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Author Topic: Best white balance tool?  (Read 13373 times)
cp1
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« on: June 07, 2009, 11:30:46 PM »
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Am looking for a good white balance solution and considering Whibal, Expodisc and Spydercube.  I shoot raw using a Canon and would like to use Lightroom's eye dropper to click set the white balance.

Expodisc seems to give the best overall results but seems most suited to setting the white balance in-camera which is a bit fiddly using a Canon -- I don't want to be distracted while shooting and, other than a quick WB exposure, would rather sort out white balance afterwards in postprocessing.  Also, from reading the instructions, Expodisc seems a bit hit and miss in mixed lighting.

Whibal seems a good solution that will integrate well with my workflow and is convenient in size.  It is also the cheapest.  However, I've seen it suggested that changes in reflections in different types of lighting can give inconsistent results.  Anyone had any experience with this?

I've only just become aware of Spydercube and it seems like a clever solution but, other than white balance, I can't really see myself gaining any benefit from its extra features in terms of assessing exposure.  Furthermore, it seems lot bulkier and more awkward than either of the other two solutions.

Anyone had any experience with some or all of these tools and can comment on their effectiveness in practice, particularly if you're using the same kind of workflow?
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digitaldog
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2009, 08:45:40 AM »
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In terms of the best measured neutrality and high Lstar values, this is by far the best:

http://www.babelcolor.com/main_level/White_Target.htm

WhiBal's are very good and cost quite a bit less (they also have a number of differing sizes which is nice).
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Andrew Rodney
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Derry
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2009, 10:44:01 AM »
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I shoot all our grandkids indoor sporting events, basketball and volleyball,, school and church gyms can really test your skills when it comes to decent WB,, they often even use different bulbs in one end of the gym,, I was sure getting tired of trying to adjust he Kelvin as none of the cameras (Oly E3) various WB settings would work,, talking with a fairly successful wedding photographer using Nikon gear he recommended the ColroRight,, he indicated he tried the others and would still have some issues,,

I purchased one and shot three games the same weekend and what a difference,, I saw it immediately in the first gym while shooting my pregame photos during setup,,,, so quick and simple to use,,

cannot compare the ColoRight to any of the others as never used them but certainly happy whith what it provides me,,

Derry
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MichaelAlanBielat
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2009, 11:34:59 AM »
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I have had great success with the BRNO BaLens. It works really well and it doubles as a lens cap so you never have to worry about losing it or forgetting to take it out of your bag.

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MichaelAlanBielat
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2009, 11:41:22 AM »
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I have had great success with the BRNO BaLens. It works really well and it doubles as a lens cap so you never have to worry about losing it or forgetting to take it out of your bag.

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Misirlou
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2009, 11:41:35 AM »
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I use the Spyder Cube myself. I find the additional exposure range options it gives me to be very helpful.
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donaldahood
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2011, 11:15:38 PM »
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check this new white balance tool out. eagle i at www.somaprophoto.com
works great in mixed lighting conditions.
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Donald
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John Camp
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2011, 01:37:18 AM »
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Andrew (Digitaldog):

On the babelcolor sight there's a quote from you suggesting that you not color balance on gray, and with WhiBal cards that's what you do...so what's up with that?
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2011, 03:20:35 AM »
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My 2c's :
- Anything that you put on the lens will make a reflected WB reading, and so will be influenced by the subject color, and won't probably do better than the camera AutoWB. You'll have to point it at a gray card (incident metering)  if you want to be precise...
So, it's much better to buy something like a gray card (see Andrew's advises) you put in a corner of a photo... the tricky part being to know how to angle it (just like an incident light meter), to choose the light it will reflect in the (always trickiest) case of mixed lighting.

- If you really want some more precision, particularly with funky/spiky fluorescent lights, you may also take a colorchecker and build a color profile upon it (eg with the DNG profile editor).

(edit/spelling)
« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 05:40:23 AM by NikoJorj » Logged

Nicolas from Grenoble
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« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2011, 04:21:22 AM »
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check this new white balance tool out.

Hi Donald,

I'm assuming Michael Reichmann is okay with you advertizing your product on this forum.

Can you explain why you think that measuring ambient scene reflectance says anything about the incident lightsource color? For example, if we photograph a tomato on a red plate, your device measures mostly reflected red with a bit of ceiling, floor, and wall color mixed in. What does that say about whatever color spectrum the main illuminant (e.g. flash) emits?

Cheers,
Bart
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AndrewKulin
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« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2011, 06:18:49 AM »
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 I use a whi-bal, 2x3 inch size unit (older one with 2 greys a white and black).  Works fine for me, and at that smaller size fits easily in my pant pocket - handy when walking around outdoors with the camera as it is easy to reach.  Came with a lanyard as well though I do not use that with it much.

Regards,
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francois
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« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2011, 06:24:56 AM »
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I'm using a Whibal too. These are very durable and not that expensive.
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Francois
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« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2011, 09:03:02 AM »
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Andrew (Digitaldog):
On the babelcolor sight there's a quote from you suggesting that you not color balance on gray, and with WhiBal cards that's what you do...so what's up with that?

Because of the linear encoding of raw data (half of all the data is in the first stop on the highlight end).
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Andrew Rodney
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JeanMichel
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« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2011, 09:31:59 AM »
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Hi,

I use the ColorChecker Passport. Small, easy, fairly inexpensive to buy.
Prior to my digital era I used a graycard and a contraption with a gray card, black, white, grayscale, and colour separation patches. Not very portable. The ColorChecker Passport fits in a pocket. 
There is a review of the device by Michael Reichmann at: http://luminous-landscape.com/reviews/accessories/colorchecker-psssport.shtml

Jean-Michel
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donaldahood
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« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2011, 12:09:32 PM »
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Hi there, not trying to advertise, sorry if it comes across that way. (But on that subject, I'd love to post our company on here as landscapes are my favorite way to escape the 'real world'). The problem with my situation, is since I invented and worked on development of something, I can no longer recommend that something to others because I come across as selling, which of course I want to do, but that's not the primary reason. We spend a lot, (too much) money already in shutterbug magazine, trade shows, etc and would certainly not want to be taken as trying to chimp on some free advertising here. Again I'm sorry for that implication although I agree that it DOES appear that way. Okay I'm rambling now.......

Anyway, as a photography lover, I always am looking at forums and sites to pick up tips just like any one does. My help in developing the eagle i addressed some of the drawbacks to other methods which we encountered on a day by day working photographer basis. Thus the design we use. Using the outside diffuser, and the interior baffle and lens filter design, the eagle i eliminates the problem with reflected light pollution from the surrounding location, and instead uses the actual light that's illuminating the scene to feed through to the camera's internal meter and sensor. With the 360 degree capture of the light, instead of a flat directional capture on front of the lens, it neutralizes any tint to the light that comes from reflecting off the subject and surrounding area, such as the red you describe.
The result is that any colors in the scene record exactly as they are, without having to be concerned about reflections or mixed lighting. The eagle i's job is to neutralize the color of the light, which allows all colors present to fall into their own 'space' without regard to the light being reflected off them. Granted that's the job of any white balance device, but as I said, we addressed the concerns WE encountered with other devices, and of course we like our design Smiley  The other methods available all work in their own way. I'm not knocking any other product by any means.

Thank you for the response, and have a great day.
Donald
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Donald
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2011, 03:31:52 PM »
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[...] and instead uses the actual light that's illuminating the scene to feed through to the camera's internal meter and sensor. [...]
Oh, you turn the camera towards the main light, then?
That makes effectively a bit more sense (though I feel Bart's question is still valid, particularly if there are many tomatoes around).
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2011, 08:56:03 PM »
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Anyone try this one?

http://www.markinsamerica.com/MA5/CBL.php?req=CBL110

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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2011, 10:17:55 PM »
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Seems good advice to me...

Erik

My 2c's :
- Anything that you put on the lens will make a reflected WB reading, and so will be influenced by the subject color, and won't probably do better than the camera AutoWB. You'll have to point it at a gray card (incident metering)  if you want to be precise...
So, it's much better to buy something like a gray card (see Andrew's advises) you put in a corner of a photo... the tricky part being to know how to angle it (just like an incident light meter), to choose the light it will reflect in the (always trickiest) case of mixed lighting.

- If you really want some more precision, particularly with funky/spiky fluorescent lights, you may also take a colorchecker and build a color profile upon it (eg with the DNG profile editor).

(edit/spelling)
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donaldahood
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« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2011, 11:50:05 PM »
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Actually you point the Eagle i toward your subject. If you point it to the main light only, the way you would a flat disc like the expo disc or lally cap, you do not take into account any extraneous light hitting your subject. this is the reason for the 3D dome on the Eagle i, to encompass every nuance of light from every angle that hits your subject. This is how it collects the proper ratio of lighting from variable sources, then the grid and filter inside the dome further segment the light and feed it in through the camera lens for a very precise white balance setting in the camera, as well as a very accurate exposure setting for the meter.
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Donald
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2011, 03:06:35 AM »
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This is how it collects the proper ratio of lighting from variable sources, then the grid and filter inside the dome further segment the light and feed it in through the camera lens for a very precise white balance setting in the camera, as well as a very accurate exposure setting for the meter.

It cannot collect "the proper ratio of lighting from variable sources" when it is looking in the opposite direction. What it does, is collect reflected scene color. That's it, that's all.

Consider shooting a backlit subject outdoors. Since we are shooting in the direction of the sun, your device will pick up the color of the sun. However we are looking at the shadow side of the subject, and it will be relatively blue, and thus will be under corrected when compared to a proper reflected or incident color metering.

If lucky, it might pick up enough overhead sky with a somewhat similar color as the sky behind the photographer. Don't forget that the color of our subjects is a mix of diffuse reflection, following a Cosine fall-off pattern with angle of incidence, and (semi-)specular reflection, following a pattern of angle of incidence is angle of reflection (the color of the reflection is to an increasing amount the same as the reflected subject/lightsource). Some subjects also exhibit a certain degree of tranparency, thus also reflecting filtered background color, and some subjects emit light of a certain spectral composition.

All of these colors can only be rendered correctly if we know the emission color of the illuminant, which is predominantly situated behind the photographer. Color is the filtered reflection of the illuminant's spectral composition. The added ambient light reflection sets the atmosphere and gives visual clues about the reflectance and proximity of the direct surroundings of our subject, it is usually not what we want to totally eliminate (unless the subject is situated close to a brightly colored reflecting surface. But even then remember the cosine fall-off of non-perpendicular light, the front and sides of 3-dimensional surfaces will have a different color (the front surface, perpendicular to the optical axis, has the higher likelyhood of reflecting the correct color).

Cheers,
Bart
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