As we all know, and it's reiterated time and again that shooting inmode gives you the greatest latitude for developing an image further, with the greatest of ease and retain as much quality as possible.
Sometimes you may not have the time to suit such an involving as there may be more steps in the processing stage and if you have hundreds of images to develop it all takes time. If you are at that stage then you're probably making money from photography and this 'tutorial'.. more of an infotorial than a tute! is for those mad keen amateurs that just can't seem to get enough decent exposures in a single day! (me!! )
My main reasons for using mode is the ease of which you can set WB in software on the PC, which makes one less thing to stuff up at the time of . There are many other reasons to use (and my other main reason is to save file space on the PC if I edit a shot, AND want to keep the original intact... with most images(that I know of) if you edit the original you don;t need to keep an edited copy AND the original, as they are one and the same, and all edits can be undone later and hence you still keep the original file. There's no need to keep multiple 20Meg files(and for me at 250gigs of images now that's quite a bit of space!!)
Setting WB on the PC later is exactly the same as setting it on camera at the time of . I confirmed this with a two shot set after I took this image in AWB mode, where I set the WB on camera to Shade. the original looks totally YUK!! even on th etiny puny D300 screen, and I thought to see how WB set manually would come out. I have a WB card to be able to set it more accurately, but in this scene I knew what setting was going to be more appropriate, and at the time, given the conditions I was in, Shade was exactly as the scene was, and I remember that as I was standing there trying to get a more accurate representation of what the scene should look like.
reference to CNX is 's CaptureNX, and ViewNX works equally at setting WB on NEF's. apparently encrypt WB settings in camera, so other third party software may render WB differently. It shoudln;t as you;re simply adjusting colour temperature to known values.. but I don;t delve deeply into these things nor do I care.. If you're suing and shoot NEF, at the least try ViewNX as your initial to raster image converter if you are unsure. Other cameras may work differently.
So the white balance issue for me is:
1. Auto WB ie. as the camera sees it
Whoa! way too blue for daylight as there was no yellowing/warming sun to balance so much blue rendering.. makes sense!
looks exactly the same as Auto. The camera obviously thinks I'm in a cloudy scenario, and set WB accordingly. on the face of it I wouldn't cared too much, and many people would have just accepted the image, but as I was there and I had an immediate visual representation to work with, I still immediately thought it looked too blue....
There! that;s what the scene looked like as I remember at the time when I made the with WB set to Shade.
This isn't the actual image I made in WB Shade mode. It's the original Auto WB shot, but with only the WB adjusted using CNX, as all th eother image have been processed. It's exactly the same colour balance as the next shot, with WB manually set to Shade, on my PC as I see it, and the histogram is the same shape. So setting WB later on the PC is for all intents and purposes the same as setting it on the camera.
Here's the same image(as WB Shade above) set to WB Shade, but with Picture Control setting set to Standard.
The previous image had PC set on camera to Vivid -1Contrast, which I think gives about the best colour contrast rendition, but this one was set to Standard and nothing else except the same level (6??.. I forget!).
It doesn't look bad and at least all the red looks red, but much more flat that I saw at the time(and why I made a point to set WB manually in this particular shot!
Having barely any red in the image, invited my curious nature to do this comparison.
As I saw it the best rendition of the scene, both on camera and later on the PC is that #5 image.
#6 is almost OK, and much less greeny-blue when compared to that #1 AWB shot.
Lots of folks have commented on my images having too much colour(too vivid), and that's certainly a product of setting the camera up with Vivid Picture Control.
I have tried Standard with saturation +1 and it's almost the same, but I think we all see colour differently relative to each other, and I have previously commented in another thread that I tend to wear polarised sunnies almost always, and this affects th ecolour that I see, which is always vivid. I base my need to and take a photo purely on that fact that I wear these sunnies, and tilt my head side to side to see how much effect polarising a scene will have.
But in this situation, deep into a tropical rainforest valley with barely any sun coming directly through the forest I wasn't wearing those sunnies.
Not only that, but there was a lot of brown dying/dead plant matter which may have affected the WB a little as well, plus the fact that whatever sunlight was filtering through was warmer than it would otherwise have been at say midday.
I find that for WB the first and last 3 or 4 hours of the day are hugely affected by colour of sunlight, where I may set up to 800K more than standard Sunny 5200K to get the colour temperature right on.
Between approx 10AM and 4PM in summer, and it's going to vary for each season and lattitude!... Sunny 5200K is perfect on bright sunny days.
This isn't really a tute on setting WB or how it's affected. It's more about the importance of how getting WB right or wrong(whether on camera or on PC) can affect the overall quality of an image.
And finally adjusting WB affects the histogram, which affects the actual . Many times I've seen a slightly blown highlight, that came good by simply adjusting WB to suit.
It always seems to be in the red channel too
That's not to say by blowing out a highlight you can recover it in PP by setting WB
OK. that's it!.
If you feel a need to add something or correct me on any mis-information I may have presented by all means do so.. as I'm keen to learn what others know about WB and it's overall impact on IQ.
I'm happy with AutoWB on camera as it;s just one less thing to have to stuff up, if you get it wrong, usually in variable lighting conditions such as a forest at late/early hours
I should try to remember to take my WB card with me more often, though!
EDIT: relinked images.