Worry Free Digital White Balance – The 0.05 Cent Expodisc

5c_digital_white_balance.jpgOne of the great advantages of working with RAW files is the ability to control the white balance in post production. For example, if you have mistakenly forgot to move your white balance settings from shade to tungsten when you switched location, you can spend two minutes in Lightroom, Photoshop or Adobe Bridge and make the red blue again.

But, but… What if you could make sure that your white balance setting is perfect every time? You can then save on precious post processing time and deliver your images straight from the camera.

ExpoImaging has a nice little product that will help you hit the correct white balance mark on every location. The ExpoDisk is a little device you can use to get a precise white balance reading from any situation. Here is how the general idea, demonstrated on the ExpoDisk (DIY version, right after…):

The ExpoDisk is a semi-transparent filter like device you can mount on your camera’s lens. When mounted on the lens, light is still coming in, but any shape or form can not go past the filter. When the ExpoDisk is mounted, all the sensor can see is a white blanket. Which white? Depends on where you point your camera:

Point your camera to a tungsten bulb and the sensor will see a reddish white; Point your camera to a fluorescent light and your sensor will see a greenish white.

Now what if you set your white balance according to the white blanket exposure? You are sure to get the correct white balance reading, since you are reading it directly from the light source.

Now wouldn’t be nicer if you could do it for less then a dollar? Less then a cent?

Reader Jason Wallace invented the CoffeeFilterDisk. It is a small coffee filter circular cut that you can place on any old UV filter and achieve a similar effect. You can read the full post on DIYP Flickr threads. IT also have some great samples of using the cheapo white balancer.

The nice thing about this gizmo is that it will work even without the UV filter. Just mount a piece of tissue on the lens. Hold it tight and make the shot.

A nice exercise is to try and shoot jpegs for a week or two. You
will then know if you are setting your camera to the correct white
balance or not.

UPDATE: it turns out that the default  permissions of the discussion threads is private. this why the link did not work. I made the changes to allow everyone to view the thread. Of course DIYP group members were never blocked.

Other Great Photography Hacks:
What Can You do With Six Speedlights and a Coffee Can
Just Fab’s Turkey Pan Beauty Dish
The Strip Light That Won’t Strip You
The DIY Strip Light
Using Clamps As Flash Light Stands
DIYP Flickr Threads