Contact us: +44 116 291 9092
Title Image

Balancing lighting with the Spydercube

  |   Articles and reviews, Colour management, Datacolor, Hardware review, Lighting, Product photography, Review   |   No comment

Balancing lighting with the Spydercube

Quick white balance setup for product photography

Site update: Sorry for site slowness - the site has outgrown its hosting. Keith is working on this, but we are photographers not web developers!
...Get our Newsletter for new articles/reviews and why not subscribe to Keith's YouTube Channel
...Keith's book about how to use tilt/shift lenses is now available.
Our site contains affiliate links - these help support the site. See our Advertising policies for more

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…)

[contentblock id=41 img=html.png]

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.

Never miss a new article or review - Sign up for our Newsletter (2-4 a month max.)

More colour management and printing related information

For information about printers, paper reviews and profiling (colour management) see the Printing section of the main printers and printing page, or use the search box at the top of any page.
All colour management articles and reviews are indexed on the main Colour Management page - please do let Keith know if you've any questions, either via the comments or just email us?

Some specific articles that may be of interest:  

  • Why don't my prints match my screen? A short article showing why there is more to getting your prints to match your screen, than just calibrating your monitor. It's the vital first step, but you do need to consider some other factors for best results.
  • Why are my prints too dark - some basic suggestions to this common problem.

Articles below by Keith (Google's picks for matching this page)

We're an affiliate, so receive payment if you buy via Amazon US

No Comments

Post A Comment