White Balance Lens Cap - Perfect White Balance in Every Lighting Situation

White Balance Lens Cap – Perfect White Balance in Every Lighting Situation

One of the coolest digital camera accessories that I’ve come across lately is the White Balance Lens cap. I first heard about it from my friends over at Photojojo.

The concept is simple. Rather than having to carry a Grey Card around with you or relying on post production to get White Balance right – you simply switch your camera into white balance mode and take a photo – with your lens cap still attached.

Doing this tells your camera what kind of light you’ve got in the scene in front of you so it can make the perfect adjustment to take well balanced shots in that location.

Here’s how the lens cap looks.

white-balance-lens-cap.jpg

The lens cap comes in quite a few sizes – for most popular lens diameters and will replace your current lens cap meaning you’ve always got it with you to take the perfectly balanced shot in all lighting situations. It also comes with a neutral and warm white dome so you have a choice of three ‘whites’ to suit different preferences.

No more shots with yellow, orange or blueish tinges to them – just great shots.

The lens cap costs between $45 and $65 – depending upon what size you need. Learn more about it and get your own at Photojojo.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Keith March 2, 2013 03:29 pm

    To all those who feel they need one for each lens they own, might I suggest that you really only need one for all the lenses you are using at one particular time; i.e.the ones on the Camera when you take the shot. The ones you are not using could be covered with the cap they came with.

  • David Sapir January 17, 2013 03:35 am

    Such a cap becomes more-or-less essential when photographing anything at wavelengths up to 720nm and even then customized firmware to differentially set RGB channels would be an appreciably helpful sophistication. Above 720nm, no problems!
    (Azizul - Was there a UV(0) or UV(C) with your face shot? AWB/ETTLII?)

  • Chris October 9, 2012 10:34 am

    I find it funny that so many people are confusing white balance and exposure. As far as the right way to do use any of the custom WB caps/filters, stand where your subject is and shoot towards your light. If you're shooting over a great expanse, ie landscape, take what you can get and fix post.

  • Neil October 12, 2011 11:19 pm

    I recently completed an underwater photography course where adjusting your white balance is key. A small piece of white card or plastic is all you need. Stick it in your camera bag, hang it off your camera strap, glue it to the back of an existing lens cap. It won't cost you much at all. I'll shoot raw and fine-tune later where needed but getting the picture right when you take it is easier.

  • Tad October 8, 2011 07:09 pm

    Sorry, but am I missing something here? How do these work? How can taking a shot with the lens cap attached expose the sensor to the lighting conditions in the intended environment? Someone explain, please.

  • Nick June 14, 2011 12:21 pm

    DIY (for greycard and WB lens cap): Hold a white piece of paper in front of your camera or aim the camera at something white in your scene and set your WB to custom. Tada... A free ,simple solution.

  • azizul April 12, 2011 06:59 pm

    mlawin, try to turn off Auto Focus on your lens and take a shot. :)

  • mlawin January 28, 2011 09:17 am

    try to shoot with white paper on my lens and my camera will not take a shot.

  • Mike Thorsen December 30, 2010 05:51 pm

    I'm a DIY kind of guy. How about a hack to make your own from an old or extra lens cap?

  • Luda May 12, 2010 01:11 pm

    Whaaaat? $45+ is way too much. I found some on Amazon for less than $20! Shop around before going to camera stores... you'll usually be able to find the exact same thing for less than half their price.

  • bakulao April 28, 2010 03:34 pm

    I use a white paper plate when there is no white tissue around in a party. It also works! White painted doors are almost everywhere. Works just fine. Grab somebody wearing a white shirt. They love the attention!

  • peter coleman January 27, 2010 09:32 pm

    I picked up a full range of white balance lens caps at a online shop called phoebe in hong kong.
    I found this shop through e-bay.
    I have purchased quite a lot of camera gear with these people and got five star service every time.
    Oh by the way, the lens caps cost only seven dollars each including delivery , within seven days of purchase.

    Cheers .
    Peter

  • B Tari January 3, 2010 02:45 am

    I purchased this while on a trip to Tokyo and found it very inaccurate indeed... from my point of view a total and complete waste of money, I still get angry when I think about it.

    Instead invest your money in an ExpoDisc or ExpoCap from ExpoImaging Inc. ( www.expoimaging.com ) which are deadly accurate and you'll be pleased with the final results (please note that ExpoDisc and ExpoCap are two different products, I prefer ExpoDisc). If you shoot RAW like me, you don't really need this or any other white balance aids, however, they come in very handy when shooting Jpegs. I use them all the time anyway as I don't like to over-edit my photos on the computer, don't believe in that approach.

    There are cheaper products on the market essentially accomplishing the same thing such as Mennon white-Balance Lens Caps or Seculine Vivicap which is an excellent product and very inexpensive!

    Hope this helps those who are wondering which white balance aid product to get!

  • brian picseeker July 21, 2009 08:11 am

    I bought a multi coated slim polorizer filter to reduce vignetting so this won't work with a lens white balancer, but for shooting through windows/ponds etc... would it be a great advantage to get a polorizer that would fit a clip in WB cap? And what about UV filter?

  • Mick from Oz June 6, 2009 10:05 pm

    I bought the mennon version of this. They were less than AUD$10. Which is about USD$7-8. At that price, i bought two, one for each of the lenses I own.

    The nice thing about the mennon is that it comes with a short strap which attaches quite nicely to the neckstrap or just around the lens if you prefer, so I never need to hold it or worry about losing it.

    I know there are lots of different solutions out there, some better, some worse, but this one suits me as it's ALWAYS there, i don't have to remember to bring a white card, or a piece of paper, or a filter..etc. I'm just an amateur photographer, so quite often I just chuck my camera in my backpack, with nothing else, so it's good to have the ability to set WB whenever I want. If I was a pro photographer who carried gear with me wherever I went, then I would probably use something different.

    I don't know why people get so aggressive about topics like this. No one's forcing anyone to use it or saying it's the best way to achieve correct WB. It's just another option amongst dozens of options

  • kevin dorgan April 6, 2009 08:58 am

    This is very simple. Drill hole in cheap lens cap, glue a disc of translucent plastic over hole. Job done.

  • John Dudeck March 20, 2009 11:05 am

    I have been thinking about this for a while. The effect of using one of these white balance lenscaps is to set your custom white balance to 18% gray for whatever light is falling on the lenscap at the time you do it. That means that if you are pointing towards your scene when you do it, it will be influenced by the colors of the scene (green grass, blue sky) rather than the source of light. I think you need to go to the subject and point the lens cap towards the source of light to get the correct results.

    I also think it should be possible to get the same results by using a piece of light diffuser plastic from for example a recessed lighting fixture. I haven't looked yet, but it must be possible to find these at Home Depot or Lowe's. Just cut it down to a size that you can hold over your lens.

    I never thought of using a piece of tissue or coffee filter.

    The other point is that if the filter has a color tint, it will cause the white balance setting to move to the complement. Expodiscs are available in pure white and also with a blue tint which causes the white balance to shift to a warmer tone.

  • MyPicture and friend February 23, 2009 05:58 pm

    nice post, friend.please come to my blog to see MY picture and friend

  • David Blanchard January 17, 2009 08:50 am

    I don't have this device, but I do have an ExpoDisc, Whibal, Photovision, generic grey plastic. yeah, I get carried away. Funny thing is, 90% of the time I use Auto White Balance and tweak it later.

    a> I think a pocket sized WhiBal is a much better solution at a much lower price.
    b> I question whether this will work for Nikon SLRs. It is my understanding that they need a white balance device that covers the entire sensor. A pocket sized WhiBal has the same problem.
    c> VERY high price, and unlike an ExpoDisc (buy a big one and use it for all lenses), you sorta need one for each lens.
    d> For those tempted to buy a Kodak card, 18% grey is not neutral and not really intended for white balance.
    http://www.bythom.com/graycards.htm

  • Jim Juris January 16, 2009 03:56 am

    Security, I believe that I read about the palm of a persons hand in some photography publication. I don't recall where it was that I read that.

    No I have not studied the zone system. Please tell me where I can find out more about the zone system.

    I asked someone that I know who makes and sells jewelry to try this experiment. Take a photograph of a piece of jewelry the way she normally does. Then take a second photograph by placing the palm of her hand right above the jewelry item, depress the shutter button half way, then pull back her hand and photograph the jewlery without letting up on the shutter button. She reported back to me that the white background that she used was white instead of gray. Her white background color was coming out grayish instead of white when taking photos of her jewelry before I asked her to do this experiment for me.

    I just asked her to try doing the experiment again with a different color background such as red or green instead of white, black, gray or ivory. I hope to hear back from her in a few days with her results.

    I won't say that using the palm of your hand will work perfectly, but it may give a person better results than they would get without using anything.

  • irispatch January 16, 2009 02:45 am

    My question is how well will this function after a few years? We all know that plastic, especially white plastic degrades over time. In 1, 2 of 5 years the thing may have ever so slightly turned yellow then what?

  • Erick January 16, 2009 01:36 am

    There are a lot of great suggestions/idea's in regards to WB. Some expensive and others practically free. My question is why so expensive? What is the reason for the price difference in WB caps? Actually more specifically, why is an EXPODISC way more expensive then let's say a Mennon Lens Cap? Is there R&D that goes into an EXPODISC that technically makes it superior?

    If anyone has insight, please share.

    Thanks!

  • Security January 16, 2009 12:16 am

    A reply to Jim above .......... yes, but the palm of your hand is Zone VI, not Zone V (18% gray). Have you ever studied the Zone System? Perhaps you should check it out before you start giving people advise like that.

    These lens caps are way too expensive for what they are. Jut too gimmicky for real photographers, maybe amateurs will buy into it, but I'd be surprised at even that. The bottom line is that there is no magic/silver bullet to better exposure! The more you learn about light and how it works and how the photographic medium reacts to the light, the better photographer you'll become.

  • hotrocks January 14, 2009 09:20 am

    Ok so i looked around google and they have other kinds for less than $10...so why pay 45$?

  • Frank January 13, 2009 06:14 pm

    The thing wrong with the white bal lens cap is that you may need one for every lens you own. Could be quite expensive.

  • Torgeir January 13, 2009 05:42 pm

    With the rate I'm loosing lens caps, this is really NOT a viable option

  • Jim Juris January 13, 2009 04:59 pm

    We all carry a 18% gray card around with us everywhere we go. It is the palm of our hands.

  • Balasubramanian. January 13, 2009 02:47 pm

    Hi,

    I am relatively new. I have a logical question. When we take shot on a white surface to get a white balance reference, we have to use one of the settings of white balance. How this reference tainted with a mode will serve, technically as a correct white balance when white balance is set to suctom mode?

  • dvan January 13, 2009 02:26 pm

    Similar item even cheaper here:

    http://www.mennon-usa.com/store/white-balance-caps-c-80.html

  • Mark Astmann January 13, 2009 02:16 pm

    The main issue I have with type of device is that is doesn't measure the light falling on the subject, it measures the light coming into the camera. If your subject is in deep shade but your camera is in bright sunlight or vice versa the white balance would be inaccurate.

  • martin fiege January 13, 2009 03:05 am

    i just got one of these (different look, but same result) for christmas. and it cost 6,99 euros!!! and to be honest: its not worth more than that! its just a piece of plastic. but: it works PERFECT! the results are amazing! get yours!!

  • filemanager January 12, 2009 02:37 am

    Wicked! I totally want one, but first I want to try this coffee filter idea.

  • digitalfrog January 11, 2009 06:51 pm

    Amazing!!. definately want one. I agree its a little costly but for the time its going to save me in post production... well lets say it won't take long to pay for itself

  • Antony January 11, 2009 03:16 pm

    this is really cool idea but its costly in my view.
    for digicamera's reviw visit: http://jaydendigitalcameras.blogspot.com/

  • Dan Rode January 11, 2009 12:32 pm

    Bruce, I shoot raw exclusively but also use a gray card pretty frequently. Although I can easily adjust the WB in Photoshop or Lightroom, it's faster and more accurate to set the WB correctly on the camera. That said, I only do it about 10% of the time when I think the camera's auto might fail. I may start using the coffee filter, tissue solution more often. It's nice to have correct color in the LCD and saving time in PP is also a big benefit.

  • m January 11, 2009 03:24 am

    I got this for Christmas and find it an exellent tool for white balancing-all of my pictures come out perfect! And I spend less time in photoshop :D

  • Zibri January 11, 2009 01:38 am

    What an AD post!
    I usually shoot in RAW and do white balance on the raw image when reviewing it.
    Very simple.
    And for manual white balance, a grey thing, a blanket or anything white will do.

  • Homburg Pokes January 11, 2009 01:13 am

    I'm sorry, I thought the website said $65 for a lens cap.

  • Michael Warf January 11, 2009 12:30 am

    Why does the cool stuff come out AFTER Christmas ;-) I would love one of these.

  • James January 10, 2009 09:15 pm

    Bruce,

    Adjusting the WB before hand, makes life a lot easier if you have about 300 RAW images. Thus adjusting it before hand will save you a lot of time. But if you have the patience, you dont really need to adjust it before hand if you dont want to.

  • Bruce January 10, 2009 06:15 pm

    Sorry if this is a dumb question...if you are shooting RAW, would you worry about a custom white balance when you can easily adjust the color temperature using RAW conversion software?

  • Grant Northsby January 10, 2009 01:59 pm

    I bought this lens cap a few weeks back and it is great. I too had done the coffee filter thing and that does work - but its not the most elegant solution in the world! This is much more professional looking and easier to use - its always attached to my camera and there is no more digging around in my bag for a coffee filter (which gets dirty and grubby).

    Sure it costs more than some DIY options but my Canon EOS 5D II costs more than my camera phone.... and I get better results from it too.

  • paul January 10, 2009 12:34 pm

    you can also do the white balance with a white coffee filter ..or napkin ...toilet paper ...i tried it and it works ...i also have a expo disc ...the real white balance cover ..they all work great

  • miguel January 10, 2009 12:08 pm

    I have bought a cheap one in ebay for about 5€. I don´t know if It works well because I haven´t recived yet.

  • Juan de Agua January 10, 2009 11:28 am

    >Nice ADVERTISMENT POST! what is this place turning into
    >seriously? Useless posts and ads all the time!
    >
    >just bring a white peace of paper with u and take a pix
    >of that….

    Dood!

    It's information, and I for one am interested in it. If it doesn't apply to you or you are not interested, move on and STFU!

    I hope you can understand this since it's obvious you lack rudimentary spelling and grammar skills.

    Have a good life.

  • Bruce January 10, 2009 09:03 am

    I'm really surprised that so many people whose opinion and commentary I normally respect are falling for this incredibly gimmicky (and outrageously priced) gadget.

    Please tell me you're kidding with this post?

  • James January 10, 2009 07:31 am

    Nice ADVERTISMENT POST! what is this place turning into seriously? Useless posts and ads all the time!

    just bring a white peace of paper with u and take a pix of that....

  • Eric S. January 10, 2009 07:13 am

    I saw this item a few weeks back and appreciated the concept. But pricey indeed.
    I went on ebay and bought a similar one for less than $6.00

  • Seb January 10, 2009 05:50 am

    I use just one layer tissue, put it on the lens a take a picture into the light and then use it as a custom white balance shot - works perfectly.

  • Chris January 10, 2009 05:37 am

    I would never pay that much money.

    Just use a Pringel's Cap or sth like this that'll do the job....

  • Stefan January 10, 2009 04:27 am

    German readers may search the Happy Shooting podcast for the infamous "Pringles cap", which became a running joke in several episodes :-)
    http://www.happyshooting.de/podcast/2007/04/26/035-mein-stuhl-dein-stuhl/
    (to sum it up: The cap of Pringles crisps works exactly as well as the professional white-balance cap introduced in the episode linked above)

    Everyone looking for an affordable, yet not home-grown solution should check out this:
    http://www.enjoyyourcamera.com/Lens-Accessories/Lens-Caps/Mennon-WB-72-White-Balance-Cap-72mm-Grey-Card-for-on-the-go::261.html

  • Dan Rode January 10, 2009 02:32 am

    The Expodisc also allows one to set the white balance under tricky lighting conditions. $100 seems pretty steep to me. The lens cap is half as much but still pretty expensive for my humble budget.

    A super cheap, almost free, solution is to use a coffee filter to set the white balance. The process is exactly the same as the Expodisc and lens cap.

    See http://www.diyphotography.net/worry-free-digital-white-balance-the-5-cent-expodisc for how to do it your self.

  • Ramon January 10, 2009 02:30 am

    I'm not sure I understand the advantage of this. If I get a Grey Card, I'd only have to buy and carry one. However, with the lens cap, I'd pretty much have to buy one for each of my lenses (which could get pretty expensive).

  • Tim Mahoney January 10, 2009 02:28 am

    This is completely awesome.

    In reply to Nathan: It looks to me like you simply take a shot with whatever subject you'll have in place, just like if the cap was not there. This will allow the camera to adjust to the white-balance of the bounced light from the subject, which is the same light it will get for the "Real" shot.

    My only question is if it has a "Cool" dome to go with the warm and Neutral domes.

  • scott January 10, 2009 01:59 am

    You might be able to get away with it if you were balancing your lights to closely match the ambient.

    My problem with the product isn't how to use it with flash, though: it's how I'm going to get in the habit of carrying a lens cap around.

  • Nathan January 10, 2009 01:50 am

    That's really pretty cool looking. I guess I'm struggling with the concept a little, though. For natural lighting, it makes more sense, I suppose. But how would this work with a strobist-type setup? I'm used to shooting the white card under the intended lighting. Shooting through the lens cap, though, just seems like it may not yield the same results if the "white card" on the cap isn't under the same lighting that the subject will be under. Suppose I could just fire it toward the flashes...

  • Ian January 10, 2009 01:13 am

    Interesting idea although I must admit it's a little $$. There must be a DIY solution that would yeald the same results and usability...I usually carry a few white coffee filters and a rubberband with me. This works just fine to set the white balance for much less. This is not as handy as the above product but it fits every size lens that I have so i dont need multiple lens caps for each size lens.

    Any one have any other DIY items you use to set your custom WB?