printable 18% gray card?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Dweller, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. Dweller

    Dweller Inconspicuous Supporter

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    Today I was reflecting on why I have been having some issues with exposure... something that is holding me up from trying the night shots I want to do.

    I learned about an 18% gray (grey?) card for determining proper exposure in some scenes and set out to find one. I checked 3 stores but no one had any. I did finally get a tip to try a pro photo supply on the other side of town. Before calling them to see what they will charge for something like this I thought I would see if I can find a solution online.

    I am not looking for professional accuracy, just something workable to help guage my built in lightmeter hehe

    Google offered no help on this.. one sight had "experimented with printable 18% gray card" from a history of the site.... in 1998 hehe

    Any help will be greatly appreciated :)
     
  2. selmerdave

    selmerdave TPF Noob!

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    Hey Dweller, it's probably not perfect but I just use a drawing program (I have Corel Draw) and draw box. Then I fill it with a custom color, set to 18% grey, and print it out in greyscale. I glued it to a piece of card stock to give it some rigidity so it's flat when I hold it in front of the camera. I have had good results using it so I think for a poorman's solution I can recommend it.

    Dave
     
  3. Dweller

    Dweller Inconspicuous Supporter

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    Excellent thanks for the idea :)
     
  4. Contra|Brett|

    Contra|Brett| TPF Noob!

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    a potential problem with this method is that your printer may not be properly calibrated.
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Printer, monitor, etc...

    Order one online. I'm sure you can get one at the Freestyle link at the top of the page. It's cheap, and it'll probably have all sorts of good exposure tips printed on the back.

    When you get one begin comparing the readings you get from the grey card to readings off other things. For instance, I know that my palm is 1 stop brighter than my gray card. Most healthy, green lawns are pretty close to middle gray. My black camera bag is 2 stops darker than middle gray. This way I don't even have to carry the gray card around.
     
  6. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Try using the back of your hand - for Caucasians this is near enough mid-tone grey.
     
  7. selmerdave

    selmerdave TPF Noob!

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    True and this is why I said it's probably not perfect. However, in many difficult situations using this card has given me correct exposure, so for me it's close enough. Besides, we're not chosing between 1/125th and 1/128th shutter speeds so pretty close is probably close enough. Professionals may want to be more exacting, or more likely as the comments from ksmattfish and Hertz Van Rental suggest more experience yields LESS need for a grey card.

    Dave
     
  8. Dweller

    Dweller Inconspicuous Supporter

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    Thanks for the input everyone. I see the problem with trying to print one.. I had not considered the calibration issue.

    I found one for "a couple of bucks" at a store I had not heard of before but I definetly want to check out so I am going to make the trek tomorrow. The reason I am getting this is to help train myself on proper exposure, but the tips of using my palm, back of my hand etc are great.. thanks :)
     
  9. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I also use an incident meter most of the time. It measures the light that falls onto the meter's sensor so I don't need a grey card. When I use a spot or reflected light meter I measure something black, and under expose 2 stops from the recomended settings; this should insure that I get my shadow detail.
     
  10. Patrick

    Patrick TPF Noob!

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