White Balance

The 990 features Auto, five Preset and Manual Preset white balances. The five preset white balances now also feature fine tuning, the ability to raise the white balance (cooler; towards blue) or lower it (warmer; towards red) by up to 3 levels. The samples below have VGA images behind them, the reason I haven't put the full size 2048 x 1536 images on here is simply to conserve storage and bandwidth. Anyone requiring an original of the images below please e-mail me.

These samples are not intended to be a definitive test of the white balance on the 990. They were certainly not taken scientifically. However they are intended to demonstrate the average performance in differing circumstances and the effect of using the new white balance fine tuning.

Subject in Daylight (cloudy day)
Daylight: Auto Daylight: Cloudy
Daylight: Cloudy +2 Daylight: Cloudy -2

Just to prove that Daylight is the easiest light to work with, most of these look pretty close. Auto white balance as produced an nice accurate balance (Medium gray here is 82,82,82, White is 199,199,199), cloudy also produced a pretty close balance. There'd be no need to use the fine tuning in this situation.

Subject in Incandescent Light
Incandescent: Auto Incandescent: Incandescent
Incandescent: Incandescent +2 Incandescent: Incandescent -2

In this particular light the Incandescent +2 white balance seems to have produced the best overall balance, there's still a very slight yellow cast but it's pretty much there (probably could have got rid of that with +3). Auto was very yellow.

Subject in Fluorescent Light
Fluorescent: Auto Fluorescent: Fluorescent FL1
Fluorescent: Fluorescent FL2 Fluorescent: Fluorescent FL3

Note: in Fluorescent White Balance mode the 990 doesn't offer the same +3 to -3 fine tuning, rather it offers three different fluorescent bulb types (FL1; white, FL2; natural & FL3; daylight). Fluorescent light is always the toughest to get a proper white balance, here FL1 was about the closest but I personally would have manually preset the white balance in this situation.

White Balance set by Manual Preset off White Patch
Daylight: Manual Preset Incandescent: Manual Preset
Fluorescent: Manual Preset  

Results here show that the new white balance fine tuning is useful only if the balance is OBVIOUSLY out (on that little LCD), otherwise it's really difficult to tell a very slight colour cast. Most slight colour casts can be taken care of in the "digital darkroom" later. In daylight white balance is less critical, typically Auto is pretty much on the spot, white balance becomes much more critical in lower light are under Incandescent and Fluorescent lights. Manual white balance can help to a certain extent but the golden rule should be if the shot is critical take some samples using slightly different white balance settings and check it on your PC.