What is White balance (WB)? To answer that question White Balance is a process of removing unrealistic color casts to render objects which appear white in person white in your photo. To get the proper camera white balance one’s equipment has to take into account the “color temperature” of a light source. This means the camera needs to decipher the relative warmth or coolness of white light. Our eyes are very good at judging what is white under different light sources, however digital cameras often can have difficulty with auto white balance (AWB). An incorrect WB can create unsightly blue, purple, orange, or even green color casts, that are unrealistic and particularly damaging to portraits. If you wish to improve your photo’s Understanding digital white balance with current lighting conditions can help you avoid color casts created by your camera’s AWB, thus improving your photos. Before getting to tools, lets talk a lil bit about color temperature. Color temperature is a way of quantifying the color of light. Color temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin (K). Normal daylight has a color temperature of around 6,500K. The more warm (yellow) the light is the lower the color temperature; the cooler the light (blue) is the higher the color temperature. The following table is a rule-of-thumb guide to the correlated color temperature of some common light sources:
Color Color Temperature Light Source Most Blue 1000-2000 K Candlelight ^ 2500-3500 K Tungsten Bulb (household variety) ^ 3000-4000 K Sunrise/Sunset (clear sky) ^ 4000-5000 K Fluorescent Lamps v 5000-5500 K Electronic Flash v 5000-6500 K Daylight with Clear Sky (sun overhead) v 6500-8000 K Moderately Overcast Sky Most Orange 9000-10000 K Shade or Heavily Overcast Sky
The D300 Has settings for White Balance, to access them hold down the WB button on the side of the camera then use your right thumb to rotate the dial on the back of the camera to chose the correct setting.
WB White Balance, Auto, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash, Cloud, Shadow, Kelvin, Preset
White Balance (WB) Here is a run down of the individual White Ballance (WB) settings from left to right, as shown in the above image and along the bottom of the top LCD screen, as set with the rear dial on the Nikon D300: Auto (A) I use this most of the time. It seem to make the best guess for WB. Indoor tungsten can be too orange unless you have some bright tungsten light’s also in the image. If you do, it removes the orange and compensates completely. If not, the D300 only partly compensates and you have a nice warm image instead. Tungsten (light bulb icon): Be sure its the Bulb as it is easy to confuse with the sun. The Bulb makes the picture very blue. Use this only for deliberate freezing Arctic effects, or under conventional tungsten light bulbs. Fluorescent (glowing tube icon) Used to make crappy fluorescent light look less crappy. These settings rarely work; I recommend using the preset setting below for better results. Direct Sunlight (sun icon) Use this outdoors with sun shining directly on the subject. Flash (lightning bolt icon) Best used when using a Flash or in studio Flashes. Cloudy (cloud icon) Warmer (more orange) than the sunlight position. Can also be used in shade. Shade (house casting a shadow icon) Very warm. Adds orange to your photo. Use this for sunset shots, or shots in open shade lit by the sky. Continuously Variable (K) This setting lets you choose any amount of blue or orange. Once you select “K” you choose the value, from 2,500 to 10,000, with the front knob while holding WB button down. The calibrations are abstract in what scientists call (degrees) Kelvin. The More degrees the warmer the outcome. There are no rules in real-world photography: use whatever setting looks best to you and get creative. Remember 2,500 K is very, very blue and 10,000 K is the warmest (most orange) refer to the chart Color Temperature Light Source above. Preset (PRE) You use this setting with a white or gray card to get perfect color matching. The D300 can recall five settings: just hold “WB” and spin the front knob after choosing PRE with the rear knob. You can to use menus to save the five settings. Keep in mind you don’t need an actual White balance card. You can get creative here and grab a napkin, t-shirt, anything with white. Black text makes no difference, so long as the background is white. If you choose a bluish piece of paper (like a glossy printed piece), your results will be warmer (more orange), and if you use a more orange piece of paper (like a cheap paper napkin), your results will be more blue. Avoid gray items, since they are very rarely neutral, even if they look gray.
To set your white balance to something white:
- Ensure your card or other neutral object is in the same sort of light as your subject. Changing the angle of the object often will favor one kind of a light or another in mixed light, which will greatly affect your result.
- Hold WB and spin the rear dial to get to PRE.
- Release WB.
- Press and hold WB again for a few seconds.
- PRE starts to blink.
- Release the WB button.
- Point your D300 at the card and press the shutter.
- If the display flashes “good” you’re set. If the display flashes “ng” then repeat from step 4.) The D300 stores this as value d-0. You can save five different values using the menus, numbered d-0 through d-4. d-0 is always the value you just saved. You can recall the other saved values by holding WB and spinning the front knob.
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