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D300 - Love, sadness..etc. Help.

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by Fabrian, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. Ok, so I've been shooting my D300 for a few weeks now. I come from a Canon 40D and a bunch of Pro glass, if that means anything to you as far as what I'm used to seeing in regards to out-of-camera images.

    Even though weeks have passed, I'm still blown away by most of what this body is and does. Everything that I always wished Canon had, this does + some.

    Ok, so on to what I'm having trouble with.

    I know there isn't much I can do about noise, but all the hype led me to believe that this sensor should be cleaner than what I had - it's not. Plain and simple, but that's not really my issue. I can put that aside in exchange for everything else.

    What my primary concern is - White balance. Now, I've had two D300's. The first one arrived via UPS pretty well banged up and the body did a few strange things, so I swapped it. The replacement arrived in good shape.

    The first body's images looked pretty good, with the exception of some images having a bit of a yellowish or orange cast. The second body's (my current D300) auto white balance sucks big time IMO. It's way warm in sunny conditions and way cool in shady conditions. Samples below in sunny conditions:

    Auto WB:

    WB set to "sunny":

    Auto WB:

    WB set to "sunny":

    In both cases, the sunny setting was more true to life.

    Now, I don't expect auto WB to be perfect. I would expect to see a pretty accurate auto WB under sunny or cloudy conditions and not so good under incandescent lighting, but it's just so far off. I've noticed a lot of people recommending shooting RAW and fix in PP, but I can't really accept that. Shooting jpg should be good enough.

    Even If I set WB manually for an outdoor event and I point the camera towards slightly different lighting I'm sure there will be quite a large range of warm/cool shots. For example, If I shoot an outdoor football game, and one end of the field has a different angle of sun than the other, the results I get indicate that I'll have a whole bunch of images from a game that are either too cool or too warm. There's no way I'm going to post process a couple hundred shots from a game individually.

    Maybe my camera is a bit wonky? I don't know... I've read others stating this as well. In fact, I've read about others who's AWB leans towards cool while others lean towards warm. Now, I've tried setting auto's baseline to b-3 through b-5 and found around b-3 seems to match the daylight setting pretty well.. but if the subject is in less than "sunny" light, I wind up with a shot that's too cool :Curved:

    Also, another thorn in my side here is skin tone. No matter what setting I mess with, skin tones look off. Either there's too much orange-ish tone, magenta/red or yellow. This is baffling since I see the same result with either the 16-85 or 70-300.

    Aside from shooting in a controlled environment all of the time, I can't see how I can just rattle off some shots somewhere and get acceptable results.

    Does anyone have issues like this? For the record, I've done a reset on the body already, which didn't resolve anything.

    I really, really like this body. If I cannot resolve this issue, I won't keep it.

    *keeps fingers crossed* :tongue:
  2. Nikon auto WB

    Nikon auto WB for best results in sunny conditions use the "Cloudy" WB :wink:

    For better skin tones use EV compensation -0.3 ... Has worked for me.
  3. Thanks, will give it a try. It's really getting too late in the day to be bummed. :frown: Bah. Tomorrow's another day.
  4. Does this work for a D80, too? :smile:
  5. Kqw1208

    Kqw1208 Guest

    Curious...where do you have the camera's "picture Control" set to?
  6. Suggestion: Set your WB to "cloudy 0" and then just forget about it.
  7. +2 for "cloudy". I learned by accident. Was shooting BIF on an overcast morning with that
    setting, the sun came out and forgot to change back to AWB. Pics came out great! :smile:
  8. You can download and install the D2X picture controls into your D300. I find I use the D2X mode 1 for most portraits as it has less of a reddish cast on skin tones. I like using the D2X mode 3 for landscape and nature shots. This mode provides more vibrant colors. There are also two other Picture Controls that Nikon released for the D300, Portrait and Landscape. All of these picture controls can be downloadd from Nikon's website and easily install using a CF card.
  9. I was using standard picture control setting.

    @ Dude, Fritz, Will and Jeff -

    I did try using the "cloudy" WB setting, which in my body was way warm in sunlight and too cool in shaded areas. I have a dirty feeling something may be wrong with my body, although I'm having a hard time believing it. If I can find the time, I might meet with another member here to do a side by side.

    I checked Nikon's site for picture controls - I couldn't find any.. got a link?

    I'm going to do a few more tests since I'm out here in Port jeff village. I don't think it much matters, but what the heck..

    Thanks for the replies and help thus far.
  10. lovemy8514

    lovemy8514 Guest

    Two bodies in a row with WB problems is unlikely. There are a lot of settings in the D300 to tailor for an individual's taste. I think through trial and error you'll find what you're after.

    There's always RAW, even though getting the images right out of the camera is better for some people....
  11. NPA2008


    Apr 15, 2008
    Are you experiencing this problem with a single lens or both lenses in your signature? As lovemy8514 pointed out, two defective camera bodies is unlikely. More than likely a setting is incorrect or you have a lens problem.

    I have noticed in the era of digital SLR photography that samples of lenses interact differently with sensors and assorted lighting conditions. Sometimes you get a lens that has bad color or contrast with one type of body but not another. But usually the lens has the same color, contrast, or white balance problems with all bodies. For the owner of a small collection of equipment this source of trouble can be very confusing and difficult to identify. Recently, I had the problem with a 70-200 lens.

    I owned two D300's for several months. Neither one of them had the white balance problem that you have illustrated. Most of the time I used the camera's Auto white balance setting and obtained beautiful results. So the trouble is not in the camera design. You will have to do a bit more work to identify the cause.
  12. Brian,

    I leave my D300 on "Direct Sunlight" with no adustments most of the time. Otherwise, the reds tend to get blown out.

    Warm regards,
  13. Yes, unfortunately I get the same results from both lenses. As I mentioned in the first post, the first body did give me better results in AWB. Looking back at images and exif, I did shoot that body in Adobe RGB rather than sRGB.

    Thanks. This I have done, but in scenes that weren't sunny, it was too cold.

    I will definitely do some further testing today. I'm getting pressed for time to make a decision.
  14. KDann


    Mar 11, 2008
    X2, -0.3 has worked for me quite well.
  15. Brian,

    Here is a quick test in the rather dreary condtions here in Norfolk from TS Hannah. Shot JPG & Standard 1/125 f/7.1

    I find that adjustments from Daylight are fairly small and easy to make even when shooting JPG.

    Auto WB

    Direct Sunlight WB + 1 Click Warmer in Lightroom

    Direct Sunlight


    The Direct Sunlight + 1 click warmer in Lightroom is closest to the scene I am looking out the window at from my desk right now.

    Link To Unlisted Test Gallery

    Warm regards,
  16. azarby


    Sep 17, 2006
    Phoenix, Az
    Do you have a filter on the lens? If so take it off.

  17. That pretty much is the different I'm seeing as well. I guess I'm just used to Canon AWB, which seems to do a much better job (sans tungsten, fluorescent).

    Thanks for taking the time to do the test :smile:

    @ Bob.. no filters..
  18. dking99


    Aug 19, 2008
    Rockville, MD
    I think he was saying that the Auto WB is what sucked...

    By you telling him to do a cloud WB in sunny conditions will only give him MORE of the yellow/orange color he is NOT looking for.

    I personally agree. I like a warmer shot in almost all conditions. I find a Nikon D3 Auto WB to be right on almost all the time. My D200 and D70 were always slightly cool in the Auto WB setting.
  19. Here is the link to the download page for the Portrait, Landscape and D2X picture controls for the D300:

    and here is the link to the download and installation instructions

    You will only be able to install 4 of the 5 available preset picture controls. The consensus from earlier threads is to install the Portrait, Landscape, D2X Mode 1 and D2X Mode 3 into the camera and skip the D2X Mode 2.
  20. Thanks a lot, Jeff :smile:

    It's almost 2:00 am and damn dark in here, but already I see much more natural color tones using D2X mode 1. I can't wait to see what everything else looks like in tomorrow's daylight!

    I will certainly update this thread with some test shots tomorrow for anyone else looking for answers pertaining to AWB and skin tones..

    I think with these picture control settings and a better hand on white balance, things are looking better. I guess tomorrow will tell just how much :wink:

    Thanks again!
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