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Reversible Canon t3 astro modification used with clip-in filters

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#1 steven2992

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 12:55 PM

Hi, 

 

I'm new to the forum and excited to start imaging milky ways and deep space objects. I have some experience with my Canon 80D, sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 and 150-600mm Contemporary and Skywatcher Star Adventurer Pro. I'm looking to modify an old Canon t3 (1100D) to help with H-alpha sensitivity, both for wide field and deep space. 

 

However, I would still like to be able to use my Canon t3 as a daytime camera, so I've been researching ways of reversing an astromod back to a factory setting. I believe I've figured it out, but seeing as I'm new to this and this could potentially render my camera useless, I would really appreciate it if someone experienced in this field would be able to tell me if I missed any important steps or made any mistakes in my thought  process. 

 

I'm interested in performing what I believe is called a Baader mod, or removing LPF-2. I would like to replace LPF-2 with a piece of glass of the same thickness, because I've read that not replacing the glass will render the cameras autofocus useless. I found this piece of glass made by Astronomik : https://www.astronom...100d-1200d.html . Would it work for replacing LPF-2?

 

I'd also use a clip-in filter to emulate the effect of LPF-2 that was removed. From what I've read, this filter makes an astromodded camera behave as a factory camera, also from Astronomik : https://www.astronom...cd-typ-iii.html . Would this work to replace the function of LPF-2?

 

I'm interested in getting a light pollution filter and a H-alpha filter. The CLS and UHC seems to be good all-round choices for limiting light pollution, while the H-alpha 12nm seems good for isolating H-alpha. Does anyone have a preference for CLS vs UHC? I live in a Bortle class 7-8 and would do most of my deep sky imaging from my backyard. I guess UHC would be best since it has a narrower pass? For H=alpha, does 6 nm make a huge difference over 12 nm? Are S-II and O-III worth it? Also, with the removal of LPF-2, would I need to purchase normal filters or CCD filters? CCD filters seem to be for cameras without IR-block filters, but my camera would still have LPF-1, which apparently has a little IR-blocking capabilities. 

 

Please let me know if I've missed something in my thought process. 

 

Cheers, 

 

Steven



#2 DubbelDerp

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 01:16 PM

I don't use light pollution filters, but rather than a pure narrowband filter, you may consider a dual narrowband filter like the optolong l-extreme. It lets through both the H-a and OIII bands, so you're able to take full advantage of your sensor unlike if you had a pure H-a or OIII filter.

 

I think going with a replacement clip-in filter is a good idea. With my H-a modded Canon 600D, though, I found that it took good daytime pictures with a custom white balance. Sure, the reds are a bit more intense than with a stock camera, but I don't find it objectionable at all. It certainly makes it unnecessary to boost saturation in red!

 

Good luck, there are a number of modders here that should be able to answer the rest of your questions.



#3 bobzeq25

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 01:29 PM

Hi, 

 

I'm new to the forum and excited to start imaging milky ways and deep space objects. I have some experience with my Canon 80D, sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 and 150-600mm Contemporary and Skywatcher Star Adventurer Pro. I'm looking to modify an old Canon t3 (1100D) to help with H-alpha sensitivity, both for wide field and deep space. 

 

However, I would still like to be able to use my Canon t3 as a daytime camera, so I've been researching ways of reversing an astromod back to a factory setting. I believe I've figured it out, but seeing as I'm new to this and this could potentially render my camera useless, I would really appreciate it if someone experienced in this field would be able to tell me if I missed any important steps or made any mistakes in my thought  process. 

 

I'm interested in performing what I believe is called a Baader mod, or removing LPF-2. I would like to replace LPF-2 with a piece of glass of the same thickness, because I've read that not replacing the glass will render the cameras autofocus useless. I found this piece of glass made by Astronomik : https://www.astronom...100d-1200d.html . Would it work for replacing LPF-2?

 

I'd also use a clip-in filter to emulate the effect of LPF-2 that was removed. From what I've read, this filter makes an astromodded camera behave as a factory camera, also from Astronomik : https://www.astronom...cd-typ-iii.html . Would this work to replace the function of LPF-2?

 

I'm interested in getting a light pollution filter and a H-alpha filter. The CLS and UHC seems to be good all-round choices for limiting light pollution, while the H-alpha 12nm seems good for isolating H-alpha. Does anyone have a preference for CLS vs UHC? I live in a Bortle class 7-8 and would do most of my deep sky imaging from my backyard. I guess UHC would be best since it has a narrower pass? For H=alpha, does 6 nm make a huge difference over 12 nm? Are S-II and O-III worth it? Also, with the removal of LPF-2, would I need to purchase normal filters or CCD filters? CCD filters seem to be for cameras without IR-block filters, but my camera would still have LPF-1, which apparently has a little IR-blocking capabilities. 

 

Please let me know if I've missed something in my thought process. 

 

Cheers, 

 

Steven

Decent basic thoughts.  And you're _very_ much missing some things.

 

I'm Bortle 7.  5 years of experience with all sorts of cameras, filters, targets, and scopes.

 

An Ha filter is a poor idea.  You'll only be using 1 pixel in 4.

 

The old CLS and UHC filters are pretty much obsolete for imaging.  A CLS gathers dust on my shelf.  <smile>

 

What works great (on emission nebulae only, just like those other filters) is a modern duoband filter like the LEnhance.  Designed specifically for one shot color cameras.  Very popular for very good reasons.

 

It's definitely the way to go.  This is not a close call.  <smile>

 

The LEnhance gets you Ha and O(III).  S(II) is pretty weak on most targets.  Just forget about it.

 

Traditional narrowband filters are designed for mono cameras.  Using them with a OSC camera is inefficient, just about a waste of money.

 

Bottom lines.

 

LEnhance or similar for emission nebulae.  No filter for other targets. 

 

Gradient reduction in processing is a must.  _Especially_ in light polluted skies.  I recommend Astro Pixel Processor.  The "free" alternatives are not free in terms of your time and frustration level.  APP also calibrates, stacks, and processes in _one_ software, a major advantage.

 

GR is not perfect.  But it works on all targets, all sources on light pollution.

 

Here's what the last guy I recommended APP to said.

 

"So I took the plunge and went with Astro Pixel Processor.  After watching about 4 hours worth of tutorials I gave it a shot and all I can say is ....WOW!  This tool is invaluable for shooting under the kind of light pollution I face here in the suburbs of Houston."

 

Minor points.  LifePixel will modify a Canon as you want to for $275.  It's their "H alpha" mod.  The virtue is they replace the filter they take off with a UV-IR blocking filter that prevents bloated stars.  It may autofocus, I'd shoot them an email.

 

You can warp a modded camera in processing to get very reasonable terrestrial pictures.  BTDTGTTS.

 

Fixed focal length lenses ("primes") work better than zooms for DSO AP.


Edited by bobzeq25, 21 June 2021 - 01:40 PM.

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#4 michael8554

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Posted 22 June 2021 - 07:55 AM

Replacing the LPF-2 with a Baader DSLR filter will preserve Autofocus.

 

You could replace LPF-2 with the correct thickness plain glass, and that too will preserve Autofocus.

 

But to cut down on unnecessary glass, just get the sensor re-shimmed to preserve Autofocus.

 

If you retain the LPF-1 filter, that cuts IR, protects the sensor, and retains the Sensor Cleaning function.

 

So I'm not sure why LifePixel add another IR filter.

 

With any Ha mod you will get fairly good daytime colour balance with a Custom White Balance, and good colour balance after some simple PS tweaks.


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#5 T~Stew

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Posted 22 June 2021 - 01:40 PM

I just did a self Ha mod on my Canon 100D. Not sure how the 1100D compares but I was able to just turn the sensor screws 1/2 turn further in each when I replaced the sensor (didn't use any replacement glass) and autofocus seems to work just like stock. I have to figure out how to do custom white balance still, most images are tinted red. That Astronomic OWB looks interesting, I hadn't heard of that before. I need to experiment more with custom white balance to see if it really is 'close enough' before I mod my good cameras, but that OWB might be a better option. Problem with 6D is the clip in filters get in the way a little (vignettes the full frame image) and makes it so you can't use the viewfinder (mirror gets semi permanently held up) which is non starter for me for daytime shots. 



#6 steven2992

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Posted 22 June 2021 - 10:00 PM

I don't use light pollution filters, but rather than a pure narrowband filter, you may consider a dual narrowband filter like the optolong l-extreme. It lets through both the H-a and OIII bands, so you're able to take full advantage of your sensor unlike if you had a pure H-a or OIII filter.

I think going with a replacement clip-in filter is a good idea. With my H-a modded Canon 600D, though, I found that it took good daytime pictures with a custom white balance. Sure, the reds are a bit more intense than with a stock camera, but I don't find it objectionable at all. It certainly makes it unnecessary to boost saturation in red!

Good luck, there are a number of modders here that should be able to answer the rest of your questions.


Thank you for your answer. You mean you did the same mod I want to do, but you get nice daytime shots without an added filter? Would you have a sample photo you can show me? If it's negligible, I might not even need the OWB filter

#7 steven2992

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Posted 22 June 2021 - 10:03 PM

I just did a self Ha mod on my Canon 100D. Not sure how the 1100D compares but I was able to just turn the sensor screws 1/2 turn further in each when I replaced the sensor (didn't use any replacement glass) and autofocus seems to work just like stock. I have to figure out how to do custom white balance still, most images are tinted red. That Astronomic OWB looks interesting, I hadn't heard of that before. I need to experiment more with custom white balance to see if it really is 'close enough' before I mod my good cameras, but that OWB might be a better option. Problem with 6D is the clip in filters get in the way a little (vignettes the full frame image) and makes it so you can't use the viewfinder (mirror gets semi permanently held up) which is non starter for me for daytime shots.


Interesting... Do clip-in filters limit the function of your 100D as well? It wouldn't be ideal if the mirror would have to stay locked up all the time. Sure, for astro that isn't a problem. But daytime shooting without a viewfinder isn't great...

#8 steven2992

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Posted 22 June 2021 - 10:04 PM

Decent basic thoughts. And you're _very_ much missing some things.

I'm Bortle 7. 5 years of experience with all sorts of cameras, filters, targets, and scopes.

An Ha filter is a poor idea. You'll only be using 1 pixel in 4.

The old CLS and UHC filters are pretty much obsolete for imaging. A CLS gathers dust on my shelf. <smile>

What works great (on emission nebulae only, just like those other filters) is a modern duoband filter like the LEnhance. Designed specifically for one shot color cameras. Very popular for very good reasons.

It's definitely the way to go. This is not a close call. <smile>

The LEnhance gets you Ha and O(III). S(II) is pretty weak on most targets. Just forget about it.

Traditional narrowband filters are designed for mono cameras. Using them with a OSC camera is inefficient, just about a waste of money.

Bottom lines.

LEnhance or similar for emission nebulae. No filter for other targets.

Gradient reduction in processing is a must. _Especially_ in light polluted skies. I recommend Astro Pixel Processor. The "free" alternatives are not free in terms of your time and frustration level. APP also calibrates, stacks, and processes in _one_ software, a major advantage.

GR is not perfect. But it works on all targets, all sources on light pollution.

Here's what the last guy I recommended APP to said.

"So I took the plunge and went with Astro Pixel Processor. After watching about 4 hours worth of tutorials I gave it a shot and all I can say is ....WOW! This tool is invaluable for shooting under the kind of light pollution I face here in the suburbs of Houston."

Minor points. LifePixel will modify a Canon as you want to for $275. It's their "H alpha" mod. The virtue is they replace the filter they take off with a UV-IR blocking filter that prevents bloated stars. It may autofocus, I'd shoot them an email.

You can warp a modded camera in processing to get very reasonable terrestrial pictures. BTDTGTTS.

Fixed focal length lenses ("primes") work better than zooms for DSO AP.


Thank you for your answer, it's information I'll keep in mind when shopping for filters. I'd really like to do the mod myself though, I find the challenge fun and would be proud to say I did it myself. That is if I don't screw the camera up haha

#9 steven2992

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Posted 22 June 2021 - 10:04 PM

Decent basic thoughts. And you're _very_ much missing some things.

I'm Bortle 7. 5 years of experience with all sorts of cameras, filters, targets, and scopes.

An Ha filter is a poor idea. You'll only be using 1 pixel in 4.

The old CLS and UHC filters are pretty much obsolete for imaging. A CLS gathers dust on my shelf. <smile>

What works great (on emission nebulae only, just like those other filters) is a modern duoband filter like the LEnhance. Designed specifically for one shot color cameras. Very popular for very good reasons.

It's definitely the way to go. This is not a close call. <smile>

The LEnhance gets you Ha and O(III). S(II) is pretty weak on most targets. Just forget about it.

Traditional narrowband filters are designed for mono cameras. Using them with a OSC camera is inefficient, just about a waste of money.

Bottom lines.

LEnhance or similar for emission nebulae. No filter for other targets.

Gradient reduction in processing is a must. _Especially_ in light polluted skies. I recommend Astro Pixel Processor. The "free" alternatives are not free in terms of your time and frustration level. APP also calibrates, stacks, and processes in _one_ software, a major advantage.

GR is not perfect. But it works on all targets, all sources on light pollution.

Here's what the last guy I recommended APP to said.

"So I took the plunge and went with Astro Pixel Processor. After watching about 4 hours worth of tutorials I gave it a shot and all I can say is ....WOW! This tool is invaluable for shooting under the kind of light pollution I face here in the suburbs of Houston."

Minor points. LifePixel will modify a Canon as you want to for $275. It's their "H alpha" mod. The virtue is they replace the filter they take off with a UV-IR blocking filter that prevents bloated stars. It may autofocus, I'd shoot them an email.

You can warp a modded camera in processing to get very reasonable terrestrial pictures. BTDTGTTS.

Fixed focal length lenses ("primes") work better than zooms for DSO AP.


Thank you for your answer, it's information I'll keep in mind when shopping for filters. I'd really like to do the mod myself though, I find the challenge fun and would be proud to say I did it myself. That is if I don't screw the camera up haha

#10 DubbelDerp

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Posted 22 June 2021 - 10:27 PM

Thank you for your answer. You mean you did the same mod I want to do, but you get nice daytime shots without an added filter? Would you have a sample photo you can show me? If it's negligible, I might not even need the OWB filter

Sure, although I like to cheat and take photos of red things with it to make them even redder. Fall colors are great, as are sunsets. Here’s a photo of a cardinal I took with it earlier this year with just a custom white balance off a white sheet of paper in sunlight. 
 

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#11 DubbelDerp

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Posted 22 June 2021 - 10:29 PM

And here’s another one with a bit more colorful background. To me the color looks pretty normal with just the CWB. 

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#12 T~Stew

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Posted 23 June 2021 - 12:18 AM

Interesting... Do clip-in filters limit the function of your 100D as well? It wouldn't be ideal if the mirror would have to stay locked up all the time. Sure, for astro that isn't a problem. But daytime shooting without a viewfinder isn't great...

I only have a clip filter for my full frame Canon, but I don't think this is an issue with any crop sensor that I have heard of. 



#13 michael8554

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Posted 23 June 2021 - 03:53 AM

Early Canon DSLRs up to the 450D, and I believe the 1100D, had shimmed sensors.

 

Re-shimming preserves Autofocus.

 

Later cameras had a spring loaded sensor, adjusting the Torx screws preserves Autofocus, as T-Stew said.

 

All the UK professional modders adjust the sensor as a matter of course.



#14 nofxrx

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Posted 23 June 2021 - 06:58 AM

To make this the easiest on you as possible;

Replace LPF-2 with the clear glass filter or Baader BCF-1 filter. This will retain AF and you dont have to meddle with reshimming the sensor...If you try to reshim the sensor; worst case you introduce tilt into the sensor and it is a royal PITA to fix. However, with the filters you literally just swap out the stock for the new filter and reinstall the sensor exactly where you removed it from. Easy as 1, 2, 3.

 

Do not bother with the OWB filter. 1 reason. Custom White Balance is needed regardless what you do. Think about it: the clip in filter sits in front of the mirror, which means it sits in front of the AF and light meter in the camera. The camera (which thinks your sensor is stock), using the light meter, sees this greenish light coming from the lens (due to OWB filter) and tries to adjust the white balance to compensate and your images look off. Typically, you have to either set a custom white balance or adjust in post processing.

OWB filter will not allow you to set your camera to auto and be happy with the colors coming out. The colors will be off and you will still be stuck using PSAM modes and a CWB. So why buy the filter?

Since an "Ha/Baader Mod" retains an IR Block inside, all you need to do is create a CWB; No need for any additional filters.

Just leave your camera in PASM modes and use a CWB without any clip in filters.

Edited to add that this is relevant to DSLRs. For mirrorless models, most (if not all?), use the image sensor as the light meter so they may be able to compensate for the white balance shift. Unfortunately I have never tested this with a mirrorless, yet.. I would expect you would do the same thing and just use a CWB on the mirrorless as well.

Hope that makes sense

 

I know you didnt ask but for anyone else that may find this thread:

If you went with a Full Spectrum Mod for normal daytime photos, you would need to use an IR block clip in filter and a CWB setting, OR you would use an OWB filter and a CWB setting. I would suggest the first option for sure. Cheaper and more accurate colors from my experience.

 

Good luck!


Edited by nofxrx, 23 June 2021 - 07:13 AM.

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#15 steven2992

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Posted 23 June 2021 - 09:01 AM

And here’s another one with a bit more colorful background. To me the color looks pretty normal with just the CWB.


Wow I am impressed to see how normal the colours look without the filter. Thanks

#16 steven2992

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Posted 23 June 2021 - 09:05 AM

To make this the easiest on you as possible;
Replace LPF-2 with the clear glass filter or Baader BCF-1 filter. This will retain AF and you dont have to meddle with reshimming the sensor...If you try to reshim the sensor; worst case you introduce tilt into the sensor and it is a royal PITA to fix. However, with the filters you literally just swap out the stock for the new filter and reinstall the sensor exactly where you removed it from. Easy as 1, 2, 3.

Do not bother with the OWB filter. 1 reason. Custom White Balance is needed regardless what you do. Think about it: the clip in filter sits in front of the mirror, which means it sits in front of the AF and light meter in the camera. The camera (which thinks your sensor is stock), using the light meter, sees this greenish light coming from the lens (due to OWB filter) and tries to adjust the white balance to compensate and your images look off. Typically, you have to either set a custom white balance or adjust in post processing.
OWB filter will not allow you to set your camera to auto and be happy with the colors coming out. The colors will be off and you will still be stuck using PSAM modes and a CWB. So why buy the filter?
Since an "Ha/Baader Mod" retains an IR Block inside, all you need to do is create a CWB; No need for any additional filters.
Just leave your camera in PASM modes and use a CWB without any clip in filters.
Edited to add that this is relevant to DSLRs. For mirrorless models, most (if not all?), use the image sensor as the light meter so they may be able to compensate for the white balance shift. Unfortunately I have never tested this with a mirrorless, yet.. I would expect you would do the same thing and just use a CWB on the mirrorless as well.
Hope that makes sense

I know you didnt ask but for anyone else that may find this thread:
If you went with a Full Spectrum Mod for normal daytime photos, you would need to use an IR block clip in filter and a CWB setting, OR you would use an OWB filter and a CWB setting. I would suggest the first option for sure. Cheaper and more accurate colors from my experience.

Good luck!


That's the reason I'm leaning towards replacing the glass and not reshimming the sensor. I'm afraid it'll be too much trouble or I'll never be able to get it perfectly right.

#17 asanmax

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Posted 23 June 2021 - 11:21 AM

Like others say, just replace the LPF2 filter with either a clear glass of the same thickness or a specialty filter of your choice.

You don't want to fiddle with re-shimming, believe me.

You will still be able to do daylight photography with a custom shite balance, or just color correcting the images in post processing.

 

You don't need light pollution filters to shoot broadband targets from your Bortle 7 place. However, I'd suggest to get a nice duo- or tri- or even quad-band filter to shoot emission nebulae.


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#18 T~Stew

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Posted 23 June 2021 - 12:56 PM

 

Do not bother with the OWB filter. 1 reason. Custom White Balance is needed regardless what you do. Think about it: the clip in filter sits in front of the mirror, which means it sits in front of the AF and light meter in the camera. The camera (which thinks your sensor is stock), using the light meter, sees this greenish light coming from the lens (due to OWB filter) and tries to adjust the white balance to compensate and your images look off. Typically, you have to either set a custom white balance or adjust in post processing.

OWB filter will not allow you to set your camera to auto and be happy with the colors coming out. The colors will be off and you will still be stuck using PSAM modes and a CWB. So why buy the filter?

Hmm, this is disappointing if true. I mean, by name it would seem it is suppose to do exactly what you say it can't (retain the cameras original white balance function). Can you share examples of testing done that supports this?

 

However after having just modded my first camera, and taken my first CWB shots today I am very impressed with how well setting custom white balance does, I really can't see anything that looks unusual after setting cwb and all the colors look great! Maybe a bit more of a pop from red, but usually I boost it a little anyway so that's ok, and easy to slightly desaturate red in gimp or whatever is used.


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#19 T~Stew

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 10:09 AM

Ok Steven, it just so happens I have recently modded my camera and taken its first pictures, finally uploaded so I can share some examples. Much like DubbelDerps photos with custom white balance the colors seem close enough to 'stock' that unless one is a professional photographer I doubt would recognize the differences. 

 

Here are some example for you... before and after CWB applied. I do not have a grey card yet, I actually just tossed the grey tote lid on the ground that you see in the picture and did CWB off it...

 

w1VBZxFh.jpg

 

smQtmw6h.jpg

 

OndtUTmh.jpg

 

UAgXJVah.jpg

 

Just using the JPEG from my Canon SL1 (100D) only processing was a quick pass of noise reduction and scaling to reduce image size. Just some random stuff from my front porch.

 

I can't guarantee your camera will act the same of course. My mod was removal of the LPF-2 'hot mirror' filter or whatever you want to call the cyan one. 


Edited by T~Stew, 24 June 2021 - 10:11 AM.

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#20 steven2992

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 04:53 PM

Ok Steven, it just so happens I have recently modded my camera and taken its first pictures, finally uploaded so I can share some examples. Much like DubbelDerps photos with custom white balance the colors seem close enough to 'stock' that unless one is a professional photographer I doubt would recognize the differences.

Here are some example for you... before and after CWB applied. I do not have a grey card yet, I actually just tossed the grey tote lid on the ground that you see in the picture and did CWB off it...

w1VBZxFh.jpg

smQtmw6h.jpg

OndtUTmh.jpg

UAgXJVah.jpg

Just using the JPEG from my Canon SL1 (100D) only processing was a quick pass of noise reduction and scaling to reduce image size. Just some random stuff from my front porch.

I can't guarantee your camera will act the same of course. My mod was removal of the LPF-2 'hot mirror' filter or whatever you want to call the cyan one.


Wow very nice! Thanks a lot for the photos. I've heard a lot about custom white balance, is it as simple as setting a Kelvin value in the camera? Or does each photo need to be adjusted in post processing?

#21 DubbelDerp

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 06:16 PM

No, it’s done in camera. I don’t remember the exact procedure, but you go to the menu item to set a custom white balance and you either take a photo of a neutral grey card (or white paper in a pinch) illuminated by daytime sunlight or select one from your memory card. This lets the camera determine the RGB offsets to bring that white or grey image back to a neutral color.

Then you set the camera to use that custom balance in the white balance setting, and it automatically applies those offsets to the image to bring it back to a corrected white balance. Leave it there, and you never have to think about it again. Unless you want to shoot under different lighting conditions (like fluorescent indoor lighting) and then you need to repeat that procedure under the lighting conditions for which you are shooting.

Edited by DubbelDerp, 24 June 2021 - 06:17 PM.


#22 T~Stew

T~Stew

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 06:54 PM

Just look up your manual online, it should give you the specifics to your model (canon menus and procedures though very similar do sometimes change from model to model).

 

For my 100D and I believe most Canon just take a picture of a grey card, or something pretty evenly grey or like DD says white in a pinch. That is why I included the photo of the grey tote lid. I took a pic of it. Then go into the menu, its like a couple clicks to select custom WB and it just pops up your recent photos for you to select one. My grey lid one popped up first and I hit set. Then change the white balance setting from auto or whatever you used to use to the custom one. All pictures will then have this applied. If the light your shooting under changes much (indoor vs outdoor,cloudy day / sunny day / shade, etc, then you may need to take a new grey card image if you want it to be as perfect as it can. I'm getting a couple grey cards for my kit, they even have small ones made for key chains. For mine it just has to cover the area of the spot metering circle, and it doesn't have to be in focus either (you can place a small card just a few inches away I believe). 




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