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White Balance

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by gbenic, Sep 4, 2005.

  1. Is there any way to figure out what my D70 chose for the white balance if I use Auto WB? I use NC4 if there is a way in there. I keep trying to "guess" at temperatures to see how it figures it out, but I'm getting nowhere fast.

  2. heiko


    May 15, 2005
    Hi Greg,

    I can't answer your question, but there are two possibilities:

    1. The camera determines WB and assigns a certain value to a custom byte in the RAW header which is then taken and interpreted by NC (this seems likely the case, but I also haven't seen it yet).

    2. The camera sets an Auto WB byte (or bit) in the RAW header and NC calculates the WB based on the picture (I think this is much less likely, but possible much the same as the first option).

    I took Thom Hogans recommendation to set WB manually. This way, in a series of pictures taken under the same lighting conditions, I need to determine or fine-adjust the WB only once and can then copy it on all other pictures in the series.

    The best results I get when using a grey card to do a Preset and in some places / lighting conditions it's highly recommended (some weeks ago a did some shots at 10,000 feet above sea level (2,800m) on a snow-covered mountain, and the grey card worked like magic. Some of the D70 presets are not very accurate - like Daylight - Sunny (at least not here).

    For some indoor shots at low light I used a white paper to set WB, which worked quite well when using the Set Greypoint feature in NC.

    When using NEF, nearly all camera adjustments are reversible during post processing and do not affect the picture as such. WB, however, can have a significant effect on the RGB curve and thus lead to incorrect exposure (try setting WB to daylight/sunny when shooting under incandescent light).

    Hope this is of use.
  3. I believe there is a WB value stored in D70 RAWs when the auto setting is used. This is not the same as "calculate automatically" as used in NC.

    If you use Photoshop and ACR, you can see what that value is in the ACR window. Unfortunately there is no obvious way to see this value in NC. You would think they would display it.
  4. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    I go along with the notion of using a preset WB. I use an Expodisc (expensive at $100) but it works so well, so easily.

    The only "downside" to the preset WB in NC, is that it cannot be adjusted. You can choose a totally different WB with NC, and then compare it to your preset. But, in any case, there are situations where the WB settings choices just don't do it. I think for a "critical" shot using a WB setting, and taking another shot with preset gives the most options and comparison point.

    For me the worst part of using a Preset, or anything other than "Auto" is that I often forget that I set it, and take lot's of shots with the wrong WB! Since I shoot RAW+JPG it's not a catastrophe, just an inconvenience.
  5. I too use the Expo Disc in any critical situation and it seems to do a good job. The rest of the time I just use Auto and make corrections in NC.
  6. Thanks for all the replies. I usually use Auto WB (except in certain conditions) and make adjustments if needed. My guess for Auto is around 5300* in bright noon sun. I can (and will) continue to adjust whatever is needed. I am just curious if i can see what Nikon chose without trial and error.

    The RGB/exposure aspect is certainly worth exploring.

    Preset WB is a great idea as long as I am not in mixed lighting, which I am quite a bit of the time. It also works if there is time. When I am shooting wildlife, I don't think it is a good use of time.
  7. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    If I were in "mixed" lighting, that is where I believe my Expodisc (or preset WB) would be most valuable, since it is taking in "all the light" and then creating a preset WB for that. It doesn't selectively choose one type of light to give a WB for. I have set WB in a room where there was all kinds of light, filtered daylight, tungsten, and who know what all.

    Here's an example - as a matter of fact I forgot my Expodisk for this shot, so I used a white cloth surface to preset the WB:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  8. WOW Ken - Very nice Dining Room you got there. Luv to see the rest of the house. :tongue:

    Oh yeah. A little delayed - nice to see you back in action.

    Hope you are feeling and doing better now.
  9. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    Thanks Mark! That is the Garden Court in the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, I was there back in April (celebrating my 60th) for their Sunday Brunch (fantastic).

    I'm still undergoing some heavy I.V. therapy (4x daily) at home, and hoping that it will show some improvement soon.
  10. heiko


    May 15, 2005
    Seems like Auto WB is quite popular (also saw this in another threat - D70 Hue,Sat,Sharpening settings??? ). Perhaps I should try it out on a more regular basis, as I'm getting lazy doing all the PP.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
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