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ExpoImaging ExpoDisc ▶︎ Getting Perfect White Balance the Easy Way

Photo Moment - August 29, 2018

I've had an ExpoDisc on my shelves for many, many years. I never used it. Then I saw someone else using it and thought it may be time to give it another chance. Let's find out if it's worth it or not!

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Do you have a preferred method of getting the white balance you want?

See something on any show that you want to buy?
Head on over to https://kit.com/PhotoJoseph

•• ExpoImaging ExpoDisc 2.0 82mm White Balance Filter ••
GeniusLink - http://geni.us/zWgTsqq
Can this tool be used for sports photography inside a gym? If so, do you need to stand on the basketball court and shoot out into the audience or up to the ceiling? If so, what if you're not allowed? Can you take your test shot from the stands? What about in a high school football game? Do you shoot towards the stadium lights or at the football field? Or is it just better to get one of those color checkerboards? Lastly, is it better to also shoot in raw, in case you get it wrong? Can exposure and white balance still be corrected? Thanks for any insight you can give. I really appreciate your video. Great job!
point to the light source, so in a huge place like a stadium it doesn’t matter much if you’re in the stands or the field. And yes, always shoot RAW so you’d an adjust WB and do some exposure correction
@PhotoJoseph Thanks for the reply. I actually received mine yesterday and quickly started messing with it. I bought the 82mm so that it can fit over my 24-70 canon lens and any smaller ones. I took some before and after pics in the yard and I quickly saw the difference. The before pics had a blueish/purple hue when shot in AWB and the after pics had a softer warm tone which was more accurate. I was actually able to get some better details on textured walls and the colors weren't washed out. I think this is a game-changer, i can't wait to experiment with it this Fall when i shoot some sport pics. This device is truly worth the cheap price. I also bought a color checker passport, i can't wait to compare the two. Thanks for your videos, they are extremely helpful.
Tooks 3:44 minutes to hold the item and start explaining the subject of this very video.
Yeah lots of useful background information and things to help beginners understand the topic. Great!
Maybe you should make your own version and post it here. Be happy that this man took the effort to make this video. It's always easy to give negative comments, while such people would never take the effort to make it right and post it here on YT.
For avid learners peripheral information is not at most. Looks more a show of personal knowledge about interminable gibberish. The topic has to be quick explain and later any other information can enhance the use or the differences with similar objects. My comment was no a negative opinion but an instruction for teaching. Information presented like in this video tends to disperse the attention.
@Manolo Rodriguez I watched the video. I did not find it to be too long, too detailed or too much off topic. Your massive intellect is evidently not well suited to this form of unconcentrated information, but a lot of other people just don't agree with you. Feel free to express your disappointment, but understand that you speak only for yourself.
I just got the Kiorafoto WB filter for $10.. seems to work well.
How would you use it if you want to photograph interior with sun shining thru windows and you want those windows and sun falling on the floor in your shot ?
Would you stand near window and turn camera toward the place you want to shoot from or what ?
point the camera at the light source… so stand where the subject will be and point it at the source (the window)
@PhotoJoseph well thank you but that is precisely what is confusing me, subject is interior of the room so it is everywhere, light source is the sun shining thru window does that mean you don't move anywhere instead just point camera into window from other corner of the room from where you want to take shot ? But if that is the case you showed example of standing in shade and white balance was off and in this situation you effectively are in shade ? Is it not usable in this situation or should you stand in the sun and then point the camera into window ?
Wherever you are, you point the camera (ExpoDisc) at the light source. If you are in a room that's half shade and half direct sun, then you need to decide which you want to white balance for, and stand there. Those are two different white balances.
I use the Expodisc, Colorchecker & Sekonic 478DR light meter in outdoor shoots and studio photography. Best tools to have around in photography. You'll never be disappointed as long as you know how to use them correctly.
nice!
Hi! At 7:44 you mean "face the camera" not the "subject"... Thanks for your great video!
No… I said it correctly. The solid white side is what faces the sensor. You put this on your lens with the solid white side pointing IN, at the sensor. The "textured" looking side is what faces the subject / light source / etc.
@PhotoJoseph ok thank you... My English is not so good... But I learn a lot with your videos. Thanks
Just noticed that the original AWB reading was almost EXACTLY the same as the expodisc with the right settting, and calibrated in post. Interesting..
Wow! Thanks
Just bought one with your affiliate link 👍
Thanks!
Very good presentation. You covered it all!!
I like your style of presentation and the examples you show -- thank you so much!
Thank you!
The way this ExpoDisc is designed to work seems very logical to me, calibrate for invident light -- wow! So simple.
I've had mine for 5 or 6 years and use it pretty much all the time. I always point my camera directly at the light source and it's always worked fine. However, if I'm outdoors, I set a new white balance every thirty minutes or so since with a constantly moving source, i.e. the Sun, the angle of the sun relative to a subject will constantly change. This movement either reduces the amount of atmosphere the sun's light penetrates from dawn to mid-day, or increases as the sun moves from it's zenith to low on the horizon and as a result shifts from golden to blue/white and back to golden.
Hi. Do you point your camera with Expodisc directly into the sun when shooting outside? I just cannot get accurate temperatures. I mostly do landscapes but whenever I use Expo the temperature is always some 300 Kelvin too warm. The same with white card.
I try to move the Expodisc slightly to the left/right from the sun but it does not help.
Using inside and no such problem. Outside never accurate.
I have Nikon D610 which is well known for undersaturating red and yellow and oversaturating dark green and dark blue.
That’s why the expodisc comes with instructions 🤓
You’re new to YouTube, aren’t you 😁
Where shall we point the camera+W/B disc at if we are shooting with strobes? Pointing it against the strobes?
Always point towards the dominant light source, and ideally from the position of the subject. If you have multiple types of lights (ie balancing incandescent and fluorescent and daylight and strobe), then pointing toward your subject is the best bet.
I was using the expo disk wrong...however the stage had multicolor lights pointing down and I kept getting a white balance error on my sony a7sii. I ended up having to point it toward a spot that didn't have that color mix. Do colored lights screw up the whitebalance?
Oh yeah, definitely. That’s a unique situation and a good one to think through. Remember the purpose of white balance is to neutralize the light cast so everything looks “true”. Basically, so white is white. If you shine a blue light on a white paper and WB off of that, you’ve just turned it back to white. Thing is, you don’t WANT that paper to be white. You want it to be blue. So you need to white balance for the ambient light withOUT the stage lights, then let the stage light colors actually color the image. Does that make sense?
I don't think this is entirely good advice, for the main reason that, light temperature cools as it bounces. the direct light source is going to be warmer then the first reflected bounce. i've done exactly what was suggested in this video, I actually assumed that's how it was supposed to work, yet when i'd compare that to balancing off my grey card the expo disk was always too cool. outside especially. if I use my expo disk pointing at the sun it's way off but if I balance with the sun behind me it ends up looking good
I have had one for years. When I used it I usually pointed at the light in the ceiling. Never thought of standing where the subject is and shouting towards where I would be taking the picture from.
I sure hope you meant “shooting” not “shouting” 😂😂 (hehe sorry couldnt’ resist). If you’re shooting in a room with the single overhead light, then it won’t matter if you’re standing where the subject or the camera is, at least not for white balance. Or at least any difference would be very, very minimal. But in general, the Expodisc turns your camera into an incident light meter, and incident light meters need to be where the subject is to be the most effective. You’re measuring the light that’s landing where your subject actually is.
Do you have to do this reset before each shot?
Not every shot, but every environment change where the lighting changes; yes, if you want to be super accurate.
If you use an ND filter how do you use the export disk?
No differently, but do have the ND in place when measuring WB from the exposdisk. Some cheap ND filters will impart a color cast, so this would help to negate that.
What to do if my Panasonic camera says the light is too bright or there’s Not enough light? When I’m doing the white balance
Adjust exposure
The reason I subscribed is his voice and he is very lively😍
Thank you!
@PhotoJoseph struggling on a wedding shoot that looks so red or orange so i'm looking for one of this thing to which i was ignoring for years even after seeing it on YouTube. Thanks for the explanation
My pleasure. I hope it solves your red/orange issue!
I've had one of the ExpoDisks for many years and use it nearly every time I shoot.
I own the disk..to me it is useful if your in a controlled atmosphere or studio...but when on location I prefer using my color checker passport and adjust in post. For landscape then using a gray card will get you close enough.
so using it inside whit natural lighting is kind of pointless right? (shooting interiors)
Not at all. Interiors are the worst… even if it’s 100% sunlight that light is being affected by the window it passes through and every object light bounces off of (which will be every object you can see… if light wasn’t bouncing off of it, you wouldn’t be able to see it). But most interiors will be a mix of various temperature bulbs, and even if they’re all the same bulbs they change temp as they age. Interiors are probably the BEST place to use one of these!
Thanks for finding the time to answer my question. So in reality when I shoot any room I just set my frame, and instead of taking my first shot with the grey card to set the white balance I put the disc in front of my lens and take a white balance shot instead?
Yes but remember to use the expodisk properly, you place the camera + expodisk where the subject is, and point back to where the camera will be. It’s an incident meter not a reflective meter. Light has to be hitting it just like it’ll be hitting the subject.
Nice review. I too have one of these I bought 10 yrs ago or so and just revisited. I too used it wrong! Thanks for the video. Well done.
I just bought one last night from a Craigslist seller for $5. They bought it and never used it. I've always wanted one but I couldn't bring myself to buy one when my coffee filter worked so well.
Ben Lee can you explain how you use a coffee filter to fix your white balance?
@Kathy Simindinger
You can cover your lens with a single layer of white coffee filter and use it in the same manner as the Expodisc. I cut a filter and sandwiched it between 2 UV filters.
For the record this is the same principal but NOT as accurate as an expodisk, which is an extremely precisely calibrated device.
@PhotoJoseph That is no lie! I can't get over how much better the Expodisc is. I'm pretty mad at me for not buying one 10 years ago. I'll never go back to the coffee filter!
Thank you very much for the video. The outdoor examples (in and out of shade) were especially helpful. I just picked up an ExpoDisc and have started experimenting with it. So far, the best results come from shooting the camera/ExpoDisc at the sun. You can then either use that image to set the Custom White Balance in the camera (Canon), or use it as a reference to fix in post. Both seem to work similarly.

One odd thing I'm seeing is that when you use the WB dropper to select the gray ExpoDisc photo, the WB numbers sometimes change (but not always). Not sure whether to use the original or the adjusted number. (So far they've been very close to enough another, so the difference is negligible).
Remember when sampling you’re sampling a pixel or a few pixels. Those pixels will vary, and basically everything in the photo varies. Put a big grey card in a scene and it’ll be different from edge to edge. Ultimately all that matters is that it looks good!
@PhotoJoseph Ah, yes, of course. That makes perfect sense. If the answer had been a snake, it would have bitten me. :)

Thank you very much for the reply! That's one less mystery to keep me up at night. :)
Hi, just found this video, I was interested with your results. I use 2 lumix cameras, a g80 and an FZ2000. I have been using an expo disc and grey cards to try to match the cameras Kelvin levels, however as the cameras are in different positions I was getting very different readings and therefore could not match the colours. In truth after 6 months trying to match cameras, I now set them both to the same Kelvin rating and at least I am getting equal colour balance. There are a lot of things to think about when taking photos or indeed videos, sometimes I can’t help feeling we over complicate and end up going in circles.
Different model cameras — even from the same manufacturer — often have slightly different looks to them. The lenses also have different looks. If you need identical looking video, then you need to either have identical cameras or plan to fix it in post. I would recommend shooting a color test chart like the X-Rite color checker and using that as a baseline. You can balance color in FCPX using plugins or in Davinci revolve natively.
The fast talking made it too difficult to watch. Please just slow down. It will make you sound more credible.
i'm gonna get this for my cooking & music youtube channel ...thanks!
Great! Really does work well. Thank you!
how to you set the expodisc when you are using a flash?
Hm, I’d think no differently than not using a flash, but the flash has to stay where the camera will be for the photo, while the camera points back to where the camera will be to set the white balance. So you’d need a way to trigger the flash remotely.
I say use a gel that matches the ambient light on the flash. Otherwise white balance for flash.
So easy to talk from a studio. Would have been much better if he had gone out and showed us practical uses. It's not practical for travel or street photography. You can't always go to your subject position. I've had both ExpoDisc 1 & 2 for years. Good for portraits and close subjects. Better to use your camera's white balance settings and learn hoe to TWEAK them.
ExpoDisc has the same limitations as using an incident meter. You have to know how to use your tools, and its limitations, when it works and when it does not work.
He showed that in the landscape shot when shooting from under a shade. Same problem, the light on the ExpoDisc was not the same as the light on the subject.
When you can't use it, just use the best preset WB setting, then adjust in post.
Lol, since when did gray become white. The grey card is for getting the right exposure, white cards are for white balance. Stop disinformation, if it said gray balance it would be correct. Even using lightroom eye dropper clicking on gray is really dumb.
And yet, using grey to get accurate white balance is actually perfectly valid and works even better than using white. This product proves that, since what you see through the filter is not white but is actually grey. And to understand why, you can watch this video: https://youtu.be/-DsQDZaGckY
I'm using grey card for getting perfect white balance, and I don't call it "grey balance" because it's stupid.
I also use dropper tool on grey color on the photo to get correct white balance, which is also valid.

So stop the nonsense and go back to school
Hi Joseph. It's me again. I found the white balance filter that I purchased, and am posting to you the link. It's much more economical and built very well. I just hope I am using the correct one.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005MWKKPG/ref=m_sw_r_em_taa_Fl.cCbB3Q4B25
Hi Joseph. First, I apologize that I'm jumping the gun here and haven't even finished your video yet. Sorry. Next, I have a device that is something similar to that one except it has a handle, and wasn't super expensive. It is not totally white either. If I remember correctly, it is 18% gray. I shoot with the G9 and have tried to build a good habbit of manually white ballancing every shot before final focus. If the light just seems bad, or the camera wants to use a weird white ballance, I use this device. It really does seem to work the ballance very well. Just my thoughts. Thanks Joseph.
Sorry for the typo on using the word advice in place of device. I have a "device" that may work correctly. Thanks.
I have one like yours, with a handle. The 18% gray is correct... I believe that was actually an industry-standard gray-card tonality for some time in the film era.
you can achieve the same effect by just putting a paper tissue over your lens ... same effect as the ExpoDisc but about 0.1% of the Price ;)
Uh… a paper tissues is not an accurate WB meter.
it works been struggling to get correct custom white balance on a fuji with speedlite bounced out of a white brolley by photographing a white card put some tissue over my lens and pointed at light source used photo for custom setting, accurate white balance achieved thank you
@PhotoJoseph paper tissue worked well for me better than all the wb settings kelvin gray and white cards,and adjusting raw images with wb tools i was at a loss till i came over your video just to let you know i'm getting an expodisc and expecting it will give better results than tissue paper
Awesome! Let us know how it goes please!
@PhotoJoseph Got mine from Amazon for £34.00 that $44.90 very pleased use a lot of flash really warms things up flash is so cold even when correct kelvin is set in camera beats tissue paper which gives a slight yellow cast will have to try expodisc outside in different daylight times looking forward to some excellent results
I use it for shooting copies of artwork with outside light.
So... of no use for forest/woodlandphotography or cinematography with lot of shade between trees?
Sure it is. Accurate white balance is always important.
Super informative video, I use the Expodisc and learned a few things I didn't know. Thanks for posting this.
thanks for showing me more than the 2 from the expodisc videos sem to have. yes mine has been on a shelf 2 years, however no one has answered Does it work for landscapes?
Hello Sue, he touches on Landscape at about the 13:25 mark. Yes, it will work for landscapes as long as you are standing in the same light that is hitting your subject. Worth experimenting to turn around 180 degrees to set the white balance from the light hitting the subject as he explained earlier part of the video. Then shoot the landscape.

You need the light hitting the subject to hit the expodisc when setting the white balance hence turn around so you are facing the way the camera is pointing to set the wb. Hope that helps.
My another guess is that you have no acknowledgement about the light contamination and how it destroy the standard value on color check or any white card or grey card when used for white balance purpose. It seems to me that most of so-called photographers are just talkers only.
If you're calling me a so-called photographer, the you are barking up the wrong tree my friend. Go harass someone else.
Well... At least, you did not deny that you do not have the knowledge of light contamination on white/grey card as well as unidirectional lights influences the light reading accuracy. IMO, you should not talk about white balance at all.
You are entitled to your opinion. I suppose I shouldn’t talk about any subject without complete and total knowledge of every last component of it. Goodbye, YouTube! Now, where’s that eye roll emoji…
Who the fuck are you? Seriously? Who the fuck are you? I don't even know how to react to your comments, I just know they pissed me off and I feel like you're a fucking twat nugget.
It seems to me that you never understand that the flat style white balance filters are totally useless if you use them outdoors since they would absorb too much of strong sky lights that influence the light reading accuracy.
Thank you!! For some reason I’m confused. I’m wanting to get very accurate sunset colors. Will it work ok at sunset? So I’d point my camera away from sunset to get the reading? Why am I confused. I’ll rewatch :). Thanks!!
Sunset is hard because you can’t go to where the subject is. Hm good question though… I’d probably point it at the sky, towards the sun but not right at it. Check their website too; I’m sure that’s a common question. Thanks!
Ok thank you!!
If I understand it correctly, the overall goal/purpose of using the ExpoDisc is to capture the "raw" source of light hitting a subject vs gathering "reflected" light. To set white balance, the photographer would position him/herself in the subject's position (i.e. where the subject would ultimately stand in a shot) and create a custom white balance while aiming "towards" the light source (perhaps not directly). In this position, the camera will receive the same natural light being cast "directly" upon the subject. Once the white balance is set, the photographer & subject would move back into the correct positions. Now, any photos taken will be based on the light hitting the subject, NOT the light being reflected off the subject which would be the case if the photographer simply set the white balance without moving (typical).

Whether or not this makes a "huge" difference is probably up for debate since our eyes see objects based on "reflected" light hitting an object. So basically, you're setting white balance off the "source" of light vs "reflected" light. Again...just my understanding.
interesting. Guess the "bumpy" side is a series of corner cube shapes. Looks like that, anyway. And of course, elementary physics tells us that a corner cube reflects light back in the same direction it came from.
if anything, "wrongly" is at least the "correct" adverbial form. A better word in this context might have been "Incorrectly"
Thank you for posting this video. I've used the disk wrongly in the past as well. I shoot video only and I use X-rite when I have the time and ExpoDisk in some run N gun situations.
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