I’ve walked the entire show floor and declared my best of show in the category – gadgets. Datacolor introduced a very cool little $59 accessory at PMA called the SpyderCube™.

It’s designed for use in the field and is as portable as it gets. I’ve owned keychains that are bigger than this. It allows for fast and accurate whitepoint correction as well as bracketed adjustments for highlights and blacks.

For years, photographers have relied on traditional flat gray cards to establish proper white balance in a wide range of shooting environments. Digital workflow processes require us too move beyond the old-fashioned gray card and onto something that helps us manage the entire digital scene. Capturing appropriate information at the time of image exposure will greatly reduce time and effort in the post-production process and ensure true color rendition and image detail.

To ensure that SpyderCube will outperform and outlast other white balance devices, Datacolor designed the product using ABS Cycoloy, a hybrid resin that they claim is fade proof, extremely durable, and flame / shock resistant. In addition, colors are through-pigmented for durability, and are carefully formulated to provide optimal color values, including an 18% gray which defines a new standard for spectral neutrality to provide accurate color balance under any light source.

Each feature of the SpyderCube is designed to provide a unique solution to RAW adjustment needs, yet work together to produce precise white balance and overall image adjustment when shooting in RAW. For example, the White face of SpyderCube helps define highlights in relation to the catch-light; the Gray face measures color temperature and mid-tone response; the Black face defines shadows in relations to the Black Trap; and the Black Trap defines absolute black.

In addition, SpyderCube does not require specialized or proprietary software to operate effectively and can be used with any RAW conversion software available today to precisely adjust all photos taken under the same lighting conditions. SpyderCube can also be used to improve Jpeg camera files.

There’s even a small metal bobble at the top of the device that will help measure specular highlights. I’ve never seen that in any of these devices before and have always wanted that feature. Now you’re really going to be in a position to check that the SPECULAR highlights don’t go past 255 rather than improperly measure white (as most photographers do.) On the other side of the coin, the SpyderCube includes a Black Trap for shadow detail control.

The SpyderCube will be shipping this month.