White balance setting

I realise that capturing images with a consistent white balance is important, but is it better to use one over another? I’ve been using the ‘daylight’ setting on my Sony A7 which seems fine, but just wondering if I should be using a custom setting taken off my light source, or something different?

Hi @FujiLove

Your camera’s internal white balance at time of capture ultimately won’t matter since you are shooting RAW, and will be adjusting later in Lightroom (by white balance sampling off the film border).

However, I find it helpful to use a white balance that is close to the final white balance I will be using in Lightroom, so that the internal camera histogram preview will be more accurate. In my case, that’s usually a custom white balance of around 2500k, but may be different based on film, light source, etc.

Hope that helps!

Thanks Nate. Makes sense.

I’ve been shooting film-only for so long, I’d forgotten that white balance doesn’t really matter with RAW files :slight_smile:

Instead of making white balance photo per photo why don’t you make a first DSLR scan of the start of your film .
Then when you have imported all the photos into LR, you select all the photos including the “orange” one and you make a WB on this photo with the “auto sync “ activated
This is for me far more efficient and in addition you can average the “ orange” selection on a wider part

Thanks Philippe, good suggestion.

Sorry for re-raising this one, and in full awareness that the only impact is on the preview appearance and not the final result in LR having used the picker tool to set the white balance, but is it best to set the DSLR temperature to match the light source, to have the most accurate preview? It’s not really clear to me why, in Nate’s case, 2500k works better than temp settings. I apologise for being ignorant of the fine nuances but the result is that I have this confusion!

I just want the preview of the histogram I see during capture to match somewhat close to what my final histogram will look like in LR after I sample the film border. But it is really just a preference since it is RAW and you’ll end up with the same result in either case after sampling the film border. If you prefer to have your camera white balance set to the temp of the light table, that is fine, too.

All clear, Nate, many thanks for answering.

When scanning with the Nikon ES-2, there’s often not a lot, if any, border to set the white balance to.

I’m finding that my results are a bit inconsistent and want to improve the white balance setting part of the process.

Appreciate any tips on how to best set white balance where there’s not enough border or you’re just not getting great results?



You really only need one frame per roll that has enough border for setting white balance… then in Lightroom, you can sync the white balance setting from that frame to the rest of the frames from that roll.

Thanks Nate.

I adjust the shutter speed for each shot to expose to the right, which means that each shot is exposed slightly differently, so I do wonder whether applying the single sampled white balance would work in this instance, or whether it really does need a sample for each photo?

I don’t think small exposure changes would significantly change the white balance, so you should be fine… BUT, I would recommend sticking with one exposure setting for an entire roll if possible… definitely your call, but some of the features won’t work as intended if there are exposure variances between photos (for instance, “sync scene”).