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Aufklarung - Online Training - PDX-10

White Balance

Why White Balance (1.6 MB)

White balancing is critical for accurate color rendition. Inaccurate colors may be simply disagreeable or - worse - they may psychologically skew the effect of an image. The images in the video above demonstrate how even subtle inaccuracies in white balance can result in seriously altered colors.

These samples were executed in a studio under controlled conditions (3200K incandescent lighting) to illustrate some common issues with white balancing.

(Note: these test images are surrounded by digitally set neutral gray borders to make it easier to spot the accuracy of color rendering)


  1. Auto White Balance: the camera attempts to white balance but is affected by the colors in the shot, resulting in a magenta color cast
  2. Indoor (tungsten) Preset: the camera's definition of indoor or tungsten lighting (2900K) is different from the lights in the studio (3200K). Indoor lighting from normal household lamps is slightly more orange than professional studio or field lighting, resulting in a blue cast under studio lights with the PDX-10. Higher end professional cameras would have optional presets for professional lighting.
  3. Manual White Balance: a manual white balance has been done to the white background. The color is neutral.
  4. Fluorescent Lights Added: overhead fluorescent lights were turned on without re-adjusting white balance. The fluorescents are relatively weak compared to the studio lights, but they still add a subtle yellow-green cast. White balancing when light sources are of mixed types can be tricky.
  5. Outdoor (daylight) Preset: this is a deliberately extreme example to demonstrate when white balance settings have been overlooked. In this case, expecting the heavily blue light of daylight, the camera overcompensates by adjusting to the orange side of color balance.

Physics Of Light | Why White Balance | How To White Balance