Recommendations for grey card

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by msf, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. msf

    msf TPF Noob!

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    I just did some portraits, and im wishing I went ahead and got a card that helps with white ballance. Problem is I dont remember much about those. Whats the best one to buy? And where?

    And how do you use them? I believe you simply have the subject hold the card that has a white strip, black strip and 18% grey strip, and then do the rest of the shots right after with out chainging the light. Then in photoshop you use the first picture to sample the 3 things in curves. But I could be mistaken.

    Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    WhiBal.

    You just take a picture of it and do a click white balance on it.

    It's a neutral grey card with a black & white sticker on it. The black & white parts are only for JPG editing. With RAW you just click on the grey part. (As I understand it, with JPG you have to set the neutral point, the white point, and the black point - the sticker is for the white and black points.)


    If you're shooting JPG, the way you describe above is exactly what you would do. If you were shooting RAW, you're only concerned with the grey section.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2009
  3. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  4. msf

    msf TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the links, im checking them out.

    I was thinking, would it be possible to simply print a grey 8x10 at whcc, and use that as a grey card? Or would that not give good results?
     
  5. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In time that paper would shift colours and hence the colours of your pics if used. Even if it was perfect... a little time, wear and sunlight is all it would take to give you improper results.

    The Whibal looks really good to me, I may order one soon.
     
  6. msf

    msf TPF Noob!

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    Good points, should have thought about the fading.

    I noticed bh has a R27 gray card for $18. How good are they? I mean do they last over time? I was thinking of spending up to $20 on this, the two recommended before seem to be between $30 and $50, and even up to $100 if you get the higher ones. Seems like alot to pay for a piece of gray material. :)
     
  7. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    B&H should have the WhiBal cards too - they might be cheaper there.
     
  8. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    They do, but the prices are all about the same.
     
  9. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have the 3.5 x 2" one. For the most part it's just fine. Sometimes I find myself wanting a bigger one though. I'll probably get the 6 x 3.5" one eventually.
     
  10. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Unless you are buying Kodak Gray cards (about $4 a pop for gray paint on cardboard) most seem expensive. Keep in mind a $4 card is hard, 8X10 and easily damaged. The Lastolite is soft, flexible, durable and compact. I carry it with me even when shooting sports. Especially for indoor sports like B-Ball. A few seconds pre game saves a lot more time in post processing. Also the Lastolite has a white side and an 18% gray side so you get that white card as well.

    Most of the others are also, if not flexible at least much more durable.
     
  11. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    How accurate are the LastoLite ones? I know that the Whibal ones are accurate to within + or - of 0.5% of 18% grey, and that makes them very accurate. Also, they are made to last pretty much forever, so you buy one once and unless you lose it, are set for life.

    As far as white is concerned, once the WB is set for 18% grey, you don't really need the white (same could be said of the grey cards and all you need is a white styrofoam cup... lol). Having a known entity in a series of shots is a good thing to do and it does make life easier, but in the end, if you shoot RAW, you can always adjust and futz with it in PP.
     
  12. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you have Photoshop then make two copies of the original, make the top copy active, go to blur and then average (I haven't had my first cuppa yet, pardon me if I misremember anything). Go over to the tools and get the eye-dropper and take a sample of the resultant color. (it should be a solid color) Check that the foreground color in the left toolbar is now the same as the window.

    Drag the top copy to the trash can, make the first copy active and click levels. Get the middle eyedropper and go over to the foreground color in your toolbar on the left and sample that and you have just color balanced your photo. Flatten here if you like but I usually work from the copy until I'm happy.

    It's quicker to do it right of course. A clean piece of copy paper in your first shot will give you a reference on which you can use for a range of shots just by keeping that shot active and using levels on each of the other shots and using the right eyedropper on the piece of paper.
     

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