White balance correction is the process of rendering accurate colors in your final image. Most people don’t even notice that light has different color characteristics, because the human eye automatically adjusts to different color temperatures—so quickly, in fact, that everything looks correct in a matter of milliseconds.
When color film ruled the world, photographers would select which film to use depending on what their light source was going to be. The most common film was balanced for daylight, but you could also buy film that was color balanced for tungsten light sources. Most other lighting situations had to be handled by using color filters over the lens. This process was necessary so that the photographer’s final image would show the correct color balance of a scene.
Your camera has the ability to perform this same process automatically, but you can also choose to override it and set it manually. Luckily, you don’t need to have a deep understanding of color temperatures to control your camera’s white balance. The choices are pretty simple:
- Auto: The default setting for your camera. It is also the setting used by all of the Scene modes
- Day Light: Most often used for general daylight/sunlit shooting.
- Cloudy: The choice for overcast or very cloudy days. This will eliminate the blue color cast from your images.
- Tungsten: Used for any occasion where you are using regular household-type bulbs for your light source. Tungsten is a very warm light source and will result in a yellow/orange cast if you don’t correct for it.
- Fluorescent: Used to get rid of the green-blue cast that can result from using regular fluorescent lights as your dominant light source.
- Fluorescent H: Used for fluorescent lights that are balanced for daylight. Flash: Used whenever you’re using the built-in flash or using a flash on the hot shoe. You should select this white balance to adjust for the slightly cooler light that comes from using a flash. (The hot shoe is the small bracket located on the top of your camera, which rests just above the eyepiece. This bracket is used for attaching a more powerful flash to the camera.)
- Underwater: This will reduce the blue color cast that comes from shooting underwater. (Note: A waterproof case for your G12 is sold separately.)
- Custom1 and Custom2: Indicates that you are using a customized white balance that is adjusted for a particular light source. To set the custom white balance, point the center box at something white and press the Display button. You can then select that Custom setting to shoot using that white balance value.
Setting the white balance
- Select one of the Creative shooting modes, such as P (you can’t select the white balance when using any of the Automatic modes).
- Press the Function/Set button in the middle of the Control dial to bring up the Function menu. Navigate to the White Balance setting (at the top of the menu).
- Use the Left and Right buttons or the Control dial to select the proper white balance for your shooting situation.
- Press the Function/Set button to lock in your selection.
- Check the LCD to ensure that the proper white balance is selected. You can see right on the display how changes to the setting affect the color in your image.
The G12 takes the white balance control a step further by letting you make a manual adjustment that applies to all the presets. If you prefer a cooler image or want to correct for a color cast, for example, you can adjust the white balance range to be more blue, no matter which setting you choose (including Auto).
Adjusting the white balance
- Choose any of the white balance presets using the steps outlined above.
- Rotate the Front dial to adjust the white balance point toward B (blue) or A (amber).
- For finer adjustment, press the Display button.
- Rotate the Front dial to adjust between B and A, and rotate the Control dial to adjust between G (green) and M (magenta). You can also press the arrow buttons to position the white balance point in the adjustment field. To reset your changes, press the Menu button.
- Press the Display button to exit the screen.