I'd like to conduct an informal poll on the White Balance settings you folks like to use underwater with your Sonys. I did a lot of underwater photography back in the days of film, but have not yet shot any digital underwater, and figuring out white balance settings is a major concern for me right now. I'm headed to Mexico next week with my a6300, but I think all the Sony Full Frame and Mirrorless bodies from the last couple of years are fairly similar in terms of their white balance characteristics. I've read so many posts on this WB topic recently that my brain is just fried. Some say you should take a custom white balance every 10-15 feet, some say if you do this the Sonys throw an error because the reading will be outside the 9900k color temp limit, some say just set the WB manually to 9900k and add a +7 M tint, some say Underwater Auto White Balance works well enough, some say just Auto White Balance is fine, one guy posted PDFs of A4 size color swatches he made that simulate UW color cast, and that you can print those out and take a custom WB reading from them in daylight. Wow, so many freaking choices! Last time I took photos underwater the only 'White Balance' options were either Kodachrome or Fuji .
I'll be shooting video as well as stills, using Sony's 10-18mm wide angle zoom. I'll be diving on the Pacific side of Mexico. I expect visibility of only about 30-40 feet.
For video I have a Kraken Hydra 2000 lumen video light mounted on the cold shoe of my Nauticam housing on a 4 inch flexi arm. My plan was to use Sony's Underwater White Balance for video, because I'm afraid if I set a custom White Balance for the ambient light, anything illuminated by the light will be too red. Is this a valid concern? But I've read that Auto WB can change the color cast of your video abruptly and is best avoided. I think I'm going to shoot XACV-S in 4k, but I'd rather not have to do any color grading in post.
What settings do you folks like to use for WB for UW video with a light?
For stills I'll have two Sea & Sea YS-D2 strobes with diffusers. My plan for stills is to use Sony's Flash White Balance setting. That should give me good color for whatever is illuminated by the flash, but I'm not sure how the background water column is going to look. I will be shooting RAW, so I'm thinking I'll have enough latitude to adjust the background water to a color that is pleasing if need be. Does this sound like a good plan?
What WB setting do you like to use on your Sony for Wide Angle stills with strobes?
One other quick question - do you think I'll need to kill the video light prior to shooting a still? I'm concerned it could cast unwanted shadows or add a color cast, but maybe the strobe will be so much brighter it won't matter.
Thanks for all your help guys and gals!
Edited by sparklehorse, 04 December 2017 - 09:30 AM.