Richard Sibley tests out the ExpoDisc 2.0
ExpoDisc 2.0 at a glance:
- Available in 77mm or 82mm sizes
- Price: Around £40
- Website: www.xpdistribution.com
White balance settings may not be the most glamorous of topics, but they can be the key to making a successful image. Yes, you can always change the white balance of a raw file, but what if you shoot JPEG images? It’s important to get it right in-camera, not least because using an accurate white balance can save a lot of time editing later.
For a quick and easy way to set a custom white balance, the ExpoDisc 2.0 is at hand. There aren’t many huge differences between it and the previous version, but even if you are unfamiliar with the device it is very straightforward to use.
The ExpoDisc is a diffused filter that clips onto the end of a lens, and comes in 77mm or 82mm sizes. If your filter thread is smaller than either of these sizes, the filter can simply be held in place. Once positioned in front of the lens, you point your camera at the light source – the sun, for example, or a street lamp or LED light panel. By using your camera’s custom white balance tool, you can measure the colour temperature of the light source, as it passes through the ExpoDisc. The in-camera custom white balance tool will create a completely neutral setting, eliminating any colour cast from your shots. Once you have set the white balance, simply take off the ExpoDisc and start shooting.
Of course, the downside is when the colour of the light source is part of the ambience of the scene – for example, warm artificial light. To help in these situations, the ExpoDisc 2.0 has a new feature: the ability to use one of two supplied warm-up filters. These slightly blue filter gels sit in front of the ExpoDisc, creating a cooler colour temperature. A camera’s custom white balance tool will try to overcome this by increasing the warmth of the white balance.
Overall, this is a well-thought-through tool for those wanting a perfectly neutral white balance. It helped me get good-looking images from some cheap fluorescent lights with bulbs that had a horrible colour cast. The ExpoDisc 2.0 may not be cheap, but for accurate colour fidelity it is a great solution, and it may be of particular use for videographers. If you already own the original ExpoDisc, there is little point upgrading to the newer version.