D800 and Auto White Balance

Started Dec 11, 2013 | Photos
Shop cameras & lenses ▾
alan schenk Regular Member • Posts: 178
D800 and Auto White Balance

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
Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II +4 more
Comment & critique:
Please provide me constructive critique and criticism.
Nikon D800
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
yvind Strm Veteran Member • Posts: 4,130
Re: D800 and Auto White Balance
1

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

-- hide signature --

Kind regards
Øyvind

Ansel Spear
Ansel Spear Contributing Member • Posts: 556
Re: D800 and Auto White Balance

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!

 Ansel Spear's gear list:Ansel Spear's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III Nikon D800 Nikon D810 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED +10 more
SamG10 Regular Member • Posts: 310
Re: D800 and Auto White Balance

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

 SamG10's gear list:SamG10's gear list
Nikon D40X Nikon D1X Nikon D4 Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +11 more
Island Golfer Senior Member • Posts: 2,434
Re: D800 and Auto White Balance

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.

-- hide signature --

truview

4x5 Guy Senior Member • Posts: 1,341
Re: D800 and Auto White Balance

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.

larrywilson
larrywilson Veteran Member • Posts: 4,860
Re: D800 and Auto White Balance

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

 larrywilson's gear list:larrywilson's gear list
Nikon D810 Nikon D7200 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4G ED VR Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 2/100 +7 more
larrywilson
larrywilson Veteran Member • Posts: 4,860
Re: D800 and Auto White Balance

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

Larry

Warbler on a cold day

 larrywilson's gear list:larrywilson's gear list
Nikon D810 Nikon D7200 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4G ED VR Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 2/100 +7 more
Ansel Spear
Ansel Spear Contributing Member • Posts: 556
Re: D800 and Auto White Balance

..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.

 Ansel Spear's gear list:Ansel Spear's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III Nikon D800 Nikon D810 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED +10 more
SamG10 Regular Member • Posts: 310
Re: D800 and Auto White Balance

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 ?

 SamG10's gear list:SamG10's gear list
Nikon D40X Nikon D1X Nikon D4 Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +11 more
larrywilson
larrywilson Veteran Member • Posts: 4,860
Re: D800 and Auto White Balance

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

Larry

 larrywilson's gear list:larrywilson's gear list
Nikon D810 Nikon D7200 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4G ED VR Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 2/100 +7 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads