white balance

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by commtrd, May 25, 2008.

  1. Please help! I am having terminal problems with really nasty white balance
    symptoms. I did a search for fixing white balance issues with the D300 but cannot
    find anything camera specific.

    I cannot seem to get correct exposures no matter what I try...auto, or preset for
    sunny, cloudy, fluorescent, incandescent etc. nothing works right. Every once in a
    great while I can get a picture that the color looks correct but very rarely. I have
    spent several hours working with the camera to attempt to get it to shoot
    something that vaguely resembles what I am seeing.

    I have tried running EV settings up and down, using picture control on standard,
    neutral, vivid to enable more saturation, I just can't get it to work right. I am sure it
    is something I am not doing right but what? Today I was shooting outdoors in the
    woods (temporarily in Ohio) with bright sunshine. I set the white balance for
    sunshine and auto and tried EV settings all over the place and even tried a
    polarizing filter on and off the lens to no avail. I had to delete all but a handful of
    pictures because they just looked like crap. Almost every time I go out to shoot
    this happens, no matter if it is sunny or cloudy or whatever. I feel like if I do get a
    good picture, it was purely an accident. I mainly use the camera on program auto
    settings unless I need aperture or shutter priority for some particular composition,
    because I can't trust the camera to render the white balance correctly so it throws
    off what I perceive the settings to be doing. I have tried all the different metering
    modes as well but nothing seems to help.

    Can someone PLEASE tell me what I am doing wrong? Or is the camera
    malfunctioning? I have had the camera a little over a month so I figure it is operator
    error due to inexperience. I just can't figure out what to do about this problem. I
    spent WAY too much money on this camera to be getting results like this.
  2. Money too.

    WB is set by auto, sun , tungsten, fluorescent, cloudy, flash. No need to make any other setting, Neutralize them.

    On my D200 there is also a K setting. Put white bal on K and then you can manually pick any degree K you wish from 2000 to 7000.
    Tungsten is 3200 about, daylight is 4950 on my camera, cloudy is 6000 about.

    There is no need to manually set K and one of the other symbols. It is either / or system. K gives better control. The others are adequate
    and easier.

    If you can`t set it on sun and take a picture in direct sunlight and do not have some override or compensation set, somthing is defective. It really is not that hard.
  3. hello Keith...

    Do the colors look different of what you see on the camera display or after you download them in your computer?

    If it is in the computer, have you calibrated your monitor? Are the software settings correct? I used to have a lot of problems with the colors with L/R.

    With the camera, have you used a Grey car to set the W/B?

    I hope you find a solution for your problem.... Rene'
  4. Of course, you can always just shoot in RAW format, where the white balance setting in the camera has no bearing on anything. Just include a shot of a neutral target in your series of shots, and then when you open up the images in your post production environment, use that to adjust white balance. That way it's completely non-destructive, can be applied in batches to a whole selection of images as appropriate.
  5. How about putting up some pix, so we can see what you're not liking?
  6. Keith, set your cameras menu to srgb. Zero out your exposure. Take a shot of a box of crayons or something with red green and blue in it. Do this at each white balance setting and use matrix metering. Take the card to a good printer and ask them to print it straight with no corrections. This will show you what the camera is doing, as Rene' mentioned calibrating a monitor to printer can be a pain if your printing yourself. That's white balance cool on the blue side and warm and fuzzy on the brown side. In your next part you mentioned exposure that's a different animal. Let me know if the camera was set to rgb in the menu.
    Good luck.
  7. Keith,

    I shoot a lot of succulent plants of all sorts of colours and nearly always shoot exclusively inside a poly tunnel / plant house which is covered with an opaque white plastic film. I found none of the WB options worked well to give me realistic leaf and flower colours under this odd filtered light which casts a strong blue hue on eveything.

    I now take the (short) time with my D300 to shoot a WB pre test shot on a white sheet of plastic inside the plant houses and my WB levels are damn good now, over 300 plants shot using a pre- test WB and not one has thrown 'iffy' tones or hues.

    If this fails I expect it's back to matching your 'in camera' colour space with you monitor and then your printer........
  8. You may want to use the "two-button reset" to restore the default settings for the camera. Look at pages 184 and 185 of the D300 user manual for instructions. You need to be aware that this only resets the default settings for the shooting bank you have selected, so you will have to select each shooting bank one at a time and use the "two button reset" for each band to reset the entire camera.
  9. Thanx for replies...I am getting a weird greenish-olive-yellow cast to any shots (usually but not always) to any subject matter that involves plants, leaves, trees, etc. and generally washed-out overall results which I can mostly fix in Elements 6 or Lightroom but it takes a long time to do this when I have 3 or 400 photos to work on. I already deleted all the bad pics from yesterday except for 7 which were impromptu portraits of kids and dogs from the trails. Out of 269 pictures I could keep seven...typical for the results I have been getting. I hope my flats-fishing and surfing photos turn out a lot better or I will be seriously bummed.

    I have used the picture control menu set to vivid with everything cranked up to max and then everything does not look washed out and green is really green...unfortunately anything red or purple gets totally blown out also. When I shoot with picture control set to standard, I get great portraits with good realistic skin tones (still washed out but can fix) but go to shoot anything else in nature and on the same settings I get that washed-out olive green that looks horrible. Using the different WB settings just seems to make varying degrees of horrible results...is there any way at all to just make the camera take pictures that look like what I am seeing? Is this too much to ask?

    I bought Thom Hogan's guide to the D300 but it is at home and I am out of town until next week. Will take these suggestions and work with it today...I think it is the way I am not using the settings right, not the camera malfunctioning because SOME of the pictures I have taken have been really beautiful. Just not very many. If there were video tutorials or a class I could attend available for the D300 to explain all the settings I would buy it immediately. In the meantime I will just go trial and error using the settings one at a time to observe the effects and eventually I will get there; been doing this and haven't figured it out yet.
  10. Sounds like a setting got wacky in your camera. Have you tried an "all reset"?
  11. OK here is what I did: I did a reset all according to directions. I switched over to shooting raw and experimented with all the white balance settings including "K". It would go from blue at the coldest setting to brown at 10000. I took a series of shots at all these settings in raw (BTW it did seem to matter what the K temperature setting was in raw) and then another series of shots with WB in auto. I did not try this set to shoot in JPEG. I will try this also just to see if I can still correct the WB afterwards in lightroom.

    I had downloaded the raw viewing update for Lightroom and imported the pictures into lightroom and adjusted the raw files there. What a major difference! I can adjust the WB there on a file-by-file basis and it works great. Ideally it would be nice if the camera just did the WB automatically correctly but I guess that is asking too much because it won't do it. As long as I shoot in raw I can fix it and get good pictures again. Maybe the tutorial material from Thom Hogan will go into how to do all this stuff. As long as I can fix the WB and dial in extra vibrance I can get the pictures to look like I am seeing it.

    I read somewhere when researching for which camera to buy (originally was going to get a Canon) that this D300 would drop you on your ear if didn't know how to use it...boy is that ever right! This camera is very intimidating. But I figured that it was no use starting with a D40 because migrating up from there still have to learn the camera controls anyway so might as well get the tool I need and get it over with. The learning curve has been vertical but it will get better.

    Thanks for helping out an inexperienced user.
  12. Jim,

    Camera was set to srgb in the menu. What is confusing me here is maybe I don't fully understand where WB ends and correct exposure begins. If the pictures are all washed out looking AND the greens in the shot look like nasty olive-drab when they should look nicely back-lit green I thought this meant the WB was all wrong...does this indicate that something might be wrong with the exposure also? I have tried different shutter speeds and aperture settings but this did not change anything except for depth of field. Setting for spot metering vs. matrix metering does not seem to make any difference either (as far as I can tell). I really wish I knew what the heck I was doing! I am an artist (went to Art Inst. of Houston for commercial art and have done professional mural art on surfboards and auto, motorcycle, etc.) so I do understand color theory but this camera has proved to be much more difficult to master than I ever thought it would be.

    Do I actually have unrealistic expectations? Maybe these cameras are designed to only be able to acquire raw information and then manually "develop" the pictures with post processing? If that is the case, then I will just shoot in raw and finish the pictures in lightroom and be OK with that. On photosig and other websites I read the critiques and observe that every photo posted is always massaged pretty heavily in photoshop so evidently this is the way it works. I guess I need to get photoshop and learn it to be able to make great photos.
  13. Rene,

    The colors look the same on the LCD display as they do on my computer monitor. My monitor is not calibrated but it is driven by a very high-end graphics card; the monitor is new and I think the resolution is 1900X1200 if I remember right so probably not the problem. I do intend to find out how to calibrate the monitor, that is on my list of things to do.
  14. I think you have an overexposure problem and maybe a white balance problem. White balance only affects the color, but it will not look correct if exposure is not correct. Work to correct the exposure problem and then work on the White Balance (set White Balance to Auto until you correct Exposure). Check to make sure exposure compensation is set to Zero (0). If it is zero (0) and still overexpsoing then adjust it to a negative value until the exposure looks correct. I would set other parameters to normal to start (tone curve, saturation, etc). I assume you have the camera set to an automatic mode (P, A, or S) and not Manual.
  15. When you do go to calibrate your monitor, browse around this site first: http://www.normankoren.com/makingfineprints1A.html . Everything you could ever want to know about gamma/color space/brightness/contrast/etc when it comes to monitors, and several calibration charts so you don't have to run out and spend the money on a spider.
  16. When you calibrate your monitor I recommend you purchase hardware/software designed for this task. You need to calibrate the monitor on a regular basis for critical work because monitors drift with age - calibrate about every 4 weeks. I use an Eye One Display - the current model is Eye One Display 2. When adjusting color balance using editing software and the monitor you can't get it correct if the monitor does not display correct colors.
  17. The bulk of my problem is insufficient exposure due to not using a flash when necessary, I have discovered. Just part of the learning curve associated with the journey to becoming a good photographer.

    This discussion is a good example of discovery of what works for more inexperienced photographers attempting to troubleshoot issues that are difficult to resolve until learning more about how it all works.

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