Old 05-31-2009, 08:37 PM   #1
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Default White balance

I use a D70 camera, and am wondering which is the best type of white balance to use, for photographs that I want to get accepted to railpictures.net?

I went onto various websites, plus used my camera manual. I read on the slrphotographyguide.com website,, that direct sunlight is best used on sunny days. Some website said that cloudy is also good for sunny days.

On sunny and partly cloudy days, I keep my IS0 on 200. I shoot both on RAW and Fine Image quality setting.

Thank you for your help.
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Old 05-31-2009, 08:40 PM   #2
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>I shoot both on RAW and Fine Image quality setting
To hell with white balance, then.
I shoot on auto anyways, it should be fine and if it's not tweak it in RAW.
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Old 05-31-2009, 08:51 PM   #3
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If you're shooting Raw, don't worry about the white balance setting. You can set it post - process.

When I was shooting jpeg, I would use cloudy for most days, and either tungsten or fluorescent for night shots.

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Old 06-01-2009, 02:27 AM   #4
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I think people get too caught up in White Balance, esp. if you're shooting RAW. It's one of the things that can easily be fixed in post processing. Get your exposure right, make sure your ISO is at the best setting and work on framing. Other than that, the WB is pretty easy to figure out. As always with digital, if at first you don't suceed, shoot again.
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Old 06-01-2009, 02:57 AM   #5
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Very true, Joe. On sunny days, my ISO is ALWAYS set at 200. On my D70 camera, I have certain modes such as Aperature Priority, Program, Shutter, and Manual that must be set for White Balance to work. I cannot use sports mode, automatic(actually white bal is automatically set, but results won't always be rich).

I think I will stick with Aperature-Priority since I can control that. I will shoot on a high F number since if I let too much light in, then I would probably get an image quality rejection. My white balance option will be direct sunlight
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Old 06-01-2009, 02:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbassloyd View Post
If you're shooting Raw, don't worry about the white balance setting. You can set it post - process.
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I think people get too caught up in White Balance, esp. if you're shooting RAW. It's one of the things that can easily be fixed in post processing.
Isn't the answer stronger than that? Doesn't the white balance setting have zero effect on the raw file?
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:04 AM   #7
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I think I will stick with Aperature-Priority since I can control that. I will shoot on a high F number since if I let too much light in, then I would probably get an image quality rejection. My white balance option will be direct sunlight
This makes no sense whatsoever. "too much light in"??? The only way in which that phrase makes sense is overexposure, which is controlled by aperture/shutter/ISO. One can shoot all day with a low F number and not let too much light in.

I too shoot usually at aperture priority, but it helps to understand it fully.

Jlev, I'm not in a mood to pick on you. But you need to read the book again. And then again. It's not easy, learning this stuff, but it is worthwhile.
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:18 AM   #8
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I am going to continue reading the books again. In fact I have my Nikon manual in front of me right now. What I'm saying is the higher the F number is, the more richer the object will be.
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Old 06-01-2009, 04:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
What I'm saying is the higher the F number is, the more richer the object will be.
I'm pretty sure that statement isn't in your Nikon manual...
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Old 06-01-2009, 05:28 AM   #10
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I am going to continue reading the books again. In fact I have my Nikon manual in front of me right now. What I'm saying is the higher the F number is, the more richer the object will be.
Sharper maybe but I'm not sure about "more richer"...
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Old 06-01-2009, 11:48 AM   #11
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Trying to paraphrase. Yes, the result would come out more sharper with a higher aperture, as a result of a higher F-stop number.
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Old 06-01-2009, 04:46 PM   #12
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Mmm, F/40 diffraction....
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:58 PM   #13
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Trying to paraphrase. Yes, the result would come out more sharper with a higher aperture, as a result of a higher F-stop number.
I think you will benefit from reading Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure book. It will be $20 well-spent.

Please understand I don't mean to be harsh but it's clear you lack a good grasp of photography basics - such as ISO, shutter, and aperture.
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Old 06-05-2009, 07:53 PM   #14
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I am going to continue reading the books again. In fact I have my Nikon manual in front of me right now. What I'm saying is the higher the F number is, the more richer the object will be.
"More richer."

I think what you mean is that by stopping down at least 2 stops from wide open (thus limiting chromatic aberration) the result is increased contrast, increased resolution thus deeper color saturation. This is all stuff RP and rail magazines really like.

All lenses exhibit technical issues shooting wide open and fully stopped down. Manufacturers have minimized them to such a degree that they can be very hard to see. Still in A/B comparisons, you can see the difference.

For the vast majority of railfans shooting in daylight, the "sweet stop" would be f5.6 to f8.

Ironically, most cinematographers insist on shooting wide open because they like the shallow depth of field, decreased contrast, resolution and saturation.
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:37 PM   #15
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John, The Auto WB feature on your D70 is pretty accurate, I would suggest sticking with that mode until you figure out the basics of aperature, shutter speed and how they work together. Now, the higher the aperature the better the depth of field (DOF). DOF is fairly easy to figure out on your D70, located on the grip side of the camera next to the lens mount is a black button, look thru the finder and push that button. However, the higher the f/stop only gives you better sharpness to a point, diffraction sets in around f/11(on the D70) giving your image a softer look to it.
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:40 PM   #16
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Here, try reading this page to help you understand some terminology better.

http://www.dpreview.com/learn/?/glossary/
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:49 PM   #17
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For a beginner taking standard wedgie shots depth of field (DoF) is not important. And it can be really hard to see DoF changes in the viewfinder of a DSLR. Just go with Dennis and set it to 5.6 or 8 and make your first dimension of creativity be composition. Ignore diffraction, DoF and other stuff, you are not there yet, just get the basics down.

Seriously, people, aren't you heading down the wrong path here? Jlev has two issues: weak processing skills and he shoots the same shot over and over. Exposure setting details are waaay down the list. He needs to set up for a basic shot, take it, and then get it through the computer successfully without relying on the forum at each step. And he needs to then vary the basic shot by pointing/zooming his camera differently.
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:58 PM   #18
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As usual, our thoughtful moderator Janusz is keeping the herd in check!

You are absolutely correct in stating just what John needs at this moment.

Often we (and me) get too caught up in the arcane technobabble.
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Old 06-05-2009, 09:06 PM   #19
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And it can be really hard to see DoF changes in the viewfinder of a DSLR. J
I second that. DOF is really not an issue at the focusing distances we railfans typically shoot.

It's really what point we decide to focus at.

And I don't mean that bush in the foreground.
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Old 06-05-2009, 10:01 PM   #20
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For a beginner taking standard wedgie shots depth of field (DoF) is not important. And it can be really hard to see DoF changes in the viewfinder of a DSLR. Just go with Dennis and set it to 5.6 or 8 and make your first dimension of creativity be composition. Ignore diffraction, DoF and other stuff, you are not there yet, just get the basics down.

Seriously, people, aren't you heading down the wrong path here? Jlev has two issues: weak processing skills and he shoots the same shot over and over. Exposure setting details are waaay down the list. He needs to set up for a basic shot, take it, and then get it through the computer successfully without relying on the forum at each step. And he needs to then vary the basic shot by pointing/zooming his camera differently.
Yeah, maybe the last part of my first post was too far above his head but..... how long are we going to be doing this?
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Old 06-05-2009, 10:30 PM   #21
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Yeah, maybe the last part of my first post was too far above his head but..... how long are we going to be doing this?
I thought I had stopped!
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:32 AM   #22
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I will continue to stick with the auto white bal just for now, so that way, I master the basics. Yes, auto white bal on the D70 is fairly accurate, and it's the aperature, shutter speed, and exposure that I need to step up. The F numbers on my camera go from f/1 to f/32, and I'm learning that that higher the F number(i.e. f6 through f32), the sharper my photographs will be, especially during the summertime.
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:21 AM   #23
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I will continue to stick with the auto white bal just for now, so that way, I master the basics. Yes, auto white bal on the D70 is fairly accurate, and it's the aperature, shutter speed, and exposure that I need to step up. The F numbers on my camera go from f/1 to f/32, and I'm learning that that higher the F number(i.e. f6 through f32), the sharper my photographs will be, especially during the summertime.
John, you make very unusual statements. I must admit to reading this thread to see what you say next.

In the above statement, you start on the mainline with all green, then get sidetracked, and then derail.

Your fine with sticking with auto white balance. And you are right with needing to learn exposure.

Then things get bumpy with stating your photos will be sharper with a high f number. It's true the f stop affects the sharpness but if you shoot at f32 and your shutter is at a 10th, that moving train and scenery will be a blur anyway.

You then went nowhere I have ever been by saying a high f number will make sharper photos in summertime. Never heard of that before. Were did you get that idea?
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:51 AM   #24
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Dennis,
Forget the summer part. I meant that higher F numbers are smaller aperatures. If I use a bigger aperature like F/1, I would let too much light in, and that would probably lead to overexposure.

In terms of shooting a moving train at 79 mph, I not only would want to keep my aperature at f32 or even f8, but also the shutter speed should go to a 100th of a second. A tenth would indeed blur the train.
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Old 06-06-2009, 03:25 AM   #25
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Dennis,
Forget the summer part. I meant that higher F numbers are smaller aperatures. If I use a bigger aperature like F/1, I would let too much light in, and that would probably lead to overexposure.
Only if your shutter is incorrect. (BTW, correct spelling=aperture)

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In terms of shooting a moving train at 79 mph, I not only would want to keep my aperature at f32 or even f8, but also the shutter speed should go to a 100th of a second. A tenth would indeed blur the train.
To sharply render a typical railfan action photo, the rule of thumb is 500th of a second shutter at least. A 100th of a second shutter would yield a blurry photo of a moving train.

So on a sunny day try ISO 200, 1000th shutter, and f 8.
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