By: Todd Winner
There is plenty to love about most Canon cameras but setting a custom white balance is not usually one of them. Canon’s method on most of their bodies has been to take an image and then assign it to the custom white balance. This is a slow process and typically involves a lot of button pressing, even with custom settings. With the release of the R3 they introduced a new live view method that reduced many of the steps and streamlined the procedure. This method was also added to the R5 and R6 with firmware update 1.5 and later. This method is a huge improvement, but is not without some quirks that are worth covering to avoid any frustration.
Facts to be aware of
First you still need to be in stills mode to register a new custom WB. The R5C has a one touch custom WB in video, but on the R5 we still need to jump back and forth. The R5 and R6 only have one custom WB setting, not multiple banks like the R3 and some of their other high-end models. When you register a new custom WB it will effect both still and video settings that have their white balance mode set to custom WB but will not change any of the custom shoot modes C1 - C3 that have a custom WB set. In stills mode you can use this method to set a custom WB individually to the C1 - C3 modes. In video the only way to register a new custom WB setting to one of the C1 - C3 modes is to use the traditional method of first taking a still image and then registering it to that individual custom mode. The image also needs to be on the same card that you are recording to and playing back video from. This slower method makes the custom shooting modes in video a bit less useful for switching between resolutions and frame rates but you could use them as custom WB banks. No matter how you use them, I suggest setting up the C3 mode to your most used video settings as, by default, the settings from video C3 are what are used if you hit record while in stills mode.
Streamlined Custom WB method
If you are in video mode, set the WB to custom and then pop over to stills by hitting the mode button (top of the NA-R5 or use the mode dial on NA-R6.) Then hit the info button (back of the housing). (Tip: most people can do this with one hand on the NA-R5 using their index or middle finger and thumb.) Once the stills modes are displayed hit the set button or give the shutter a half press to confirm the stills mode.
To capture a custom WB:
Step 1: Press the 'Q' button (lower right thumb lever on the housing) and select the custom WB icon. (Tip: once this is set and as long as you don’t move the Q menu to another icon you can access this with a single push.)
Step 2: With the custom WB icon highlighted point the camera at a white balance target or something neutral and hit the 'delete' button (back of the housing). You should see the effect of the new setting.
Step 3: Depress the shutter (index lever right side of housing) to register the setting to the custom WB. At this point you will see a reference image, a histogram and confirmation if the WB settings were obtained. (Note: the exposure needs to be close to standard if the exposure is too off proper WB may not be obtained. Even though you depress the shutter no image is actually taken. This step only registers the settings. If you need to register a new custom WB to one of the video C1 - C3 modes take an image of the WB target.)
Step 4: If you need to get back to video press the 'mode' and then the 'info' button. As long as you are still set to custom WB in video you are all set!
In stills mode, hit the Q button, navigate to the custom WB icon or if it is already set you will see this menu
Point the camera at a white balance target or something neutral and hit the delete button, you should see the effect of the new setting, notice the color change from the image above
Press the shutter to register the setting to the custom WB. At this point you will see a reference image, a histogram and confirmation if the WB settings were obtained.
When everything is set correctly the buttons needed to set a new custom WB from video on the R5 look like this.
'Mode' - 'Info' - Half press Shutter (change from video to stills)
'Q' - 'Delete' (sets a custom WB)
Full Press Shutter (registers the new custom WB)
'Mode' - 'Info' - Half press Shutter (change from stills back to video)