outage a few weeks ago and I shut down all of my systems for almost a day... wonder if this had anything to do with it... my A/C motor and a disk drive blew out. Maybe my system was reset? I dunno. I have been turning down Tint in LR for a year now almost all of the time.

Anyway, I need to calibrate this monitor... I will report on what X-Rite tells me. Then do another calibration with their tools if I buy them.

Maybe I need a therapist... getting neurotic.... both of me.

Bruce
www.TravelThroughPictures.com



Aug 20, 2012 at 01:13 AM
mmurph
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · 5D Mk II LR4 White Balance Problem - Advice?


Trying to get quality prints drove me crazy for 2-3 years around 2000, 2001 until I finally calibrated monitor & printer. (Tools and workflow were pretty new then.)

You are doing fine, but you can see how easily our eyes adjust. You need something that accurately reads the numbers.

Xrite recently released the Xrite Pro II spectrophotometer. You might be able to pick up the older Version I cheaply. I bought that for $1,800 about 5 years ago. Still a great tool.

Or the Passport kit you mentioned. Not bad to profile your camera, though I never really needed that until shooting fashion.

There are some detailed discussions on Scott Kelby & Digital Dog web sites, among others. This gives more people fits than anything else. The good news is, once you get your workflow nailed you can mostly forget it.



Aug 20, 2012 at 08:12 AM
Bruce n Philly
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · 5D Mk II LR4 White Balance Problem - Advice?


I received a X-Rite bundle Display and Passport. I haven't used the Passport yet (was out shooting all day and forgot it was in my bag - yea, I am a dope).

Calibrating my monitor:

Wow, worked and worked well!!! I love the results. The grey on FM really looks grey. My point is that my eyes were getting used to whatever my monitor looked like. I did have some problems running the program, the first passes were great on color balance but the monitor looked contrasty and dark. The ColorMunki help said to uncheck a few things in the preferences and re-run.... I did and it was great although I did leave the monitor brighter than the tool suggested.

Thanx to all of you who pointed to my evil monitor.

Now..... I checked out my plover pic and now doubt there is less red/magenta in there... but I still see some. That's OK, I like a little neurosis in my life.

Thanx again.
Bruce

www.TravelThroughPictures.com



Aug 24, 2012 at 08:08 PM
mmurph
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · 5D Mk II LR4 White Balance Problem - Advice?


Congrats!

you are 100% right about your eyes - tehy will adjust to **anything**, and then tell you that is normal.

That's why hardware calibration is almost mandatory once you get serious (or start driving yourself crazy ....) Even something like drinking caffine will change your color perception.

Calibrating your camera is worthwhile, but it is the least common and least "mandatory" step in the chain. Mostly because the adobe default profiles are pretty good. But it will give you that last 7%-10% to really nail tough colors.

Have fun!

Michael



Aug 26, 2012 at 09:47 PM





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