What is the consensus on test charts for the EX1. One can white-balance on a white card and adjust by eye and monitor if need be. Of course for multicamera shoots or shoots under odd lighting, a simple chip chart seems a good investment.
What about the chip chart with colors, do they really help or just get in the way of accurate white, black and gamma balancing? I notice there is a wide variance in cost as well. Any thoughts? What are most doing?
If you can afford it, I'd get a chart from DSC labs - preferably some model of the Chroma du monde.
You get 3 main things from the Chroma du Monde.
First of all, it's a well-made chart that will be accurate under all lighting situations. Some materials have really uneven spectral responses and so will give you quite different results depending on the spectral characteristics of the lights you are using. If you set up using one of these (non-DSC) charts - especially if you're using a source with an odd spectral response like flos or LEDs - you may find that your camera reacts quite differently to the chart than to the actual scene you're shooting.
Second, the colors on the CDM make a pattern on a vector scope that matches the graticules and is quite nice to set up a camera to. This is quite useful if you are matching cameras (which you can actually do reasonably well on the EX1).
Third, even if you're not tweaking the camera much on set, having a few frames of a chart like this under each lighting setup can be really useful in post when it comes to doing color correction. It makes matching shots a breeze, and you can quickly get a sense of exactly what a particular grade is doing.
Whenever possible, we color balance on a DSC greyscale. We almost NEVER balance on white because white varies.
Quick tip. Hit a photo store and ask for an 18% grey lens cloth. You can and should balance from a gray scale or gray card. DSC and several other companies have an assortment of cards in a small flip book. This is truly one of the best investments that you can make toward a great image. The charts have an expiration date but they actually stay accurate for many years if you take care of them and keep them out of direct sunlight unless being used. One of ours expired in 2005 and it still registers 100% accurate.