This article will give an explanation of the new auto exposure and auto white balance functions.


These two updates will change your workflow by allowing you to use auto exposure and auto white balance to speed up shoot times and get more consistent image quality. When enabled, auto exposure will control the brightness of the images and auto white balance will let the camera automatically choose the color temperature of the images. This will allow you to skip these two steps while shooting.



How do I use auto exposure and auto white balance?


You need to enable both auto exposure and auto white balance in Survey and carefully monitor the results while shooting. If you don’t like the exposure or white balance of any panorama based on using the automated function, you will have to manually intervene. This is done by turning off auto exposure or auto white balance and selecting the desired settings using the exposure preview on the camera’s LCD. 


Follow the steps below to successfully use auto exposure and auto white balance while shooting:


  1. Tap the AutoExp button and select the auto from the white balance selector in Survey. 

  1. Capture panoramic images and let the camera choose the exposure and white balance instead of manually choosing them.

  1. Monitor the results. If the images appear over or underexposed manually select a brightness that is more suitable.


NOTE: We recommend experimenting with auto exposure and auto white balance before you use these setting during an actual iGUIDE shoot. By doing so you will gain familiarity with the results of using these two settings and be able to better monitor the results. You can continue manually selecting exposure time and white balance if that is your preference.



What are the benefits of using auto exposure and auto white balance?


Longer Battery Life: The LCD screen does not have to be viewed for auto exposure or auto white balance to work. This means the drain on the battery is reduced which results in more shots on a single charge.


Better Results in Bright Locations: It can be difficult to see the screen on the camera or on your smart device in bright locations. That makes it harder to adjust the exposure and white balance by eye. Auto exposure works extremely well in these situation and especially for outdoor panos. 


Faster Workflow: Spend less time finding the right exposure and white balance. 



How does it work?


Auto exposure is enabled by tapping the AutoExp button in Survey (refer to figure 1). The first shot position is critical and will affect the overall panorama brightness perceived by the camera. It is recommended that you face the camera toward something that identifies the space for the first shot direction. This will allow the camera to choose an exposure that favors the part of the room that’s most important.


When auto exposure is active there will be a slight delay while the camera measures the light through the lens followed by the sound of three images being taken for HDR. You will notice this delay only during the first shot of each panorama. The camera will automatically use the same shutter speed for shots 1, 2, and 3. When enabled, auto exposure will remain active for the duration of the shoot or until it is turned off.



Figure 1 - Enable AutoExp



Auto white balance is selected by tapping on the white balance selector found in Survey and choosing Auto from the list of presets. When shooting, the camera will select the best white balance for each shot position (refer to figure 2). There may be visible differences in white balance from one shot to the next and this is normal. Stitch works together with Survey to equalize the images during post processing (refer to figure 3). Any differences in white balance will be minimized and blended. Auto white balance will remain active for the duration of the shoot or until it is turned off.



Figure 2 - Best white balance for each shot position



Figure 3 - Equalized images during post processing



Configuring Auto Exposure for Best Results


From the Manage tab in Survey, you will see an additional option that can control the behavior of the auto exposure setting. By default this is set to 30. You can increase this number to get a brighter image and decrease this number to get a darker image. Adjusting this setting will require you to click the save setting button after changing changing the value. This will cause the camera system to reboot and will require you to reconnect.



Figure 4 - Configuring auto exposure



Check release notes for a complete list of new features and updates included in new software releases. If you have any questions about these two new features or any other questions about Stitch or Survey please review the Camera and Software Documentation found on the iGUIDE Portal.