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5D MIII Color


Most of the photographs taken with my 5D MIII lack warm colors, but rather have a slight bluish tint. The setting for picture style is Auto....any suggestions to render more accurate colors?


There are many things you can do to improve the color. But the easiest and most important one is White Balance. Set custom White Balance for most accurate color rendition. If you want a "warmer" color, use Cloudy or Shade WB preset in camera.
Here is a great but short tutorial about WB:
Weekend Travelers Blog | Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide


Are you shooting RAW or jpg?


A bluish tint is most likely white balance.  What is your WB setting?


Just as a general rule, if I'm not getting the results that I want I turn off auto-settings until I do.  Auto can be great, but it's taking control out of your hands and giving it to your camera.  While modern day cameras are decent data processors, they still can't read my mind.  Only I know what I want.


If you want very accurate color, get a "gray card".  These are very inexpensive. 


You can watch this video (Mark Wallace for AdoramaTV - on color balance):


On your 5D III you adjust white balance by pressing the "WB" button on the top (left-most button in front of the top display).  Use the rear-dial to select the white balance type.


Mark describes how to use a gray card for to set "custom" white balance.  Custom white balance is the most accurate... when you pick a pre-set white balance mode the camera makes assumptions... e.g. there's a mode for "florescent" but what color temperature does a florescent light really have?  They vary a LOT.  With a gray card, it doesn't matter... the white balance is set for your actual lighting conditions.  The camera can use the gray card as a reference to detect what sort of color cast is being imposed by the lighting because it knows the true color of the card is supposed to be a true neutral gray (equal levels of cyan, magenta, and yellow).


White balance is ONLY applied to an image if you shoot in JPEG.  If you shoot in RAW the camera wont adjust color accuracy.  But since you used a color reference target (such as a gray card), you can easily apply the white balance with your image adjustment software.  It is not necessary to have the target in every image.  Software such as Aperture, Lightroom, or Photoshop all let you copy the adjustment required for one image to as many other images as necessary. 


Remember that custom white balance is specific to your subject's light so you do need to sample the light illuminating your subject.  If you change lighting or move to a different location, you'll need to update your white balance settings (or if shooting in RAW, just take another frame with the color reference target in it.)


One last thing... the LCD on the back of a camera is not necessarily accurate (Nikon owners really gripe about the D800 have a green color cast).  Your computer monitor wont be accurate either.  You can calibrate your monitor by using a callibration tool such as an X-Rite ColorMunki or a DataColor Spyder.  I've never had a computer monitor that was accurate without being calibrated.  If you're thinking the image looks too blue based on an uncalibrated monitor, you may be in for a real shock.


True story:  My own personal monitor was a bit blue but I didn't know it.  I was adjusting white balance to make my photos appear correct (to me.)  One day, a particular photo (of natural wood wine crates taken in candle light... which *should* look a bit on the amber side) got feedback from many viewers that the image look positively orange (not merely a hint of amber warmth.)  I was confused and thought they were nuts.  UNTIL... a friend showed me what my photo looked like on his computer.  WOW... was I ever shocked.  I bought a display calibration tool and never had a repeat of that embarassment again.



Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da


I only shoot RAW, that way if I forget to change white balance I can always do it after I down load. You can also set up user defined picture styles .


Thanks everyone for the suggestions.


I'm also having problem with my 5D Mark 3.  My photos appear to be greenish even though there's no reflection of greenish color in the surroundings.  Anybody else having this problem?

Are you shooting indoors?  Flourescent lights are actually green, and the bane of mixed light photography.  If the entire picture then it's probably your white balance.

While a green color cast might be a white balance issue (and usually is -- and white balance is easily remedied), there are other possibilities.  


One fairly common issue is monitor calibration.  It is fairly common for someone to think their camera is leaving a color imbalance in the photos, when the same image viewed on a calibrated monitor would appear fine.  


It's also possible that the "picture style" settings in your camera are causing the camera to alter the image appearance.


"White Balance" and "Picture Style" are only applied to images if you are shooting JPEG.  If you are shooting RAW, the changes are not applied (you would apply changes to the images after importing them to your computer.)


There are TWO DIFFERENT PLACES where you can set "White Balance" on the 5D III.  One is the typical "White Balance" found on most DSLR cameras.  The second is a menu called "White Balance Shift".  You'll find that in the "SHOOT2" menu (Menu -> pick the red camera icon, 2nd page, 6th row.)


Note that "Picture Style" affects more than just color (it's just one of the things you can change).  Canon's "default" picture style (Auto) indicates that it should apply in-camera sharpening, but not alter contrast, saturation, or tone.  


You may have inadvertently changed a setting.


Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

I will try what you said. Thank you.