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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:01 pm 
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Hi all.

My first post so please excuse my lack of knowledge about metering, gray cards and white balance.

There are so many conflicting opinions out there and wondered if someone could suggest any ways to help me understand.
Some people swear by Grey cards, others say don't bother and use the palm of your hand.....
I seem to be stuck on these points and wondered if there are any tutorials or reference material to help me understand these topics.

I can't seem to move forward without knowledge of this.

I have a Canon Eos 550D and of course would like to take clear, crisp photographs without over/under exposure.

I don't want to use automatic modes and would prefer AV, TV or Manual.

Thanks for reading.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:40 pm 
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Well if there's a single light source or temperature of light, what's up with leaving in Auto WB and adjusting when you process the raw file?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:49 pm 
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I generally keep it on auto WB, it's easy to post process and fix the colours if you shoot RAW. However, if you use the custom evaluative white balance feature on your 550D, you'll get a more accurate reading with the grey card as opposed to automatic. Of course, you need to keep the lighting on the grey card equal to that of your subject.

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Gear: 7 Nikon Nikkor AI-S and AF-S lenses, SB-700 flash, Nikon D7000, Nikon FM, variety of accessories

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:24 pm 
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Quote:
I generally keep it on auto WB, it's easy to post process and fix the colours if you shoot RAW. However, if you use the custom evaluative white balance feature on your 550D, you'll get a more accurate reading with the grey card as opposed to automatic. Of course, you need to keep the lighting on the grey card equal to that of your subject.

Thank you. Yes I am shooting RAW.
Am I correct in saying that if I take a photo of the gray card (filling the frame) under the same lighting conditions as the scene I wish to shoot, I can use that photo as my reference white balance.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:02 am 
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You should be able to, that would work well for getting a nice exposure. Of course, 99% of the time it's not needed, just point, compose and shoot.

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-Evan

Gear: 7 Nikon Nikkor AI-S and AF-S lenses, SB-700 flash, Nikon D7000, Nikon FM, variety of accessories

"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs."
- Ansel Adams


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:18 am 
Hi Dalem,

Just as a FYI, since you mention exposure - the gray cards, the white cards, the custom white-balance shoot-through accessories you can buy etc. all work towards getting you the correct color balance.

For expose, you can buy light-meters and set your exposure levels accordingly.

Most of the time, the built-in metering works just fine and you can always dial it up or down in small increments on your camera as well.

Cheers :-)


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:01 am 
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The good thing about a gray card is that it's a constant. You know how it's supposed to look, and the camera knows how it's supposed to look.

So yes, a gray card can be a useful tool. You can meter on it, or set yoru whitebalance with it.

However, I usually just shoot raw and pick a white/gray-ish surface, and use the whitebalance color picker on it (you basically tell the application what should be white, and it adjusts the whitebalance accordingly).

I then sync that whitebalance setting accross all my images (though I usually warm it up slightly)


Exposure is a bit more complex. You could have a technically perfectly exposed grey card shot, but the overall exposure would be off (like a blown out sky). Or maybe you want a silhouette? It's not the end all be all tool, but it's a useful tool to have in your arsenal nonetheless.

If you doubt you need it, buy one of those 18% gray lens cloths. Those are always handy to keep around anyway, and don't take up much space. I wouldn't spend 30 euros on a lastolite gray panel...

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:07 pm 
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Thank you to everyone who has replied to this and thanks for advice.
Cheers.....


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