Why do I get different colors while applying the same exact history to every pictures in Darktable. It was my understanding that the white balance setting of the camera didn't matter to a RAW file and that if I edited and applied the same white balance to 2 different pictures of the same scene, I would get some consistency in the colors.

Then why do I get this instead ? And how can I get color consistency between those pictures ?

enter image description here

Files are in .ARW format shot with Sony a6000.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "applying the same exact history" What does that mean ? \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Mar 1, 2020 at 18:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ "It was my understanding --- applied the same white balance to 2 different pictures of the same scene" Correct,When Recording in raw the camera does not apply "white balance" settings, It does record the light of the scene and if the light of 2 or more scenes is not exactly same the camera will record what is present. I image that in photos such as the ones you posted that they were shot with long exposures and as a result the quality and characteristics of the light would fluctuate and applying one "history" to another's would not result in the two being the same. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Mar 1, 2020 at 19:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ the same history is the same succession of modifications with the same settings aka the applying the same editing workflow to all your pictures \$\endgroup\$
    – Fritzip
    Commented Mar 1, 2020 at 22:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, the pictures were long exposure, and I get that between two shots, conditions might change, but still ! Here I don't really think that the colors going from blue to purple to orange to greenish to purple again depicts any changes happening in the sky for real. It just seems to me that my pictures still contain some kind of information relative to the automatic white balance settings of my camera that I did not disabled. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fritzip
    Commented Mar 1, 2020 at 22:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ When were the photos taken (time of year and time of day)? How far north (in the northern hemisphere) or south (in the southern hemisphere) were the images captured? Were there any artificial light sources near the camera outside the field of view? How much moisture was in the air? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 2:27

1 Answer 1


White balance does matter in Darktable.

From the Darktable User Manual: White balance

The white balance module controls the white balance or color temperature of the image. It's always enabled and reads its default values from camera metadata embedded in the image. White balance

This module is used to set the white balance. You have three ways to interact with it: (a) Set up tint and temperature, (b) define the value of each channel, or (c) choose from predefined white balances.

For what you're doing, try camera neutral

Essentially sets temperature to 6502K. The actual math: it computes such white balance channel multipliers, so that pure white color in camera colorspace is converted into pure white color in sRGB D65. (pure white color here means having the same equal value for each channel = 1.0)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the extra details. I tried settings all the pictures to camera neutral or daylight, it doesn't fix the differences in the colors between the files. I'll try setting unsetting my WB from auto next time and see if that fixes it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fritzip
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 4:51

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