White Balance

Every thing you wanted to know about White Balance with the new Nikon digital cameras, but didn't know who to ask! Life is short. Eat dessert first.

I just discovered a way to check or set white balance for perfect NEF or JPG files.

I just made a new gray card that is free and you can have it now.

It also proves that Sunny 16 rule works and matrix metering is not broke, your scenery is broke.


Look at this:

Perfect Histogram
Sunny sixteen
This is a perfect grey scale target that shows the mid tone centered and the black and white tones at the conservative edges of the display data.
This shows that the target was shot with Sunny 16 rules on July 1, 2009 shortly after noon with Neutral Picture Control and 0 contrast and brightness.
Matrix vs Sunny 16

This shows that the target was shot with matrix metering, shutter priority and virtually the same as manual settings in the previous picture.
This shows a Photoshop histogram where the mid grey and white points to not align. The black channel shown on top is RGB, unlike the white channel on the camera back which is luminance.used in s
This "before" image shows shows that white balance was off. The three little spikes at the right edge do not align. The spikes were from white PVC signboard material used in a popular white balance product. Using Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop Elements the color temperature was adjusted downwards and a slight tint added to rescue the series of pictures taken in the same sequence.
Download your test target by clicking the target below. File is a zipped, greyscale, JPG image at 10 inches by 8 inches at 300 dpi. It should be printed on matte or lustre paper as a black and white image. Noritsu 3xxx printers at Costco could be used with good results along with instructions to the printer operator to turn "Automatic OFF". Check the finished product for ability to resolve the 16 steps and have no hint of color cast. Do not attempt to clip this target from your browser as the browser may apply color profiling which will change the values.

Click to download


Back Home to White Balance

1  How white balance works, Eyes to See

2  Exposure Tips


© Leon Goodman 2009

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