Auto white balance always wrong in cloudy or snowy conditions?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Garbz, Feb 13, 2007.

  1. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have a Nikon D200. My question is about automatic whitebalancing on photographs. For some reason I find the camera tends to get some shots very wrong. Examples include on an overcast day with some sky visible where the shots come out too blue, or on an overcast day photographing snow, or photographing inside of churches lit by outside sunlight only.

    In all cases the autowhite balance fails to get it right. In the first case the correct setting appeared to be cloudy +2, the second cloudy +0 and the final one setting it to sunlight.

    If these are in the normal range of the camera why does it sometimes go so wrong? Do other photographers here always set their whitebalance manually with a grey card?
     
  2. shingfan

    shingfan TPF Noob!

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    auto white balance as you see is not an ideal tool for getting a good white balance......the ideal would be to use a grey card for custom white balance...or adjust the white balance on RAW afteraward......i started a thread to ask ppl who ppl would usually with white balance adjustment just right below yours
     
  3. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    With my 20D it seems to me that I could put the camera on a tripod, and make several exposures of the same scene in the same lighting, and the auto-WB will come up with a different WB everytime. I keep my DSLRs set to 5000 degrees, just like daylight balanced film. I shoot raw so it's no big deal to change it later if that doesn't work out.
     
  4. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In my opinion auto white balance is almos always wrong.
     
  5. droyz2000

    droyz2000 TPF Noob!

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    I have a D200 as well and most of the time, as with most cameras, the Auto WB is incorrect. I do find that the vast majority of the time the Auto WB is close enough that I can correct it afterwards. That being said, I only shoot in raw so that I can alway go back and change it.
     
  6. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    some cameras are better with auto white balance for some type of shoots, others for others and some are always wrong. that is because the camera simply cannot know what your ambient light is like, and what the image should look like ... you yourself however know.

    but this really does not matter, since auto WB isn't what you will be using in the future :p

    shoot raw, and WB while shooting is no more hassle ...
     
  7. simonkit

    simonkit TPF Noob!

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    RAW is always the better option when shooting in tricky conditions like these - WB is easily corrected afterwards

    simon
     
  8. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Shinfan I saw your thread and along with that and my purple shots taken of a castle today it prompted my question :)

    Raw also takes up 6 times the space, and takes hours for me to convert afterwards. I already shoot raw for controlled shoots, but this white balance thing is mainly hurting my snapshots.

    I mainly ask because everytime I load a raw into CameraRAW in photoshop the autowhitebalance does a MUCH better job than my camera. I will try today running around with the whitepoint set at 5000k and see what results I come up with.

    Btw can anyone explain how autoWB works? My guess is it equalizes histograms or something like that.
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Daylight setting works very well at daylight. 5200k on the D200 Thanks matt the resuts are great.

    I did a little bit of testing in a museum and established that the D200 auto WB fails completely under pure tungston or most neon lights even when taking pictures of white paper :( I think Auto WB mode is officially dead to me.
     
  10. shingfan

    shingfan TPF Noob!

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    auto WB is not a preferrable method by most professionals......but if you are going to shot it RAW and adjust it afterward....i would use white balance....and i'm sure it doesnt take 6 times more space....i have D80...RAW is only about double or 3 times more space (approximately 8-10 MB each file)......the best way to adjust white balance is either use custom white balance (you nee dto set it every time the light condition is differet).....or use auto WB and then adjust it afterward on your computer..........for me.....i use auto WB...and the use nikon capture NX to recalculate the WB automatically....it does a good job all the time....(if it is so good...then why the hell are you asking more about WB....lol)....it is because i'm trying to learn more about WB as a beginner

    you dont get white when you shoot white.....instead...you'll get grey...because camera's meter is metering for 18% grey......this i learned from this forum
     
  11. Majik Imaje

    Majik Imaje TPF Noob!

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    I am old school I use film

    when taking photos of snow/ ice sunny day

    I walk around for years.. with one setting in / on my camera


    ev 15 125 @ f 16

    haven't lost one shot yet!

    any light meter can only 'AVERAGE".. !

    I realize your using digital, but you can still set your camera manually

    try these settings and see what happens!! I bet you will be surprised

    ONCE YOU IGNORE THAT METER !


    [​IMG]

    This what happens, when I use the top setting. no matter which year

    or what part ot fhe world I am in!


    [​IMG]
     
  12. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    film does not automatically mean manual and digital does not automatically mean automatic :p In both worlds you find both sorts of people ...
     

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