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How-to's Camera Reviews

Nikon D200 - Understanding White Balance

Darrell Young (DigitalDarrell)

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

Page 2/6 show all pages

The Kelvin range, as allowed by the D200, can vary from a very cool 2500K to a very warm 10000K. (See pages 35-44 in your D200 manual for more detail)

In Figure 1 is the same picture adjusted in Photoshop to three white balance settings manually; 3000K, 5000K, and 10000K. Notice how the 3000K image is much bluer or cooler than the 10000K image. The 5000K image is about right for the picture’s actual daylight. The 10000K image is much too warm.

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

Figure 1

Many of us previously used daylight balanced film and an 81A or Nikon A2 warming filter to warm up our subjects. Or we might add a filter to put some blue in on a foggy day to make the image feel cold and foreboding. We can achieve the same effects with the hard coded white balance settings built-in to the D200.

To achieve the same effect as daylight film and a warming filter, simply select the “Cloudy” white balance setting while shooting in normal daylight (see manual page 35). This sets the D200 to balance at about 6000K which is medium warm, and so makes nice warm-looking images. If you want to really warm the image up, set the controls to “Shade” which sets the camera to 8000K.

On the other hand, if you want to make the image appear cool, try using the Fluorescent (4200K) or Incandescent (3000K) settings in normal daylight.



Remember, the color temperature shifts from “cool” values to “warm” values. The D200 can record your images with any color temperature from 2500K (very cool) to 10000K (very warm), and any major value in between. There's no need to carry different film emulsions to deal with differing light types. The D200 has them all built-in!

Learn to use your White Balance controls to play around with color temperatures, and you will eliminate most of the filters you used to have to carry. The D200 has very easy to use color temperature controls, and a full range of color temperatures available.

There are three separate methods of setting the white balance on the D200.

1. Manual White Balance using the WB button and selecting Options.
2. Measuring the actual ambient light with “PRE” as reflected from a gray or white card.
3. Manual White Balance using the rear LCD Menu and selecting Options.

We’ll consider each of these methods below, since you may prefer to use different methods according to the time you have to shoot, and the color accuracy you want. Most critical photographers will use method number three… the PRE measurement method.

(6 Votes )
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Originally written on December 27, 2006

Last updated on October 28, 2016


Adam Carnol (adamsc) on January 21, 2020

So setting up the custom white balance is an important step, Thanks so much, I'll have to try that. It should be taken the essentials of the white-balance in RAW Post-Processing.

Robert Irwin (robtirwin) on December 15, 2017

Very good article. I have read the author's articles before and enjoy them. I have downloaded his iBook, "Mastering the Nikon D7200."