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  • May 13th, 2022 12:45 pm
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[OP]
Deal Expert
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Nov 7, 2003
21613 posts
1624 upvotes
Shanghai, China

Gray card

Any recommendation for a gray card to help set the white balance? I'm looking for a high-quality card that can be used for travel photography. Ideally, it should be small enough to fit in my pocket.
9 replies
Deal Addict
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Jan 14, 2005
2541 posts
151 upvotes
Toronto
https://www.henrys.com/82717-CAMERON-3-IN-1-GREY-WHITE-BALANCE-SMALL.aspx

I honestly stopped using grey cards for anything outside of studio lighting a long time ago. Auto White Balance in modern cameras are pretty good so for casual and travel photography I can't be bothered to whip out a grey card. I shoot RAW with AWB and if needed I'll fine tune in Lightroom.
If your camera's AWB is no good or you are limited to shooting JPEG then I get why you would need a grey card. Or you can just try the camera's various WB presets and call it a day.

For studio lighting like portrait or product photography accurate whites are important and there is actually time to set up so that's the only time I use a grey card.
Deal Addict
May 19, 2003
3057 posts
1144 upvotes
Auto white balance is useless in mixed lighting scenarios (indoors where you have daylight, LED, tungsten and fluorescent going on).
I picked up the Spydercube recently and it really works. You can neutralize white balance, highlights and shadows all in one go.

Deal Addict
Aug 30, 2007
1916 posts
1248 upvotes
For traveling, I find the cheap "Collapsible Photo Light Reflector" cards one can find on ebay under $20 both accurate and convenient enough. When I have time though, especially if the light is complicated (mercury, mixed etc), I cannot live without my X-rite Colorchecker Passport. It is a bit pricey, but it is very compact, and has convenient software. I also bought the cheaper SpyderCheckr by Datacolor, but ended up not using it, as the software is more primitive (one has to manually find the target in the shot every time, which significantly slows down the processing), it is too large (doesn't fit in my camera bag, and is more breakable), and I didn't like the corrected colors it produced.
Newbie
Jun 21, 2012
4 posts
Eh, close enough. Exposure metering isn't rocket science. The old days we'd use the palm of our hands as a grey card. If you need something NIST certified for color meter calibration purposes, that's a different story and also not cheap.
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2013
2070 posts
1401 upvotes
Toronto
I got one from Amazon.
Newbie
May 12, 2022
3 posts
N_Raged wrote: https://www.henrys.com/82717-CAMERON-3-IN-1-GREY-WHITE-BALANCE-SMALL.aspx

I honestly stopped using grey cards for anything outside of studio lighting a long time ago. Auto White Balance in modern cameras are pretty good so for casual and travel photography I can't be bothered to whip out a grey card. I shoot RAW with AWB and if needed I'll fine tune in Lightroom.
If your camera's AWB is no good or you are limited to shooting JPEG then I get why you would need a grey card. Or you can just try the camera's various WB presets and call it a day.

For studio lighting like portrait or product photography accurate whites are important and there is actually time to set up so that's the only time I use a grey card.
Very much this. Most cameras have the capabilities of adjusting properly under natural light and the only time you may use one is if you're indoors fighting multiple light sources. (sunlight and fluorescent and tungsten? oh my)

But if you really would like to buy one, professionals often rely on X-Rite products.

They have a small (but uncovered) X-Rite ColorChecker Classic Mini or the somewhat protected ColorChecker Passport Photo 2, which may be what you need. Amazon links, but if you can grab them from a local camera shop it may be cheaper/better.

https://www.amazon.ca/X-Rite-ColorCheck ... B07TXR2146
https://www.amazon.ca/Calibrite-ColorCh ... C56&sr=1-5

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