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In camera white balance with newer Nikons.

White Balance
14 replies to this topic

#1 Cadmium

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 02:06

Thanks to Bob Friedman, I learned something today that I have wanted to know how to do for many many years.

I have a D90, D7000, D7200 that are converted to full spectrum, and I use any filter I want on the front of the lens with them.
Bob told me that a full spectrum converted D200 (which had no live view) would white balance all sorts of filters.
But I have never been able to white balance ANY filters in the camera models I have, until now!

For those who have problems doing a Preset in Camera white balance with IR filters, using some Nikon camera models, here are the instructions, this worked for every filter I tried from 665nm to 1000nm:
1) First, switch your White Balance to Pre "d-0" (I am using a D7000, menus may vary?)
2) With your optical viewfinder COVERED (use the little plastic cover or tape), view a scene in Live View with the camera set to Aperture Priority Mode, note the exposure.
3) Turn off live view and switch the camera to Manual Exposure Mode, and dial in the noted exposure from step 1.
4) Point the camera at the scene you want to white balance, you can't see it because you have the optical viewfinder covered the Live View is turned off, that doesn't matter much,
just point the camera, press and hold your WB button, when you see the "PrE" flashing on the top LCD take a photo.
If it says "GOOD" on the top LCD, wait for that to stop flashing and return to Live View, and Aperture Priority mode. You will NOW SEE the new custom in camera white balance for the scene in Live View.
(for those using a D90, you may want to set your exposure mode to spot when shooting in Live View)

I have compared several photos white balanced in camera using Bob's method with the out-of-camera versions white balanced from RAW (NEF), the same shots white balanced with NX2 and NX-D,
and you would be amazed how close they look to each other.

The really nice thing about this for me is that I can now SEE the actual look of the finished photo in my live view, and even show other people what IR looks like in the field,
instead of waiting till I get home to see how photos look.

I have not *yet* been able to get this to work with UV only filters or even UG1, U-360, and other such filters.

Thank you Bob, this is something I have been wanting to do for years!

#2 bobfriedman

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 13:58

You're welcome. Always glad to help!

#3 nfoto

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 15:23

A nice insider's tip. I have to try this with my D5200 IR.
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#4 Shane

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 16:01

AKA Scene Referred White Balance. I used to use this on my D200 in the past and it works well, but for histogram accuracy consistency I still prefer the UniWB.

#5 bobfriedman

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 18:10

SRWB, I will have to remember that.

Edited by bobfriedman, 07 August 2017 - 18:10.


#6 Cadmium

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 21:51

Sorry if I made that sound more complicated than it should...
Basically you just,
1) find exposure settings in live view / aperture priority.
2) enter those exposure settings in Manual mode
3) switch off live view and do white balance.

4) switch back to live view and shoot.

It is pretty simple and takes seconds to do.

Edited by Cadmium, 07 August 2017 - 21:52.


#7 Andrea B.

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 21:22

I don't think you have to be in manual mode to make a WB measurement?
Andrea G. Blum
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#8 Cadmium

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 23:27

Well, then you let me know once you try it with some of your newer full spectrum Nikons. ;-)

#9 Andrea B.

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 04:25

Played with the D500. It will make a white balance measurement in any mode: P, S, A or M. And I was pleased to discover that the D500 has the capability to perform a white balance measurement while Live View is on. That's very cool because you get instant feedback about what the scene will look like.
Andrea G. Blum
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#10 Cadmium

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 05:24

Your D500 is a full spectrum conversion? What filter did you have on the front of the lens when you tested this.
Please let me know what filter(s).

Also, please try with your D600 of D610 full spectrum conversions.
Thanks.

Edited by Cadmium, 11 August 2017 - 05:33.


#11 Andrea B.

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 15:37

I am a bit lost here as to what the specific issue is? WB can be made with my D610-broadband set to Aperture Mode. Although the generally accepted practice with a manual lens (as are most of our UV-capable lenses) is to work in Manual Mode.

Nevertheless, here are the details of my experiment. It is the Aperture Mode analogue of what you described above.
  • Nikon D610-broadband + UV-Nikkor 105/4.5 + B+W 099 longpass filter
  • Set filter-mounted lens wide open to f/4.5 because we need lots of light for UVIR filters.
  • Set camera to Aperture Mode.
  • Engage Live View and note settings.
    For my experiment it was 800/4.5.
  • Turn off Live View.
  • Match LV settings in Aperture Mode by using the exposure compensation button.
    For my experiment it was EV = -4.
  • Press WB button until D-1 blinks in upper LCD to indicate camera is ready to measure WB.
  • Aim at scene and press shutter to measure WB.
  • See "Good" message in upper LCD to indicate that WB has been measured.
  • Tap shutter to return from WB measurement.
The problems which might be encountered with a Nikon in-camera WB measurement:
  • The UVor IR filter is too thick and/or too dark to permit enough light for WB measurement?
  • Even with thinner/lighter UVIR filters, there might not be enough sunlight or artificial light to make a good WB measurement?
  • Note also that the Nikon WB measurement does not seem to be able to reach the typical 1700-2000 K necessary for WB when using a UV-pass filter.
  • As an example, I cannot make an in-camera WB measurement using any of my BaaderU/StraightEdgeU/KolariU/U-360_Stack with my Nikon D610. Yet I can usually get a WB measurement for those UV-pass filters with the Sony A7R or the Pentax K5.

Andrea G. Blum
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#12 Cadmium

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 20:12

What are you lost about? The issue is that many filters can not easily be white balanced with many Nikon models, basically all IR filters are impossible to white balance unless you dial in the correct exposure time in manual mode.

099 is OG550, 550nm longpass, that has a good amount of visual in it. I can white balance 550nm in any optical exposure mode, Manual or Aperture Priority, both work fine for an orange longpass filter, as well as many other lower range longpass filters. You need to use a higher range longpass filter for this test, try RG695 and even RG850. Then let me know if your camera will white balance those without being in Manual mode, and using an appropriate exposure dialed in.
Because with my camera, if I don't have the correct exposure time dialed into manual mode, the WB will show 'No Good'.

The basic idea here is that you need to use manual mode to get some of these filters to white balanced with many Nikon models, and you need to know the exposure time to enter, or it will not work.
So what Bob is doing is using live view to get the exposure setting, which he then dials into the manual mode before doing a WB.
For example, if I try to do a white balance with an RG850 filter, with the wrong exposure dialed into manual mode, it will show 'No Good'.
And although my camera will white balance the 099/RG550/550nm longpass filter in Aperture Priority mode, my cameras will NOT white balance such filters as RG695 or RG850 in Aperture Priority mode.
Thus the trick is to get the exposure settings from Live View Aperture Priority mode, and enter those for Optical Manual mode.
So this method works for me to get many more filters white balanced that I was never able to get white balanced before in camera, so I can see them in Live View as I shoot, rather than see some generally red/pink image until I get back to a computer to white balance them from RAW.

And so far I can not get UV-Only filters or even U-360/UG1 to white balance, even at 1mm thick, with my Nikon's, no mater how I try.


"The UVIR filter" ? Do you mean the clear glass inside the camera conversion?
Being that it is clear from -300nm to above the IR limit of the sensor, that clear broadband glass should not be preventing white balance.

Edited by Cadmium, 11 August 2017 - 20:13.


#13 Andrea B.

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 23:22

The issue is that many filters can not easily be white balanced with many Nikon models, basically all IR filters are impossible to white balance unless you dial in the correct exposure time in manual mode.

My experience is that almost all my IR filters -- except for IR 850 or 1000 -- can be white balanced with a Nikon if light metering through Live View is used rather than the metering sensor and if the amount of light being metered is sufficiently strong and if the lens in use is set wide open. This is because during Live View we are metering the light falling directly on the sensor. So mode has nothing to do with it. Given that I always use my "full spectrum" cameras in Live View, I may not have understood difficulties faced by others in getting the Nikon system to work when metering through dark filters.

Although one needs lots of sunlight to WB the IR 780 or 830 even when settings are measured in Live View. I got an B+W 093 (830) white balance today in the bright sunlight. But 780 or 830 can be problematic in lower light.

The Nikon manuals are clear about the light not being too dark (or too bright also!) when attempting a WB measurement. The Nikon manuals are not at all forthcoming about how to best meter through a dark filter. Not surprising since we are using our Nikons very much outside the norm due to conversion and dark UV or IR filters.

Anyway, I'm happy you are now getting better WB results with your converted Nikons! :D
Andrea G. Blum
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#14 Cadmium

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 00:58

Bob, Thanks again for your great instructions on how to white balance these filters with Nikon cameras. :-)
So many people have experienced problems white balancing other than visual filters with converted Nikons.
This method helps a great deal, and I have never seen it posted anywhere ever by anyone.
To those of you who can make use of it, enjoy.

Edited by Cadmium, 12 August 2017 - 01:04.


#15 Andrea B.

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 16:56

Do you all think it would be good to make up a Sticky containing this info about white balance in Nikons?? I'd be happy to do so.
Andrea G. Blum
Often found hanging out with flowers & bees.