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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My photography skills are pretty lame to say the least, i've never been interested enough to learn anything till i got my tank:) ,My Canon ixus has always done what i wanted it to do while i've been on holiday, I just turn it on and shoot
Since owning a marine tank my camera is constantly in use but with 99% poor results, I know my camera is at the bottom end of the scale but since getting brave and switching to manual mode my photos are slowly improving
The problem seems to be getting the colour right so now i'm playing with white balance, I'm putting a white piece of paper under the halide and then trying to get a balance but the only problem is my camera will not focus as looking through the lcd screen the halide seems to flash, like looking at a pc monitor with a digicam, i guess its the limits of my camera but anyone got any tips on the best way to get a white balance??

Hope some of that makes sense

Matt
 

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You are doing it right, it just takes a bit of practice to get the color to come out exactly how you want it. I use a piece of PVC submerged in the tank to set my white; it usually comes out looking decent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
wharyat said:
You are doing it right, it just takes a bit of practice to get the color to come out exactly how you want it. I use a piece of PVC submerged in the tank to set my white; it usually comes out looking decent.
Seems my reef has opened up another expensive hobby :doh:

:D
 

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Hi Matt, Since one of my interests is photography I have been looking at this thread. I am not an expert in digital and am learning the digital world myself these days. I did look at your link for your camera and there are some links for tutorials on white balance you can look at that are informative. Your comment on it not focusing is what caught my eye........I am completely new to the fish tank world here as you will see if you read any of my threads,.......if your camera is having trouble focusing it is possible it is taking a reading off the glass of the tank or even the water. It senses what is in the foreground and takes a reading off say the glass and sets the settings accordingly. Hence sometimes what you are really trying to shoot the fish inside the tank come out blurry and out of focus. You said you had it on manual mode tho so that is confusing in terms of it looking out of focus unless there is no override for the lcd monitor in which case check if it really is on manual focus then look through the viewfinder. When shooting through a viewfinder especially up close take into consideration "parallax error" What you are seeing through the viewfinder is slightly different from what the lense is seeing. (i.e. hold one finger up in front of your face and close one eye, now switch back & forth between closed eyes quickly..........it will appear that the finger you are holding up is shifting slightly but you are really holding it still) This is "parallax error". The way around it is to back up a bit, the closer up the more it effects things. Remember with both your color and cropping up close........these things can be done with a good program on your computer as was done in the dark room back in the day. If you are planning to use it on manual mode and need to understand things like depth of field etc. I can try to explain that also. Just let me know. Ok I am probably overloading you with too much info. If I can help in anyway just let me know. Take lots of fun photos............with digital you can erase:)
 

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You can try holding a paper coffee filter up against the glass to adjust your white balance to.
 

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are you able to choose your lighting? If so try setting it for flourescent lights. Also if you're using flash do not point the camera directly at the glass, instead shoot at a slight angle and the flash won't bounce back at you. Practice practice practice and have fun! Hey, it's digital, just delete!
 

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Rob_Reef_Keeper said:
You can try holding a paper coffee filter up against the glass to adjust your white balance to.
This works or if you can shoot in RAW that works great too!
 

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All of the above methods assume that you want white to look like true white. In normal photography this is a good thing as the human eye is able to compensate for most lights we see and interpret the color of the bulb as white. Our tank bulbs are so blue that even our eyes can't compensate enough and we see white objects with a blue hue. If your camera doesn't cast them as blue also your color will look off. I've found that to get the colors in your photos to look accurate it's really best to manually set the Kalvin (color value) on your camera to several different values and take a picture of a coral with a lot of different colors. Then print/display those pictures and compare to the actual coral to see which Kalvin value is most accurate. Once you know this value you can just use it over and over. This obviously doesn't work if you you are doing a one time photo session on a friend's tank, but on my home tank I know my Kalvin values for my Metal Halides and Actinic bulbs. If I change bulbs I just find the new value.

If your camera doesn't allow you to manually enter the Kalvin value, it's probably best to try each of the preset color corrections and see which is closest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks all for the advice , Using one of the preset balances seems to give me better results, your right Flo its one of the flourescent settings

My wife works for canon so i'll see what kind of discount i can get on a better camera, the EOS range look quite nice :doh:

:)

Matt
 

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I'll echo what has been mentioned for shooting in RAW. Many use RAW and quality software to manually correct settings such as white balance, contrast, saturation etc. The only downside to RAW is the out of camera work on computer can be time consuming, and RAW is memory card hungry. But for a few shot of a tank now and then it may be worth the effort. Also very good method to learn the exact effect many of the camera settings actually produce due to you being able to correct in very much smaller increments than those on camera.
 
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