Five Fujifilm X-T5 AI AWB Workarounds
Yesterday I stated that I don’t like the inconsistent results from the new AI Auto White Balance found on the Fujifilm X-T5 and the other X-Trans V cameras. This isn’t a problem for most people, I don’t think; however, if you are a wedding or event photographer (or someone who needs consistent rendering over a series of pictures), if you use Film Simulation Recipes and rely on the out-of-camera JPEGs, and if you commonly use Auto White Balance, this is an issue you are likely to encounter, and you will surely be frustrated by it.
For those who are looking for a workaround to this problem, I want to offer you five potential solutions that might be helpful. None are perfect, so I hope that Fujifilm addresses this with a firmware update in the near future, but in the meantime perhaps one of these will be at least ok for you.
1. Use a Film Simulation Recipe that doesn’t use AWB yet matches the lighting conditions. For example, if you will be photographing indoors under artificial light, instead of using AWB, try Serr’s 500T (which uses a specific Kelvin temperature) or CineStill 800T (which uses Fluorescent 3). While AWB recipes are easy to like because of their versatility (Jack-of-all-trades), Auto White Balance won’t always deliver the best results. You’ll have to figure which recipe might be most appropriate for whatever it is that you are photographing, and there could only be one or two that will really work well; however, if you can match the recipe with the scene and situation, that’s when you’ll get the best outcome.
2. Use Custom White Balance. Instead of using Auto White Balance, take a custom white balance measurement in each lighting condition that you encounter. Your camera has three Custom White Balance banks, so you can take a measurement in up to three different situations at the beginning, and just switch between the three banks as you move throughout the event. For example, Custom 1 could be for outdoors, Custom 2 could be for the reception, and Custom 3 could be for the dressing room. If the light changes significantly due to (for example) the sun’s position in the sky or cloud coverage, you might have to remeasure at various times. You’ll have to remember to switch to the appropriate Custom White Balance bank as the light situation changes.
3. Use Auto White Balance Lock (AWB-L). This feature allows you to lock onto a specific white balance for as long as you keep it locked. To do this, first, while in the Shooting Mode (not Playback), press and hold the Disp/Back button until the Bluetooth & Function (Fn) Setting Menu appears. Pick an Fn button (whichever one you like, as long as it isn’t a touchscreen gesture) to customize, and set it to AWB-L. Next, open the Wrench Menu subset, click Button/Dial Setting, select AWB-Lock Mode, and set it to AWB On/Off Switch. Now, when you think AWB is producing a good white balance for the situation, simply press the Fn button you chose to enable AWB-L, and the camera will keep that white balance until you press the button again to disable it. Don’t forget to disable AWB-L when you encounter different lighting.
4. Program the same Film Simulation Recipe into several C1-C7 Custom Presets, but (for example) set the white balance to Daylight (for outdoors) on one, maybe Fluorescent 3 (for indoors) on another, and some other white balance (for another light you expect to encounter) on another. Definitely check the results at the very beginning to make sure it all looks good (and adjust if necessary) before photographing the whole event this way. You’ll have to remember to change to the correct C1-C7 preset as the light situation changes.
5. Take your chances with AWB. If you shoot RAW+JPEG, even if you have no intentions of editing the RAW files, you can reprocess the pictures in-camera or with X RAW Studio if, by chance, a crucial exposure has a weird color cast. You can simply adjust the white balance to be closer to the others, or apply a B&W recipe (such as Kodak Tri-X 400) and call it being creative.