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Thread: Grey Card

  1. #1

    Grey Card

    Hi All,

    I would like to know how to use grey cards practically. I have held off buying any because of a lack of proper understanding on how to use them. I recently purchased a Canon 7D and would like to learn how to use them with my camera. Any tips/explanation would be greatly appreciated.

    Nate

  2. #2

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    Re: Grey Card

    Welcome to CiC!

    Hopefully this helps you: http://www.pixiq.com/article/how-to-use-a-grey-card

  3. #3

    Re: Grey Card

    Here is one on the Whibal which came highly recommended by some members here on the forum. I have one and really do like it and the results.

    http://www.whibalhost.com/_Tutorials/WhiBal/01/

    There is a total of 8 video's and are all listed to the left of the screen.
    Last edited by Carl in Louisiana; 5th November 2012 at 02:54 PM.

  4. #4
    groovesection's Avatar
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    Re: Grey Card

    Thanks Carl, that is a great post and very very informative for a novice like myself

  5. #5
    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: Grey Card

    One thing that may be confusing is that neutral gray cards can be designed for two different purposes: for setting exposure, and for setting white balance. Most are not ideal for both purposes. The whiBal, which I use, is designed for setting white balance. I think the gray is close to 18%, but I never use it for exposure anyway. There are easier ways to deal with exposure, IMHO. However, having a white balance reference can be very helpful, and I almost always have my whiBal in my bag or in my pocket.

  6. #6
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Grey Card

    I balked at first at the relatively high price of a WhiBal card but, when I finally broke down and purchased one (at Donald's advice) I am very happy that I did.

    Apparently the WhiBal card has been tested to get your white balance correct, other cards - even ones which are touted as being white balance cards - may not be as accurate.

    I have recently purchased a copy of the book, Photoshop CS6 for Photographers by Scott Kelby. It contains a tear our white balance card in the back. I am going to compare this with the white balance I get from my WhiBal card.

  7. #7
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Grey Card

    OK, I'm a party pooper. This topic came up a short while ago:

    White Balance Lightroom vs 'in-cmaera' which is right?

    In that thread I posted this link to an article I copied from one of Tim Grey's daily answers to reader's questions.

    https://www.box.com/s/g5bb8kz5a9oddsqupu3o

    I agree with his comments - others may not.

    There are occasions where getting the WB spot on is essential (we've covered this), but if one is shooting sunsets (or landscapes during the "golden hours"), then I'd keep the WB card in my bag.

    I have one, but haven't used it for several years.

    Glenn

  8. #8
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Grey Card

    I tend to agree with Glenn on this. If I were shooting professionally and were trying to match a clients logo perfectly, I would probably be a lot more fussy in how I shot, but for 95% of my photography, I shoot scenery or city scapes, preferably at "golden hour", so getting the perfect white balance is going to give me a picture that lools awful.

    For portraits, either indoors or outdoors, I carry an x-Rite mini color checker and will include that in my setup shot. If I do a custom white balance any old piece of white paper will do, so long as I can get a shot of it lit properly. I really haven't seen any real difference between what a white piece of paper gives me versus a commercial target. Worst case, as I virtually always shoot jpg + RAW, I can always work the RAW image if I don't like how the jpeg worked out. If I do serious indoor shooting, I shoot on manual and use an incident light / flash meter to set up my lighting ratios.

  9. #9

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    Re: Grey Card

    I use 7D too and after I switched to shoot in RAW, and using Photoshop, I no longer worry about white balance any more.
    enjoy the 7D , it can bring you lots of fun.

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    Re: Grey Card

    I don't use them for exposure purposes, but definitely still do for white balancing; a reliable spectrally neutral reference as a starting point for white balancing is a god-send.

  11. #11

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    Re: Grey Card

    Heard a pro say he is never without this one.

    http://www.expoimaging.com/product-o...w.php?cat_id=1

  12. #12
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    Re: Grey Card

    I don't use them for exposure purposes, but definitely still do for white balancing; a reliable spectrally neutral reference as a starting point for white balancing is a god-send.
    +1. Yes, of course, raw gives you control over WB in post, but you still have to know where to set it. With some images, it is obvious, but for others, it really isn't, at least to me. For example, I do a lot of flower macros under halogen lights, and I always take a whiBal shot to give me a good starting point for WB. I also have found with experience that when I don't have a reference, I often set WB in shots of people too warm and sometimes have to re-edit images as a result. Having a whiBal image in the set allows me to catch that at the outset. For indoor flash candids, I often end up deciding to go a little warmer than the correct WB shown by the whiBal, but if I have the whiBal, that is a deliberate choice, not an accident.

    My rule of thumb is that more information is better than less. When in doubt, I would rather have a good reference for WB. You are always free to ignore it if you want, but if you don't have it and want it, you are stuck.

  13. #13
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Grey Card

    Even though (and, some might say, especially because) I shoot to make B & W images, I always use a WhiBal in a session.

    If I know I've got white balance correct, it makes for a much easier approach to B & W conversion, at least as far as I am concerned.

    I have absolutely no issue with those who, quite correctly, say that you don't want the white balance 'correct' for every image. However, I would argue that it's good to know what is 'correct' before you then start adjusting the sliders to achieve your goal so far as temperature is concerned; i.e. start from a known point. It's one approach.

  14. #14
    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: Grey Card

    I have one and have used it successfully. That is when I remember to pack it and have the time to use it!

  15. #15
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Grey Card

    I use the WhiBal card very often but if I forget to use it when shooting my Maltese Rescue dogs, I will usually get a pretty darn accurate White Balance off the dog's white coat.

    And for a lot of scenes, IMO white balance is simply a choice of the photographer as in these two shots of San Diego at night. Quite different in terms of white balance but, I like them both.

    Grey Card

    Grey Card

    In my estimation, white balance is most important in skin tones but, I don't always like the "accurate" white balance and often like a warmer rendering of the subject's skin tones...

  16. #16
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Grey Card

    I would summarize the use of a WB target this way:

    Use it where appropriate and necessary, keeping in mind that like any tool, it is not perfect, and must be used with skill and knowledge. When one acquires a new tool, there is a tendency to over use it at first - I think this applies to lenses, hammers, and WB cards.

    Richard's images of San Diego are an excellent example. I have three versions of a duck in a small pond of water taken near sunset in the shade - there is no "best" or "right" version, but they are very different from each other. Creativity is important in photography unless you are doing production work, and even then a little bit of "enhancement" can be useful. Does the portrait photographer leave all the warts and pimples on the subjects face?

    Photography is not ever reality - the key word is "image", and it often should be the photographer's version of reality.

    Just my take on it - others' may get different mileage.

    Glenn

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