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Old Dec 4, 2006, 6:21 PM   #1
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I was reading one of the post on another forum and someone said that he never set the white balance when he shoots raw file on his camera. White blanace is something that you have to do if you shoot jpeg because the camera needs to process and compress the picture. Under RAW, you do all the processing on your computer after you take it.

Is this true? The reason why I ask is because I have a really hard time setting the white balance on the camera and it is a hassle if the lighting condition change.. Auto WB is nice and works really well outdoors but indoors or under unnatrual lighting condition, it is pretty bad. I know the correct way to set the white balance is set it under with a "gray scale" card and I had creat sucess with doing that. But the problem is that it is a hassle setting it if the lighting condition change. Last weekend I was at an outdoor event at night time. I took many shoots and notice that a lot of them had the wrong color temp. I tried auto WB and even tried some of the pre-set WB from the camera. The pre-set WB work ok, but it was a hassle because they used different types of blubs in different area.


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Old Dec 4, 2006, 6:40 PM   #2
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Yes, it's true that you don't have to set white balance correctly if you shoot in raw, since you can change it later.

I'd still set it anyway though.

Even though no processing has been applied to the data from the sensor yet, most raw converters have the ability to use the "as shot" white balance as a starting point.

So, the RGB multipliers the camera would have applied to the captured image are stored within metadata in the raw file's header, and most raw converters can interpret this data, despite the efforts of some manufacturers to disguise and encrypt this information in an apparent attempt to stifle competition in raw conversion software.

So, you can speed up your post processing if you set White Balance correctly in advance.

But, in difficult lighting (or if you accidently set it incorectly), the ability to easily change it later in a raw converter is a nice feature to have.

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Old Dec 4, 2006, 10:20 PM   #3
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A good rule to work by is "do it in camera if possible, rather than saying 'I can fix it later in Photoshop'".
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Old Dec 4, 2006, 11:35 PM   #4
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MrPogo wrote:
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A good rule to work by is "do it in camera if possible, rather than saying 'I can fix it later in Photoshop'".
I know that it is better to do it right on the camera so you don't have to fix it in photoshop. I always try to get it right the first time. It wasn't until last week when I had to take pictures in different lighting condition within a few minutes and it just keep changing. It seems like every other spot that I went to had different types of light and it just keep throwing off the WB.

I just didn't understand if when you shoot in jpeg, the WB is something that is also being processed.
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 8:15 AM   #5
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MrPogo wrote:
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A good rule to work by is "do it in camera if possible, rather than saying 'I can fix it later in Photoshop'".
I think you're missing the point. If you shoot RAW the cameras white balance is only an indicator, as Jim explains.

It is possible to produce a JPG "in camera" but producing one from a RAW image converter on the PC generally does a better job.

The reason to shoot RAW is to gain higher quality images, and if you are shooting RAW then the only things you are doing in the camera are setting ISO, shutter speed, aperture and focus. The rest is done outside of the camera, and it's really not a question of fixing anything. It's a choice for the photographer to make. Most serious photographers will shoot RAW, some shoot JPG. But to suggest that those shooting RAW are somehow blundering along fixing their errors in photoshop is not correct.


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Old Dec 5, 2006, 8:33 AM   #6
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I have had some problems with auto WB in the past. To avoid those problems I took to setting the WB manually and the problems went away. So most of the time I have my WB set to Daylight. But I also shoot raw all the time too.
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