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Is 18% Grey 18% Grey?

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russellsnr
19 Jul 2013 - 9:50 AM

Hi, I like to shoot in RAW and manual mode so use a hand held meter.
I have looked on-line to try to find out if there is difference between for example The X-Rite 18% Mini ColorChecker Grey Balance Card,
The LASTOLITE 18% EZY-BALANCE GRAY CARD or any of the other 18% grey cards on offer. Understand the quality of the material used may be some what suspect in the very cheap cards but is the 18% grey quality actually the same in the better known branded 18% cards?
Thanks
Russ

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19 Jul 2013 - 9:50 AM

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MichaelMelb_AU
19 Jul 2013 - 10:09 AM

Why bother with white balance in RAW that much? RAW allows to adjust it to whatever you may need later.

GlennH
GlennH  91887 forum posts France1 Constructive Critique Points
19 Jul 2013 - 11:53 AM


Quote: Why bother with white balance in RAW that much? RAW allows to adjust it to whatever you may need later.

Aye, but if you shoot a subject with no neutral reference you're stuffed if you want to later easily correct the colour.

russellsnr
19 Jul 2013 - 12:14 PM

Hi, Thanks for the replies but they don't really answer the original question.
Thanks
Russ

GlennH
GlennH  91887 forum posts France1 Constructive Critique Points
19 Jul 2013 - 12:45 PM

No Russ, they're not all equal. It's all about the quality of the surface and whether or not it's able to reflect a perfect RGB balance of grey. But somehow I doubt this has fantastic real-world effect - most apparently neutral surfaces seem to be adequate for snapping mid-tone colour into place at least. Depends on how accurate you need to be, I guess.

MichaelMelb_AU
19 Jul 2013 - 1:37 PM


Quote: Why bother with white balance in RAW that much? RAW allows to adjust it to whatever you may need later.

Aye, but if you shoot a subject with no neutral reference you're stuffed if you want to later easily correct the colour.

Did you mean keeping that particular frame with the grey card in it as a reference? If yes - I am with you, it truly simplifies colour adjustments during RAW processing (even with WB set to AUTO when shooting). Smile
Otherwise, it only affects the small JPG preview incorporated in RAW file and the initial image render in RAW processing software - if EXIF was taken into account.

GlennH
GlennH  91887 forum posts France1 Constructive Critique Points
19 Jul 2013 - 2:24 PM


Quote: Did you mean keeping that particular frame with the grey card in it as a reference?

Yes, that's exactly what I meant. In many instances outdoors a colour cast is effectively the reason for taking the picture, so nobody wants to always nuke everything with heavyweight white balance corrections, but a grey card is a useful thing to carry (I guess the world's minimalists will argue against). When I don't have one I do sometimes make an attempt at getting the raw JPEG right, just to remind myself vaguely what the colour looked like.

I have cheap and less cheap grey cards lying around - maybe I'll conduct a geeky experiment at some point to see if any difference can be discerned. Generally I use any of them just to get the colour in the right ballpark.

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1314903 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
19 Jul 2013 - 2:37 PM

!8% grey cards are used for colour balance, use this to set exposer and you will be 1/2 a stop out, you need a 12% card for exposers, this is what light meters are set for.

Gundog
Gundog  1624 forum posts Scotland
19 Jul 2013 - 8:33 PM

The 18% refers to the reflectivity of the grey on a scale where black is 0 and white is 100. (18% is halfway between - which puzzles some folk).

But, on that basis, I would imagine that the kind of surface the card has and, indeed, the materials used in the manufacture of the card, would have some effect on the reflectivity.

thewilliam
19 Jul 2013 - 9:19 PM

The age of the card affects both colour and density. The Kodak type cards go paler and yellower with age so they need to be renewed at fairly frequent intervals.

russellsnr
20 Jul 2013 - 7:42 AM

Hi, Thank you for all the replies.
Some helpful info.
Russ

Carabosse
Carabosse e2 Member 1139390 forum postsCarabosse vcard England269 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jul 2013 - 1:39 PM

A 12% grey card is better for digital photography. 18% grey can lead to overexposure.

Gundog
Gundog  1624 forum posts Scotland
20 Jul 2013 - 6:52 PM


Quote: A 12% grey card is better for digital photography. 18% grey can lead to overexposure.

I believe that we are talking about it for setting white balance, not exposure.

miptog
miptog  83532 forum posts United Kingdom61 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jul 2013 - 7:24 PM

A 18% Grey Card, to the best of my knowledge, is used for both exposure and whitebalance.

Last Modified By miptog at 20 Jul 2013 - 7:24 PM
Carabosse
Carabosse e2 Member 1139390 forum postsCarabosse vcard England269 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jul 2013 - 7:32 PM

You don't really need any sort of grey card for white balance.

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