Everyone makes mistakes, right? “To err is human,” coined Alexander Pope in 1711. I goofed up, and this one feels especially embarrassing, because it involves one of my film simulation recipes—one that’s been around for awhile now. It was just recently brought to my attention.
Here are a few examples with both white balance shifts:
The difference isn’t huge, but there’s a noticeable difference between two versions. Which do you like better?
The correct white balance shift for Dramatic Classic Chrome is +1 Red & -1 Blue. The app has it right. There are likely hundreds of people who have used it with the wrong shift, which is completely my fault, but if they liked the results, is it actually wrong? Feel free to use whichever shift you prefer, either the slightly cooler “incorrect” one or the slightly warmer “correct” one, whichever one gives you the results that you like. There’s not really a right or wrong way.
If you’ve used this recipe, which shift did you use?
I apologize for this mistake, and I hope that it didn’t cause too much trouble.
What is White Balance Shift and how do you use it on your Fujifilm camera? White Balance Shift is one of my favorite JPEG tools that Fujifilm has included on their cameras. It can have a big impact on the aesthetic of an image, and it’s a critical component of my Film Simulation Recipes. It’s one of those things that’s easy to overlook. In this article I’ll explain what White Balance Shift is and how to use it.
White Balance is the adjustment of color temperature (measured in Kelvin) to account for various light conditions, so that white objects appear white, and not yellow or blue or some other color. White Balance Shift is a tool to precisely fine-tune the White Balance. The intention of White Balance and White Balance Shift is to achieve a natural color balance that matches what the eye sees. But you can give your photographs whatever color balance you’d like—this is art; there are no rules.
How do you adjust White Balance Shift on your Fujifilm camera? It’s not immediately obvious, but quite easy once you know where it is. In your camera’s Menu select White Balance. Once in the White Balance Menu, arrow up or down to whichever White Balance you’d like to use, and then arrow right to adjust the White Balance Shift for that particular White Balance. Select OK to set.
Now that you know how to adjust the White Balance Shift, let’s take a look at what it does to a photograph. The image below demonstrates the dramatic impact White Balance Shift can have on a picture:
Those are examples of big White Balance Shifts, but what about subtle Shifts? Do they make a difference? Take a look at the picture below. The left image is without a Shift (0 Red & 0 Blue), and the right image is with a subtle Shift (+1 Red & -1 Blue). It’s not a huge change, but noticeable nonetheless.
Now let’s take a look at some less subtle White Balance Shifts and how it can change the aesthetic of a picture. The examples below are all Auto White Balance using various White Balance Shifts, which are prescribed in different Film Simulation Recipes. The specific Shifts and Recipes are listed under each picture.
As you can see, you can get many different color casts using White Balance Shift. In fact, Fujifilm gives you over 350 different options! You can get creative and mix a White Balance Shift with a White Balance that’s other than Auto. Below you’ll find some examples of this. The specific White Balance, Shift, and Recipe are located under each picture.
White Balance and White Balance Shift affect black-and-white pictures, too! You can manipulate how grey tones are rendered in an image using these tools. The picture below was captured using Acros+R. The version on the left has Auto White Balance and no Shift (0 Red & 0 Blue), while the one on the right has a White Balance of 4200K and a Shift of 0 Red & +9 Blue. Otherwise these two dramatically different images have identical settings.
Below are a few more examples of combining White Balance and White Balance Shift in black-and-white pictures. The specific White Balance, Shift, and Recipe are located under each picture.
There’s one more application of White Balance Shift that I’d like to mention: Multiple Exposure photography. One example of White Balance Shift applied to Multiple Exposures, which is the first image below, is an exposure (the “main exposure”) made without a Shift, and then a second exposure of white paper or card-stock with a Shift applied. This gives the picture a faded color-cast aesthetic. Another example, which is the second picture below, is to capture two or more (for cameras capable of more than two) exposures, changing the Shift between exposures. This creates an abstract color rendering.
Most Fujifilm cameras do not have the ability to save White Balance Shifts within Custom Presets. Most of my Film Simulation Recipes require a Shift, yet you cannot save the Shift, so each time you change Recipes you must manually adjust the Shift. This is unfortunate, but thankfully Fujifilm has fixed this issue on the X100V (review here), X-Pro3 and X-T4! If you have one of those three cameras, you can save a White Balance Shift with each Custom Preset. As much as I love the new Clarity setting, Color Chrome Effect Blue, and the new Classic Negative film simulation, my absolute favorite new feature Fujifilm has added to their cameras is the ability to save White Balance Shifts. Thank you, Fujifilm!
White Balance Shift is an amazing tool on your Fujifilm camera! Found within the White Balance Menu, it allows you to fine-tune the color cast of your pictures. You can use this tool to customize your picture aesthetics. I use it extensively in my Film Simulation Recipes, both color and black-and-white, to achieve various looks. Without White Balance Shift many of my Recipes would not be possible. You can use it subtly or dramatically, with Auto White Balance or one of the other White Balance options.
Now you know what White Balance Shift is on your Fujifilm camera and how to use it. Now it’s time to get creative with it!
As you know, my film simulation recipes rely heavily on white balance shifts. Unfortunately, you cannot save white balance shifts with custom presets. You can only save one white balance shift for each white balance type in the White Balance Menu. In other words, whatever shift you set for auto white balance will be applied to all custom presets that use auto white balance. If all of your C1-C7 presets in the Q menu use the same white balance, one white balance shift will be applied to all of them. For many people, this means that whenever you change recipes you’re also having to adjust the white balance shift, which is a pain sometimes.
The Fujifilm X-Pro3 doesn’t have this problem from what I’ve heard. You can save unique white balance shifts with each preset in the Q menu. You can set it and forget it! There’s a decent chance that this ability will be added to the X-T3 and X-T30 via a firmware update at some point, but right now the X-Pro3 is the only camera that can do this. There’s an outside chance that X-Trans III cameras could also be given this feature, but most likely not. Don’t fret! I do have a solution. There’s a simple work-around that might make things much easier for you.
The issue is that only one white balance shift can be saved per white balance, but in that statement lies the answer! What you need are presets that use different white balances. Or you can have presets that use the same white balance and the same white balance shift. What do I mean?
So you have custom slots C1 through C7, right? Maybe you use all seven of them for color. Or maybe you set aside one or two for black-and-white, in which case white balance and white balance shift may or may not be important. For each color preset you simply use a film simulation recipe with a different white balance. If each recipe uses a different white balance, then you can set the shift for that recipe and you’re good to go. It will always be set to that unless you decided to change it.
For example, you could have Kodachrome II, which uses auto white balance, set to C1, Kodacolor, which uses a kelvin white balance, set to C2, Kodachrome 64, which uses daylight white balance, set to C3, Lomography Color 100, which uses cloudy/shade white balance, set to C4, Color Negative, which uses fluorescent 1 white balance, set to C5, Fujichrome Sensia, which uses flurescent 2 white balance, set to C6, and Portra 400, which uses a custom white balance, set to C7. If you did that, since each recipe uses a different white balance, you wouldn’t have to adjust the white balance shift when going between different presets. Also, there a few recipes that share the same white balance and white balance shift as others, such as Kodachrome II and Ektachrome 100SW, so you could use both of those and never have to change the shift.
To make things easy for you, I’ve organized the color film simulation recipes by white balance. Choose one from each until all of your available presets are filled. It’s pretty simple. Unfortunately, you might not be able to use all of your favorite recipes, depending on exactly what the white balance and white balance shifts are. But I hope that you find enough options you like to fill your available presets.
Since I set up my custom presets this way on my camera, it’s made a world of difference to me. It’s so much easier moving between recipes! The user experience has been greatly improved. I hope that you find this just as useful as I did.
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I received a message from a Fuji X Weekly reader who’s also a Fuji X Photographer, and he has a pre-production X-Pro3 that Fujifilm has given him to try. He wanted to tell me that the X-Pro3 has the ability to save white balance shifts with each custom preset! Hallelujah! Those who have written into Fujifilm to ask for this, well, apparently it worked, because they have given it to you–at least on the pre-production model of the X-Pro3. Hopefully it will come to other cameras soon.
For those who might be unaware of this issue, when you program my film simulation recipes into the custom settings for quick access through the Q Menu, you cannot save the white balance shift that’s required for the different looks. Most of my recipes require a white balance shift, and you have to manually set it each time that you change recipes. It’s kind of a hassle. It’s by far the number one complaint I receive about Fujifilm cameras. Well, apparently, beginning with the X-Pro3, this will no longer be a problem.
That’s great! I hope Fujifilm makes it available for other cameras through firmware updates. If they don’t, I have another solution that I’ll tell you about next week, so be sure to watch for that. If you’re not already, be sure to follow Fuji X Weekly (look at the bottom-right corner) so that you don’t miss the article when it’s published.
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I doubt that anyone with any position of influence within the Fujifilm corporation reads Fuji X Weekly, but I’m writing this open letter to Fujifilm on the off chance that someone who can enact change within the company will find and read this. There is one piece of feedback regarding Fujifilm cameras that I have received far more than anything else. By “far more” I mean probably 10-1 this one thing verses everything else combined. It’s a landslide! I feel that perhaps the only reason Fujifilm has not addressed it is because they are unaware that there is a big demand from their users for this thing.
What is this thing that I’m talking about? The ability to save white balance shifts with each custom preset in the Q menu. If you select Auto-White-Balance for each of your presets, whatever the one white balance shift that’s been selected is applied to every preset. But, if your presets are anything like my film simulation recipes, each one likely requires a different white balance shift. Every time that you change to a different custom setting, you have to also go into the menu and change the white balance shift. It adds extra steps and button presses. You should be able to save a unique white balance shift with each preset in the Q menu.
Please, Fujifilm, update your cameras to allow each custom preset to have a white balance shift saved with it. This would save your customers time and frustration and otherwise make using Fujifilm X cameras a more enjoyable experience. It’s a little thing, but it would be a big deal to a lot of people. It really doesn’t seem like it would take much effort to update the firmware to allow this. It should be a fairly simple software change that your programmers could handle with relative ease.
I really hope that someone at Fujifilm reads this and takes these words into consideration. I’ve been saying this for probably a year-and-a-half or more, and I’ve not been heard. Perhaps this open letter will be more visible. The reality is that this will likely be unseen by those who could bring about this change, so I’m not holding my breath. But it’s good that I do what I can do, which is use my voice on this blog, to make a long-shot plea to get this one issue fixed. Maybe, just maybe, it will work.