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Chapter 1. Digital Camera Raw > White Balance Control

White Balance Control

I'll go into much more detail on how Camera Raw's white balance controls actually work in Chapter 2, How Camera Raw Works. For now, I want to make the key point that adjusting the white balance on a raw file is fundamentally different from attempting to do so on an already-rendered image in Photoshop.

As Figure 1-4 shows, Photoshop edits are inherently destructive— you wind up with fewer levels than you started out with. But when you change the white balance as part of the raw conversion process, the edit is much less destructive, because instead of changing pixel values by applying curves, you're gently scaling one or two channels to match the third. There may be very few free lunches in this world, but white balance control in Camera Raw is a great deal cheaper, in terms of losing data, than anything you can do to the processed image in Photoshop.


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