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Custom WB trick

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by Taylor, May 24, 2007.

  1. Taylor


    May 21, 2007
    Toronto, ON
    I'm not sure where else to post this... maybe the mods can move it later?

    Anyway, this is a trick I learned from a fellow D200 user a while back and I thought I'd share it with everyone.

    With a camera that has a "PRE" WB setting where you can shoot a custom white or gray card on-location, you can make perfect WB settings without even using a card!

    This is what you need to do:

    Set your camera into Shutter-priority with a speed of 1" or slower.
    Set yourself up to shoot a PRE setting (for D200: select WB>PRE>d-0 or whatever, and then hold down WB until PRE is blinking)
    Frame a part of the scene that you want to white balance, and take a photo --- BUT when you do this, wave your camera around so the image is a big blur. This blends all the colours, essentially making it a white card with colour cast.

    Make sure that your LCD reads "good" after taking the PRE setting.

    Then, return to normal shooting and take a normal shot of the scene, you should see that it has perfect WB!

    You can check out what you took in the camera's menu. In D200, go to Shooting Menu > White Balance > PRE and you can see the image that it used to measure WB from.
  2. Julien


    Jul 28, 2006
    Paris, France
    Funny , I'll have to try this at home when I come back :biggrin:
  3. Tried it but maybe the room I used your system in had a confusion of white balance. End result, not great. But, I love thinking outside of the square, keep at it.
  4. This is equivalent to an average color balance, which assumes all colors in the scene average to gray - not a good assumption if you want accurate colors.

    You can do the equivalent in Photoshop by Filter > Blur > Average and you get an averave of all colors in the image. Then use Levels or Curves and click on the gray eyedropper to change the color to gray. Save this and then apply it to the initial image to see how average works for this image. Some work ok, but most are not close to correct. I wish it was that simple.
  5. I think that's in general the approach that you have when using the Expodisc. But instead of having their customoster wave around their camera they try to catch light from a wider angle with some prismas. At least that's my understanding.
  6. jfriend


    Nov 11, 2005
    SF Bay Area
    Expodisc works differently (and potentially better) than the averaging described above because most of the light that hits the Expodisc is the actual incident light at your scene from the light sources at your scene (sun, sky, etc...), whereas the averaging described above is only using light reflected from your actual scene (that gets to the sensor) and is not using direct incident light at all. This makes the Expodisc more independent of the color of your scene and more aligned with the color of the light that is lighting the scene (which is what you want).

    For those interested in a post processing way to do the averaging, here's a Photoshop action for doing it called Chip Springer's Digital Grey Card.
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