D800 and Auto White Balance

Started 7 months ago | Photos
alan schenk
Regular MemberPosts: 176Gear list
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D800 and Auto White Balance
7 months ago

good morning all

I had occasion to visit the London Wetland Centre yesterday, dry but cloudy and used auto white balance, shooting in raw, aperture priority.

To date I have had no issue with auto white balance, but in yesterday's shots, I found that auto white balance was making the landscape much cooler than it was in actuality, around 4100K, as opposed to about 4850-5000 kelvin, which was more representative of true colour.

Attached below is one shot with auto WB, and then another taken with a manual adjustment at daylight (around 5000k). Having to go manual and dial in a WB setting to achieve the right colour, in what I would normally consider a non-challenging environment for the camera, surprised me.

However, given that I'm not a guru at this stuff, I thought I would ask the forum their thoughts and to educate me around my expectations. Going auto clearly isn't the be all and end all and one should be aware of when to go manual, I just didn't think on this occasion it would be necessary, thoughts?

with auto white balance, about 4100k...too cool to reflect reality

manually adjusted next shot to daylight, around 5000k...much more reflective of reality

 alan schenk's gear list:alan schenk's gear list
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Nikon D800
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yvind Strm
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,129
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Re: D800 and Auto White Balance
In reply to alan schenk, 7 months ago

Hello Alan

Its important to remember that AWB is no guarantee for retaining colors as they were, but that it tries to give you a neutral WB.

The algorithms measuring WB is as dumb as the exposure metereing.

If you meter a dark area, the meter will expose lighter. (Because all it knows is a difference compared to gray)

Same with AWB. If you have a dominance of one color, the camera will think that its the light that causes it, and compensate in the opposite direction.

In this picture, there is a lot of vegetation that have a warm tone. The AWB thinks this is due to warm light, which it tries to neutralize. Thus the cold tone.

alan schenk wrote:

good morning all

I had occasion to visit the London Wetland Centre yesterday, dry but cloudy and used auto white balance, shooting in raw, aperture priority.

To date I have had no issue with auto white balance, but in yesterday's shots, I found that auto white balance was making the landscape much cooler than it was in actuality, around 4100K, as opposed to about 4850-5000 kelvin, which was more representative of true colour.

Attached below is one shot with auto WB, and then another taken with a manual adjustment at daylight (around 5000k). Having to go manual and dial in a WB setting to achieve the right colour, in what I would normally consider a non-challenging environment for the camera, surprised me.

However, given that I'm not a guru at this stuff, I thought I would ask the forum their thoughts and to educate me around my expectations. Going auto clearly isn't the be all and end all and one should be aware of when to go manual, I just didn't think on this occasion it would be necessary, thoughts?

with auto white balance, about 4100k...too cool to reflect reality

manually adjusted next shot to daylight, around 5000k...much more reflective of reality

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Kind regards
Øyvind

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Ansel Spear
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Re: D800 and Auto White Balance
In reply to yvind Strm, 7 months ago

They are, of course, very overexposed which hasn't helped.  They also look soft to me.

If you shoot RAW, white balance isn't a problem because you can have another go in post!

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SamG10
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Re: D800 and Auto White Balance
In reply to alan schenk, 7 months ago

My D800 AWB is very accurate especially on external shots.  I very seldom change or tweak it.  I also shoot 100% RAW.

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Island Golfer
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Re: D800 and Auto White Balance
In reply to Ansel Spear, 7 months ago

I agree. This is more of an over exposure issue. I find that my D800 needs a minus 0.03 compensation setting as a matter of routine in order to help bring out the color in a scene.

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truview

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4x5 Guy
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Re: D800 and Auto White Balance
In reply to SamG10, 7 months ago

SamG10 wrote:

My D800 AWB is very accurate especially on external shots. I very seldom change or tweak it. I also shoot 100% RAW.

That's perhaps good to know (not really), but doesn't help the OP. His shots are overexposed and that will make it more difficult to evaluate WB.

I'm quite sure that you don't have a camera with an especially accurate WB sensor/software and the OP most likely does not have a defective WB mechanism.

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larrywilson
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Re: D800 and Auto White Balance
In reply to alan schenk, 7 months ago

For this type image I choose the central weighted exposure metering.  I do use matrix metering for some types of photography, but for animal subjects I use the weighted metering or even spot metering at times.  I usually will adjust the white balance in post processing to make the histogram is touch the right side and not climb up the right side and if I don't like this I adjust to my eye.  I do like my images just a little underexposed to enrichen the colors.  I shot in raw.

Larry

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larrywilson
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Re: D800 and Auto White Balance
In reply to larrywilson, 7 months ago

I shot this bird using auto white balance and center weighted exposure.

Larry

Warbler on a cold day

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Ansel Spear
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Re: D800 and Auto White Balance
In reply to larrywilson, 7 months ago

..However, another school of thought for RAW shooters is to shoot to the right by a stop or so and manipulate in post, bringing down the highlights whilst retaining shadow depth.

Theory being that highlights are capable of higher DR values than the shadows.  Extrapolating from that, an underexposed RAW will lose shadow detail before an overexposed RAW will clip the highlights.

I have preferred to shoot to the left in the past, but this method does have some credence.

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SamG10
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Re: D800 and Auto White Balance
In reply to larrywilson, 7 months ago

larrywilson wrote:

I shot this bird using auto white balance and center weighted exposure.

Larry

Warbler on a cold day

NICE!  what lens?  Did you use a teleconverter ?

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larrywilson
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Re: D800 and Auto White Balance
In reply to SamG10, 7 months ago

I used a Nikon 500mm f4.0 vr lens with a tc 1,7EII attached.  I cheated and used a d4 ha ha!!!

Larry

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