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Thread: Poor man's ExpoDisc - Coffee Filters!

  1. #1

    Default Poor man's ExpoDisc - Coffee Filters!

    Getting good white balance on digital cameras has always been a problem, especially with artificial/indoor lighting. There's always professional solutions like Expodisc and grey cards, etc, etc. But after doing some research on the net about alternatives, i decided to try the "coffee filter method" for myself. Some say it works, some say it doesn't. So i did a simple test to evaluate the effectiveness. You can find the results here.

    Disclaimer: I'm still a noob so those pros out there, please go easy on me...

  2. #2
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    Thanks for your effort

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    Senior Member denniskee's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing man. Good work. Would appreciate more info on your trial.

    How did you take the shot thats to be used for the CWB? Did you take the shot against the ambient light source? Is the coffee filter place at min focus distant or against the lens when taking the shot? How about CWB for flash?

    Thanks.
    photography makes one sees things from all angles.

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    applause! well done for this simple solution

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    what brand of coffee filter you use, where you buy them......I don't drink coffee, so don't even know how a cofee filter look like .....

  6. #6

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    Ok, I updated the website abit to add in more info on exactly how to use the coffee filters.

    I'll do somemore tests with flashes. Tried it just now under the evening light and got mixed results. Need to do somemore trials to figure out exactly how to use it effectively under those conditions.

    denniskee: Thanks for the feedback
    Amfibius & eikin: Thanks for the encouragement

  7. #7

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    Hi Denonsha,

    Thumbs up for the effort. Great knowledge for the rest of us here.
    Let me share some experience. Personally, when I do macro photography, I use a piece of A4 paper to set my custom white balance. Instead of putting it up close to cover the lense, I place the paper near the object where I am shooting to let to let ambient bounce off the paper and into the lens...

    needless to say, my method has limited success because...

    1) u cant really do this for insect macro.. they see white paper coming.. run away liaoz..

    2) cannot use for "larger" scenes... where to find paper big enough to cover a landscape..

    thus, I am very grateful for your article... perhaps lat er I go buy coffee filters liao

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    Hi, I read somewhere that u can use the white lid from those canned chips like Pringles too.

    BTW, juz a question frm a noob:

    Must the coffee filter cover the entire lens or shld there be a distance between the lens and the filter? Wanna do some setting for CWB this weekend though, my pictures appear a little funny, greyish and skin tones don't appear right.

  9. #9

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    I've heard from people who have tried the Pringles lid before. They say it gives a slight blueish cast. Haven't tested it myself so can't say for sure if it's true tho.

    Eh, i guess you can do either as long as the whole frame is covered with the filter. Best would be to try out which is more comfortable and effect for you. In my test i covered the entire front element of the lens up close.

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    thanks for the great idea. on the other hand, you know what? i kinda prefer the auto WB versions. the warm colour may not be neutral, but it looks more romantic or inviting. the filter version is more 'correct' but very clinically white.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by d7t3
    thanks for the great idea. on the other hand, you know what? i kinda prefer the auto WB versions. the warm colour may not be neutral, but it looks more romantic or inviting. the filter version is more 'correct' but very clinically white.

    This will invite a never ending debate again on white balance.

    There's no right or wrong in using white balance.
    If you want to capture the ambient light as is, then you should not correct the white balance.

    But if you want white appear as white, then you need to correct the white balance. Simple as that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by d7t3
    thanks for the great idea. on the other hand, you know what? i kinda prefer the auto WB versions. the warm colour may not be neutral, but it looks more romantic or inviting. the filter version is more 'correct' but very clinically white.
    Hmm... Like art, photography will have many angles.

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    Member Marmbo's Avatar
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    Yes!

    I must try this out now as well to see what happens. I've had some problems with WB for indoor shots mostly. I hope I don't scare people away waiving coffee filters at them.

  14. #14

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    Actually people don't even have to know you're using coffee filters. You should be able to "discreetly" do the custom white balance once and use the same setting all the way thru as long as the lighting conditions remain the same.

    Anyway, I read some people actually cut out the coffee filter to size/shape and stick it to a scratched or cheapo UV/Skylight filter. It looks more "pro" then covering ur lens with coffee filters heehee. But then they lose the flexibility of being able to change filters easily if they get damaged or dirty.

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    Looks good!

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    Senior Member jOhO's Avatar
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    hey this is really cool!

  18. #18

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    The ExpoDisc is now available at Cathay Photo for those who are interested in achieving truly accurate white balance.

  19. #19

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    I've just updated the article. Hopefully it's now more informative and accurate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat
    The ExpoDisc is now available at Cathay Photo for those who are interested in achieving truly accurate white balance.
    Wah... Expodisc not cheap leh brother....

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