Why are my panoramas blue?
February 9, 2014 2:54 AM   Subscribe

I have a SONY NEX-C3 and have been trying out the "Sweep Panorama" shooting mode. For some reason, the panoramas are coming out very blue. The white balance is set to "auto" and the main other mode I use on the camera is just the "intelligent auto". Why is this happening? It happens in both 2D and 3D panorama modes.
posted by treehorn+bunny to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
I have the Nex-5R, so I'm not 100% this will work with the C3 and your settings, but here's what works for me. In panorama mode, if you don't set up the shot before you start, the camera will calibrate white balance, iso, etc. based on where you start the picture rather than looking at the picture as a whole. So what I think is happening is that where you're starting the picture is not representative of the full scene.

What you can do to fix this is to pick a part of the panorama that is either a) the most important feature you want to capture or b) if you're doing a landscape or something that doesn't have one most important feature, pick a part of the scene that is representative in terms of brightness and color (something white works best). Hold the camera up to that point and hold the shutter button down halfway--don't push it down all the way to start taking the panorama, but you should hear a little beep and green boxes should appear on your screen. This will set up the picture so that that part of the scene will be in focus and have the appropriate settings. Keeping the button held halfway down, move the camera to where you want to start your panorama, push the button down the rest of the way, and then do your normal sweep to do the panorama.

It does take a little getting used to how to hold the button so it stays in the halfway-down position, and to get the hang of the set-up-and-reposition thing, so practice a bit before you try to do it for real.
posted by Swiss Meringue Buttercream at 5:36 AM on February 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Location and geography also matter. I get blue shots with an auto white balance in Kenya, for example, particularly out in the countryside. My own suspicion, though not confirmed, is that there are far fewer particulates in the air due to lack of industrialization etc and so the light changes beyond what may have been tested in Japan.

Are you out in the countryside where there's little industry/smog/pollution?
posted by infini at 7:16 AM on February 9, 2014

Interesting idea, Swiss Meringue Buttercream, but I feel like the scene is not very different from one end to the other - these are landscapes. I have a sample one here, what do you think? The other ones I have tried look very similar in blueness and also are pretty much water, sky, and trees. I wouldn't say they are necessarily out in the countryside though, that sample photo is overlooking a moderate sized city, but another one I tried was very far from any significant town. infini did you find any way to combat the blue panoramas with auto in Kenya?
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:31 AM on February 10, 2014

Not with auto or without, but that was only with my Sony cameras. I'll try the new Canon and see how it goes. I've never had consistent success with African light conditions.
posted by infini at 12:34 AM on February 10, 2014

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