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The following is an unedited press release, shown as received from the company represented. We've elected to present selected releases without editorial comment, as a way to provide our readers more information without further overtaxing our limited editorial resources. To avoid any possible confusion or conflict of interest, the Imaging Resource will always clearly distinguish between company-provided press releases and our own editorial views and content.

PRESS RELEASE: New WhiBal Reference Card Available at Lower Cost


WhiBal RAW: The latest G6 version of the WhiBal White Balance Reference Card continues to offer certified neutrality in a simplified 1-card design optimized for both RAW and JPEG shooters.

MELBOURNE, Fla. -- With more than 10,000 units sold worldwide, WhiBal has become a defacto standard for click based White Balance setting in all RAW converters as well as image editors including Photoshop.



New in the Generation 6 WhiBal:

Single card construction eliminates the need to fan out the cards speeding reference capture.

The single WhiBal card is light Gray and is certified to the recommended Luminance level of L* = ~75 which is optimum for use in ALL RAW converters.

JPEG shooters can now use the optimized G6 RAW card to set White balance (and optimize exposure) through the use of the new included WhiBal White Balance plug-in. Note that the free Plug-in is also compatible with previous WhiBal designs. Plug-in created by Power Retouche.

The TrueBlack black patch has been further optimized for a guaranteed Luminance spec of L* < 4. This TrueBlack is provides a real Black point reference as opposed to the diffuse black associated with most other multi-shade reference cards.

Focus/sharpness targets have been added as well as inch and centimeter references useful for macro, product and scientific photography.

Three sizes now available including Pocket (2x3.5in), Studio (3.5x6in) and new Reference (8.5x11in).

What Is Whibal Used For?

Unlike our eyes which readily adapt to virtually any color of light, the sensors in our digital cameras know nothing of the color of the light illuminating a given scene. In order for the image from the sensor to be developed to proper color, the color of the light source(s) must be known. Otherwise the color of the light will both cause a cast throughout the image as well as not allow the basic colors of the image to be properly developed. In order to "inform" either the camera (if shooting JPEG) or the RAW converter (if shooting RAW) of the color of the light, several techniques can be used. The camera can be set to a lighting preset, like Daylight, Cloudy, or Tungsten. However there is never an assurance that these presets will match the actual color of the light source(s) for your scene. Another option is to set the camera (or RAW converter) to an auto White Balance mode where a best guess is taken based on the content of the scene. This only works in optimized circumstances and is unreliable even in the best of cameras or converters. In other words, all of these techniques result in "close but no cigar."

The only way to achieve true and accurate color with digital capture is to use a truly neutral White Balance Reference so that the color of the light can be determined by the camera or raw converter which only then allows the colors to be properly developed. The WhiBal RAW is certified to be neutral and is also optimized to the technical requirements of all RAW converters which require a bright gray neutral reference, not a dark gray or an 18% gray which is designed for determining exposure, not proper digital white balance. Each WhiBal card is hand measured using a precision Gretag Macbeth SpectroEye spectrophotometer. Both sides of each card are measured and the better of the two sides (even if both are within spec) is marked as the "camera" side. This time consuming process is the assurance that each and every WhiBal White Balance Reference Card is the finest reference available for achieving accurate color with digital capture.

How Is Whibal Used?

The WhiBal card provides three ways to set proper White balance.

Shooting in RAW mode, a WhiBal reference picture is taken such that the light falling on the WhiBal 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, as long as the light is the same. In the RAW converter the White balance eye-dropper tool is used to set a "Click White balance" of 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 a few clicks and about 5 to 10 seconds to properly set the White balance for 10, 100, or even 1000s of images.

Shooting in JPEG mode the same WhiBal reference shot is taken during the session as above. In Photoshop or other host image editor, simply open the WhiBal White Balance Plug-In and click on the White, Black and Light Gray reference patches in the WhiBal reference shot. Save the result and close the plug-in. Now any other picture can be properly White Balanced (and exposure automatically adjusted) by simply opening up the plug in and loading the settings from the reference shot for each shot of the session. An action can do this automatically.

Shooting in either RAW or JPEG mode, a Custom or preset White balance can be done in camera, by taking a WhiBal reference shot following the directions of the camera. Once the Custom/Preset White Balance is set, all pictures will be properly White balanced unless the lighting changes. This process must be done before the shooting session begins, making it prone to interfere with the spontaneity associated with many types of photography.

The key to achieving proper color with any of the above methods is the certified neutrality and luminosity of the 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

Availability and Pricing

The new G6 WhiBal RAW White Balance Reference Card kits are available now from www.WhiBal.com or www.RAWWorkflow.com.

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


(First posted on Saturday, April 1, 2006 at 00:19 EST)

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