Custon White Balance: Subject Photo?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Steve Cutchen, Feb 17, 2005.

  1. I'm looking for a target for making the photo needed to do custom white
    balancing on my 300D. Something I could have confidence in and take
    with me from gym to gym (I shoot a lot of volleyball...) Any ideas?
    Is there a commercial target card or something like that?
    Steve Cutchen, Feb 17, 2005
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  2. Steve Cutchen

    secheese Guest

    If I understand you correctly, what you're looking for is called a
    gray card; actually white on one side and gray on the opposite.
    Yes... you can buy them at any decent camera store. However, a white
    sheet of paper works as well.
    secheese, Feb 17, 2005
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  3. The ideal item is a photographic gray card.

    A white piece of laser paper will work as well. I remember being at a
    national dance competition once and the TV camera guy kept turning around
    and photographing me. I would have not thought anything of it if he was
    photographing my partner, the fact that it was clear I was the target made
    me wonder about him, until if figured it out. I was wearing a white Tux.
    Joseph Meehan, Feb 17, 2005
  4. Yeah, but for setting white balance I find a piece of white paper or
    card does the trick. When out I'm usually carrying field guides so I use
    a piece of white card (actually a blank postcard) as a bookmark, and
    that does the job just nicely.

    And if if gets lost or damaged it's quick and cheap to replace.

    Doctor J. Frink, Feb 17, 2005
  5. Steve Cutchen

    redbelly Guest

    Or a blank 3" x 5" index card.

    redbelly, Feb 17, 2005
  6. Steve Cutchen

    Bill Hilton Guest

    I'm looking for a target for making the photo needed to do custom
    Most people use a Kodak grey card or even a white piece of paper.
    Yes, especially for digital cameras ... Make sure you
    shoot in RAW mode since you can adjust the WB during the RAW conversion
    without penalty.

    Bill Hilton, Feb 17, 2005
  7. Some very good suggestions, thanks all.

    My 300D manual says to shoot a white item that fills the *center* of
    the screen... (the drawing shows the white target inside the first
    four AF focus points)

    So it does not matter that the rest of the frame might be some odd

    Also, is the camera just looking for a neutral target (i.e. RGB values
    equal, like the traditional 18% gray) or does it need to be WHITE?
    Steve Cutchen, Feb 17, 2005
  8. Steve Cutchen

    Stacey Guest

    Steve Cutchen wrote:

    It doesn't matter if the white fills the whole screen.
    Stacey, Feb 18, 2005
  9. Steve Cutchen

    DM Guest


    What you are after is a 17% grey card (actually is better for white balance
    than a white target).
    Most specialist camera stores (rather than discount chains) should be able
    to provide you with one.


    DM, Feb 18, 2005
  10. Steve Cutchen

    DM Guest

    Sorry secheese, but whilst a white card is better than not balancing at all,
    this is straight from Canon's 20D manual...

    "Instead of a white object, an 18% grey card (commercially available) can
    produce a more accurate white balance." (p52)


    DM, Feb 18, 2005
  11. Steve Cutchen

    DM Guest


    First you are better off using an 18% grey card not white (the neutral
    target will actually help the camera work out a better balance than white -
    despite it being called white balance).

    Secondly, the grey card should be both out of focus & exceed the diameter of
    the 'partial metering circle' (where the white balance is evaluated). The
    crux is that the 'exposure must be correct' therefore one would be also best
    advised to switch to 'partial metering' when doing the white balance so that
    the exposure is being read off the card itself.


    DM, Feb 18, 2005
  12. Steve Cutchen

    John Francis Guest

    And do you know why that is?
    It's because a random "white" object may not be accurately white,
    and you don't want to white-balance to a shade of off-white.

    A calibrated "white card" is just as hue-neutral as a grey card,
    and works just as well.

    So, basically, secheese is quite correct, and your "correction"
    just shows you don't understand what is going on. Sorry, DM.
    John Francis, Feb 18, 2005
  13. Steve Cutchen

    Ken Ellis Guest

    grey card

    Ken Ellis, Feb 18, 2005
  14. Steve Cutchen

    andrew29 Guest

    This is true, but the difference is quite small. I just measured both
    sides of an old Kodak grey card, and they were:

    white L* 96.5 a* 0.8 b* -2.2
    grey L* 49.5 a* -0.5 b* 0.1

    Ignoring the L* (luminance), it's quite clear that the white side has
    more shift away from neutral (the a* and b* values). However, the
    difference is so small that it's probably not worth worrying about
    when taking photographs.

    I also tried a random piece of copier paper, and it was 93.9, 2,4, 10.1
    This isn't so hot! Still, it's always possible to correct later.

    One other thing: beware of fluorescent whites.

    andrew29, Feb 18, 2005
  15. Steve Cutchen

    DM Guest

    Actually John (before you chip in so 'helpfully'),

    If you read secheese's original comment completely (as I did) you would have
    noticed he finished off his comment about the commercially available cards
    by saying: "However, a white sheet of paper works as well."

    So before you start saying who does not understand what's 'going on' here
    maybe you'd like to read a little more carefully and be a little less quick
    with the derogatory remarks.


    DM, Feb 18, 2005
  16. I grab a sheet of paper from the nearest printer/copier. I suppose that's
    not technically correct, but it certainly gets you in the ballpark
    quickly. A grey card is better, but it never seems to be in the same
    place as I am. If I did more photography I'd sew an appropriate swatch to
    the lining of my jacket and use that.

    Kevin_Stevens, Mar 3, 2005
  17. Steve Cutchen

    Alan Browne Guest

    Lowepro bags usually have an 18% grey lining and the seperators too. So
    that can be used. Watch for reflection though, the material is slightly
    Alan Browne, Mar 3, 2005
  18. Thanks, I have a Lowepro bag and never even thought of that!

    Kevin_Stevens, Mar 4, 2005
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