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Updated on September 16, 2012

How to use the Nikon D5000 WB Control

I never realized how important the correct white balance setting was in regards to taking a great picture until I bought my Nikon D5000. Even most simple point and shoot cameras have a WB setting which most people overlook, I know I always have.

Simple Explanation of What is White Balance

This article will include six example pictures I have taken using the Nikon D5000 using the different WB settings. A lot of this information can be used on other SLR cameras.

The most simple way to explain WB settings are that they help make the light we see look the same in the pictures we take. This is accomplished by taking out the blues, orange, and other colors that different lighting sources radiate. Our eyes can compensate, cameras need help. We use the WB settings to make different types of light look “white, hence the name “White Balance”

Kelvin Degrees Mumbo Jumbo

Anyone that has used a SLR camera for any length of time, probably has come across terms such as Kelvin degrees in conjunction with setting your white balance. Unless you're a perfectionist or a professional photographer I doubt you need to worry about the the technical details of terms such as these.

Basically you use the setting that looks best to your own eye. That being said, simply the “hotter” the light the lower the K degrees. On the Nikon D5000, the Incandescent WB setting is approximately 3000k while at the other end of the range the WB Shade “cooler” light setting is 8000k.

The WB Settings and Picture Examples

All pictures were taken on A mode (aperture mode) using my Nikon D5000 on a sunny but slightly cloudy, cold day.

WB Auto
WB Auto
WB Direct Sunlight
WB Direct Sunlight
WB Cloudy
WB Cloudy
WB Shade
WB Shade
WB Incandescent
WB Incandescent
WB Fluorescent
WB Fluorescent

I think the photo I would use would be the WB Cloudy setting. Maybe the auto setting is the second best but it's a personal taste. The last two pictures Incandescent and Fluorescent create some weird effects which could be useful to some people. To fine tune the lighting you could use the camera's exposure compensation to create a warmer or cooler picture. On the Nikon D5000 that would be -3 to

+3 with the plus exposure settings creating a more cooler picture while the negative settings would create a warmer look.

Changing the WB Setting after the Picture is Taken

Many photo programs let you change the WB setting in the edit mode, It may not look as great as if you did it from the camera unless you took the picture in RAW mode. If you change the WB on a RAW picture from say, Direct sunlight to Cloudy in a program such as Photoshop, it will look just like you shot the photo using Cloudy or whatever WB setting you want to change it to.

I use RAW mode often. You can do better adjustments to pictures taken and if you don't want to fiddle with adjusting the RAW photos just use the Photoshop auto adjustments on RAW pictures. They turn out great.

If this article has helped maybe you would be interested in my other article for the Nikon D5000.


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    • Adventure Lover profile image

      Adventure Lover 5 years ago

      Really helpful -- I'm really useless when it comes to technical details -- Give me numbers and terms and I won't get anything out of it -- But, if you give me pictures, then I know I'll get it. So, having pictures and terms put together is really useful for me. Thank you very much -- I just learned how to adjust the white balance of my D5000.