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-   -   Importance of White Balance? (

elduderino Oct 2, 2006 5:32 PM

Hello, I'm pretty new to the world of photography and purchased a Canon Rebel XT a few months ago. I've taken some great shots so far, but I have never bothered changing the White Balance to anything besides Auto. Is this really an issue? Common sense tells me what to set it on (for example, if I'm outside and it's sunny, I would set the WB to "Daylight"), but I've never bothered. I guess I was more concerned about aperture values shutter speed, etc.

Thoughts? Tips?


Caboose Oct 2, 2006 6:44 PM

Well if you shot in RAW mode, the white balance not quite as important, because you can change it in post processing. For the most part the auto setting does a pretty good job, if I were shooting in jpeg, I would set the white balance to the condition I was in or, more likely set a custom white balance using a gray card or expo disc. Setting a custom white balance assures you of the proper white balance. Now having said all that, there is this minor detail of remembering to set it each time, which if you don't you could get some pretty strange results. Myself, I shoot in RAW and usually leave it on auto, unless doing portrait work when I have the time to set a custom white balance.


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tmoreau Oct 2, 2006 8:23 PM

I set a custom white balance when doing studio type stuff (usually with a sheet of white paper, though I suspect a gray card would be more accurate). I set it to tungsten when shooting indoors because I hate the orange cast (auto just dosent work well here). Otherwise I leave it on auto and adjust when I convert the raw file. I have seen it be fooled a few times and give odd colors, but usually under any type of natural light auto works ok.

VTphotog Oct 2, 2006 11:27 PM

Most cameras, based on reviews I have read, and limited personal experience, seem to do a pretty good job of(auto) WB outdoors, but not so good indoors, mainly in incandescent lighting. Presets mostly seem pretty close. If you are happy with the results you are getting, by all means leave it on auto.

I think the manufacturers deliberately bias the auto settings to provide a warmer tone under incandescent, in order to get the more generally acceptable skin tones, and provide an output similar to using daylight film. It is what most people are used to seeing, therefore it looks 'right'. If you need correct colors, then you need to learn to use the custom WB function of your camera.


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