The original ExpoDisc was an aluminium disc you mount to the front of your camera lens. ExpoDisc 2.0 has a polycarbonate ring and a spring-load mechanism for mounting. It still has a semi-opaque standardised grey surface through which you can take a white balance shot with your dSLR. It’s still the easiest and most accurate way of setting a white balance in-camera. ExpoDisc 2.0 just improves on the concept without changing the basics. As with the previous version, you can also use the ExpoDisc as an incident light meter.
The appeal of the ExpoDisc has always been threefold:
- It is simple to use
- It’s accurate
- It’s fast.
Getting your white balance right with the ExpoDisc takes about 45 seconds. That’s short enough to repeat the process every time the lighting conditions change and it saves the time trying to figure out the correct white balance in Photoshop, Capture One or DxO Optics Pro after the facts.
ExpoDisc 2.0 is a polycarbonate lens filter with two spring-loaded claws that grab the edge of the lens. Currently, only the 77mm disc is available, but other sizes will follow.
My experience with the claws: they do grab the edges of a low-profile filter but they don’t grab a Xume magnetic filter holder’s. That one apparently is a fraction of a millimetre too small. However, there’s a solution: perhaps not as elegant but equally efficient is to hold the ExpoDisc flush against the lens.
I did find the new mechanism to work better than the tiny metal balls that held the first version in place. With that mechanism, the ExpoDisc sometimes fell off. That wasn’t — and still won’t be — a big deal as every ExpoDisc is supplied with a nice lanyard and filter case, but it sure looks more professional if it stays on.
What should appeal to most photographers is that the same ExpoDisc 2.0 disc doesn’t just take a white balance measurement, but also functions as a portrait warm white balancing tool. With the earlier ExpoDisc, you had to buy a separate warm white disc. With ExpoDisc 2.0, two warming gel filters are delivered in the box.
They are specially tailored gels that you insert into the recesses on the face of the ExpoDisc. Of both filters two of these specially designed gels are delivered. That’s just as well, as despite their snug fit it’s probably not too hard to lose them. A backup gel of each therefore is welcome.
Finally, the incident light meter functionality of the ExpoDisc. It’s an often overlooked feature, but one that’s actually quite useful. Your camera’s light meter may often get it wrong by 1/3 of a f-stop. That’s enough to throw off your exposure. In some cases, the error will be far bigger, e.g. when shooting an object in front of a black background.
Because the ExpoDisc evens out the differences between bright and dark and makes your camera work just like a handheld light meter, you can achieve more accurate exposure settings using it.
So, in essence, when you’re buying an ExpoDisc 2.0, you’re buying three functionalities into one: a neutral white balance tool, a portrait white balance tool and an incident light meter. All that for 49.95 USD is a real bargain.