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Thread: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

  1. #1
    Member harnamsc's Avatar
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    Default What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    Greetings to all,

    I've been experimenting with exposure balance and white balance for a while now and I'm debating whether to stick to grey card for white balance and exposure metering, OR, to splurge and buy an Expodisc or a Color Pro Portrait?

    My aim is to ask those who have used these tools and advise me which is the easiest to use? Example, lets say I'm standing on a bridge and want to shoot a distant landmark. I zoom in and frame the subject nicely, then suddenly realise I can't use my grey card to correct my white balance because the lighting where I'm standing and where I'm shooting is different so the results from my grey card will not be accurate? The same situation applies when travelling on a train through Europe or on a bus tour. Based on this an Expodisc sounds ideal.

    But according to the Expodisc website, its not accurate when using a flash on the subject? I'm really confused by the label and disclaimers about what lighting situations you can use it in. Incident and reflected light, aren't they all the same if you're pointing and metering at the subject? Hence my mentioning the Color Right Pro, it is bulky and possibly a lot more fragile and breakable, but according to the website it claims it can be used anywhere and in any situation.

    Can someone please advise me what tool I should be using and how I should use it please?
    Currently based in Melbourne / No longer living in Singapore

  2. #2

    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    For me, 99% of the time I shoot to RAW - although because of this some photogs do not really worry about WB during the shoot itself and would settle it during post, many like myself are still practicing shooting someone holding a gray card before starting the proper shoot and everytime I move to a new scene, high chance I will shoot repeat the procedure before proceeding.

    During post process, it's just a matter of getting that 'picker tool' to pick the gray and you're done. This method is by far the most common for most photographers particularly commercial or stock. I have yet to see any of them using that ExpoDisk or equivalent. I bought it once, tried it and gave it to someone a couple of days later.

    That said, when you have a scene filled with different colour temepratures, it's something that cannot be balanced so that's something to note also - for example, non-GTO-gelled flash in a tungsten litted room. So, when using artificial lights (strobes), if you want that nice balance, gelling the strobes is required.

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    Member harnamsc's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    Pardon my asking but in order to correct the color in post-process, you'll still need a grey card or reference in the photo itself right?
    Currently based in Melbourne / No longer living in Singapore

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    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by harnamsc View Post
    Pardon my asking but in order to correct the color in post-process, you'll still need a grey card or reference in the photo itself right?
    There are tricks available. There is a colour correction technique online by just using the photo. Off-hand I can't recall the name of it.

    Essentially yes, you'd need a reference. Thus if you're going to do technical photos which needs to be totally colour correct. Those woulf be best done with a tripod and fixed lighting and with a reference photo with a white card set on the subject.
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    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    Shoot in RAW. When you convert your photos, you can either use the pickup tools to select a 18% grey area or simply use K values. play around and with experience, you will see the right colour.

  6. #6

    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    Yeah.. if you dun have reference tool... just use your eyes lor... really.

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    Member harnamsc's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    Okay but what if I was touring and was shooting from a train or plane and there's no way I could introduce a white/grey card into the scene?
    Currently based in Melbourne / No longer living in Singapore

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    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by harnamsc View Post
    Okay but what if I was touring and was shooting from a train or plane and there's no way I could introduce a white/grey card into the scene?
    Take 2 photos. One with the white/grey card in the image (preferably under the same light as your subject), and the other normally.

    When processing in RAW, use the first image's grey point to set your WB correction. Use the parameters/settings to apply to your second image. Note that it might not work very well if you have made the 2 shots with AWB. You can try an estimated colour temperature for you camera WB setting instead of the presets.

    Troublesome? Yes. But I don't know how else you are going to do it.
    Will be good if anyone with a better idea can contribute too.

  9. #9

    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    I guess this is partly a problem of whether you want to...
    1) reproduce the scene which is technically correct; or
    2) reproduce the scene as you remember; or
    3) reproduce the scene according to how you feel.

    2 and 3 are easy when you shoot raw. Only 1 requires additional effort- grey card, expodisk, look for reference objects in the scene, etc.

  10. #10
    Member harnamsc's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    I'd rather stick with (1) as I'm a former Oly user so..............

    So Expodisc sounds like the better tool for what I want to achieve with my camera, but I recall reading somewhere that its only good for incident light and reflected light, but not flash or strobe lighting? And what about pointing it at the light source? Does that mean you have to point it at the sun? Or are they being fanciful and really mean you're supposed to expose the sensor w/ Expodisc wrt the subject or landscape you intend to photograph?



    Quote Originally Posted by CamInit View Post
    I guess this is partly a problem of whether you want to...
    1) reproduce the scene which is technically correct; or
    2) reproduce the scene as you remember; or
    3) reproduce the scene according to how you feel.

    2 and 3 are easy when you shoot raw. Only 1 requires additional effort- grey card, expodisk, look for reference objects in the scene, etc.
    Currently based in Melbourne / No longer living in Singapore

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    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?


  12. #12

    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by harnamsc View Post
    I'd rather stick with (1) as I'm a former Oly user so..............

    So Expodisc sounds like the better tool for what I want to achieve with my camera, but I recall reading somewhere that its only good for incident light and reflected light, but not flash or strobe lighting? And what about pointing it at the light source? Does that mean you have to point it at the sun? Or are they being fanciful and really mean you're supposed to expose the sensor w/ Expodisc wrt the subject or landscape you intend to photograph?
    Can't help with that. No first hand experience with expodisc. Maybe links from the expodisc website below might help. Better to verify the claims with actual users as well tho.

    Manual:
    http://www.expoimaging.com/support-i...words=ExpoDisc

    FAQ:
    http://www.expoimaging.com/support-f...p?support_id=6

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    Senior Member oracle0711's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    It works on all different light sources... cause all light will bound of the surface. Strobes and flash source works equally well but most strobes are calibrated to 5500k unless it is mixed with other lightings. Just mount the expodisc on your lens, set to manual focus (since it cannot focus once the lens is covered), and point in the direction that you will be shooting (in normal situation). the exposure captured will be the neutral grey color for your custom WB.

    Quote Originally Posted by harnamsc View Post
    I'd rather stick with (1) as I'm a former Oly user so..............

    So Expodisc sounds like the better tool for what I want to achieve with my camera, but I recall reading somewhere that its only good for incident light and reflected light, but not flash or strobe lighting? And what about pointing it at the light source? Does that mean you have to point it at the sun? Or are they being fanciful and really mean you're supposed to expose the sensor w/ Expodisc wrt the subject or landscape you intend to photograph?

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    Member harnamsc's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    Okay about that, in the link provided by Caminit the FAQ for Expodisc clearly states that for strobe photography you have to stand at the subject's position and point your camera at the flash itself to get a proper reading? As for ColorRight Pro the reviews and website does state that you can get a proper metering by exposing at the subject from any position.

    What about using a lightmeter to get the K temperature? I've never used one so I'm not sure if say a Sekonic lightmeter would work with my Ebay flash triggers or allow me to get the K temperature for any scene or lighting condition including low-light and flash/strobe lighting?


    Quote Originally Posted by oracle0711 View Post
    It works on all different light sources... cause all light will bound of the surface. Strobes and flash source works equally well but most strobes are calibrated to 5500k unless it is mixed with other lightings. Just mount the expodisc on your lens, set to manual focus (since it cannot focus once the lens is covered), and point in the direction that you will be shooting (in normal situation). the exposure captured will be the neutral grey color for your custom WB.
    Currently based in Melbourne / No longer living in Singapore

  15. #15

    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by harnamsc View Post
    Okay about that, in the link provided by Caminit the FAQ for Expodisc clearly states that for strobe photography you have to stand at the subject's position and point your camera at the flash itself to get a proper reading? As for ColorRight Pro the reviews and website does state that you can get a proper metering by exposing at the subject from any position.
    or you could use a white pringles cap... provided it covers the full width of the lens... but whether it is the pringles cap or the commercially produced options, one is measuring light incident to the lens face, and I would question the usefulness of that when shooting a subject far from the lens face... and if you are already close to the subject and already own a grey card, use the grey card... of course, do note that grey cards do deteriorate over time...

    as for use with flash, ideally the flash should be gelled to the ambient light temperature of the scene, unless of course one can overpower the ambient light with the flash... and if flash is the dominant light, then set your white balance to the temperature of the flash...

    colour meter would be a bit overkill in my opinion, unless one is reproducing colour to a stringent standard...

  16. #16
    Member harnamsc's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    Yeah I heard about the Pringles cap hack as well as using a thin white gauze? There are several cheaper alternatives (e.g. expocap) which will help improve the white balance. My concern is that none of them have disclaimers which state they can be used with strobes or off-camera flashes from the photographers position.

    Have you tried using the Pringles cap with flashes before? And if grey card does degrade over time then getting something more sturdy does sound like the better option.
    Currently based in Melbourne / No longer living in Singapore

  17. #17
    Senior Member oracle0711's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    not sure about the caminit site but so far the reading works fine for me with both studio strobe and other lighting condition.

    as for light meter, the one i use is basically to test to meter exposure reading. i have not use one that measures color temperature. i think the one that measures color temperature is a different device altogether. so cannot really help you in this area.

    Quote Originally Posted by harnamsc View Post
    Okay about that, in the link provided by Caminit the FAQ for Expodisc clearly states that for strobe photography you have to stand at the subject's position and point your camera at the flash itself to get a proper reading? As for ColorRight Pro the reviews and website does state that you can get a proper metering by exposing at the subject from any position.

    What about using a lightmeter to get the K temperature? I've never used one so I'm not sure if say a Sekonic lightmeter would work with my Ebay flash triggers or allow me to get the K temperature for any scene or lighting condition including low-light and flash/strobe lighting?

  18. #18
    Member harnamsc's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    Wait, so you have used the Expodisc for white balance correction in a flash-lit setting and it still works? Can I ask, when you were using the Expodisc to correct the white balance for flash lit environments, was the flash the primary or main source of light (i.e. at night or indoor studio) or was it in daylight and outdoors. If there was enough ambient light then the Expodisc could have been metering mostly from that light. After reading the FAQs my understanding is that Expodisc will reduce the amount of light entering the lens by a significant amount, hence the reason for standing at the subjects location and pointing the Expodisc & DSLR at the flash itself when metering.

    Or it could be that the disclaimer was put there in case the reflected light from the flash is not bright enough when using the Expodisc. If someone else can confirm this then I see no reason not to use Expodisc.


    Quote Originally Posted by oracle0711 View Post
    not sure about the caminit site but so far the reading works fine for me with both studio strobe and other lighting condition.

    as for light meter, the one i use is basically to test to meter exposure reading. i have not use one that measures color temperature. i think the one that measures color temperature is a different device altogether. so cannot really help you in this area.
    Last edited by harnamsc; 11th May 2010 at 01:37 PM.
    Currently based in Melbourne / No longer living in Singapore

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    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    The Expodisc itself doesn't meter anything, it's just a cap that creates a defined averaged, greyed light for the camera to adjust the WB. Whether the main source of light is flash or ambient light depends on your scene and light setup. I have used Exposdisc indoors with flash and it works well. The manual clearly states that there are 2 ways to use it: 1) meter at the position of the subject; or 2) meter at camera position. When shooting an event with different light conditions clearly option 1) is off. What you can do is shoot some test frames with Expodisc at typical positions and use RAW. The test frames will help you later to get an initial WB setting in post-processing. The rest is up to your liking. Personally, I adjust most images with people in a tad warmer than what Expodisc as technical correction would recommend.
    Btw: trying beats reading disclaimers
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  20. #20

    Default Re: What is the quickest and most versatile Color Correction tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by Octarine View Post
    Btw: trying beats reading disclaimers
    yeah, just get a tube of pringles... an excuse to indulge

    but seriously, like I mentioned, the further away one is from the subject, like shooting from a train or plane window at the distant scenery, the less useful such a device would be as the averaged light hitting the device would be dominated by light from the immediate vicinity rather than light near the subject...
    Quote Originally Posted by harnamsc View Post
    And if grey card does degrade over time then getting something more sturdy does sound like the better option.
    it depends on how "precise" you want the colour to be... quality grey cards are usually manufactured to a higher quality than white balance "cap" devices, the degradation may or may not be obvious to regular users in typical use, and those white balance "cap" devices will also deteriorate with age... ultimately, YMMV

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