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Mark Peters : April 21th 2006 - 16:38 CET

White balance reference card G6 version

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PixmantecWhite balance reference card G6 version : With more than 10,000 units sold worldwide, WhiBal has become the de facto, simple-to-use standard for setting white balance in all RAW converters, as well as image editors such as Adobe Photoshop. Conceived by Michael Tapes, WhiBal is an innovation from RawWorkflow, a division of PictureFlow LLC. The WhiBal hi-gloss sticker also provides a visual indication within the viewfinder of the angle of maximum glare. “By moving the camera or card from the detected maximum glare point,” Tapes offers, “accuracy of the White Balance reference is properly maintained. Matte reference cards cannot be used to detect the maximum glare angle and are more subject to diffusing the readings.”
White balance reference card G6 versionWhibal G6 - Shooting RAW/JPEG mode
A custom or preset White balance can be performed in the camera, by taking a WhiBal reference shot following the directions supplied with the camera. Once a Custom/Preset White Balance is set, all subsequent pictures will be properly White balanced - unless the lighting changes. (Since this process must be done prior to the shooting session, it might interfere with the spontaneity associated with many types of photography and is not the preferred method to use WhiBal RAW.) The major secret to achieving proper color with any of the above methods is to make use of the certified neutrality and luminosity of a WhiBal card.

New for the Generation 6 WhiBal Reference Card
• Less to carry - the G6 is a light & easy to handle single-card format.
• Quick to use - single-card construction eliminates the need to fan out the cards
• Certified performance - the single WhiBal card is light Gray, certified to recommended Luminance level of L* = ~75, which is optimum for use in all RAW converters.
• Applicable to JPEG shooters - optimized G6 card can be used to set White balance - and optimize exposure – using the newly included WhiBal White Balance plug-in. (The free Plug-in created by Power Retouche is also compatible with previous WhiBal designs.)
• optimized black patch - the TrueBlack black patch has been further optimized for a guaranteed Luminance spec of L* < 4. (TrueBlack provides a real black-point reference, as opposed to a diffuse black associated with most other multi-shade reference cards.)
• Integral white card - the separate white card for setting white point and an exposure aid is now replaced by a sticker using similar technology as TrueBlack.
• Integral focus/sharpness targets - along with inch/centimeter references targets are essential for macro, product and scientific photography.

WhiBal White Balance Reference Card for accurate colors
In contrast to our eyes, which readily adapt to virtually any color of light, digital camera sensors know nothing of the color of light illuminating a given scene. For the image from the sensor to be developed correctly, the color of light source(s) must be known. Otherwise, the color of the incident light will both cause a cast throughout the image as well a preventing basic colors within the image from being properly developed. To “inform” either the camera - if shooting JPEG - or the RAW converter - if shooting in that mode - of the light’s color, several techniques can be used. The camera can be set to a lighting preset, such as Daylight, Cloudy or Tungsten. However, we can never be 100% sure that these presets will match the actual color of the light source(s) for a chosen scene. Another option is to set the camera (or RAW converter) to an Auto White Balance mode that makes a best guess based on the content of a scene. This technique only works in optimized circumstances and is unreliable even with the best digital cameras or converters. In other words, all of these techniques result in “Close but no cigar.” As will be appreciated, the only way to achieve true and accurate color with digital capture is to use a truly neutral White Balance Reference. Now the color of the light can be determined by the camera or raw converter that only then allows the colors to be properly developed. The WhiBal is certified to be neutral and is also optimized to the technical requirements of all RAW converters that require a bright gray neutral reference. (Remember that a dark gray or an 18% gray is intended to determine exposure, not proper digital white balance.) Each WhiBal card is hand measured using a industry-standard Gretag Macbeth SpectroEye Spectrophotometer. Both sides of each card are measured and the better surface marked as the “camera” side. Our calibration process is time consuming yet is your assurance that each and every WhiBal White Balance Reference Card is the finest reference available for achieving accurate color with digital capture.

Whibel white balance - How to use
To set a correct White balance, WhiBal can be used in one of three ways:
• Shooting in RAW mode - a WhiBal reference picture is taken such that the light falling on the card is the same as the light falling on the main subject of interest. This picture can be taken before, during or after the actual pictures of the session, just so long as the light is identical. Using the RAW converter application, the White balance eye-dropper tool sets a “Click White balance” for the WhiBal reference shot. This White Balance is then applied to the other pictures taken in the same light. Depending on the RAW converter, generally just a few clicks and a few seconds are required to properly set the White balance for 10, 100 or even thousands of images.
• Shooting in JPEG mode - the same WhiBal reference shot is taken during the session as described above. In Photoshop or other host image editor, simply open the free WhiBal White Balance Plug-In and click on the White, Black and Light Gray reference patches from the WhiBal reference shot. Save the result and close the plug-in. Now any other picture can be properly White Balanced (and the exposure automatically adjusted) simply by opening the plug in and loading settings from the reference shot. (An Photoshop Action can be set up to perform this automatically.)

Whibal card - Specifications
Each WhiBal card is certified to meet or exceed the following Lab* color mode specifications as read by a precision spectrophotometer:
• Gray card: L* > 74, a* <±0.5, b* <±0.5
• White patch: L* > 94, a* <±1.5, b* <±1.0
• Black patch: L* < 4, a* <±0.5, b* <±1.5

Whibal G6 card - Price & Availability
• WhiBal Pocket Kit ($29.95) - WhiBal Card (2x3.5 in), Lanyard, Ultra-Thin Carry Case, Table Stand, CD with PDF User Guide and Video Tutorials
• WhiBal Studio Kit ($36.95) - WhiBal Card (3.5x6 in), Ultra-Thin Carry Case, Table Stand, CD with PDF User Guide and Video Tutorials
• WhiBal Reference Kit ($49.95) - WhiBal Card (8.5x11 in), Ultra-Thin Carry Case (with extra pocket for Gretag Color Checker), Table Stand, CD with PDF User Guide and Video Tutorials
• The new G6 WhiBal White Balance Reference Card kits are available now from WhiBal’s web site or from RawWorkFlow’s web site.
• WhiBal Customers who have purchased a WhiBal during 2006 will receive a coupon code via email this week that will offer a 40% discount on the purchase of a WhiBal G6.

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