There are dozens of websites discussing white balance. There are so many products out there to help correct white balance, but which one to choose? After reading several reviews, I finally decided to test two of the most popular gray cards; WhiBal G6 Pocket Kit from www.rawworkflow.com and Premium Digital Grey Kard from www.digitalimageflow.com.
WhiBal G6 Pocket Kit cost me $29.95 (no shipping cost to The Netherlands). The kit includes WhiBal Pocket Gray Card, quick-release lanyard, table stand, and lightweight carry case. The card is made of extruded cellular PVC; a sturdy foam-like material. It is slightly thinner than a CompactFlash card and about the size of a business card.
Premium Digital Grey Kard is $ 20.99. However, it cost me $22.98 with the shipping. The package includes set of three color balance cards (grey, white, black) and lanyard with detachable clip and safety release. The cards are made of PVC plastic, each the size of a credit card.
The table stand and carry case are a plus for WhiBal. I found the table stand of WhiBal very useful for ease of setup on tables or flat surfaces. It is not easy to set up Digital Grey Kard as WhiBal. The carry case is good enough to protect the WhiBal card from scratches.
The test image above was captured in RAW with Canon 5D Mark II using AWB under tungsten light mixed with a little daylight. The original RAW file can be downloaded from here.
I corrected the image using “White Balance Selector” (eyedropper) in Adobe Lightroom. Strangely, different areas of the cards produce different results. Therefore, I selected a random point from each card.
The first image was corrected using Digital Grey Kard. It is slightly warmer compared to the second one which was corrected using WhiBal. In both cases the cards provide a useful white balance reference. After this point it is up to the photographer to fine-tune the photographs.
Personally, I like warm tones. Digital Grey Kard gives pretty good results and is cheaper than WhiBal although the money is not the most important consideration for me. However, I found the lack of a table stand inconvenient. Although, it requires a few more clicks with WhiBal to get warmer tones, it is very easy to set up.
Edit (June 7, 2010): Here is the proof that I didn’t pay for the shipping. So please don’t debate the shipping cost.