So, I want to raise this frequently discussed and frustrating subject as a standalone thread
This afternoon I spent some hours trying to get better colour coin photos through adjusting the white balance settings on my camera as I've been consistently advised on Forvm
. So far I have failed; the results have been consistently worse than using auto settings. My camera has a range of automatic settings, and also has manual setting possibilities, which range from fully manual, automatic aperture setting with all others manual, automatic shutter speed with all others manual, automatic aperture / shutter with others manual, and fully automatic. In fully automatic it is not possible to adjust white balance. In all the manual settings, white balance can be adjusted to circumstances - shade, cloud, incadescent, flourescent, daylight, or custom where you set against a standard
white. After trying a wide variety of settings, I focused on trying to get the auto aperture / shutter combined with custom white balance, checked against a white background, for settings. In perhaps dozens of shots with a range of settings, I got miserable results time and again. I suspect there is a golden answer in my camera settings, inside the vast multiplicity of options, most of which I literally don't understand (I don't understand the english words used for many camera setting options).
I then reverted back to automatic, chose the "tulip" indicating macro setting (all white balance adjustments are now disabled) and snapped some pics. Those against white background look like they were shot against a white background, the coin colours seem natural and true, and there was no evident colour cast
- no blues or reds shading the images. The main problem was that the coin appeared impossibly dark. So I then chose the same setting (auto-macro) against a standard
17% grey card. Now it all looked perfect. This is of course what I've been shooting coins against for years with no special problems. I almost need to ask "what have I been doing right". If I get consistently good results in an automatic macro mode, and variably bad results with attempts to involve white-balance settings, shouldn't I just take the easy path?
Bear in mind I've never been an SLR photographer - I'm absolutely an amateur. But it seems to back up my process evolved over years - grey background, auto-macro settings, natural cloudy outdoor light. No headaches. It may be that there is a simple solution to achieving better results by messing about with balance settings (but without wrecking the auto functions that allow me to make good macro pics), but haven't found it despite following the camera's instructions (all the instructions are inside the camera in digital format). So, I'll revert to my tried and tested automatic settings which seem to produce great photos. Although I'll welcome any guidance to improve this process (beginners guide to really using manual white balance included...)