Problem with White Balance

The white balance values show very weird behaviour. I am using a Nikon D750 with automatic white balance. The behaviour is as follows:

  1. By default, the “As shot” white balance settings of Photolab is always 5299 K and -1 tint. No matter, what setting the camera chose, it is always this setting, when I import pictures into Photolab, which I find already a bit weird. However, these are not the “real” settings, that seem to be applied under the hood at Photolab, as the following behaviour shows:

  2. If I switch from the “As shot” setting to another setting, for example to “Daylight”, it will correctly change to 5200 K and 0 tint. Interestingly though, if I switch now back to “As shot”, it will display me completely different values than before, for example 5370 K and +1 tint. These values seem to be actually the correct values, that should have been displayed already before. The appearance of the image does not change compared to 1, it is only a display error of the white balance values.

  3. It behaves similarly, when I double click on either the temperature or the tint value to reset the default values. If I double click on temperature, the temperature value jumps to 5400 K (this seems to be the default value). Surprisingly, also the tint value will jump as well; it will jump to the correct value of +1 tint. The same happens in the opposite direction, If I double click on tint, it jumps to 0 tint, and the temperature jumps to 5370 K. Normally, the slider that I am not double clicking on should not change.

  4. The worst thing happens, if I adjust the slider values directly from the “As shot” state. Under the hood, Photolab seems to apply the correct white balance values, which are in this example 5370 K and +1 tint. However, on the sliders, it displays me 5299 K and -1 tint. If I move the tint slider now from -1 to 0, the image is supposed to become more pinkish. In reality however, it becomes greener!!! I think, what is happening, is that the true start value is actually +1 (even though -1 is displayed), and even though I am moving the slider one value right to 0 (pinker), from the perspective of the true value +1, the slider was moved left (greener) to 0.

It is a bit complicated to describe, I hope the problem became clear. I have this problem already since Photolab 3, but I never fully understood the problem until now. I am on the newest version 4.3.1 on Windows 10. I can recreate this problem on any image from my Nikon D750. I just checked, and the problem does not exist on my Nikon D90!! I also noticed that on the Nikon D90 I have many more white balance presets to choose from, the D750 only displays me very few options!

Maybe at least part of the behavior you’re seeing can be explained by the white balance adjustment being changed from disabled to enabled? As explained in this thread:

It seems you have more going on, though.

  1. The ‘as shot’ value is the result of a calculation of PL itself.
  2. You’ve probably wb disabled, not checked. The shown value isn’t the used value.
  3. Double clicking on the temp will force the wb going back to it’s initial value being 5400. That’s an hard coded value.
  4. You probably change from an deactivated wb to activated wb.

Above are just guesses.
I mentioned this behaviour before and for me it’s a bug in the interface.
First one cannot deactivate the wb. It’s part of the demosaicing process. My guess is that PL initiates the color temperature with 5400. When you use a preset like ‘no corrections’ it shows that value but uses an ‘as shot’ value. Wb disabled.
Let us know what the status was of the wb tool: activated or deactivated.
Personal I think that 5400 value is also the value to which wb is corrected.


Interestingly, when the RAW White Balance tool is deactivated (Off) then you are seeing the actual out-of-camera WB (“As Shot”).

So, a workaround solution to your problem would be to clone your own version of the DxO Standard preset (with RAW WB deactivated = effectively, As Shot)

  • Using a “fresh” image, invoke “Apply preset” and select DxO Standard.
  • Deactivate (switch OFF) the RAW White Balance tool
  • From the main menu, select “Image/Create preset from current settings”, and save it as, say, “My Standard” … This new preset will be identical to the DxO Standard, except with RAW WB set to the default of “As Shot”.
  • From the main menu, select “Edit/Preferences”, and update the name of the preset to be applied to new images (from DxO Standard to your personal version) … like this;
    image … That’s it. Problem fixed.

Yes, this seems to “get PL’s attention” so that it then correctly displays the As Shot details.

At this point (with the correct As Shot numbers visible), you can confirm my assertion above; deactivate the RAW WB tool … and you’ll see that nothing changes; you’re still seeing the As Shot WB.

Yes, the DxO Standard preset has that temp setting bound to it, by default … which is why I suggest you deactivate this setting in your default preset (esp. since it’s not actually needed).

Hope that helps …

John M

Thank you Egregius and George, you are absolutely right, I had created an own preset with deactivated white balance that got loaded by default on newly imported images. The images of the D90 show correct white balance values, as these are older images and have been loaded with the DXO-Standard preset back in time.

So to fix this problem, I activated white balance on my custom preset, and set this preset as my new default preset for imported images.

As the behaviour is right now, in my opinion, there should be no option to deactivate white balance at all! Otherwise it will lead to the behaviour of my first post. The displayed white balance of 5299 K and -1 tint were actually the settings of the “as shot” white balance of the image my preset was based on. So I had turned that white balance off, saved the preset, and these numbers were now shown on any image that I imported!!! This behaviour is definitely not expectable, there seem to be many bugs in the user interface when white balance is deactivated.

So the solution is: Never turn white balance off, never ever ever! Even if it is off, it will use the “as shot” value anyway!

Please, DXO, try to fix this problem for future new users who are not aware of this, it is a serious one, it almost turned me away from Photolab, Especially the 4th case from my first post can be so confusing and leads to completely unexpectable results, where a movement of a slider to a greener tint can actually turn the image into a pinker one in certain cases, as explained in post 1!

Hi John, thanks for your detailed response, but from my experience, this is exactly not the case (see my other post). The only way to achieve a reasonable behaviour is to let white balance activated at all times!

Which is precisely why it’s OK to have it deactivated by default …

That’s how I use it, and it works perfectly (for me).


And that’s why I see this as a bug in the interface. It shows wrong figures.


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John, try this:

  1. Choose a picture with a white balance around 3000 (yellowish), deactivate the white balance, and save this as a preset.

  2. Choose a picture with a white balance around 8000 (blueish) and apply that preset on the image. Now, the white balance hook will be turned off, but it will display a white balance of 3000 K! The picture will still look correctly blueish.

  3. Now, do not activate the white balance hook directly! Let’s assume, we want the image to appear even more blue. We do not know that the actual white balance is 8000, it is displayed as 3000K! So naturally, to make it more blue, I will increase the temperature and go to let’s say 3100 K. However, suddenly the picture will turn completely yellow! The reason is, it will not do a slight adjustment from 3000 to 3100, but an extreme adjustment from 8000 to 3100 in the opposite direction!

You might think that this is obvious. But if the differences are not that extreme like 8000 and 3000, but only lets say, 5620 and 5630, then you will be completely lost, as you have no idea what is happening!

If you want to investigate further use the histogram. Play with the sliders and watch the red and blue channels performing a dance around the green channel :grinning:
Keep in mind that the color temperature is not the color tempeature of the image on the screen. It’s the supposed color temperature of the raw image and corrected to what I think 5400.


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I couldn’t find an image quite that “yellow” - but I used one in the 4000s

Similarly, I used one in the 6000s.

What you described is exactly what I expected, with the set-up you prescribed … but, as soon as I select the “As Shot” option then the correct temp&tint numbers are displayed. I don’t see any problem with that.

Yes, but only if you’ve left the tool deactivated. Nothing you’re describing is unexpected (to me).

I’m, not meaning to argue with you … If it’s confusing to you then it’s a problem.

Personally, tho, I’m OK with how it behaves;

  • I have RAW WB deactivated in my default preset
  • I know that in this state I’m seeing WB in the image as determined by the camera - and, with the tool deactivated, I’m aware that I’m NOT seeing the actual temp&tint numbers.
  • If I don’t like the out-of-camera WB then I select the “As Shot” setting - which activates the tool and displays the actual As Shot temp&tint numbers
  • Then I proceed from there.


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It’s just wrong behaviour of PL.


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Personally for me, the problem is solved now as well, as I finally understood how the program is working under the hood and I find my way around it.

However, as George says, it still is a bug, as it definitely does not behave as expected in all cases.

I see two possible solutions:

  1. either do not offer the option to deactivate white balance.

  2. display the calculated “as shot” white balance values by default instead of a fixed value, even if white balance is deactivated.

The second option would also solve the problem and does not require any change to the user interface, it should be very easy to correct that in the code.

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When applying the DxO Standard preset in PL4, the display shows “as shot” and “WB activated”.

Changing something in the WB (e.g. Manual / Pick Color) and then deactivating WB, the last settings (action + value) remain to be displayed – suppose, to know ‘where’ one came from.

This might be an acceptable solution for some users.
Here’s what I’ve been doing with presets being applied automatically when a photo is first “discovered” in PL.

In PL preferences, I have “DXO Standard” preset assigned so that I see PL’s automatic initial standard “tuning” – which also includes WB enabled with “As Shot”. The WB setting is enabled and the camera’s “As Shot” WB is shown.

Then, for each photo I’m interested in working with, I manually select and apply my own custom preset which excludes WB from the preset and so that won’t be changed (everything else I don’t want changed by my preset is excluded from my preset – like “Exposure Compensation”). As a side note, I do include Smart Lighting and Clearview in my custom preset and have those turned down to 0 so those affects are not engaged – therefore my typically preferred “Selective Tones” settings defines my lighting preferences and I manually tweak Smart Lighting and Clearview for each photo.

Aside from immediately seeing and applying the “As Shot” WB, another benefit is that I first see each image closer to “normalized” as-shot. And then I see what happens when my custom preset is applied. That adds a little feedback to better appreciate what my preferences are doing to the “original normal”.