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01-14-2018, 06:35 PM   #1
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AWB question

When using your camera for general outdoor photography in JPEG mode, do you use the AWB setting for the most part or do you routinely alter it to Daylight, Shade or other?

Does AWB tend to skew the colours in any particular way, such make them too warm?

Under what sort of conditions do you adjust the setting, other than for artificial indoor lighting?

01-14-2018, 07:15 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I use AWB on rare occasions but as a general rule I set it manually for the lighting I am in.
01-14-2018, 07:58 PM   #3
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It depends on the camera and my intended use. Most shots are shot in RAW+ and processed via DXO so I don't worry much about it unless o intend to use the jpgs for a post online prior to processing.

So most of the time it's in auto white balance unless something looks off.
01-14-2018, 08:23 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by lakeshore Quote
When using your camera for general outdoor photography in JPEG mode, do you use the AWB setting for the most part or do you routinely alter it to Daylight, Shade or other?

Does AWB tend to skew the colours in any particular way, such make them too warm?

Under what sort of conditions do you adjust the setting, other than for artificial indoor lighting?
AWB can be fooled by cool or warm colored subjects. For example if you have a lot of green in the shot, it can tend to respond by adding magenta. Or one shot has a lot of blue sky, it can make it more yellow.

Generally itʻs easiest enough to fix in editing, but I would highly recommend setting it manually if you need consistent color balance or especially if you might want to stitch images together for a panorama or composite shot.

In practice, however, many photographers forget that they left it on something like tungsten/incandescent and then all their shots other than those shot in tungsten/incandescent lighting will be bluish. Because of this, I tend to keep it in AWB and then set it manually when I have a specific need for consistent color.

01-14-2018, 10:31 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by lakeshore Quote
When using your camera for general outdoor photography in JPEG mode, do you use the AWB setting for the most part or do you routinely alter it to Daylight, Shade or other?
AWB generally does a good job, though if one is shooting JPEG an improper white balance may be difficult to undo without artifact in post-process.

QuoteOriginally posted by lakeshore Quote
Does AWB tend to skew the colours in any particular way, such make them too warm?
No...my experience has been that when things go wrong with AWB, just how it goes wrong is difficult to predict.

QuoteOriginally posted by lakeshore Quote
Under what sort of conditions do you adjust the setting, other than for artificial indoor lighting?
That is a loaded question. The general settings (daylight, shade, tungsten) are, well, general. A more specific approach is to adjust the white balance to match the incident light. On a Pentax dSLR this is done using an 18% gray card or standard white card reference and the adjustment feature of manual white balance. The general procedure goes something like this:
  1. Go to the manual white balance adjustment feature of your camera. How this is done varies between models. Your user manual is a good resource here.
  2. Place the gray (or white) card in the same light as your subject and oriented towards the camera
  3. Frame the card in the viewfinder and press the shutter button to take an exposure of the card. The camera will display the image rendered with the existing WB settings and the option to accept/reject that image as appropriate for adjustment as well as cancel the operation.
  4. Accept the image and the camera will display the image again with the adjustments applied
  5. The camera may also provide additional adjust to provide additional fine adjustment. Be aware that the rear LCD may not reflect the rendering of ones editing environment.
  6. Exit out from the manual WB screen and take a test image of your subject and evaluate for unwanted tints
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 as needed until satisfied
  8. Shoot at will!
Your camera may also support additional features to support manual WB. The user manual should provide clues on how to use them, but may not be as helpful as one might desire.

An important thing to remember is that it may not be possible to apply a white balance setting that will account for multiple light sources or light sources that do not approximate black body incandescence.* For those cases a shooting RAW processing against a custom color profile might be more appropriate (a whole 'nuther topic).

Finally...There is a strong case for simply shooting RAW with AWB and including at least one capture with a gray or white card or ColorChecker. That one frame may provide a reference in post-processing and/or a reference for in-camera RAW --> JPEG/TIFF.


Steve

* Black body emission (aka incandescence) at various absolute temperatures (degrees Kelvin) is the basis for the concept of color temperature and the practice of white balance adjustment.

Last edited by stevebrot; 01-14-2018 at 10:44 PM. Reason: completeness
01-14-2018, 10:32 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
In practice, however, many photographers forget that they left it on something like tungsten/incandescent and then all their shots other than those shot in tungsten/incandescent lighting will be bluish. Because of this, I tend to keep it in AWB and then set it manually when I have a specific need for consistent color.
Been there...done that...thanks for the reminder! The note regarding composite and stitched pano is also highly appropriate. I would add that allowing AWB free reign for interval work may not be a good thing.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 01-14-2018 at 10:46 PM.
01-15-2018, 04:55 PM   #7
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Thank you for your thoughtful and detailed responses.

My reason for asking about the effect of AWB on JPEGS was prompted by the review of the Ricoh GR II from this link: Review: Ricoh GR II (One of the Best Compact Cameras We've Ever Tested)

Specifically this paragraph:

"During my first days with the camera, I shot a lot of RAW + JPEG photos. The Ricoh GR II honestly delivers JPEGs I have no problems sending right over to my phone or even to my portfolio. To be fair though, part of this has to do with how I shoot. I manually set my white balances to either Daylight or Tungsten. On top of this, I tend to ensure that the metering from the camera is exactly what I want.


Fujifilm and Olympus tend to deliver really nice JPEGs, but the Ricoh GR II beats both of them in my opinion."


Any thoughts or comments?
01-15-2018, 06:50 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by lakeshore Quote
Any thoughts or comments?
i don't know what can be added to what has already been said. AWB works fine the majority of the time but can be fooled.

An advantage of using a fixed setting is consistency. If you shoot jpeg and dont want the WB to vary in a sequence of shots then use a fixed WB.

01-15-2018, 11:02 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by lakeshore Quote
"During my first days with the camera, I shot a lot of RAW + JPEG photos.
With this option, one always has the RAW to fall back on. As a result, any risk associated with doing manual WB is reduced.


Steve
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