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07-16-2011, 08:28 AM   #1
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White balance issues :(

At least I think that's the problem!

I'm a newbie to DSLR. I've recently bought a K-x with kit lense 18-55, but I'm really unhappy with the shots I'm taking as they all look so dull All my pictures look like they've been taken in low light or on overcast days. I've tried to adjust the white balance but no matter what I do whites never look white.
I can adjust the images afterwards on my comp which is suddenly like the sun has come out and they look normal.

So were am I going wrong? Is it my limitations, the camera or the lense?

I was shooting in beautiful daylight the other day but my pictures all turned out pants

I had a Nikon D40 breifly about 3 years ago and I didn't have any problems with that, they were great shots!

Could the camera even be faulty?

Feeling very disappointed, hope you can help.

07-16-2011, 08:37 AM   #2
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As usual, you must post an example to get meaningful help. However, you can adjust saturation and contrast in the camera if you are shooting jpgs. These settings have no effect on raw files, which you process on your computer.
07-16-2011, 08:40 AM   #3
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Sorry, that was obvious really, oops! I'll get something up, though I might be some time lol!
07-16-2011, 09:10 AM   #4
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The paper is cream btw. Highlights are white.
They were taken in the conservatory with beautiful bright but soft afternoon light. It was sunny but not glaring (no hard shadows) in real life.

The first is taken with camera set on auto.
The second is one click of auto adjust on my comp. Much lighter though pale and still lacking true colours.
The 3rd is my best attempt at adjusting in camera. Nicer, warmer colours but still dark compared to reality.

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07-16-2011, 10:50 AM   #5
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They are all massively underexposed, by 2 stops at least. That may be the result of some setting on the camera, so posting the full EXIF data would probably help too. For instance, if you have the Exposure Compensation set to -2 EV...

Here's a quick edit I did by adjusting the exposure with levels, color correct a bit with curves and thats about it.

Last edited by enoeske; 07-16-2011 at 10:58 AM.
07-16-2011, 11:16 AM   #6
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Enoeske, that is SO much better!

Is this the information you asked for? JPEG 1/160 F7.1 106-2727. This info is lost on me It's for the first image, so camera on auto.

Found this as well ISO 200.
07-16-2011, 12:04 PM   #7
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I've found the Exif data (now know what that is!). The exposure compensation is set to 0.0
I'll see if I can find it on the camera and try and change it to make a difference.
07-16-2011, 08:13 PM   #8
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Have the images been cropped? The K-x has a multi-zone metering algorithm. If the original composition had a bright area that has been cropped out - for example a window in the background, or a sunlit white wall - that would control the exposure and could explain why this part of the image is badly exposed.

If what you have shown is the entire image that was captured, the camera's exposure system should not have a problem with it. You should not need any exposure compensation, never mind a couple of stops. If every picture you take has this kind of issue then perhaps something is out of whack with your camera's exposure metering system.

You should appreciate that "white balance" adjusts the relative gain levels of the red, green and blue color channels. The objective of white balance compensation is to make grays be neutral throughout the brightness range - presumably if that is achieved, then all other colors will be rendered more-or-less correctly as well. As enoeske pointed out, the problem with these images is more related to exposure than white balance. If you are trying to correct these images using white balance compensation, you are using the wrong tool.

07-16-2011, 10:02 PM   #9
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My digicam experience is limited to Sony and Olympus P&S's, and the K20D. (My Minolta P&S was converted to IR so its WB issues don't apply here.) Not so much with the Olympi, but with the Sony's and Pentax: AUTO WB SUCKS!! Editing JPGs, my most-used PP tool is REMOVE COLOR CAST. Developing RAWs, my most-used tweak is OVERRIDE WHITE BALANCE. When I shoot in many varying lights, I don't have time to re-set WB in-camera.

And light doesn't always look like an expected color anyway. Case in point: Shooting under a clear blue sky requires tweaking WB to SHADE because of the blue cast. Whereas shooting under a cloudy sky requires a DAYLIGHT setting. Why is AWB so bad?
07-16-2011, 10:19 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
My digicam experience is limited to Sony and Olympus P&S's, and the K20D. (My Minolta P&S was converted to IR so its WB issues don't apply here.) Not so much with the Olympi, but with the Sony's and Pentax: AUTO WB SUCKS!! Editing JPGs, my most-used PP tool is REMOVE COLOR CAST. Developing RAWs, my most-used tweak is OVERRIDE WHITE BALANCE. When I shoot in many varying lights, I don't have time to re-set WB in-camera.

And light doesn't always look like an expected color anyway. Case in point: Shooting under a clear blue sky requires tweaking WB to SHADE because of the blue cast. Whereas shooting under a cloudy sky requires a DAYLIGHT setting. Why is AWB so bad?
Perhaps you prefer a certain look to your images instead of the correct, accurate colors.
07-17-2011, 12:56 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jdbosma Quote
Have the images been cropped? The K-x has a multi-zone metering algorithm. If the original composition had a bright area that has been cropped out - for example a window in the background, or a sunlit white wall - that would control the exposure and could explain why this part of the image is badly exposed.

If what you have shown is the entire image that was captured, the camera's exposure system should not have a problem with it. You should not need any exposure compensation, never mind a couple of stops. If every picture you take has this kind of issue then perhaps something is out of whack with your camera's exposure metering system.

You should appreciate that "white balance" adjusts the relative gain levels of the red, green and blue color channels. The objective of white balance compensation is to make grays be neutral throughout the brightness range - presumably if that is achieved, then all other colors will be rendered more-or-less correctly as well. As enoeske pointed out, the problem with these images is more related to exposure than white balance. If you are trying to correct these images using white balance compensation, you are using the wrong tool.
No the images haven't been cropped and yes this seems to happen all the time. A sort of grey over cast look to all the images
I did take some shots in the garden to see how the camera worked when I got it a few weeks ago and didn't notice the problem, though I wasn't as impressed as i thought i would be - maybe because this is a problem!

I will take some more test pics today and see what happens now I know the problem seems to be under exposure and not white balance

Thank you everyone for your imput it is being very helpful to me
07-17-2011, 06:08 AM   #12
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What is the ISO set to. I have seen on occasion exposure errors like this when you reach the limits of the cameras metering

Do a simple test. Use the sunny 16 rule

This means on a sunny day set the lens to F16 and the shutter to 1/ISO

Let's confirm as a start that if set correct the image is OK. Then we can work through where the problem is
07-17-2011, 11:24 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
What is the ISO set to. I have seen on occasion exposure errors like this when you reach the limits of the cameras metering

Do a simple test. Use the sunny 16 rule

This means on a sunny day set the lens to F16 and the shutter to 1/ISO

Let's confirm as a start that if set correct the image is OK. Then we can work through where the problem is
It's pouring down with rain today and the batteries are on charge so haven't been able to do this today. I will though as soon as I can.

I have had a fiddle though. I can't figure out how to set the settings you suggested. I am feeling really stupid right now lol! Also it's lowest ISO number is 200 so I'm not sure what to set it to? ISO is on auto at the moment which is 200 - 1600 if this means anything to you?
07-18-2011, 08:50 AM   #14
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OK, I've done some shots that hopefully will help. I fixed the shutter speed to 1/100 for all shots except the auto shot which did it to 1/100 itself. Then the rest are manual, I've just changed the aperture for each one. Will this be enough info for you?
1. Auto - F11
2. F5.6
3. F4
4. F8
5. F7.1

The last couple are the most realistic to life. It was a cloudy but bright day (mid summer here). Auto was way to dark as usual I haven't cropped them, just resized for posting here.
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07-18-2011, 08:56 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by 2cay2 Quote
OK, I've done some shots that hopefully will help. I fixed the shutter speed to 1/100 for all shots except the auto shot which did it to 1/100 itself. Then the rest are manual, I've just changed the aperture for each one. Will this be enough info for you?
1. Auto - F11
2. F5.6
3. F4
4. F8
5. F7.1

The last couple are the most realistic to life. It was a cloudy but bright day (mid summer here). Auto was way to dark as usual I haven't cropped them, just resized for posting here.
Last one looks very good.
Anyways, try getting some white balance cards(or caps there cheap), and that will help balance things out.
Other than that, I'd recommend taking control of your settings(manually) so as to get all you can out of your scenes.

I've always found outdoor lighting to be rather tricky, and I think the reason for this is where the average daylight conditions typically run at the threshold of overexposure. And by this I mean near overexposure in color and luminance and thus the difficulties that follow. One good way to see this is to set yourself up in a vehicle or in the shade and do some real time comparisons using a notebook or external screen between the shots taken and reality. At which point you may notice how truly difficult it is to capture and reproduce TTL light values in a sunlight scene.

Having said that, I don't think it's impossible to emulate bright sunlight scenes in screen or paper.
Then again... there's just no way a print is going to match the brightness values of an sunlit outdoor scenery either.

Anyways, I didn't mean to sidetrack your post, and so I guess I'll just leave it at taking control of your settings(manually) is likely the best method at gaining control of your scenes in cases such as these. And of course, WB caps and cards can help, but with the latest crop of software out there these days make those less likely to be necessary.

Last edited by JohnBee; 07-18-2011 at 09:06 AM.
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