Coming from the D200 I am really impressed but the quality of the white balance auto setting. The only time where I tend to set it manually is with flash and even then it seems to get it pretty good . It comes to a point where I do not even think of it. And then I am just starting to wander if I should continue to shoot raw : I only seem to need it when the dynamic range of the photo is very wide , to prepare 2 or 3 pictures playing with the aperture and combining them.What are your thoughts. Attached is a picture I took just before Christmas in Australia with D700+70-300 to wish Nikonians Happy New Year Jean-luc
Nice image! Happy New Year to you and your family. The latest D700 firmware released the other day should further increase the performance of Auto White Balance. I will continue to shoot Raw to maintain the best possible IQ. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
Jean-Luc your Koala image is much better than mine-I did not have a long lens. It is nicely composed, lighted, and you caught the highlights in the eyes. I would continue to shoot RAW as it is a safety net when your images are not this perfect.
I agree with the guys above. The D700 can obviously take stunning JPGs, but I would say that it depends on what you are shooting for. If you are making money from your photography, or are shooting something very important (a wedding, for example), then I would go with RAW every time (as I do).
However, if you're shooting solely for pleasure and don't particularly want to spend time working on your images at the computer, then JPG should keep you very happy.
On the image you shot, I would have just slightly tweaked the exposure when converting from RAW. It is still possible with JPG, but your best quality is with RAW. Don't forget that the image degrades in quality every time you re-save a JPG; not so with RAW.
Either way, you've got one of the best pieces of kit to be experimenting with!
Also, the firmware update has definitely made some difference to the AWB. I took several shots in the snow before upgrading, then a few more after and the WB is without doubt improved.
I like the shot of the Koala bear, but I would hasten to get rid of the bright white area on the upper right hand side of the image by either cropping it out or cloning it out. Right now it's an eye-catcher that draws attention away from an appealing subject.
Thanks Bob for your comments. This picture was actually just posted after uploading all my holiday photos to wish new year to the Nikonians at the same time as expressing my point about the quality of the white balance but thanks anyway for the critique. The shot needs a bit more contrast, a bit of cropping at the bottom and as you mention remove that bright area. I am still abroad and cannot upgrade my D700 , I am looking forward to the even better white balance. I wanted to know, if many people are still bothering with adjusting the white balance, using a grey card ... Jean-luc
>I wanted to know, if many people are still bothering with adjusting the white balance, using a grey card ...
I shoot raw for everything because I'd rather be in control of sharpening, tone control and exposure tweaks. It usually just takes a couple of minutes to tweak a whole card of shots, using ACR or Photoshop actions. I consider that a decent trade-off for the ability to "really" tweak the odd one that is going to get printed big or where I've messed up exposure or something. But I do understand those who see the trade-off differently and prefer the easier and quicker workflow of jpeg.
And, to get to your question, white balance is one thing that is sometimes off and can be easily adjusted on a raw file. I shoot auto WB 90% of the time. I will use a grey card and set a "pre" WB for portraits or indoor sports like basketball or hockey. For landscape shots, my feeling is there's a fair bit of latitude for personal interpretation of white balance anyway, and I usually don't adjust much from what the camera decides. The one place I've noticed that the camera can get really fooled is in a forest with a thick canopy. I've seen some huge variation from shot to shot in those circumstances - I guess all the variations of green confuses the system. But what I do is find one I like and use that WB setting for the others.
as being easier than a white/grey card and relatively cheap compared to a well known brand selling for MUCH more.
As long as you are in the ball park, tweeking WB in NX2 is easy using the Grey Point method. However if you are miles out - e.g. 2600K tungsten lighting with camera set to around 6000k daylight - beware.
The RAW data will probably be correctly exposed BUT the JPEG histogram on the camera will show blinking highlights because the WRONG WB has been applied. The temptation to apply exposure compensation will only cause underexposure and not fix the WB problem.
I used to hear people complain that Nikons were oversensitive to reds. I now wonder if that was a function of not having the WB set correctly in-camera.
Thanks Ben, that seems like a really good idea to use these special lens caps especially if one wants to set the WB only in specific situations. Thanks also for the useful other bits of information. Jean-luc