View Full Version : White Balance using a grey card?

LR Max
07-12-2007, 01:29 PM
Anyone here use preset white balance with a grey card? I am wondering how much better the image will be using the grey card.

I seem to always have a little bit of trouble with white balancing images.

07-12-2007, 06:43 PM
Hmm all I'd have to say is shoot raw and worry about that when you go to edit your photos. lol.

07-12-2007, 08:35 PM
Well if you want to get the image as color neutral as possible in camera without always having to PP everything a gray card is on one of doing it. set your white balance to custom and the take a picture of the gray card under the lighting you wish to shoot in (it doesn't actually take a picture, just measures the warmth or coolness of the light and tint. Then you are good to go. White coffee filters also work good for setting a custom white balance. You may also look into the expodisc, it is pretty expensive, but you can also use it to set exposure.
What camera do you have? On my D80 you set the white balance to custom and release then push and hold the white balance button until "PRE" flashes on the lcd then point at gray card and press the shutter, it will either say "good" or "no good" Sorry for the redundance just putting in a little more detail.
Hope this helps.

EDIT: I reread your post, and you probably know how to set custom white balance and want to know how well it works, I use it alot and get good results, as long as I reset white balance when the lighting changes.

07-12-2007, 09:39 PM
I use it alot and get good results, as long as I reset white balance when the lighting changes.

That's probably the point.
You either use it a lot and resetting is just habit or (like me) you never use it and even if you did you would probably forgot to reset.
It's another one of those photographic foibles,

RAW vs jpeg
Manual focus vs auto focus
UV filter vs no filter
Card reader vs connect the camera direct to the computer
Capture NX vs third party

the list is almost endless and great great thing is that there is not one single 100% right or wrong option.

LR Max
07-12-2007, 10:48 PM
Thanks for the help. The reason I was asking about this is because I shoot A LOT of photos. When I go out on a photo shoot, I'll rack up ~600 photos in a day. It just happens. I've played with the white balancing settings but I haven't been truly happy with the pre-programmed stuff.

I use a D70s so I doubt it has any of the cool stuff the D80 and D200 have (although I have been heavily considering the D200).

Lastly, when I submit photos to the editor, I take great pride in having a great photo straight out of the camera. Sure, I do send it in RAW but I don't want my photos to be heavily modified in photoshop. I know a little tweeking is always required but I don't rely too heavily on processing software. I mean, thats just me...

Thanks for all of the help. I might try the coffee filter idea!

07-13-2007, 06:08 AM
You do not have to use a grey card. A white piece of paper or card will do just as well.
Grey is a dark white... the reason both work is because the camera balances all three base colours (green, blue, white) to give a neutral white/grey.

So... you can use any white piece of paper. It is a good thing to set your white balance in RAW too, since you do not KNOW the right white balance in RAW. So, you have to fiddle and try there too.
And in JPEG you can adjust the white balance just like you can in RAW anyway...

So, yes, do use a grey card or a white piece of card or paper to get the white balance right, unless the colour of the light adds to the atmosphere.

07-13-2007, 06:15 AM
When I bought my XT shortly there after I purchased a Whibal (http://www.whibal.com/products/whibal/index.html). I loved it and used it all the time with my XT and my 30D - pretty much everything I shot I took a reference shot with the Whibal before or after and it was always very useful. When I bought my D80 I keep up this routine until I finally realized that this process was now pretty much a waste of time because the D80's AWB compared to the corrected whibal's WB was nearly identical. I still do occasionally but my D80 is so much better at WB than my XT or 30D was.