Is that normal? Canon Powershot SX210.

I used to use the AWB mode in the fully manual mode.

EDIT 1: The blue tinted photo added: enter image description here

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can we get some example photos? Does it ALWAYS happen? This would be most common if its a mixed lighting situation and its choosing one of multiple colors of light to match. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Commented Jun 21, 2011 at 16:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ As rfusca said, you need to do tests in different lighting situations. Like indoors, outdoors, incandescent light, fluorescent light. This is probably happening in situations with only a certain colour of light, which is one answer, but if it happens in all situations, it's a whole different problem. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 21, 2011 at 17:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ The blue cast could also be coming from how your monitor is calibrated, which is why it would be useful to have an example that you believe is showing a colour cast. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 21, 2011 at 19:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @rfusca Added the photo, haven't tried this indoors. I'll check and then tell you. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 3:40

2 Answers 2


When it comes to "white balance", what the camera is really trying to do is make things that should be white as "neutral white" as possible...and damn the result to anything else. In the case of the sample picture you posted, it seems pretty clear that the key white components of the photo that the camera made as neutral as possible are the manes of the monkeys (gray-white fur), and the alternating concrete blocks that are white.

To my eyes, on a properly calibrated screen (I calibrate to D55, or 5500k, also known as neutral sunlight and a gamma of 2.2, so my whites are about as neutral and natural as they get), those two things do indeed look "correctly white" (with maybe a very slight blueish tinge) when checked against the white background of this site, when taking only those two things into account. Given the overall cooler cast to the image as a whole, the image does seem to be improperly balanced. The camera made a guess based on a semi-intelligent algorithm, and while it is "technically" correct, it is "perceptually" incorrect. In most cases, you probably want your photos to be perceptually correct. So, while this is kind of "normal" due to limitations of technology, its not necessarily something you have to live with either.

There are two things you can do to correct this. First, you might try a white balance preset. In many cases, manually choosing a "close enough" white balance that generally matches the kind of lighting illuminating your scene will produce a decent enough result that is better than AWB. Common presets include daylight/daytime, cloudy and shade for outdoor scenes, as well as tungsten (standard kind of lighting in most homes lit by common lamps), fluorescent (standard kind of lighting at many commercial and business locations such as shopping markets or office buildings), and flash for indoor/artificially lit scenes. Try a preset white balance, and if the color cast is worse than AWB relative to reality, switch back.

If you have the option, and the time and tools to perform post processing, you can also use RAW capture. With RAW, its easiest to just keep the camera on AWB all the time, and always correct your photos with a RAW image processor like Lightroom, Adobe Aperture, or Photoshop+ACR on your computer. With any one of these tools, it is a fairly simple matter to "fix" white balance with a couple sliders or a "neutral pixel picker" tool. You can balance your images to appear neutral, or intentionally add a color cast for artistic appeal.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I don't have the raw mode. So the conclusion is that the AWB mode is useless when I am outdoors? In the other outdoor photos too, I have the blue tinge involved, in fact I can say, if there is somewhat shade, I am doomed to have a blue tinge. I hope the camera isn't damaged. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 4:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ The road is even blue, in that photograph :mad: \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 4:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Anisha - just because the picture isn't perfect doesn't mean AWB is "useless." Since you're not capturing RAW you don't have any way of seeing what the photo would've looked like without white balance, but there's a good chance it would look worse than this. You can always do edits in post-processing to tweak it (although as jrista alludes, this works best with RAW data). \$\endgroup\$
    – Hank
    Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 4:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Henry I'll see how AWB behaves indoors and post here. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 4:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ It should be noted, though, that even when you give the camera a sample photo that it can spend a little more time doing its guesswork with, your white balance my still be off. The only real solution to the problem is RAW images, but when you don't have that option, just fiddling with the WB options you have and taking a few sample shots before you take your "real" shots can help you get the closest match that best serves the moment. \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 5:12

It's hard to be definitive without knowing exactly the situations where this happens, but in general, yes, color tinges like that are to be expected. Auto white-balance is basically just the camera's guess based on the limited data it has (see Does Auto White-Balance Really Work? How?). Sometimes, that guess is wrong, usually simply because the data that the algorithm has to work with is limited.

There's several situations where a blue tinge might be more likely. If the camera guesses it's under incandescent light when it's not, it's basically certain to error in that way.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Auto-anything on a camera is a guess. It's remarkable how well (in general) they guess, but it's still a guess. This is one reason lots of people like shooting in RAW, as white-balance is one of the things that's easy to fix after the fact. \$\endgroup\$
    – D. Lambert
    Commented Jun 21, 2011 at 17:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @D. Lambert — absolutely. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Jun 21, 2011 at 17:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ In addition, my Canon seems to guess quite poorly when faced with incandescent or fluorescent light. Outside is generally spot-on (unless it's dark), but inside... not so hot. Which is why I shoot RAW and adjust everything in LightRoom. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 21, 2011 at 19:54

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