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Myka
07-07-2013, 03:39 PM
Is there a trick you all use to set the white balance? My camera, a Canon G9, has "manual" white balance where I point to a white area and push a button to set it there. It always seems like it is either too green, too red, or too blue. It is frustrating. Any tricks?

Lately I have been getting a lot of dull looking photos and lots of graininess too. A FTS for example will show a whole bunch of dull colors and then say, red (or green) will be neon in the photo. The neon parts will be out of focus. What the heck? and why the graininess?

Maybe it's time to replace the camera, I'm not sure...

sphelps
07-07-2013, 06:51 PM
Are you shooting in Raw mode with your G9? I use the same camera for diving and don't seem to have those issues but the environment is a little different. With manual WB settings you often end up maxing out to one end of the scale which can result in washed out color, you usually need to bump up saturation either on the camera or in post processing to get things right. Also if the tank is too blue no amount of WB adjustment will help, some of the best pictures I've taken are at warmer color temps around 10K or so.

The "graininess" is related to sensor sensitivity, your iso is either set too high or you've got camera issues. Unless you're trying to take a fast shoot to capture motion your iso should be set very low for your tank.

noy
07-08-2013, 04:31 AM
The manual/custom WB button is for tuning your WB and best done using white cards (not sure how practical that is in an aquarium setting). I suppose you can put a white plastic card in your tank and use that as a white reference.

Graininess is often because the ISO setting is too high and you get distortion from that. Check you photos to see what the ISO setting is. 800 is the highest I shoot at unless the subject is moving. If you use auto ISO - often the camera will push the ISO setting to one that is way too high. I shoot most of my shots using Aperture priority and use a tripod and all fans off so I can shoot with a slower shutter speed and still get sharp photos. If you can keep the ISO below 400 - those are the sharpest shots.

Can you post some photos so we can see what the problem is.

As for white balance - photos taken in actinic lighting will always be too blue. I'm not sure about the G9 but try to shoot in a WB setting that's as close to 10K as possible - you may only go up to 7K but that's a start. Too green - often that is from regular florescent lighting - that's easily fixable with the right WB setting. Sometime the blue in the actinic is just too strong and you will have to do some post shooting white balance adjustments in Photoshop (or some other software like that).

PFoster
07-08-2013, 07:06 PM
The manual/custom WB button is for tuning your WB and best done using white cards (not sure how practical that is in an aquarium setting). I suppose you can put a white plastic card in your tank and use that as a white reference.

Graininess is often because the ISO setting is too high and you get distortion from that. Check you photos to see what the ISO setting is. 800 is the highest I shoot at unless the subject is moving. If you use auto ISO - often the camera will push the ISO setting to one that is way too high. I shoot most of my shots using Aperture priority and use a tripod and all fans off so I can shoot with a slower shutter speed and still get sharp photos. If you can keep the ISO below 400 - those are the sharpest shots.

Can you post some photos so we can see what the problem is.

As for white balance - photos taken in actinic lighting will always be too blue. I'm not sure about the G9 but try to shoot in a WB setting that's as close to 10K as possible - you may only go up to 7K but that's a start. Too green - often that is from regular florescent lighting - that's easily fixable with the right WB setting. Sometime the blue in the actinic is just too strong and you will have to do some post shooting white balance adjustments in Photoshop (or some other software like that).

Agree with all of the above!


What lighting as you currently trying to shoot under?
The blue in some LED fixtures can be very hard to shoot under....

Myka
07-08-2013, 09:04 PM
Thanks for the replies!

I am not shooting in RAW. I don't know how to process them afterwards. I only use Picasa for photo editing, I don't have Photoshop. I don't understand what RAW even is...

I shoot in manual mode. Usually ISO is 200 or sometimes 100. I try to use the manual WB button, but rarely seem to be able to get it very good. I try to adjust with Picasa, but often the pics are beyond help.

The tank I have the most trouble with has T5s heavy in the blue - no white bulbs at all - prob around 22,000K. It is also not very bright. Maybe I just need to swap out a blue for a white when I'm taking photos (pain in the butt).

lastlight
07-08-2013, 09:18 PM
I've never shot RAW either but software could really help you out.

I use Photoshop. For the most part the only adjustments I make with it are auto colour, auto contrast and auto tone. followed by unsharp mask which sharpens it. Sometimes the effect of each adjustment isn't desired and you can fade each effect from 0 - 100% to find the sweet spot.

MarkoD
07-08-2013, 09:30 PM
If you're shooting 100 or 200 ISO you're gonna be at a slow shutter speed and get motion blur which is why it's not sharp

Motion blur either cuz you're hand holding the camera or cuz things in the tank are moving

sphelps
07-08-2013, 09:36 PM
You should post a picture as it shouldn't be grainy at that iso. If you're having motion blur that's a separate issue but I didn't see you mention that. The issues with WB are related to your lighting, too blue by the sounds of it. The best chance you have is shooting in RAW and post processing. If you want see what the potential of doing this you can take a couple pics in RAW and email them to me for processing and I can post the results.

lastlight
07-08-2013, 09:37 PM
I shoot ISO 400 and while my shots usually show some grain I prefer that to blurrier shots. For things that don't move with your flow turned off then 100 or 200 would work fine.

Myka
07-08-2013, 11:11 PM
Steve, I think I will take you up on that offer. I will take some shots in RAW and email them to you. Thanks! :)

If I am to buy Photoshop, which one should I buy? Elements 11?

The neon areas that are out of focus actually aren't out of focus, that's not the right word. I think they are actually saturated so there is a solid blob of color with no definition.

Here's an extreme example of the color saturation and some graininess too (the photo is actually out of focus as well, but normally I don't have trouble with focus). The photo is unedited.

ISO 400 (prob why grainy)
f/5
Exposure 1/25 sec
Max aperture 3.625
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/IMG_1005.jpg (http://s85.photobucket.com/user/Myka82/media/IMG_1005.jpg.html)

Myka
07-08-2013, 11:42 PM
Ok, I'm trying to take RAW photos. I have RAW+L setting "on" in the menu and also RAW chosen as size using the FUNC. SET button. This is supposed to work (according to Google)...might have to refer to user manual. *sigh* There is a RAW icon on the screen when I'm taking the photo, but when I look at the photo properties on he memory card (through my laptop) it shows the pics as jpeg files.

MarkoD
07-08-2013, 11:44 PM
Raw basically means there will be no adjustment applied to the photo by the camera. Don't be surprised when the image looks dull and flat.

kien
07-08-2013, 11:46 PM
Ok, I'm trying to take RAW photos. I have RAW+L setting "on" in the menu and also RAW chosen as size using the FUNC. SET button. This is supposed to work (according to Google)...might have to refer to user manual. *sigh* There is a RAW icon on the screen when I'm taking the photo, but when I look at the photo properties on he memory card (through my laptop) it shows the pics as jpeg files.

When you shoot RAW+L the camera will actually give you two image files on the memory card. One that's labelled .JPG ( the normal file you'd get; with adjustments), and a '.CR2' file (this is the RAW file with no adjustments). You want to email the '.CR2' file to Steve. Hope that helps.

Jason McK
07-08-2013, 11:57 PM
It looks as though your biggest issue is the glass distortion caused by shooting at an angle through the tank glass.
As for RAW. the biggest difference is that a RAW file it between 12 and 16 bit. While a JPG is an 8bit file. Printers print in 8 bit. the idea of RAW is to allow the shooter to manipulate what 8bits are to be used rather than the camera software.
For the most point Canon, Nikon, Panasonic and so on invest millions on R&D to have the camera software be able to pick the correct 8bits. This is why for the average photographer RAW really isn't a big factor. Also you need to invest in some decent software such as lightroom to process a RAW file.

Some simple tricks to WB is to eliminate multiple colour temperatures. So if you run a 10K MH and some actinics, turn the actinics off for picture taking time.
and also try to white balance off of white.

J

noy
07-09-2013, 03:55 AM
I have photoshop elements and use that primarily. Elements does everything you need for basic white balance/colour level adjustment. Its doesn't have some of the more advanced features (like focus stacking). Good value software.

The photo you posted shows distortion and loss of detail in the red portions. However, the detail and of the other portions (green and the tentacles) is there (and would be sharper with a tripod/timed release).

I don't think its glass distortion (with all due respect to Jason) because you would have distortion throughout.

I suspect that the red areas are overexposed and your camera's processing of the signal is distorting that into those "blotches" of red where there is complete loss of detail.

To give you an example - here is a shot I did in very low lighting (moonlights) with a long exposure. You can see how the yellow at the top of the sun coral sort of runs into each other.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8244/8461444721_d9e247b80b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/93072545@N02/8461444721/)
IMG_3930 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/93072545@N02/8461444721/)

I would suggest the following to help isolate the issue.

1) Make sure you camera setting is capturing the images at the highest detail. In my canon (T1i) - its under quality and you pick the setting that gives you the largest file size. This will reduce the amount of compression (which introduces distortion)

2) Take a number of "stepped exposure shots"; i.e. take 3 photos - one as you would normally, one which is underexposed by 1 f/stop and another which is under exposed by 2 f/stops. See whether the underexposed shots solve your problem.

3) See if reducing the ISO setting will fix your problem. (from your shot I really don't think its an ISO problem otherwise the whole shot would be grainy).

Hope that helps!