Posted December 28, 2011 by Gavin Hoey in Articles

WhiBal Grey card ~ Review

Col2When it comes to getting very accurate colours in your photos, you’ll need to start with a known colour reference. That’s where a grey card comes into it’s own.

I’ve used several grey cards in recent years, but the WhiBal from Michael Tapes Design USA is my current favourite. The WhiBal cards come in several sizes ranging from Studio sized 8”x10” sheets, right down to the dinky keyring sized Whibal Card. They’re all made from plastic which means they’re waterproof and fairly durable, although I suspect the keychain version would get scuffed up quite quickly.

It’s worth noting that these are the sort of grey cards that are used for getting perfect colour balance rather then the kind of grey cards that are used for getting perfect exposure. As such the WhiBal cards are all light grey in colour, although to be technically accurate they have no colour at all, as they are certified colour neutral.

Colour Accuracy
Col1So how does the WhiBal perform?  Like all good tools these things make a mundane, everyday task, simple and predictable. In this case it’s job is  to get the colours accurate and to that end it’s faultless.

You might not be able to see much difference in the photo opposite (click it to enlarge) but trust me, when it comes to something like skin tones, the difference between getting the colours almost right and getting the colours spot on is vast.

Added bonus
IMG_7786All the WhiBal cards have a couple of nice touches… a ruler scale along the edge, Black and white patches and a star burst shaped target. Now personally I don’t find most of these that useful, but I’m sure others will. However the star burst target is a great way to check and remove lens chromatic aberrations.

In the next blog post I’ll show you exactly how I’ve integrated the WhiBal into my studio workflow.

Prices & availability
At $20 for my favourite “credit card” sized WhiBal card, these things aren’t disposable but unless you loose it, I’m sure it will last for a very long time. Sadly the WhiBal cards are a US import only, although mine arrived within a week and without any problems with customs charges. Details and prices can be found on the Michael Tapes Design website.

Gavin Hoey