WhiBal and other WB reference tools for setting WB AND exposure?

photo_enthusiast

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Hello everyone!


I spend some time looking into various WB tools and here're my findings which need clarification:

1. Many people recommend WhiBal as not too expensive tool for setting WB either on site or doing PP. However, can it be used for setting exposure or I'd need separate 18% gray card?

2. I looked into 18% gray cards offerings and many of them come with additional white and black cards. Nevertheless, I barely saw people referring to them, therefore for what purposes those white and black cards are used?

3. How WB and exposure tools fare compared to DIY solutions, for example, coffee filters, white paper, grass, hand? Maybe members with WB and exposure tools can do quick comparisons and evaluate if it's worthy to invest into WhiBal, etc.?


Also, I found Novoflex Zebra grey card which could be used for WB AND exposure. But conversely to WhiBal, Novoflex doesn't claim that they measure every single card. What is more, one side for setting WB is white, while WhiBal's card has light grey surface. Do you think Novoflex Zebra could be trusted for accurate readings?


Thanks!
 

paigew

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I use the expodisc and it is amazing. I rarely have to adjust wb though I don't use it for exposure as much. I prefer my photos a little brighter than the expodisc exposes them.
 

tirediron

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Correct exposure and colour balance isn't a 'one tool' job, rather it requires a suite of tools to get the best possible result. When I'm doing work where WB/CB is absolutely critical, then I will start by dialling in a custom WB on my camera using the Expo Disc. I will base exposure off of multiple incident meter readings of the scene, and then I will shoot a Color-Checker shot for every different lighting scenario so that I can fine-tune things exactly in post. Remember too that even though your WB might be technically exact, that may not be the best look for the image, and a slight warming of skin tones or other scenes is very common.
 

480sparky

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Auto WB:

DSC_6096.jpg~original




After setting custom WB with an ExpoDisc:

DSC_6095.jpg~original
 

kathyt

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Spend the $100 bucks for the real Expodisc. It is worth it.
 

Gavjenks

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The reason for the 18% gray is that for most cameras, that happens to be the value that they attempt to put dead center in the histogram. So it's easiest to manually by eye adjust the WB so that the card is dead center (either i the field or manually in photoshop).

If you're using a non-manual automatic solution of some sort, then it might do better with a white or a black card, or whatever comes with the product, etc. etc.
 

Helen B

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The WhiBal is a good, reasonably priced target. It's one of the better ones that I have tested with a spectrophotometer. I also like the Lastolite Ezybalance, which serves other purposes. 18% grey is often less than ideal for white balance, and the lighter shade of the WhiBal probably helps. The whole 18% card for exposure is a bit of a fallacy - any consistent target is OK, you just need to know the adjustment, which you arrive at in practice. I find that the palm of my hand is convenient, because I usually have at least one available. Looking at the histogram is even better, and will usually result in optimal exposure especially when shooting raw (when adjusted for apparent slight overexposure if experience shows that it helps).
 

Helen B

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One of the original grey cards, the Neutrowe from 1939, was 14% because that was found to be empirically optimum. Not all light meters are calibrated the same, so a 12% card would not be 'right' for all meters. It doesn't matter, because you need to calibrate your system, not follow some arbitrary pseudo-standard.

The original Kodak grey card mentioned the recommended half-stop alteration, but the whole issue is debateable. Do you want headroom if you aren't using a calibrated system? Why does it matter nowadays? Why not use an incident meter.

The Expodisk does not really replace an incident meter, because of its different angular response.
 

Gavjenks

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Why not use an incident meter.
A card fits in my wallet and costs way less. Mostly the wallet thing.

14% would be better. That seems more likely to be close enough to the actual values of many cameras that it would be an EV not necessarily worth adjusting for anyway (+/-0.15-0.2 or whatever)
 

Ysarex

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One of the original grey cards, the Neutrowe from 1939, was 14% because that was found to be empirically optimum. Not all light meters are calibrated the same, so a 12% card would not be 'right' for all meters. It doesn't matter, because you need to calibrate your system, not follow some arbitrary pseudo-standard....

:thumbup:

A reference is a reference is a reference -- as long as it's consistent and you test it. The key is test and calibrate. Go to the grocery store salad bar. Get white Styrofoam food container. It's free if you buy some chicken wings.

Joe
 

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