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  • WB - Gray Card or White

    May seem like a stupid question but... I am still and will forever be learning. All the "books" say that to precisely set the white balance to use a standard "gray card" but in my e-510 manual it says to use a white sheet of paper. Why the difference and what's the recommendation of the experts here?
    Jeff
    My grandson, Ian (not our own FTU Ian), calls me "Tata", so I am...

    Ian's Tata

    Do Not Meddle In The Affairs Of Dragons...
    For you are crunchy and good with ketchup.

    http://ianstata.com
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ians-tata/
    http://www.edwardswaterhouseinn.com/ 2014, 2015, & 2016 TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence
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  • #2
    Re: WB - Gray Card or White

    I use anything white that is in the light that I want to set for Ian. It has worked so far for me. Must admit I haven't tried a grey card though it seems to me it may work, just giving a difference balance maybe. I have on the odd occasion pointed the camera at a difficult scene and set WB with pleasing, maybe not accurate, results.

    Bill
    E510, 14-42,14-54, 50-200, EC1.4, FL36R

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    • #3
      Re: WB - Gray Card or White

      Originally posted by Ians Tata View Post
      May seem like a stupid question but... I am still and will forever be learning. All the "books" say that to precisely set the white balance to use a standard "gray card" but in my e-510 manual it says to use a white sheet of paper. Why the difference and what's the recommendation of the experts here?
      Jeff
      I use the collapsible gizmo by Lastolite (EzyBalance). It has a white and an 18% gray side. On my EP1, pre-shot, whitebalancing on the white side gives better results then on the gray side.
      B.t.w. my good old gray card had a white back also.

      With aftershot (in Photoshop, Olympus Studio, Lightroom) I've no experience, but I think gray should work better since you're sure it isn't clipped.

      Wijtze

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      • #4
        Re: WB - Gray Card or White

        I believe that there is more danger that you will pick up a reflected light source from a white sheet than grey

        additionally, many white sheets of paper have coloured elements - as do most normal sheets. dedicated grey/gray cards are supposed to be excatly that.

        finally dedicated grey cards can also be used as exposure aids too.
        E-P1, OMD E-M1, E400
        7-14/12-50/12-60/14-42/17/30(1.4)/35-100/40-150/45/50/50-200
        ec14/ec20/ex25/MMF-1, MMF-3/ RF11/FL50Rs/FL36R/SHV-1/AC-1/AC-2

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        • #5
          Re: WB - Gray Card or White

          Originally posted by photo_owl View Post
          I believe that there is more danger that you will pick up a reflected light source from a white sheet than grey
          That was one of my thoughts too, it was just puzzling that Olympus would say to use a white sheet of paper.

          Jeff
          My grandson, Ian (not our own FTU Ian), calls me "Tata", so I am...

          Ian's Tata

          Do Not Meddle In The Affairs Of Dragons...
          For you are crunchy and good with ketchup.

          http://ianstata.com
          http://www.flickr.com/photos/ians-tata/
          http://www.edwardswaterhouseinn.com/ 2014, 2015, & 2016 TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence
          https://www.facebook.com/edwardswaterhouse

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: WB - Gray Card or White

            Originally posted by Ians Tata View Post
            That was one of my thoughts too, it was just puzzling that Olympus would say to use a white sheet of paper.

            Jeff
            A white sheet reflects about twice as much light as the gray-card. Maybe that's a difference. A higher reflection makes it surer small differences disappear.
            Also Olympus will never say "... a gray surface ..." since natural gray isn't clear for most people. White is clearer. How many people carry a gray-card around?

            Wijtze

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            • #7
              Re: WB - Gray Card or White

              as has been suggested I think it's Olympus giving advice to those who won't know better!
              E-P1, OMD E-M1, E400
              7-14/12-50/12-60/14-42/17/30(1.4)/35-100/40-150/45/50/50-200
              ec14/ec20/ex25/MMF-1, MMF-3/ RF11/FL50Rs/FL36R/SHV-1/AC-1/AC-2

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              • #8
                Re: WB - Gray Card or White

                Originally posted by Wijtze View Post
                How many people carry a gray-card around?
                I do, it's always in my bag and I mostly forget to use it
                Best regards, Ad.

                Pictures | Equipment | Minolta collection | Other lenses

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                • #9
                  Re: WB - Gray Card or White

                  Originally posted by photo_owl View Post
                  I believe that there is more danger that you will pick up a reflected light source from a white sheet than grey

                  additionally, many white sheets of paper have coloured elements - as do most normal sheets. dedicated grey/gray cards are supposed to be excatly that.

                  finally dedicated grey cards can also be used as exposure aids too.
                  This is very sound advice, but if you don't have a grey card on you, a neutral white sheet of paper is usually a very effective alternative.

                  It's worth adding that if you shoot raw, it's easy to correct in post processing without worrying about WB at the time of shooting. It can be very difficult to get good WB conversions this way from a JPEG though.

                  Ian
                  Founder/editor
                  Four Thirds User (http://fourthirds-user.com)
                  Digital Photography Now (http://dpnow.com)
                  Olympus UK E-System User Group (http://e-group.uk.net)
                  Olympus camera, lens, and accessory hire (http://e-group.uk.net/hire)
                  Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
                  Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
                  Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ianburley/

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                  • #10
                    Re: WB - Gray Card or White

                    I used a sheet of A4 printer paper to calibrate my E3's white balance under incandescent light, when I select the white balance I have calibrated the colour balance is spot on in that room. I think Olympus have calibrated the cameras for using a white card which is why a white card is specified.

                    Paul
                    GH-3, OM-D, 7-14, 12-35, 35-100, 100-300, 25, 60 macro, 40-150 Pro.

                    RX100

                    View my online albums Picasa and
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                    • #11
                      Re: WB - Gray Card or White

                      I never use it if I`m in doubt i take the picture as a RAW file.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: WB - Gray Card or White

                        Originally posted by Ians Tata View Post
                        May seem like a stupid question but... I am still and will forever be learning. All the "books" say that to precisely set the white balance to use a standard "gray card" but in my e-510 manual it says to use a white sheet of paper. Why the difference and what's the recommendation of the experts here?
                        Jeff
                        White card for white balance, gray card for exposure. But which "gray" ? There is an interesting writeup here:
                        http://www.bythom.com/graycards.htm
                        GF1 / E-5 / TM900

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: WB - Gray Card or White

                          Originally posted by Ian View Post
                          This is very sound advice, but if you don't have a grey card on you, a neutral white sheet of paper is usually a very effective alternative.

                          It's worth adding that if you shoot raw, it's easy to correct in post processing without worrying about WB at the time of shooting. It can be very difficult to get good WB conversions this way from a JPEG though.

                          Ian
                          My wife had given me a portable collapsable light box for Christmas, mostly for photos of e-bay sales. With the auto-wb the pure white background was very amber. I ajusted that in RAW but could only get it to a shade of gray, then ajusted the exposure to bring it up to almost white. If I took it all the way to white then the object was overexposed. Using a white sheet of papper in the light box to set WB produced better results but sill had to be adjusted. That's why I was curious, and as usual here I got plenty of good advice.
                          Thanks,
                          Jeff
                          My grandson, Ian (not our own FTU Ian), calls me "Tata", so I am...

                          Ian's Tata

                          Do Not Meddle In The Affairs Of Dragons...
                          For you are crunchy and good with ketchup.

                          http://ianstata.com
                          http://www.flickr.com/photos/ians-tata/
                          http://www.edwardswaterhouseinn.com/ 2014, 2015, & 2016 TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence
                          https://www.facebook.com/edwardswaterhouse

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: WB - Gray Card or White

                            Originally posted by Ians Tata View Post
                            My wife had given me a portable collapsable light box for Christmas, mostly for photos of e-bay sales. With the auto-wb the pure white background was very amber. I ajusted that in RAW but could only get it to a shade of gray, then ajusted the exposure to bring it up to almost white. If I took it all the way to white then the object was overexposed. Using a white sheet of papper in the light box to set WB produced better results but sill had to be adjusted. That's why I was curious, and as usual here I got plenty of good advice.
                            Thanks,
                            Jeff
                            this is absolutely normal - colour temperature has an impact on exposure

                            this is another reason why people shooting a low light test using a lght bulb and the wrong WB are adding underexposure to the noise issues!
                            E-P1, OMD E-M1, E400
                            7-14/12-50/12-60/14-42/17/30(1.4)/35-100/40-150/45/50/50-200
                            ec14/ec20/ex25/MMF-1, MMF-3/ RF11/FL50Rs/FL36R/SHV-1/AC-1/AC-2

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: WB - Gray Card or White

                              I always carry around a Whibal with me... love it!
                              Add me on Facebook

                              E-1 | E-3 | E-30 |
                              ZD 8mm Fisheye | ZD 14-54mm mkI | ZD 12-60mm | OM 50mm | ZD 35-100mm | ZD 50-200mm |
                              FL-50 | FL-50R

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