Join Ben Long for an in-depth discussion in this video Auto white balance, part of Nikon D5100 Essential Training.
Different types of light shine with different colors. For example, tungsten lights are redder, or warmer, than fluorescent lights. While your eye does an amazing job of adjusting automatically to different types of light so that colors always look correct, your camera doesn't fare so well. Your camera has to be calibrated to the type of light that you're shooting in. If it's not, colors can appear wrong. This process is called white balancing. The idea is that you calibrate the camera so that white appears correct. Because white contains all other colors, if you can get white looking good, then you get all the other colors for free.
By default, your camera is set to auto white balance. With auto white balance the camera will attempt to continuously white-balance itself on the fly as you shoot. It's easy to tell what your current white balance setting is. Right here you can see WB; white balance is set to Auto. If I want to change it, I just hit the Info button to bring up my editable menu, and I select White balance, hit OK, and I get a choice of white balance settings here, all of my presets. And what's nice is it actually gives me a little thumbnail to help me remember what these different white balance settings are for.
So I've got Auto, I've got Incandescent, and it's showing me a scene of a little room with an incandescent light. I've got Cool-white fluorescent, Direct sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade, and Preset manual, which is a manual white balance process that we'll talk about in another movie. So I just dial in the one that I want, hit OK, and now you can see that white balance is set to, in this case, incandescent. One of the most critical things about white balance is to always remember to change it back when you go back into a different type of lighting.
Again, you'll mostly be staying in auto mode, so if you do find a situation where you need to go a different white balance setting, you're going to want to be sure to set white balance back to auto when you're done in that setting. In general, you just want somewhere in the back of your mind, anytime the lighting changes, you want to think about white balance. You'll probably find that you can stick with auto white balance for most of your shots. Where it will start to let you down though is in shady light or situations with mixed lighting--say, sunlight streaming into a fluorescently lit room.
In those instances, you'll need to change to a different white balance setting.
- What is an SLR?
- Attaching a lens to a camera
- Deciding how many batteries and media cards are needed
- Setting Auto mode
- Changing ISO
- Changing image format and size
- Manually selecting a focus point
- Correcting exposure while shooting
- Controlling white balance
- Using a driver and self-timer
- Auto exposure bracketing
- Selecting a picture style
- Using Live View
- Shooting video
- Using custom functions, such as ISO expansion and mirror lockup
- Cleaning the camera and sensor
Skill Level Beginner
1. Getting to Know Your Nikon Digital SLR
2. Shooting in Auto Mode
3. Shooting in Program Mode
4. Controlling Autofocus
5. Controlling White Balance
6. Understanding Release Modes
7. Understanding Exposure Control Options
8. Learning More Playback Options
9. Shooting with Scene Modes
10. Shooting with Flash
11. Shooting with Picture Controls
12. Using Live View
13. Shooting Video
14. Customizing Menus and Settings
15. Retouching Images
16. Taking Care of Your Camera
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