White balance is an important part of the color science technology that makes your X Series camera such a special tool. Let’s find out how it works.
You’ve probably noticed that light takes on a different color at different times of the day – warm at sunrise and sunset, more neutral in the middle of the day, and cooler in the shade. Light tends to adopt a yellow or green cast indoors, too, depending on the type of artificial lighting in use.
We sometimes don’t notice this because our brains are very good at normalizing different lighting conditions to make everything look like daylight – digital cameras also do this using something called white balance.
White balance is the process of adding blue or yellow to a photograph to make it look ‘cooler’ or ‘warmer’. This blue-yellow sliding scale is known as color temperature, and works alongside a green-magenta slider scale called color tint. Between them, temperature and tint can make any lighting seem like daylight.
Part of what makes X Series cameras so special is the color science inside them, including the ability to measure color temperature and tint, and set an accurate white balance automatically. With auto white balance (AWB), colors are reproduced accurately even in the most challenging lighting conditions. This means skin tones look realistic and the atmosphere of the occasion is recorded faithfully on camera. AWB is set by default, which explains why you may not have noticed white balance until now, and it does a great job 99% of the time.
You can also set white balance manually if you’re trying to give your pictures a specific look and feel, or get creative with how colors are reproduced. For example, you may not want to make the light in a scene look like daylight – when shooting a sunset for example.
The most common way to set white balance manually is to use a preset. These are available through your camera’s Q Menu, or by pressing the WB shortcut button. We’ll take a look at WB presets in more detail later on in this series, but feel free to play with them to see what different aesthetics you can produce. Just remember to set it back to Auto WB when you’re done.
© Robin Moore
Your Next Steps
- CHALLENGE Shoot a series of pictures under different lighting conditions – daylight, streetlight, indoor light, etc. What do these different types of light look like to your eyes? And how do the pictures you’ve shot differ from each other? Post your results to social media with the hashtag #MyFujifilmLegacy. You can also submit your work here for a chance to be featured on our social media channels
Header image © Daniel R. Westergren