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10-05-2011, 10:29 PM   #1
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white balance

Hi! can please anyone tell me about what is white balance exactly and how to use it to take shots? I've a Kx and even after reading it's manual booklet am unable to understand this function properly! Can anyone help me on that please!

10-05-2011, 11:00 PM   #2
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Wrong section- I'm moving this to general photography.

See also our article section for some beginner guides on exposure: Pentax Articles | Pentax K-5 | Pentax K-r | Pentax K-x -

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10-06-2011, 12:27 AM   #3
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It's about getting the colours right, so white is white rather than pale blue or pale red/orange. My experience is that my K7 does a very good job so I just let it get on with it, but sometimes I tweak it afterwards. Whilst I worry about ISO, f-stop and shutter speed, and worry a lot about composition, focus and depth of field (image content matters!), white balance I never even think about.

Note that sometimes you might alter it for creative purposes.

If the above doesn't help, put 'white balance' into Google lots of excellent websites come up, I suspect it's a matter of finding one which explains it in a way you understand, complete with pictures.
10-06-2011, 10:54 AM   #4
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thx for replying

10-06-2011, 02:20 PM   #5
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I'll suggest that yes, you should google for "white balance", and "color temperature" and "color cast", and even "color correction". With film, we can't just set the White Balance (WB) to compensate for different color temperatures (CT) of light. Color correction (CC) filters are needed when a colour film photograph is made. With digital, it's much easier. If shooting only JPGs, the WB can be set before shooting, or CT can be adjusted or color cast removed in post-processing (P). If shooting RAWs, the WB and/or CT can be adjusted during RAW development.

Why all this trouble? Because what you want to see, what you think you see, what the camera frame (film or sensor) sees, and what's actually there (if anything), may be quite different. Our visual systems make adjustments -- what I shoot under clear blue skies may record as being much bluer than the scene I thought I saw, and what I shoot under tungsten light is much redder. We set the WB to make the recording look more like our vision.

I still have uses for CC filters on digital, but for other purposes than to make the image look like my vision. [I'll save my Actinic Light rant for another time.] To make an image look 'right', set the WB right.
10-06-2011, 09:20 PM   #6
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Nearly every light source that illuminates your photos has some sort of color bias to it. Your eyes tend to ignore it but the camera won't. White balance is the camera's adjustment for this color bias.

The manual lists some conditions when the light source will start to make your photos look odd without proper white balance. If you're taking practice shots, it is useful to take shots under different conditions to see the effect. Here's one example I took a few days ago, not a great shot but a good example:

The deer are in the shade, which is on the bluish side of the color temperature scale. The foreground weeds are in morning daylight, more in the middle of the scale. I set the camera for the shade to be better-balanced. If you were seeing this with your eyes, you would not notice either tint, but the camera captures the large differences in light bias. Setting the camera to record the shade light makes the weeds look strangely lime green.

Most people first notice white balance when they take non-flash photos under artificial light that's outside the range of the camera's Auto White Balance. If you look at the chart on p. 182 of the manual, you'll see AWB works from 4000K to 8000K, while Warm Fluorescent and Tungsten are 3000K and 2850K. AWB will give up and everything will look too yellow. You can use the preset values for this light, set the camera manually or adjust later on a computer. AWB works pretty good for outdoor shots, though.

If you shoot in JPEG mode, the white balance is applied to the photo in the camera and you're sort of stuck with it. If you shoot in RAW, you can change it later on the computer, which can help.

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