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Research Guides@Tufts

Understanding Exposure for Photography and Film


White Balance (WB) refers to the color balance of an image. While aperture, shutter speed and ISO all impact the brightness of the image, WB impacts its color temperature which is measured in degrees Kelvin (K).  Essentially, adjusting the WB on your camera impacts how cool or warm the image appears. 


The chart above refers to what temperature (K) is used for the common WB settings on cameras. For instance, if you are shooting outside on a cloudy day, you might choose the "Cloudy" white balance setting (which sets the temperature somewhere between 6500-15550K), which automatically warms up the image to balance the blue hues from the environment. Essentially, the WB setting you choose will set your camera's color temperature range to the opposite of the color temperature seen in the environment. Therefore, a lower kelvin (1000) is blue in tone and a higher kelvin (15000) is warm in tone. 


Choosing WB Settings

This camera's temperature range is 2500K-9900K, and you can adjust the WB by pressing "fn" located to the right of the LCD screen on the back of the camera, and clicking WB using the back dial to adjust the setting. You may choose to use one of the presets, AWB (auto white balance), C. Temp./Filter to manually adjust the color temperature with the aperture dial, or set a custom white balance

To set a custom white balance:

  1. Choose one of the three custom settings in the WB menu. 
  2. Use the dial to the right of the LCD screen and press "SET"
  3. Place the white card provided in the kit in front of the entirety of the screen.
  4. Press the round button that you pressed "SET"

Why would it be beneficial to use a custom white balance?

  • Using a custom white balance is beneficial because taking a picture of the card provided in the kit tells the camera that the image captured reflects what the color "white" is in your given environment. No guesswork is needed on behalf of the camera's settings to determine what white is in the environment in order to balance the image. Often, setting a custom white balance will create a better balanced or more neutral image than using the AWB settings. 
  • However, if a warm or cool tone is the desired effect, you may want to manually adjust the color temperature using the C. Temp/Filter setting.