D80 auto white balance (problem?) and image offload (problem?)

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by yolanda yorgensen, Sep 16, 2006.

  1. I got a D80 two weeks ago. First foray into dSLRs. Have a P&S Fuji E550 which
    began my transition to digital. Have been shooting and loving my Nikon F-801s
    (international version of the N8008s) for years.

    -- issue 1: freaky white balance errors --
    On my D80, shooting indoors with pop-up flash, I intermittently see a photo with
    horrendous white balance. The photo has undergone major blue shift. Looks like
    I'm shooting a Dentyne Ice commercial. Next shot's color balance is fine.
    Happens once every 10 to thirty photos.

    Haven't shot enough outdoors to see if it appears there as well. Mostly I've
    been taking photos of newborns & toddlers.

    I'm usually shooting in AUTO or PORTRAIT mode, and always with the Nikon 24-120
    D (non VR, non AF-S) lens and a UV/Haze filter (Hoya SMC).

    -- issue 2: stalls on image transfers to PC --

    Also, I notice when sucking photos down from the D80 into Photoshop Elements
    4.0, there is often a long pause at least once during the download. No green
    light blinking, just a hesitation of, say 15 seconds mid download. Have not yet
    tried taking the SanDisk Extreme II and plugging it in directly via USB (it is
    one of the fold in half and it's a USB card models).

    It is a 3.0 GHz P4 with 2GB RAM; it shouldn't be the culprit. I have the
    sensation that Windows itself is hung/frozen for the duration. Misbehaving USB
    port? Misbehaving SanDisk? Misbehaving driver?


    My Fuji E550 never experienced download hiccups to the same app on the same
    computer, and it never had these odd outbursts of horrible white balance. Just
    trying to see if I have a bad sample. Anybody seen this on the D200? D70?

    Any other tests I should run before my 30 days are up to swap for a new unit?
    I've done all-black and all-white sensor tests for dead pixels and LCD issues.
    So far so good.
  2. Fixing the white balance problem is simple; when shooting flash, switch the WB from auto to flash. I'd bet that the inconsistency of performance is related to the difference in the required flash output from shot to shot. More flash on the sccene is going to raise the color temp, thereby turning the pic blue. I've no idea at what point the camera determines the auto wb, but if it is at the beginning of the shutter cycle and you are using slow sync, getting the right wb would be tough for any automated system.

    Diagnosing the image offload issue will be a little more problematic. Isolate each variable, card, camera, cable, USB port and software.
  3. "...and it never had these odd outbursts of horrible white balance.” --M Coyle

    The Fuji E550 uses the complete CCD for color balance so it has an advantage in this area when creating in camera JPG(s). I own (or owned, haven’t seen it for about 6 weeks) a Fuji E550. I know pretty much what you are seeing as my DSLR is a Nikon D2H. I find the use of user custom white balance (strangely called preset WB) or a Minolta Color Meter II gives much better results without post processing. This can save a lot of time later.

    If possible get the WB right in the camera. If not shoot NEF and make your corrections in software.


    Dave Hartman.
  4. A little confused about needing to set WB mode to FLASH:

    Since the camera is smart enough to pop up the flash *before* expsoure in AUTO and PORTRAIT, it knows the flash is gonna fire. Not sure why I'd need to set the WB mode to Flash in AUTO or PORTRAIT. Surely the camera should determine that on its own in those two modes?

    If I were in purely manual mode, where the pop-up doesn't even pop, I'd buy that argument.

    All the hints about RAW mode work have convinced me I should have bought a larger, faster SD card that I did. I'll have to see if I can return it for a bigger/faster one...

    Anybody know if changing metering mode from Matrix to Center-Weighted affects AUTO WB? Unsure about that comment about the D80 not using the whole sensor for WB?

  5. please see sample images at http://tinyurl.com/j8ffe.
  6. even better: images with full exif decode, thanks to

    image pair 1



    image pair 2


  7. Oops! The D80 uses a 420-pixel RGB sensor for auto white
    balance while the D70(s), D2H(s), D2X(s) and D200 use a 1,005 pixels
    RGB sensor. My apologies, I forgot. The D2H(s) and D2X(s) also
    use a sensor in the forehead to measure ambient light temperature.
  8. FWIW: In AUTO and PORTRAIT modes, WB can't be adjusted.
  9. BTW: it is a 420/1005 segment, not 420/1005 pixel metering sensor. Not sure that has any bearing on white balance anyway, just exposure.

    [Note that nikon kept the old 5-segment matrix metering display graphic on their buttons. I guess putting 420/1005 segments in the icon and printing it on a button 1/4 inch in diameter wasn't such a good idea :]

    Fron Nikon's own press releases:

    Advanced Auto White Balance (AWB) produces natural coloration by
    measuring the entire frame of each scene and matching white balance
    to the light source.

    Sounds like full-frame to me.

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