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09-17-2009, 12:53 PM   #1
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In Camera White balance settings and RAW?

I'm wondering if I need to set the in camera white balance settings when shooting in RAW. I imagine that it wouldn't really do anything. Or does it?

I have a K20D....

Thanks,

Ken

09-17-2009, 03:15 PM   #2
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White balance does not effect the RAW file, however the white balance setting is stored in the EXIF. So, when you go to process the RAW in your favorite PP software, it will try and use that white balance setting.
09-17-2009, 03:39 PM   #3
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I always try and set my white balence in the camera to as close to the shooting conditions as possiable. As said this is stored in the file and is used by the RAW converter to process the photo. Having it close to the desired setting in the file saves some time in post processing. It's also a good habit to get into in case you decide to shot in JPEG.
09-17-2009, 04:19 PM   #4
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I believe it does affect the results if your WB is considerably off target - even if shooting RAW, but only very slightly.

Easy enough to test.
Shoot a scene with the right WB, and again with WB at the other end of the scale - both in RAW, then readjust the second image in PP back to the correct WB setting and see if there is any loss in information.
There is only so much a camera can compensate - kind of like with a poor exposure. RAW only helps so much.
Get it right in camera as much as you can, and you will ensure your results will be optimal.

09-17-2009, 09:31 PM   #5
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People who have examined the RAW output of Pentax camera concluded that a *slight* WB correction to the RAW data was sometimes made on the K100D and maybe the other 6MP cameras (just to help avoid clipping), but not other models.
09-18-2009, 02:02 AM   #6
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If there is no white patch or neutral gray patch in your picture, you can never get accurate colors when you try to adjust white balance in post processing. The eye doesn't "remember" colors, so you can process to your heart content, but if you don't have a reference for color, you will always be off.
09-18-2009, 07:55 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by flyer Quote
If there is no white patch or neutral gray patch in your picture, you can never get accurate colors when you try to adjust white balance in post processing. The eye doesn't "remember" colors, so you can process to your heart content, but if you don't have a reference for color, you will always be off.
Just to clarify, you are saying that it is important to white balance in camera even when shooting RAW.

Is this correct?
09-18-2009, 08:29 AM   #8
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I can't speak for Yves, but I wouldn't say it's "important". I'd say it "can be useful" if you happen to be concerned about capturing the original color with a total absence of any color cast from the light source, as opposed to capturing color that represents how you remember the scene. Personally, I hate the idea of completely removing the light soruce color cast. I want a picture taken under tungtsen lighting to *look* like it was taken under tungsten lighting. That doens't mean leaving the WB on auto - it means adjusting it myself on my monitor to capture the way the light I remember it "feeling", which wil usually be somewhere between the *completely* neutralized effect you'd get by setting WB in camera and whatever you'd get if you left the camera on Daylight or Flash (the most neutral of the presets) all the time.

Which is to say, I find it most useful to leave it on auto, and then adjusting in PP according to my own tastes if I feel it removed not enough - or too much (common with sunsets) of the color cast. But I'm rarely interested in deliberately lying about the scene to remove all vestiges of the light color - the light is, after all, often what made me want to photograph it.

Also, if you *are* interested in removing all color cast from a photo, setting WB in camera isn't the only way. Another is to shoot a reference picture of a white or gray object before you start shooting. Then in PP you can set the WB from it and copy that setting to the rest of the pictures made under that light.

09-18-2009, 09:26 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Javaslinger Quote
Just to clarify, you are saying that it is important to white balance in camera even when shooting RAW.

Is this correct?
Not exactly. If you have a white or neutral gray patch, you can get very close in post. If you don't have any of the above, you will end up with colors that are off.

Just to show the point, take a picture of a product in RAW and auto white bal, put the product away, then try to match the color on your screen to the color of the product WITHOUT the help of a gray or white patch. After you're done, bring the product next to your screen, and verify how close you are. You'll be amazed.

There are organisations like Pantone, inc. that specialize in establishing color standards for printing, marketing...just to make sure everybody speak on the same "wave length" and avoid confusion. You could give a look at their website, you could see how complicated it might be to communicate with colors.
09-18-2009, 11:10 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Personally, I hate the idea of completely removing the light soruce color cast. I want a picture taken under tungtsen lighting to *look* like it was taken under tungsten lighting.

Which is to say, I find it most useful to leave it on auto, and then adjusting in PP according to my own tastes if I feel it removed not enough - or too much (common with sunsets) of the color cast.
Right, I've settled on low to mid 3K range for my tungsten WB. I find that the camera Tungsten setting removes too much color cast, leaving it cold looking.

Similarly, Auto removes the warmth of the late afternoon sun, so I switch over to Cloudy (after lunch). Auto doesn't seem to catch up well when jumping in and out of shaded area, common in city/street situation. Leaving it in Cloudy helps that a bit.

I have one of those large and open kitchen/dining/family room, where the lighting is a mix of tungsten, CFL, bright LED from large-screen TV, HID from car headlight coming in thru the window -- often all shrouded by smoke from stove-top cooking. Surprisingly, Auto WB usually gets it right, if not almost right!
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