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Well, after a few hours of messing around with it, I think I came up with a solution that works for the default settings. I took a white balanced shot of my gray card and used Sony's image converter to save it, unaltered, as a SR2 file. As it's still a raw file, it can be opened in Camera Raw, but does not experience the automatic altering in Bridge. I then adjusted all the settings to where I want them, which was all zero for the majority. When I adjusted the settings, the image was brought back to what I saw in the Sony software (almost identical, minus some contrast). This left me able to save the new default camera settings as I want them. The remaining fine adjustments I can make once I get a color checker card. Now, at least, the Auto settings won't screw everything up when I'm browsing in Bridge.
This solution that I've found however, still doesn't address the WB differences between the camera setting and the As Shot setting in ACR. I know that it can differ with the brands, but if anyone has any insight, I would appreciate it.
>isn't ACR supposed to read the WB from the out of camera raw file and display it as that?
>Now, at least, the Auto settings won't screw everything up when I'm browsing in Bridge.
You can set your preferences so that the auto adjustments are NOT applied by default.
from the Help dialog box in CS2:
"Note: The Camera Raw plug‑in can read the white balance settings of some cameras. Leave White Balance set to As Shot to use the cameras white balance settings. For cameras whose white balance settings are not recognized by the Camera Raw plug‑in, leaving White Balance set to As Shot is the same as choosing Auto: the Camera Raw plug‑in reads the image data and automatically adjusts the white balance."
So, is my camera on of the ones that is supported by ACR, but does not have the exact WB reading capabilities?
That's the whole point of the white balance tool and the tint and temperature sliders, to set the WB.
I have not seen a list of which cameras generate WB settings ACR can read and which don't.
My understanding from Thomas Knoll's posts over the year is that ACR makes its own assumptions and calculations about WB.
Many comprehensive threads on the subject of why the temperature numbers don't match between the in-camera settings in various Nikon, Canon and other cameras and those of ACR don't match have unfortunately scrolled off the forum by now.
Your assumption about WB differences assumes there is something sacrosanct about what the Sony engineers put into the WB algo in your camera. There really isn't. The finer distinctions are going to rely on your eye in the end with virtually any camera and editing application. Allow me to approach the matter from a broader perspective.
Light temperatures are never a constant, even in full Sun--lots of variables, and that is why many cameras, and all image editors (worth using) have approximations (like Sun, Cloudy,and various artificial light sources, etc)that you can choose--as well as auto. Those are at best only close approximations of the conditions of any shot--except maybe in a controlled lighting context in a studio where you have calibrated everything (and rpeated it about every two weeks). It is an engineering design. That is why 'Nikon' color and 'Canon Color' and 'Sony Color' differ.
If you want even closer tolerances, carry a Gray card, and use it liberally when you sense a lighting change or shift from sun to shade, for example. That will just be a better approximation (providing that the angle of the card to the light source(s)doesn't throw that off :)
The best advice, IMO, is to learn to rely on the feedback between your 'eye' and the image before you in the editor--and the objective there ought not to be simply trying to remember the lighting you saw when you shot--really subjective, and impossible--but to produce that lighting that you consider most effective with respect to the whole image before you on the screen--and that is a lot of parameters besides WB. Let's call it 'Michael's Color.
Getting the best photographically out of an image is subjective and requires balancing the effects of the many adjustments available in whatever application you are using. It is easy to forget that a photographic image is just a media analogue of the real world, not a replication of it, designed by you --or left to the Sony and Adobe engineers' default 'auto' senses of how it ought to be.
Thanks Don. For the most part, what you wrote is what I do. The WB question that I posted was more out of intrigue than frustration. I was confused about the note in the help dialog and questioning whether it was processing "As Shot" or if it was remaining in Auto. Adobe does do an excellent job at reading and suggesting a baseline for fine tuning the WB. I was just curious as to why, under a controlled setting rather than one of the programed settings, the numbers differed. When I shoot, I usually use a gray card, at least when I can so I can have the most accurate starting point for my post work. The larger issue that I had was with the rest of the ACR interface (exposure, shadows, etc.) For a while, my post processing in raw consisted of an overwhelming amount of "fixing" rather than adjusting. However, after a few hours of experimentation and reading various posts and literature, as well as an unrecommended dosage of aspirin, I was able to get the camera raw preferences back to the way I wanted.
The "numbers" don't match because the camera profiles that Adobe is using are different than are different camera profiles Sony is using. Camera Raw atttempts to preserve the white balance appearance, using uses whatever numbers are required to do that.
well, from the man that designed the process... works for me.