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Balancing lighting with the Spydercube

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Balancing lighting with the Spydercube

Quick white balance setup for product photography


Product photo accurate lighting

I’ve been testing the Samyang 14mm f2.8 ultrawide lens recently. I’ve got the Canon (EF) lens mount version attached to my Canon 1Ds Mk3.

As part of creating some images for the review I’m writing, I wanted a picture of the box with the lens and camera beside it.

No problem – I’ve a basic product photography setup in my office, where I take pictures of all kinds of small products for clients (some very small indeed).

However, I normally use the Canon 1Ds mk3 for the shots, tethered to a computer, so used my spare 1Ds. Unfortunately, it seems that my old Canon 1Ds (11MP full frame) with its firewire interface, no longer works well with my software, so I’ve no custom lighting setups for it.

This isn’t a job requiring absolute colour accuracy, so I took my Spydercube out of my camera bag for basic white balance. This has travelled to factories, building sites and holes in the ground all over the UK, and is my quick check device for exposure and white balance.

Here it is on the lens box (click to enlarge)

Spydercube for checking WB and exposure

Spydercube for checking WB and exposure

If I still used the 1Ds at all regularly I’d look at making a custom lighting setting for processing its RAW files, but this is just a quick shot, using CFL lighting panels.

When I’m photographing equipment in a working factory, I often have no real control over lighting, and there can be quite a mix, especially if you add in a bit of daylight coming in through a window. The ball bearing on top of the cube shows specular reflections of lights (you can see the two lighting panels I’ve positioned).

If you look carefully, you can see a metal loop on the cord attached to the Spydercube. This is from where I had to join the cord after cutting it on a sharp machine tool in an engineering workshop…

If you’re curious about the cube and its wider uses, there is the original [2009] Spydercube review I wrote some time ago. Given it’s been in my camera bag for getting on for four years, it’s not done too badly (note the slightly worn corners on the one above…)

We've reviews of many Datacolor products. See the Datacolor Category in the dropdown menu at the top of the right column.


Using the spydercube for white balancing artificial lighting

Using the spydercube for white balancing artificial lighting

See also my original basICCaliCube and grey card review for more about how to make use of such devices.

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