Color temperature and Tint

When opening an image for the first time the WB is unchecked and the shown value is 5400. Selecting the WB does change the value but not the image. I still think the 5400 is an initial value used internal meaning no correction to be done. Checking and unchecking doesn’t change the WB temp anymore. I do remember an experiment of @Joanna shooting a graycard. The camera showed a histogram where the 3 channels covered each other more or less, but loaded in PL not.
I still plan to do that experiment myself.


Nope - That’s just the setting in the Preset that’s automatically applied to “new” images.

For example, here’s the setting in my personal/customised auto preset;

– where I have the RWB tool deactivated (that is, as per camera settings), with default Temp = 6000.

– whereas, the setting of Temp = 5400 (Daylight) is in the DxO Standard preset.

John M

More on this from DxO:

No. The 6000K in your case is used but the 5400 is shown. Only in the first time. Changing the presets doesn’t change the 5400. I’m talking about the first time the image is opened.

That’s what I call a initial value. It’s not baked in a preset but in the program. PL is showing the 5400K but using another temp when the tool is not checked. That’s basic wrong.


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from PL6 manual page 159
" Die Einstellung Original ist standardmäßig ausgewählt und entspricht dem Weißabgleich der Kamera bei der Aufnahme."

“The Original setting is selected by default and corresponds to the white balance of the camera when the picture was taken.”

And I remember that we talked about during the EA5 phase, and one member of the DXO staff brings some input, with which we were all satisfied.

Sometimes I really believe in dejavu’s when you read along :smiley:
best regards and a nice week to all

That I know and isn’t the problem.
WB is always done, even if the WB isn’t checked. In fact, checking the WB means more or less that the original WB can be overwritten. When changing the color temp, the WB is automatically checked.
What’s wrong is that the initial value of 5400 is shown while another value is used and that that is only corrected by checking the WB.


Unfortunately, this isn’t a bug. And DxO is not changing your camera’s colour temperature setting.

The problem is that the camera’s WB setting is usually stored in the Maker’s Notes section of the metadata…

[MakerNotes]    White Balance                   : 5600K

In order to read this tag, DxO would have to know and keep updated how each camera manufacturer’s own notes are stored. This is a mammoth task and is unlikely to be done due to the shear volume of different models available.

Instead, DxO does what most other software does and calculates the temperature using some obscure formula and these two tags…

[Composite]     Blue Balance                    : 1.301758
[Composite]     Red Balance                     : 1.980957

Now, for my image with 5600°K in camera, PhotoLab shows…

Capture d’écran 2022-12-05 à 10.58.26

FastRawViewer shows…

Capture d’écran 2022-12-05 à 11.10.06

Affinity Photo 2 shows…

Capture d’écran 2022-12-05 à 11.14.56

Luminar 3 shows…

Capture d’écran 2022-12-05 à 11.17.481

And I could go on.

The truth is, for RAW files, unless you read the maker notes in the metadata, the colour temperature you record isn’t fixed in the file, it is calculated by whichever software you use for post-processing and that, of course, can vary, depending on rounding errors and the like.

As I have mentioned, to avoid inaccuracies, I always set the camera to 5600°K and, if it is that crucial, take a note of the colour temperature and reapply it in PL.

For product packaging shots, where colour is important for printing, I would take a shot of a Gretag Macbeth target under the same lighting and either create a DCP profile from it, which I can apply in PL; or use the colour balance pipette in PL to measure the white/grey/black patches, note the temperature and apply it to the real images.


…and as you already wrote, this does not ensure equal colours in different applications:

Left: DPL6, right: LrClassic

We need to come off the preconception, that colour in photography is “true”…


Absolutely. Except when you need to do product pack shots and catalogue clothing shots, where it has to be :wink:

Analogue every film had its own color cast.


That’s the point: how can we know that “” renders colours “correctly” even when a custom profile is applied?

This is where items such as this colour checker chart come into play…

You compare the known colours on the chart to those that you see on your screen, and then also those that are on a print of the photo. You can then judge how true to life your screen colours are and your print colours.

Out of interest, does anyone else have this issue (see the video)? Or is this the same point others have been making above?

Edit: I forgot to originally mention in this post. I had already (before posting here) shared this video with DxO and they have responded saying they are looking into it.

yes, obviously, but have you tested it?

Yes, it works and really helps. I’m using it every day at the moment with Christmas children’s portrait sessions. We print on site, and for speed we shoot jpg, the customer chooses their favourites, we then do some minor editing to the image (crop, tweak the contrast, etc), and then print using a dye-sub printer.

The shoot starts with a custom white balance for the camera and the laptop screen being calibrated with an x-rite device (both are done daily, even if we have not changed location or the lighting).
Then we photograph the colour checker chart
Then view the image on the laptop screen, and compare the colours to the hardcopy
Then print out the chart, and compare the colours to the original hard copy.
Note: because we are shooting jpg then we cannot use the camera colour profile functionality that the chart can also provide (as this only works with raw files).

The printer has a custom colour profile too, but that is not done daily.

This then allows us to check we have consistent colour throughout the workflow.

The screen colours are really close to the chart, but the dye sub prints struggle to get all the colours and tones the same. We make a judgement if we feel they are close enough for our requirements.

We now reliably and consistently get really nice skin tones in the prints day after day for all skin colours, which is perfect for our needs.

Intriguingly (!), that’s not my experience … Perhaps because I’m on the Win version ?

To ensure a common starting point, I changed my “default preset for new images discovered by DxO PhotoLab” back to the default; “ 1 - DxO Standard ” … and I made sure I was working with a “new” image.

Here’s the Win version experience when a “new” image is selected as the image of current focus;

  • The RAW White Balance tool is activated, by default.
  • Its setting = “As Shot”, by default … (this is coming from the “first time” preset)
  • The Temperature setting defaults to 5400 … (this is coming from the “first time” preset)
  • Immediately, the Temperature & Tint settings change to “actual” values for Temp & Tint.

I can then change the RWB setting to any of the other standard options; Daylight, Cloudy, etc

  • when I change it back to “As Shot” I get the same Temperature & Tint settings as initially assigned.
  • just as a double-check, when I apply the WB Color Picker to a “grey” area in the image, I get very similar Temperature & Tint settings to those as were initially assigned.

It sounds as tho the Mac version is working differently (?) … In which case, perhaps try this;
Set your custom preset to be applied to “new images” as;

  • The RAW White Balance tool de-activated, by default … which should apply “As Shot” WB settings to the image (even tho values displayed for Temp & Tint will not reflect this)
  • The RWB setting = “As Shot”, by default

Then, if you need/want to see the “actual” values for Temp & Tint - - simply activate the tool, and they should be displayed.

John M

I agree, the video indicates a bug and a problem other than what is discussed previously. (When I first watched it, I thought the RAW White Balance palette was off, but it is in fact on when the video starts. Weird.) Since that was noticed in PhotoLab 5, maybe this has already been fixed in an update or in PL6? Or it’s a problem that exists only on Mac?

I think the best solution to the problem with the wrong value being shown when the White Balance palette is initially OFF is to simply use a preset that has this palette on and set to “As Shot.” Other sliders behave in a similar fashion: they can show another value than is actually used when the palette is off (though they usually have to be set that way first before turning the palette off).

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I just checked PLv5 - and (for the Win version) it’s the same as I’m experiencing (as above) for PLv6.
So, looks like a Mac-only issue.

From what Mac users are describing, the problem with this approach is that the slider values will be in their default positions, even tho the Temp & Tint values applied to the image are actually different (being the “actual” values, as collected from the camera settings as applied to the EXIF data).

  • this explains why, when @CHPhoto made that minor setting change to Temp (in his video), the WB changed drastically … because it made a “proportional” slider change (not an actual delta)

Therefore, for Mac users (that hardy, resilient bunch !) , I reckon a better approach would be;

John M

What did I post? Windows.
Unless I didn’t understand it right.

Immediately, the Temperature & Tint settings change to “actual” values for Temp & Tint.

Not with me.


I have been reading this thread with some interest. My observations:

  1. You guys seem supper intelligent. I had no idea of the complexity of WB in conversion software. (PL6 is what I use most, but also ACR when needed.)
  2. I ALWAYS perk up whenever John_M and Joanna Carter post! (You guys are both great in all of your posts that I have ever read).
  3. I struggle with WB issues too, but I struggle with everything, so not a new feeling for me.
  4. I work on a Macbook Pro. I do mostly portraits and events for the University where I work. My solution for my Sony a9 is to set preferences > Default Preset for new RAW images > 2 - DXO Optical Preset Only.
  5. There seems to be no other preset, no other color rendering, no other anything that get my skin tones to where I want them to be, but that setting. I custom WB for all portraits, but events are often a mixed lighting bag, so, AWB.
  6. I feel inspired by CHPhoto. I’m ordering from B&H tomorrow to replicate what you said about calibration.
  7. Grateful to all of you - thank you!
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