White Balance Salvation?

I often struggle with white balance. Too cool, too warm, a bit green . . .  The automatic settings on my Canon work sometimes, and other times not so much.  Auto White Balance (AWB) often gets it wrong. I have a gray card, but more often than not, it stayed in my backpack.  I’d read about the ExpoDisc 2.0 (link) a couple of times and decided to give it a try. Amazon has a money-back guarantee, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

I took it out for a brief spin yesterday and I am very happy with the results. It is super easy to use. You just hold it in front of your lens, snap a picture and use that image have the camera manually set the correct white balance. I thought this would be complicated, but it wasn’t. It takes all of fifteen seconds to do it.  It’s small enough to fit in any bag I’m carrying my camera in, and so it will go with me anywhere my camera does.  It will get a good test today, as I am going to be indoors under what I assume will be fluorescent lights.

Buddy in the backyard. It was cloudy yesterday (rain today!).

 

Buddy and tennis ball at his feet.

Jezebel in my office lit by window light.

Buddy by window light.

Needless to say, I won’t be returning the ExpoDisc. I love it.

 


17 comments

  1. I try to set the white balance when shooting snow, but otherwise use the auto. If I end up tweaking it, it’s usually to make it slightly warmer.

    Recently I’ve been using DxO a lot, mostly because it seems to do an automatic adjustment, and invariably it’s one I find both pleasing and realistic. I’ve tried duplicating it in Lightroom, but can’t quite get it.

    And I too had read the ads about the disc. I would be interested in seeing how it handles split scenes (sky and land, land mountains and sky, or land and water – I know, not much water in Nevada), or reflective things like snow.

    Although . . . Cannon; different internal algorithm from Nikon. Still, maybe even a before and after would give me an idea of the difference.

    Finally, is that a path he wore into the grass, or is it from work you guys were doing?

    • Nope, that’s a doggie path… From the two of them. 😦 I’m hoping it improves in the spring and summer, but we moved into the place in October, the sod was reasonably new, and this is the result. If it doesn’t get better, I’m going to go with the flow and put some stepping stones in.

    • I understand white balance, and I even understand using a gray card. My problem is that I don’t use my gray card with enough consistency. It’s a pretty straightforward process though.

  2. Auto is fine for general shooting but you have to accept a variance between shots. Mostly that is fine for general record shots. But if I am doing a series of shots at a location I either use a preset (say sunlight) to give a standard balance over the series (i.e. no variation so all the greens or what have you the same) But I do use the Expo Disc for mixed lighting and interiors, it gives dead accurate settings and is easy to use. It is also a great exposure meter in those very tricky lighting situations. Not mega bucks but not cheap either but worth the outlay

    • Agree. Not cheap, but not too expensive either. And yes, one can use it as an exposure meter as well (though I do have a handheld that I’m using with more consistency these days).

      • Interesting. I stopped using the meter because I could use the meter on the camera (spot, center, or matrix) to do the same before taking the shot.
        I also found the histogram to be a useful tool as I’m shooting.

        All of the above, of course, is contingent on whatever what I’m shooting allows it. If I’m shooting animals, birds, etc. the main concern is in getting the shot. Things like sunrises and sunsets are also more dynamic than most people imagine.

        And there is another aspect of this as well. Even with the correct white balance, people have differing preferences depending on the subject, and might end up tweaking the white balance in post-processing. Even if they don’t, other adjustments they make can affect temperature perception.

        Still, given the praise, it’s something I will look into.

  3. I love the expo disc I usually don’t leave the house without it. I am however going to buy a new one as ver. 2.0 includes gels for portraits. I have one of the originals but back then for portraits you had to buy another disc which were a hundred dollars back then. Great post.

  4. If I order this gizmo, I’m gonna’ shoot myself! Chuckle… There is no way I’d use anything to improve my photos. I must have a genetic disposition for failure. I keep ordering stuff and not using it because I don’t want to read the directions. Can you imagine!! I am impressed with the natural color here. I don’t take many photos indoors because of the low light, so I don’t worry much about it. Sounds like a nifty gadget though!! I’ll tell my friend about it. Thanks for sharing, Carissa.


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