I'm using a 3x5 grey card to set a custom white balance for a Nikon D800 camera, however, for my 50mm lens, the card does not completely fill the camera's image frame. It appears this is throwing off the custom white balance when I look at it later in Photoshop.

Is there a way to limit the custom white balance to the portion of the frame that includes the gray card? Or do I just need to get a larger card to completely fill the frame? When I get in close with the autofocus turned off, I find that I start casting a shadow on the card.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm surprised this is getting down votes. It seems like a legitimate question. Other cameras do have the ability to select the size and position of the section of the frame used for custom white balance, so it's not like it's totally from left field. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Dec 25, 2015 at 4:10

1 Answer 1


You can easily fill the frame with a card that size, get closer. You may need to turn off auto focus and just shoot it out of focus, that likely won't be a problem (I do this often).

If you start to lose a lot of light because you are really that close that you are covering up your light source with the camera and your body, that may be a concern. If that is the case, yes you should purchase a larger card.

Alternatively you can shoot in RAW and just set the white balance in post production off of the card as long as the card is large enough in the image to use an eye dropper to set it.


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