White Balance on Nikon D700

What am I doing wrong? I find that most often, on my Nikon D700, no matter how white the surface is I click on, I don’t get equal amounts of RGB. :frowning:

ND7_1347.NEF (24.0 MB)
RawTherapee: 5.7-257-g200d746

The SONY a7 ii RAW: STA00280.ARW (46.8 MB)

These files are licensed under ‘Creative Commons, By-Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike5

Isn’t the light that is reflected from the surface also important? Our eyes (well, brain actually) makes certain adjustments based on past experiences so that small variations of non-whiteness gets converted to complete white. A camera sensor is not that intelligent. May be, therein lies the problem.


Look at the colour noise.


Do a heavy noise reduction first, then sample WB, then back off (or disable) NR. Also, use a larger sampling pipette which will average out from a larger area.

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Are you talking about setting the white balance in RawTherapee or the white balance of the original raw file?
The white balance of the raw is only a rough estimate and cannot be accurate without calibration.

Now, if you’re correcting white balance, what you’re doing is picking an area you want to be white (or neutral gray, also works as well), and telling the program to make it R=B=G, and the modify there rest of the image by the same operation. It makes sense that the starting values on the surface you pick aren’t equal, because your intent is to correct them.

The program will take that patch and find multipliers that will make all three channels equal, usually using G as the anchor. And then, it will walk the entire image and multiply each R, G, and B by the corresponding multiplier. And then, R, G, and B in your selected patch will be equal…

I’ve white balanced your image and this is what I get:

the sample points show where I measured the white point, with a 32 px pipette

The only extra things I’ve done are:

  • chromatic aberrations auto-correction
  • activate noise reduction just for auto-chroma-noise-reduction

An here is a crop where the sample points are:

not every sample is R=G=B, but most of them are

Not sure if this helps

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Thanks, it helps. My main issue is I often try to click on something that I mean to be grey …but RT does not turn that area into grey; even after I told it to measure WB off of that it’s still a value of differing R,G,B

My main issue is I often try to click on something that I mean to be grey …but RT does not turn that area into grey; even after I told it to measure WB off of that it’s still a value of differing R,G,B

Well, in fact I think that what helped the most here was the chroma noise reduction, among a bigger pippete


the samples have been located at the same area where the white balance has been taken

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But Stefan: why WB on a Nikon D700?
How does your Sony react?

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden

The Nikon seemed to have the WB a bit more on the blue side by default, while the sony did seem to have more obviously white whites. Colour-wise the sony seems to have stronger yellows, like more saturated; while the Nikon seems like it has warmer orange-leaning yellows (the wooden areas). I’ll just post the Sony version of this photo also. Initially I took a picture with each camera using the same 35mm Nikkor lens, slightly underexposed, in order to check the amount of noise in shadows that need lifting. At first sight I thought the Sony was more noisy at 100%, but then I realized that 100% on the sony zooms a lot deeper than the Nikon, and does reveal slightly more detail. Anyway I’ll upload as soon as I get home.

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Thanks for that tip; I’d usually not apply a lot of noise removal before setting WB for reasons of thinking it may give undesired results. Didn’t occur to me I can later turn it off haha :slight_smile:

I will do this from now on!

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If I really need a good WB, I shoot a gray or white card. Good Lord only knows what goes on in the cameras…

The camera feature i’ve really come to appreciate is white balance measurement in the presets. Push a button, point the camera at a white or gray thing, and pretend to take a picture; instead, the camera collects the patch, computes multipliers, and stores them in the preset. Gee, what’ll they think of next??? :smile:


@stefan.chirila How white or neutral is your wall? Most paints aren’t white to begin with. Even if it were a shade of grey, it changes colour over time. As well, light sources and surrounding materials would affect its appearance.


The wall is pretty white; but also hasn’t been painted new since 2006 :stuck_out_tongue: also the light is pretty warm incandescent with a hint of green I think. I over-reacted a tad there :stuck_out_tongue: but i learned to use noise removal next time.

Please do!


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posted the sony raw