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Categorized | Articles, Gear, Jason DiMichele

Gear – ExpoDisc 2.0 (full review)

ExpoDisc 2.0

 

By Jason DiMichele

The ability to get a photograph correct in-camera is a valuable skill to acquire. It allows for a more enjoyable creative experience, and saves time during post-processing. There are many accessories that help achieve this, and ExpoImaging’s ExpoDisc 2.0 (ExpoDisc) is one of them. Its claim to fame is its ability to get you a perfect custom white balance, but it has a couple other very practical uses.

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The ExpoDisc ($73.99 CAD at www.redravenphoto.com) is a filter-type accessory used in front of your lens. It can be attached to your lens with spring-like tabs, or simply held in front (especially for lenses with smaller filter threads). It comes in two sizes, 77mm and 82mm, and the price is the same for both. One side of the ExpoDisc is white, and the other side a prism-type texture. Made of polycarbonate, it is portable, light and tough. ExpoImaging hand-calibrates each ExpoDisc that leaves the factory to ensure colour neutrality and an 18 percent light transmission. Each ExpoDisc comes with four portrait warming gel filters, a lanyard, a sturdy carrying pouch, a calibration certification card and a user quick start guide.

The ExpoDisc is known mainly for helping you create the perfect custom white balance instead of using a grey/white card. However, it can also be used for a couple other important tasks. One is to determine how much dust is on your sensor, and the other to achieve an 18 percent meter reading for exposure purposes. The product documentation is well-written and easy to follow, available online, and I suggest giving it a quick read.

©Jason DiMichele

White balance

Achieving correct white balance can be critical in some situations, and very useful in others. For the JPEG shooters, it’s critical getting white balance correct in-camera. Since JPEGs are 8-bit, it’s easy to ruin your photo if you need excessive white balance adjustment. For RAW shooters, getting the white balance proper in-camera will save you time post-processing. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll get a technically accurate starting point, which can inspire creative white balancing during processing.

Using the ExpoDisc for creating a custom white balance is very quick and easy. The process will take about 10 to 15 seconds. Make sure you have the white side of the ExpoDisc facing the lens. In most situations, point your camera at the brightest light source and use your camera’s custom white balance feature. Check the user guide for other white balance situations. The ExpoDisc can also be used with other filters. If the light isn’t changing, you can use the same custom white balance, and won’t need to make one for each photo. Although the gel filters that come with the ExpoDisc are called portrait warming filters, they can be very beneficial for the correct white balance of warmer scenes, such as sunsets. I found the ExpoDisc worked well in single lighting and multi-lighting situations. It can be used successfully both indoors and outdoors, and can be a good learning tool for understanding white balance.

©Jason DiMichele
Dragon fly

Sensor dust

Many photographers are well aware of the battle on dust. Winning the dust battle includes knowing if it exists on your sensor, and its location. The ExpoDisc is an excellent tool for this. Using a very simple procedure, you’ll quickly have a photo that’ll display your dust situation. This is very useful, as it can also be used as a reference when post-processing your images. Since dust can change on your sensor, regularly check your dust with the ExpoDisc until you clean your sensor.

Incident metering is generally more accurate than reflected metering (the method your camera uses). To use the ExpoDisc for incident metering, simply stand next to your subject and point the camera towards where you’ll be shooting from. However, this won’t work in all outdoor situations for various reasons. When I use the ExpoDisc for incident metering, I find that it works like a charm.

ExpoDisc 2.0 field test

The ExpoDisc is a highly-regarded photographic tool. It’s definitely one of those overlooked accessories that more photographers need to know about. I found it was very useful in many situations, and provided consistently accurate results. It’s easy and quick to use, and I can recommend it as a very valuable addition to your kit.

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