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Two things I really should know by now
I don't really understand white balance and how and when it should be adjusted. I assume my camera is set to automatic white balance and thats it. Has anyone got any good links to help me out?.

My second question is about hood lenses. What exactly are they used for?..

Comments (9)

Hood lenses is really lens hood. Lens hoods are used to reduce lens flare while shooting on bright, sunny days. It can happen indoors as well depending on the type of light source, but it usually less of an issue as flash is being thrown more often than not. Flare are those annoying pentagons of renegade light that appear in a photograph when shooting at a wrong angle vis-a-vis the sun..

White balance is used to compensate for different colored lighting schemes. Indoor lighting is going to have a different base color than outdoor lighting does. Here is the general rule of thumb that I use with my camera, the 350D (one grade up from yours, but same WB issues). In the outdoors, I generally use Auto WB. It does what I need it to do for the most part. When I am using flash, I change the WB to the "flash" setting.

I use those three presets around 99% of the time. I occasionally use the Custom WB function, but that's a function of knowing when it is appropriate, and that's impossible for me to convey over the internet..

Other people will give you other ideas. Try them all out, and use what works for you...

Comment #1

I don't really understand white balance and how and when it should beadjusted. I assume my camera is set to automatic white balance andthats it. Has anyone got any good links to help me out?.

My second question is about hood lenses. What exactly are they used for?.

White balance compensates for the 'colour' of the light. Tungsten light bulbs produce a very yellow light; shade on a sunny day is quite blue. You don't notice it normally as your eye/brain compensates. But a camera won't: a photo taken under an incandescent light will look horribly yellow..

So you need to tell your camera what colour the light is so that it can compensate in the image and the resulting image looks pleasing to you, i.e. with a neutral overall colour cast. 'Auto' white balance leaves it up to the camera to make an informed guess and sort the WB out itself. Often this works pretty well in daylight, but no DSLR camera I know of can correctly detect and compensate for artificial light very well, especially tungsten light..

So you can.....

1. Check the WB setting when you shoot, and set it to one of the presets that matches the conditions (sunlight, shade, cloudy day, flash, fluorescent light, whatever)..

2. Do a 'custom white balance': take a close up picture of a piece of grey card or white paper, and tell the camera that this is neutral with no colour cast. This is the most accurate calibration method..

3. Leave it in auto WB and fix any resulting minor colour casts in Photoshop with the 'remove colour cast' tool..

4. Shoot in RAW, then you don;t need to worry about whilst shooting, and you can set the WB at your computer screen afterwards before ocnverting the picture to a JPEG..

Finally: A 'hood lens' is a 'lens hood' and cuts out stray light, glare etc when taking photos on sunny days..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #2

I don't really understand white balance and how and when it should beadjusted. I assume my camera is set to automatic white balance andthats it. Has anyone got any good links to help me out?.

A camera is designed to work with perfect sunlight and gives it's best white balance in these conditions..

Any other lighting can cause significant color casts because the relative red, blue and green levels of that light source is different from those in ideal daylight..

Normally presets are better than auto, especially in incandecant light. 'Cloudy' or 'Overcast' presets ( whatever your camera calls them ) usually work well too..

Auto is usually not very good outside of daylight or cloudy conditions. Sometimes not bad in fluorescent..

You can use 'Custom WB' to try and create a white balance for a particularly difficult scene. Your camera manual will normal explain this, and you can look it up on google for various techniques, methods and aids to use when doing this..

It is still not unusual to have white balance issues, and one reason for using RAW is that it gives you the best source material to try and work your own solution. Even the best, however, will find shots that they will never be quite happy with..

My second question is about hood lenses. What exactly are they used for?.

Hoods are used to shield the lens from light coming from odd angles causing flares etc., from light bouncing inside the lens from odd angles.. They also help with vignetting ( supposedly ). They are a good way to protect your lens..

Very useful in all situations..

Note that hoods are usually designed for particular lens and a hood should be kept with the lens it came with..

StephenG.

Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #3

99% of the photos I take are outdoors so the AWB should be fine then?.

And the ones I do take indoors I never use a flash because the results are always poor so I should use the tungsten? setting was it (I cant view your post and reply to it).

So is a lense hood a worthwhile investment then. The cameras never out really unless it's sunny so I'm guessing it will be...

Comment #4

More excellent information. thats really great thanks. I meant to type lense hood, ha ha. I've been playing around with shooting in RAW since getting CS3, but I'm yet to see any great improvements in the final results. I know white balance alteration is one of the main advantages of using RAW, but I guess not fully understanding white balance and primarily shooting outdoors I was never going to get the most from it..

Comment #5

New 300D User wrote:.

99% of the photos I take are outdoors so the AWB should be fine then?.

In the vast majority of cases, yes, AWB will be fine outdoors. There are occasional exceptions, but you'll figure that out from trial and error..

And the ones I do take indoors I never use a flash because theresults are always poor so I should use the tungsten? setting was it(I cant view your post and reply to it).

As long as you are under normal incandescent lighting (think the yellow type lighting), then yes, Tungsten compensates for it and gives normal or near normal skin tones. If you do have the really white type bulbs (comparatively rare), then Tungsten doesn't work anymore. You'll know this if your picture turns out excessively blue..

So is a lense hood a worthwhile investment then. The cameras neverout really unless it's sunny so I'm guessing it will be..

Yes, it is invaluable in the outdoors...

Comment #6

Thanks for the information Steven. Much appreciated. Its just going to be a case of playing around and experimenting in different lighting conditions. I intend on visiting this site a lot more than I have in the past too. Its a truly awesome resource for information...

Comment #7

2. Do a 'custom white balance': take a close up picture of a piece ofgrey card or white paper, and tell the camera that this is neutralwith no colour cast. This is the most accurate calibration method..

Best wishesMike.

How do you "tell the camera"?..

Comment #8

2. Do a 'custom white balance': take a close up picture of a piece ofgrey card or white paper, and tell the camera that this is neutralwith no colour cast. This is the most accurate calibration method..

Best wishesMike.

How do you "tell the camera"?.

It varies... look in the manual under 'custom white balance' or 'manual white balance'..

On my camera (Pentax), you go to the WB menu and select 'manual' (rather than one of the presets). the camera prompts you to take a picture of a neutral image (close-up of a white sheet of paper). Then it calibrates itself from that and anything taken under the same light will be correctly balanced..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #9

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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