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white balance / white balance card

white balance card white balance

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I figured how to set the manual white balance on my camera for shady situations and how to have the camera meter a white balance card to use as a standard for that shot or series of shots for that session. Now I am looking online for white balance cards. 


There are sets with black, white and grey cards. There are different hues and percentages of grey cards.


Is there a standard white balance card to use? What are the solid white and solid black cards for?


I'm just trying to find a card I can use to adjust the camera for low light and shady situations.






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Grey cards are made to at least two standards. The percentages only matter when using the card for metering.

18% cards are really for prepress use, rather than photography since 18% reflectance is exactly in the middle between black and white.

12% cards give a centered histogram and the same reading with a reflected- or an incident light meter. For white balance use, either works equally well.

The black and white cards are for setting black- and whitepoints for adjusting brightness and contrast.


The best way to get as accurate reproduction of all colours as possible in difficult light is to use an X-Rite Colorchecker and their Colorchecker Passport software. This profiles the light in full spectrum, so it can handle sodium vapour and mercury lamps with their yellow and green spikes in otherwise neutral curves, which is difficult to do with only a grey card.


I like the Lastolite foldable gray card for most white balance use and have a Colorchecker Passport in the bag for more difficult lighting.

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