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I've been contemplating the purchase of an Expodisc to finally be rid of most white balance corrections. The price is a little steep for me, however. I was wondering, is there a way to make something similar to this using materials that one might find 'off the shelf' at a store like Home Depot?

I've tried lenses (prismatic diffusers) from lighting fixtures combined with various translucent plastics without much luck.

Note, the price is not that steep, I'm just one who sticks to a very strict gear budget and I like the satisfaction of making my own stuff.

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From what I understand about Expodisc, it is a rather carefully engineered filter. It is designed to transmit a diffuse 18% of visible light, corresponding to a standard 18% gray card. Unless you have a way to precisely measure the light passing through materials that can be found at the likes of Home Depot, and can ensure that the resulting light is properly diffused, I am not sure you'll have any luck.

I would either buy a set of gray cards, or just bite the bullet and get the Expodisc.

  • +2 for the bullet. – Tim Post Jul 20 '10 at 8:42
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I bought an inexpensive white balance filter on Ebay from a seller in China for under $10. It's basically white translucent plastic. I tested it by taking pictures using the filter to adjust my white balance manually; then, took the same shot using auto white balance, as well as the preset for the type of light in which I was shooting. When I compared the 3 images, the one I took using the plastic filter appeared to be closer to the actual colors of objects in my photos than the auto or the preset. The cheap plastic filters may not have the color accuracy of the more expensive Expodisc, but for $10, I felt it was close enough. Hope this helps!

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Well, the Expodisc will capture the white balance of all the light reaching the camera, not the subject, which could be different. I'll bet a cheap gray card would meet your needs. They cost something like $5.

To answer your question directly, I suspect it's difficult to find a color-balanced white or gray object that wasn't specifically designed to be so.

  • Shouldn't most of regular office papers suffice? – che Jul 16 '10 at 9:07
  • 2
    Office papers have brighteners in them - basically, they're flourescent. Also, no one's made any effort to make them a pure white. You could check with a colorimeter, though make sure the spot you check is illuminated, not shadowed, to capture the flourescence. – Reid Jul 16 '10 at 13:24
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Ebay has pseudo knockoffs that use a plain white plastic covering to assist in white balance correction. They cost around $3, but your mileage may vary on how accurate they are.

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I have found a site that explain how to use an existing filter and a coffee filter, I will be shooting a wedding tomorrow and am going to give this technique a try.

Here is the link if anyone is interested in trying it out! :)

  • If you're careful when cutting and fitting the coffee filter (so no 'unfiltered' light comes through) .. that just might work. I'm going to give it a try this weekend. – Tim Post Sep 28 '12 at 3:33

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