White Balance preset if shooting RAW

Discussion in 'Lighting Forum' started by cyrax83, Jul 7, 2015.

  1. cyrax83

    cyrax83 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 8, 2014
    I've been reading up on white balance. Historically I've used Auto White Balance.
    I understand White Balance is applied to JPG's and in-camera preview, but in RAW white balance is not applied and you are expected to apply/change in RAW as you need.

    So - if you are shooting RAW, is there any point in setting up white balance other than Auto in the camera besides wanting it to see what it looks like on the camera preview or jpg?

    edit: I've also been told that the white balance presets in Lightroom are not the same as the white balance presets in the camera - is this true?

    Last edited: Jul 7, 2015
  2. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    I'm not sure this will answer your question, but...

    A. The camera's white balance setting or auto-detected value is normally recorded in the RAW file's metadata.

    B. Some raw processors will default to using the WB from the metadata, e.g. RawTherapee.
    So, it can be useful if it's right in-camera.

  3. When you load a RAW image into Lightroom it will apply the white balance as per the meta data. This is the "as shot" setting. From my experience the Lightroom settings for white balance preselects do not match my EM-5, for instance shooting with the "cloudy" setting and then selecting the Lightroom "cloudy" setting produces very different results. I tend to find that the Lightroom preselects are overly orange.

    Regarding whether or not to shoot in auto white balance, I tend to shoot auto when out and about outside, and get good results. However when I'm indoors I'll choose a suitable preset or set a custom white balance. Using the White Balance dropper in Lightroom is the best way of recovering white balance, in my experience, as long as there is some neutral grey in the photo. I've found using the dropper on the whites of someone's eyes to give pretty accurate results. If that doesn't work I just do it by eye - the warm-cool slider is pretty easy to get right by eye and then I just fiddle with the magenta/green slider until it looks right on my screen!
  4. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    I find camera generally gets AWB reasonable starting point. If it's right, thats one less step to need to adjust in LR. Otherwise I try LR 'auto' - sometimes it's better, sometimes it's not. If not, I then use the dropper or 'eyeball' the WB.

    Yes I believe the LR WB presets are slightly different to the olympus WB presets.

    In summary, I always have AWB on camera and adjust to taste in RAW afterwards. I find AWB is generally pretty good, except sometimes in indoor artificial light.
  5. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    I always shoot in-camera AWB under natural lighting conditions as I found the E-M1 and E-M5 Mk.II to be pretty accurate in most situations. In artificial lighting, if possible, I'll choose a custom WB.

    Since I shoot RAW, the WB can be adjusted in LR if it's a bit off.
  6. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    As barry13 said, the WB setting gets written into the metadata and LR uses that metadata entry to display the image. You can't shoot without setting a WB setting so you may as well set the camera to Auto WB, do a manual white balance on a white balance target, or try to set it to the most appropriate setting from the choices offered.

    As others have said, I find Olympus gets it pretty right with the Auto WB setting and I prefer LR's "as shot" colour rendition to what it does if you use LR's Auto WB option. There is a new feature in LR6/LR CC 2015, however, that I like even better. You can now hold down the Shift key and double click on the Temperature label or the Tint label to the left of your 2 slider controls for WB and LR will set that particular setting automatically without changing the other slider, giving you the LR auto setting for one of the 2 parameters and the 'as shot' setting for the other. I find leaving the temperature setting as shot and letting LR do an auto setting for Tint looks more natural to me than just leaving both at 'as shot' or using the LR auto button to set both sliders automatically.
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  7. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    Like others I have found the EM-5's AWB to be pretty good most of the time and normally just let the "as shot" in Lightroom be the default.

    However shots taken on my wife's G3 on AWB appear to vary widely compared to shots taken at the same time on the EM-5 so end up using the "dropper" method on every shot.

    Not a great fan of the AUTO in Lightroom.