In modes other than P, S, A, and M, white balance is set automatically by the camera. Auto white balance is recommended for most light sources in P, S, A, and M modes, but other values can be selected if necessary according to the type of source:

Option (Color temp. *) Description
vAuto White balance is adjusted automatically. For best results, use type G, E or D lens. If flash fires, results are adjusted appropriately.
  Normal (3500–8000 K)
Keep warm lighting colors (3500–8000 K)
JIncandescent (3000 K) Use under incandescent lighting.
IFluorescent Use with:
  Sodium-vapor lamps (2700 K) Sodium-vapor lighting (found in sports venues).
Warm-white fluorescent (3000 K) Warm-white fluorescent lights.
White fluorescent (3700 K) White fluorescent lights.
Cool-white fluorescent (4200 K) Cool-white fluorescent lights.
Day white fluorescent (5000 K) Daylight white fluorescent lights.
Daylight fluorescent (6500 K) Daylight fluorescent lights.
High temp. mercury-vapor (7200 K) High color temperature light sources (e.g. mercury-vapor lamps).
HDirect sunlight (5200 K) Use with subjects lit by direct sunlight.
NFlash (5400 K) For flash photography.
GCloudy (6000 K) Use in daylight under overcast skies.
MShade (8000 K) Use in daylight with subjects in the shade.
KChoose color temp. (2500–10,000 K) Choose color temperature from list of values (0 Choosing a Color Temperature).
LPreset manual Use subject, light source, or existing photograph as reference for white balance (0 Preset Manual).

All values are approximate and do not reflect fine-tuning (if applicable).

White balance is set by pressing the L (U) button and rotating the main command dial until the desired setting is displayed.

L (U) button

Main command dial

Live View

In live view, the selected option is displayed in the monitor.

The Shooting Menus

White balance can also be adjusted using the White balance option in the photo or movie shooting menu (0 White Balance, White Balance), which also can be used to fine-tune white balance (0 Fine-Tuning White Balance) or manage white-balance presets (0 Preset Manual). The Auto option in the White balance menu offers a choice of Normal and Keep warm lighting colors, which preserves the warm colors produced by incandescent lighting, while the I Fluorescent option can be used to select the light source from the bulb types.

Studio Flash Lighting

Auto white balance may not produce the desired results with large studio flash units. Use preset manual white balance or set white balance to Flash and use fine tuning to adjust white balance.

Color Temperature

The perceived color of a light source varies with the viewer and other conditions. Color temperature is an objective measure of the color of a light source, defined with reference to the temperature to which an object would have to be heated to radiate light in the same wavelengths. While light sources with a color temperature in the neighborhood of 5000–5500 K appear white, light sources with a lower color temperature, such as incandescent light bulbs, appear slightly yellow or red. Light sources with a higher color temperature appear tinged with blue.

“Warmer” (redder) colors “Cooler” (bluer) colors  

I (sodium-vapor lamps): 2700 K
J (incandescent)/I (warm-white fluorescent.): 3000 K
I (white fluorescent): 3700 K
I (cool-white fluorescent): 4200 K
I (day white fluorescent): 5000 K
H (direct sunlight): 5200 K
N (flash): 5400 K
G (cloudy): 6000 K
I (daylight fluorescent): 6500 K
I (high temp. mercury-vapor): 7200 K
M (shade): 8000 K

Note: All figures are approximate.