Even though we ARE Nikon lovers,we are NOT affiliated with Nikon Corp. in any way.

English German French

Sign up Login
Home Forums Articles Galleries Recent Photos Contest Help Search News Workshops Shop Upgrade Membership Recommended
members
All members Wiki Contests Vouchers Apps Newsletter THE NIKONIAN™ Magazines Podcasts Fundraising

How-to's Camera Reviews

Nikon D200 - Understanding White Balance

Darrell Young (DigitalDarrell) on December 27, 2006


Keywords: fundamentals, basics, nikon, d200, camera, bodies, product, articles

Understanding White Balance

For many of us who’ve recently switched to digital photography there are new things to learn. One of the more confusing new tidbits of knowledge is just how White Balance works.
 

Nikon D200 DSLR and SB-800, SB-600 speedlights
Nikon D200

When we used film we would select a daylight balanced film type for general photography outdoors or with flash, or a tungsten balanced type for indoor lighting. If the lighting was too cool, we might add a warming filter. Under fluorescent light we’d install a filter that adds blue. So, with film photography we were carrying various filters and film types to adjust to the light’s “Kelvin” color.

With digital photography we are still faced with various lighting types (Kelvin color “temperatures”). However, we can now adjust for any light range without filters by setting the White Balance controls in-camera.

 

How does White Balance Works?

If we recall our science classes in school, we were taught about the Kelvin temperature range in relation to astronomical objects like stars. Remember that a red giant star is “cool,” while a blue/white star is “hot.” Well, reverse that understanding and you have the White Balance Kelvin system used in most digital cameras today.

With camera white balance we use the Kelvin temperature range in reverse. Why? I haven’t been able to determine that yet; if you know, tell me. However, when you walk out on a cold snowy day and your lips turn blue, do you feel hot like a blue star? No! And when you are out in the setting sun in photography’s magic hour of golden light, does the redness of the light make you feel cool, like a giant red star? No, again!

Just remember we use the Kelvin temperature range in reverse, and that warm colors are reddish while blue colors are cool. This is backwards from what we were taught in school. But, it fits our situation better. Blue seems cool while red seems warm to photographers! Just don’t let your astronomer friends convince you otherwise.

Normally, the White Balance (WB) controls are used to adjust the camera so that whites are truly white, and other colors are accurate under whatever light source you’re shooting. Or you could use the White Balance controls to deliberately introduce color casts into your image for interesting special effects.

Understanding White Balance in a simplified way is simply realizing that light has a range of colors that go from cool to warm. This is called the Kelvin Color Temperature range.

We can adjust our cameras to use the available light in an accurate neutral “balanced” way that matches the actual light source, or allow a color cast to enter the image by unbalancing the settings. We will discuss this from the standpoint of the Nikon D200’s camera controls and how they deal with White Balance.

(4 Votes)
previous page Page 1/6 show all pages
Darrell Young Darrell Young (DigitalDarrell)

Founding Member of the Nikonians writer Guild. Author of most of the NikoniansPress books. Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015

Knoxville, USA
Team, 5988 posts

0 comments

G