View Full Version : White balance issues

12-17-2005, 09:46 PM
I recently used my camera for photos of my daughter's Christmas play and ran against a concern I hadn't anticipated. I was using an external flash, but fired it only when absolutely necessary.

When I set the camera for flash white balance, shots with the flash were good, but shots without were not. When I set it for the lighting in the room, flourescent, shots without the flash were good but those with were not. The auto white-balance setting was not useful, as the lighting in the room was tricking the camera.

Anyone face this issue before and have some useful advice? I'd greatly appreciate it.

12-17-2005, 10:22 PM
What camera and were you shooting in RAW?

12-17-2005, 11:58 PM
I read that the auto-white balance only works for light color temperatures greater than 4000K
I'd say most indoor lamps are warmer than that. Manual white-balance would be needed.
You could always post process.

12-18-2005, 07:20 AM
I've tried dealing with white balance in the camera and it has been frustrating and I frequently ended up dealing with it in post-processing anyway. If you shoot raw it's quite simple in 90% of the shots but even shooting JPG it's not difficult to deal with using your editor. I have had shots where there were multiple light sources, such as a concert with red, blue, and white baby spots where it's impossible, for me, and you just go for the most pleasing colors.

12-18-2005, 10:24 AM
The camera is an *ist DS. I'm using a Sigma 28-300mm lens, F3.5-6.3. I usually shoot in RAW, but the burst rate in RAW was too low for this outing, as my daughter was only on stage for about 3 mins and was regularly covered by other actors. I used flash intermittantly during her presentation (whenever it was charged) and shot without it when it wasn't available. I shot the remainder of the play without the flash, unless the lighting dimmed to the point I couldn't shoot without it.

I will clearly have to do lots of post-processing. Unfortunately, I'm not highly trained in Photoshop, so I find myself manually adjusting the color curve for each image I want to keep. What a pain. If someone could tell me how to bulk process images based on common alterations, that would certainly be handy. But it would be better if the camera firmware dealt with predictable color shifts.

It seems odd that there aren't two white-balance settings, one for when flash is used and one for when it is not. Since lighting from the flash will always differ from the pre-existing light in the scene, this would seem a natural function for manufacturers to include. I was hoping there was a preference "use flash white balance" or something similar that would trigger the flash white balance when flash was used, but I could find nothing of the sort. Ideally, the camera would have independent white balances for shooting with and without flash, so that fine tuning could be done for both scenerios.

Thanks for the tip on the 4000K limitation. It certainly explains why the lighting was tricking the camera. I'll keep this in mind when I shoot in the future.

12-19-2005, 04:00 AM
Photoshop is excellent at bulk processing images exactly how you want them. There is an automate feature, you could search for it in the help to learn how to use it. It's very simple.
Basically there's an actions tab on the history palette.
You create a new action, and record it and press stop when you're done.
Then if you want to bulk process your images with that action, you just go down to file, automate, batch. Voila!

Have you considered faster lens? You could probably do without the flash all the way with a fast lens.
I just tested a few exposure meters with my 50mm F/1.4
At F/5.6, it uses 1/20sec, at F/2.8, it uses 1/90sec, and at F/1.4, it uses 1/250sec!