“It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.”
So said Nigel Tufnel in This is Spinal Tap, but only because didn’t have a SpyderCube. The SpyderCube is more a cube than a spider, and is used for tweaking the white balance and exposure of your photos. Sure, you could just let your camera set on auto white balance (I do) or tweak it by hand later in your RAW processing software (I do this, too), but the SpyderCube is way more accurate, and has something called a “Black Trap”, which we believe, although not mentioned in the specs, is the only thing in the universe from which a black hole cannot escape.
Accurate color in digital photos means that the camera needs to know what color the light is. The traditional way is to throw a gray or white card into the scene, snap a picture and then later, back at the computer, use this known neutral color to set the white balance for the whole batch. The SpyderCube is the same, but with a few added features.
First, it’s a cube, which means that it reflects light from different directions, allowing you to check the colors of main and fill lights, for example. Second, it combines gray, white and black so you can get help with exposure tweaks, too. Third, it has the scary Black Trap, which is in fact a hole into which light falls and never returns. This gives an absolute black value for the scene, as well as the lighter black from the outside faces.
Lastly, there is a shiny ball on top. This isn’t to tempt magpies on outdoor shoots. Rather, it gives a specular highlight, again useful for exposure tweaking. The price of this fade-free resin cube? $60, which isn’t that much more than a plain 18% gray card. I’m not pedantic enough to need one of these, and I usually tweak the white balance for atmosphere rather than accuracy anyway. But some people buy cameras and then spend their weekends shooting test charts and the like. This may just be your perfect toy.
Purchase the Spydercube here