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White Balance – Part 2.


by eduardoangel – July 28th, 2009

by Eduardo Angel

In the previous post, we talked about how our eyes are very good at accurately judging colors under different light sources, and how digital cameras, lacking our fantastic brain can’t perform as well.  An inaccurate white balance creates color casts. Notice the same image below with three different settings, tungsten (left), flash (center) and custom (right).


Kinda different uh? Even though cameras are getting better by the minute, the “Auto” setting adjusts the White Balance between 4,200 and 7,000k. That’s a pretty wide range. For “Incandescent”, the color temperature is normally around 3,000k, for “Fluorescent” is 4,200k, for “Flash” it is set at approximately 5,400k,  “Cloudy” is generally close to 6,000k and “Shade” is somewhere in between 7,000k and 8,000k.

The camera “looks” at the overall color of the image and calculates the closest white balance. The problem, like you can see in my image, comes when the scene is dominated by one color, yellow in this case, or if there is no obvious natural white present in the image.

By the way, when talking about white balance, neutral balance, gray balance, they all mean the same thing. Now, your turn, how are you doing your white balance? What are you using as a “gray card”? Are you doing it in camera or in post? Which software applications are you using? Comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.

Categories: Ambient, Cameras, Education, Perception, Vision, White Balance | Tags: , , ,

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