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10-23-2011, 11:39 AM   #1
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Why doesn't Auto White Balance work with manual lenses?

I've recently started putting some manual lens on my K-7 & K10D. I notice that the AWB doesn't seem to work at all, or is at least way off. (Haven't really investigated too much what it is setting it too -- it might be fixed at some value.) Surprisingly, I could find no discussion about it on this forum. I did find a thread at another forum, so I know it is not just me. Someone suggested the coatings on modern lenses make the difference, but I don't buy it (and many of these manual lenses are multi-coated, after all).

Any explanation? I can't think why it wouldn't work -- does it rely on the electronics in newer lenses somehow? Does it need to know the aperture in order to judge correctly?

Or is there some simple remedy that I'm unaware of? (Other than setting it manually, which is the obvious answer, but the AWB usually works so well it would be nice if it continued working well with these old lenses.)

10-23-2011, 12:00 PM   #2
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I think that the metering rather than the WB is to blame with manual lenses.

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10-23-2011, 12:12 PM   #3
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On my K20D, I have AWB problems with ALL lenses, my newer AF zooms and older MF primes. I've been shooting a lot lately with my M42 Sears-Tomioka 55/1.4 and had fewer AWB problems than with my F35-70, DA10-17 and FA100-300 (all AF). AWB doesn't seem to be an issue with my Tamron 10-24 (it's AF) nor the CZJ Tessar 50/2.8 (MF). So I can't blame any type of lens. It's all individual.

Last edited by RioRico; 10-23-2011 at 12:19 PM.
10-23-2011, 12:18 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Shoot in RAW and it's a quick fix in PP...

10-23-2011, 02:35 PM   #5
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I find soe of my lenses dont work well with awb. But they seem to happen more on the ones with a different tint on the coating. My fujinon has a heavy blue tint while on pentax have the regular colored array when looking through it. But then again i shoot in raw and fix afterwards.
10-23-2011, 07:08 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I think that the metering rather than the WB is to blame with manual lenses.
Hmm...think you may be right. I believe on a manual lens it only uses the spot or possibly center-weighted metering instead of the fancy 11-point smart metering (on K7). Flipping to that mode on a modern lens and I get similar results.
10-24-2011, 09:12 PM   #7
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I don't notice AWB being noticeably different with my manual lenses, at least not when shooting in the same light. However, it often works out that people shoot manual lenses more in incandescent light, because many of use tend to own slow AF zooms but faster MF primes, and rely on the latter in low light. And AWB certainly doesn't work in incandescent light with most cameras.
10-24-2011, 09:17 PM   #8
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Yeah, mostly been indoors with tungsten lamps, but the AWB usually does great even with that. It just seems to be a matter of what I'm pointing at when I lock exposure -- mostly they turn out way too warm. After importing into Lightroom, the auto white balance chooser in that seems to get it just right.

10-25-2011, 03:25 AM   #9
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I expect AWB to be inadequate on ANY digicam, my K20D included. From my oldest P&S's onwards (hell, even with grabbed camcorder frames) I've PP'd everything, and my most-used edit tool is REMOVE COLOR CAST. At least in RAW development and PP, it's easier to fix than Back In The Day when CC (color correction) filters were needed. I hated shooting color then.
10-25-2011, 08:22 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
I expect AWB to be inadequate on ANY digicam, my K20D included. From my oldest P&S's onwards (hell, even with grabbed camcorder frames) I've PP'd everything, and my most-used edit tool is REMOVE COLOR CAST. At least in RAW development and PP, it's easier to fix than Back In The Day when CC (color correction) filters were needed. I hated shooting color then.
Naturally it is not perfect, and anything I am preparing for sale will be adjusted. But it is usually in the ballpark. But with these manual lenses indoors, they are often coming out like I was shooting daylight film under a tungsten lamp. It is not a big deal -- I never shoot indoors anyway except to play with the equipment...
10-25-2011, 09:12 PM   #11
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Try posting samples - same shot taken with the same settings with wo different lenses. When I've done this, the diffeene is thee but pretty subtle.
10-26-2011, 03:42 PM   #12
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What lens are you using? I use the M50 1.7 and it (or at least my copy) has a decidely warm colour cast in most light.
10-26-2011, 03:45 PM   #13
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I shoot with a K20D and M42 lenses all the time, and have been thrilled with the WB (including AWB) results I get. Rarely do I ever have to adjust color in post-process. But that is with outdoor shots. Under tungsten lighting I find that using a traditional color-correcting filter still is the most accurate and easiest thing to do.
10-26-2011, 04:22 PM   #14
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I think there is a AWB related firmware quirk where M/K/M42 are treated differently in tungsten light, see; https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-k-5-forum/128565-k-5-m-lenses.html.
10-26-2011, 09:10 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by DaveHolmes Quote
Shoot in RAW and it's a quick fix in PP...
It's a quick fix for JPG too as far as my experience goes.

And my K200D doesn't like to AWB under tungsten light with any lens. Maybe it's the variations in color temperature between different kinds of tungsten light that it just can't handle.
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