Digital camera Auto White Balance is just awful. I’ve never used it on any brand of camera I’ve owned (including my current Canon EOS1D M3). Normally I can guess at a close balance and use the manual setting for Flash, or ‘Cloudy’ on most outdoor shoots. I’ve played around with setting the Custom WB using a white, black or grey card and rarely like the results…. enter the ExpoDisc .
The quick review is that it rocks.
It even tweaks bounce flash color to be more accurate and handles mixed lighting nicely. Because florescent lights are banned from my house (forget going green… I totally hate that harsh, ugly color!)… so I haven’t tried that yet. I can’t wait to, since I shoot in many labs, etc where the florescent mix is weird. Or in totally nasty environments like the Sodium Vapor lights at RIT. This will get me so much closer to correct color on the shoot, and I’ll need less tweaking in Aperture.
Examples of my (very) informal tests.
Auto WB (Natural light from a window, plus the TV glow of a Mario game!) It’s kind of close.
Cloudy WB (what I would have used before)
ExpoDisc Custom WB (much cleaner… look at the white controller and socks)
This is a different day, and different lighting…
(This Expo shot is a touch magenta, but I was rushing and be I could have gotten a better reading)
Cloudy WB (the green leaves were trashing the color)….vs…..ExpoDisc
To use it, you put the camera on Manual Focus, and Auto WB. Put the ExpoDisc on your lens and go to where the subject is and aim at the light source, back toward the camera. This is a classic light-metering setup for incident metering (and for you photo-geeks, Incident is why it gets a better read than Reflective metering does off of a grey card.) The ExpoDisc can also be used as a light meter…cool. They have some nice video tutorials HERE. (and know, they haven’t paid me to rave about them! I’m just happy to get better color)
Then in camera, you set that frame as your Custom White Balance and you are off an shooting. For studio Flash, Handheld, you just need to trigger with a remote and get that reading from the subject area facing the flash. I can’t wait to try using it to clean up some off-white ceilings that always taint my bounce flash colors! People really paint ceilings odd colors…
I’ll shout if I have any other notes. I’m very happy so far. It’s a bit pricy for the non-Pro shooter…. Adorama has my size for $105. It’s good to fit your biggest lens, then you can just hold it over smaller lenses. They also have less accurate, less expensive ‘amateur’ versions… as long as your camera cad do a Custom White Balance, you can use this. See HERE
PS: To preserve marital harmony, here’s a shot of my lovely Lisa (and one with Oliver), when I haven’t drug her outside for a photo test…