Gray cards : the 12% - 18% controversy

Started Apr 13, 2013 | Questions thread
yvind Strm
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Re: Gray cards : the 12% - 18% controversy
In reply to Roland Karlsson, Apr 15, 2013

Roland Karlsson wrote:

yvind Strm wrote:

Careful, Roland.

I claim that using a grey card is much more precise than using the histogram.

The grey card method assumes even illumination of the scene. Something that is almost never the case. Even the direction of the card matters.

Absolutely. But it gives a starting point, where the skills of the photographer takes over. Sure, there are cases where a grey card is impractical or useless.

With both grey card and histogram one needs to understand the principle behind it, and then adjust according to whats desired.

With a grey card you measure the illumination, and get a fixed reference point. From there you can decide if you want objects lighter or darker.

A histogram shows distribution of brightness levels. You can't really know if it is good or bad. You can't tell from a histogram if your exposure is "correct". You can trust the japanese engeneers metering algorithms, and you can then read the histogram. But you need to consider the scene anyway. Is the distribution mainly in the middle because it is a dark scene and lack of bright tones, or did you underexpose? Point is, you can't tell the difference from the histogram. And - since Sigmas engeneers thought it was a good idea to make the histogram from the in-camera JPEG (SD14 at least), the histogram is influenced by any in-camera setting like saturation, contrast - even in camera sharpness.

Moreover, if its very critical how to expose, I assume bracketing is a good idea. You are not wasting any film with digital

Bracketing? Whats that? I never bracket.

I usually shoot manual, spot meter an appropriate area, and adjust from there. Sometimes I use a handheld meter, incident - which in principle gives same as a grey card.

For studio work (flash), handheld meter with incident reading.

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Kind regards
Øyvind

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