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D80 White Balance: What's your approach?

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by DeBilbao, May 28, 2007.

  1. Let's talk about the white balance of the D80, or talking adequately about white balance in the digital world. I can't understand why there's no good auto white balance in any digital camera I've used. Usually - and the D80 is no exception - they tend to fail down 3500 º.

    I'll try to illustrate it with a recent photo taken in Morocco, in the National Museum in Marrakech. The take is clearly overexposed but you can see how bad the auto WB read the light temperature.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Fortunately i shoot always NEF. I usually process my photos with Capture NX but this time I have used Camera RAW within Photoshop CS2 and I must admit that it has helped a lot cooling the image and bringing it back to what I was actually looking at. Some minor adjustments made to correct the exposure an a little distortion correction and it looks much better:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    ¿Do you use any technique to avoid this? Something like taking out a kleenex and making a preWB adjustment to read the whites? Grey cards?

    I'm curious about your opinion of Expodiscs for example? I must admit that D80 is very accurate avobe 4000º (sun, cloudy, flash, ...) but I would like to be accurate in any kind of situation. Sometimes it seems to be ok but when you correct the WB you can see how far it was from the reality.
  2. Beautiful image BTW. I've been using the Expodisc for several months now and have been very pleased with the results. It renders spot on white balances every time. Its probably the best $100 I've spent on gear to date. How's Athletic doing this year?
  3. Thank you very much, MCoupefan. I'll give a try to the Expodisc. Here in Spain it's no as cheap as $100, but goes up to $150 since they try to keep the parity between EUR an USD. Maybe I could find it cheaper online outside Europe.

    BTW our football team is suffering a lot this year to mantain in the Premier League. It has been always in this category from it's 1901 foundation. Ít's really a challenge because the philosophy of the team is to play only with local football players and not contracting foreigners - even from the rest of Spain.

    Anyway, yesterday we won the match and the goal of mantaining the category is closer now. There are only two match left (six points) and we are four points ahead from hell ...

    If you want more information about the team - in english - you can check the Athletic Club website.

    How do you know about the Athletic and Bilbao? Have you ever been here?
  4. Padre Americano, Madre Vasca...ella nació en Pamplona. Tengo familia en Jaca, Huesca, Logrono, y Vitoria.
  5. artmika

    artmika Guest

    Shoot in RAW then post processed in PS.
    That is my technique.
  6. I don't shoot in raw enough. The only time I have real WB problems is with product photography. I use RAW there. Have never tried an external help like Expodisc.

    Most of my outside (sunny) day photography comes out fine (WB) in my D80. I don't shoot that much indoors but I see the problem in your example.
  7. I like the Expodisc and use it often.
    I've quit shooting NEF almost completely.
    If I can nail expsoure and WB using jpeg fine, it saves time edting.
  8. 3 channel histogram

    The D80 has a great tool...a 3 channels histogram that I often use to check the WB. Look at your original image and you will see that the Red channel is on the right when the blue one is on the left. Your modified one shows the channels overlapping more...
  9. I agree with you Benoit, but after looking at the histogram, you should know what to do with your WB setting to cool down or warm up the photo. Maybe it's just a matter of better knowing each other - the tool and the user - but I'm looking for a more practical approach, something that let me setup quickly and accurately the WB of the scene in the situations I can recognize immediatly as 'problematic'.
  10. ROD H

    ROD H Guest

    I love the Expodisc,,, it works every time...................
  11. I'm a big fan of the expodisc. When I got my D80 in Dec and started shooting indoor basketball, a custom WB became 'mandatory'. I tried the coffee filter, etc., but found the expodisc more convenient; this still holds true for my D200.

    I bought the 77mm ($120US) as you can simply hold it over the smaller lenses. The only (occasionally) inconvenient thing is you're supposed to aim the camera back at the light source (except direct sun) when taking your custom WB. This is a bit tough to do when your subject is in the middle of the basketball court! What I now do (w/ the D200) is take a few custom WBs in different areas of the court, and name them. Then, if the light changes dramatically, at halftime I update the custom WBs. But for D80 folk, I think it would still work fine, it did for me.
  12. paradiddle


    Jun 1, 2007
    I have bought the expo disk. Can you use it with a flash? and how. When I try to I get a bad reading.
  13. Use a mirror to reflect the light or a remote flash and point it back to the camera. On the D200 I find flash WB is good and don't use the Expodisc for flash.
  14. paul rieker

    paul rieker Guest

    Go for the Expodisc, it is a no brainer. I use it on my D80 and D200. Works great every time. About $100.00 from B&H Photo.
  15. I'd like to try the expodisc, because I've seen times where my WB will be slightly off, or will even be inconsistent in a group of pictures taken together under the same lighting.

    I've tried using a white card and warm cards in the past, but found them to be too much of a hassle. Are the expodisc easier to use? It would seem that they would be.

    Also, the warm cards that I've tried will warm up skin tones, but have also been too warm as to give the pictures an unnatural look to it. I see that the expodisc has a Portrait / warm balance version as well... has anyone used this? I would like to see if that would be worthwhile getting as well.

  16. paradiddle


    Jun 1, 2007
    Another thing about the expo disk. My first lense is a 72mm. So I bought a 72mm expo disk. Then I started looking at other lens. I have not pulled the trigger but some of the lense are 77mm. I wish I would have bought a 77mm. Then it would be easier to just hold the expo disk over any lense 77mm or smaller. My 72 works good on a 50mm.
  17. paradiddle


    Jun 1, 2007
    I meant to reply to this the first time I saw it and got distracted and forgot. While I do use the expo disk strange enough I haven't really experienced why I use it. I usually just use it. It was suggested to me when I bought the camera. However, having never seen the place you took the picture of I liked the first picture. Before reading these forums I would have never believed something like that would make such a difference.
  18. Huff09


    Feb 25, 2007
    Carmichael, CA
    First off, great shot.

    I too was having problems with the Auto WB on my D80. For the last couple of months I have been using a WhiBal. So far, I have been very impressed with the results it gives, plus it's nice and small (credit card size) so it's easy to carry.

    I found it accidentally while looking for online tutorials on Lightroom.

    Check it out here if you're interested:


    Seems to me I got mine for around $25ish
  19. fjgindy


    Jan 21, 2007

    As a heads up, theres a 82mm version available now too.
  20. I was grey card or sometimes just a sheet of white paper, bought the expodisc about a week ago and really do enjoy it. Real easy and great results.
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