Gray Card Update

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AmberBella's picture
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831
Gray Card Update

Just to follow up on the gray card issue that came up in one of these threads a little while ago.....

I had been using the PhotoVision Digital Calibration Target and loved it...but it came up that the gray portion of that card may not be neutral enough to get a really good color balance. Someone "important" in ILP mentioned the RMI Digital Gray Card was the perfect color to use for white balance. It was fairly inexpensive, so I decided to try it out.

Well, I did discover that my white balance was much more accurate when using the RMI card than with the Photovision target. BUT...I missed the ease of checking exposure using the Photovision target. SO...what I did was:

I added some little velcro dots to the back of my RMI card and on the gray section of my photovision target...and now I have the best of both worlds! It's perfect! I get spot on exposure and spot on white balance.

shaw8's picture
Joined: 03/07/07
Posts: 30

I would love to see a shot of how you attached your cards to one another. Thanks for your imput!

kris10gal's picture
Joined: 11/02/07
Posts: 1306

Would love to see it too! You already sold me on the target, I've bought it but haven't gotten a chance to use it. And just so happen to use a grey card too. Awesome!

AmberBella's picture
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831

of course...of course..I will take a picture of the set-up..it's pretty simple! Pictures coming soon.

AmberBella's picture
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831

Okay...photos.

Apart...you can see the little velcro dots. I used velcro so that I could take the gray card of and still fold up the target.
target apart

And together...the only problem is that now it's hard to lock a focus to take the shot. I try to use the contrast between the light and dark lines and then just re-compose since focus doesn't really matter in white balance shots.

target together

Joined: 01/16/07
Posts: 951

sorry if this is stupid question. how do you check exposure with your old card and why doesn't it work with your new card?

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

very cool!

Can y ou walk me through exactly how you use it...i have issues with my Nikon always running hot...im willing to try something else!

mlark1128's picture
Joined: 05/09/07
Posts: 742

Great idea Amber! I have the Target too, and it's great for exposure, but I detest it for setting WB. It's not too off with the temp, but the tint is just awful. My $5 gray card does a MUCH better job. I'll have to check out the other one you just referenced too.

AmberBella's picture
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831

With the old card, it showed three spikes in the histogram...one for the darks, one for the midtones, and one for the whites. Technically, you could use the gray card alone to set exposure, but I know EXACTLY where the whites need to be for perfect exposure on my tri color card, and it's nice to be able to check that I'm not blowing the whites.

The grays are not the same, so the gray on the card doesn't lay quite in the space I'd expect it. I think some day I'll be expert enough with it to use the gray card alone, but it's just so nice to have that white card there...and it's nice to have a larger target that blocks out the rest of the scene so easily and gives me very distinct spikes.

The photovision website has really great videos covering how to use the target, but basically, you have the subject hold the target right in front of their face, make your settings and take a test shot. If the exposure is perfect (the PhotoVision website shows what perfect looks like) then you set your white balance in camera (or just do it later in post processing) and go. The problem I was having was that the gray is not quite neutral enough and my pictures were all coming out a touch too warm. It was 90% better than not using anything, but all my pictures still required some slight color correction. With the addition of the new gray card, it seems that I don't need to make any color or exposure corrections whatsoever.

LIFESAVER!

Haven't really figured out a good way to use it on children who can run away...but it works great for babies, children who will stay put, and adults.

kris10gal's picture
Joined: 11/02/07
Posts: 1306

Thank you, thank you!! Did you watch the DVD that comes with the target or is the website more helpful? I probably just need to get the time to do both.

connorsmum's picture
Joined: 11/29/02
Posts: 1160

I am bookmarking this thread for later as I really need to get a grey card.

AmberBella's picture
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831

"kris10gal" wrote:

Thank you, thank you!! Did you watch the DVD that comes with the target or is the website more helpful? I probably just need to get the time to do both.

I watched both....I found the DVD helpful and informative.