The Gray Balancer Download
And Kodak Gray Scale Equivalents
Back in the 1930's in the U.S., during the days of Prohibition, a mimeographed page circulated widely among the population. What it did was list the complete procedure and recipe for making beer at home. At the top of the page it said something along the follow lines...
This page contains information on how to manufacture the illegal substance known as beer.
If you follow these directions carefully very good quality, delicious beer will be produced.
Do not follow these directions or you will be breaking the law.
If you've been paying attention to the great Epson Gray Balancer Controversy you'll know that the Epson 2200 sold in North America does not come with the Gray Balancer that is provided to customers elsewhere in the world. The links above will give you all the background on this subject that you may need.
The Gray Balancer consists of two parts — the software and the reference card. Many existing and prospective 2200 owners have asked that Epson put the software online so that they can download it. But, without the printed gray scale reference card the software alone isn't of much use.
So, thanks to an observant reader from Quebec, and also to Vincent Oliver of photo-i in the U.K., below you will find a link to the download area at Epson France where the software is available for download, and also instructions on how to use the Kodak Gray Reference Card as a substitute for the Epson Reference Card.
Frankly, I don't know the legality of downloading and using the Gray Balancer from the Epson France site unless you are the owner of an Epson 2100. But, honestly — I can't see what Epson's objection might be so long as you don't call them looking for support.
Be warned though — you may end up making the illegal substance known as "beer". On a serious note — I assume no responsibility for your downloading this software or using it. I am providing the link to the download page at Epson France simply for your information. Do with it as you see fit. :-)
Epson France has the Gray Balancer available for download at this page. It is the 4th item from the top. Clicking on it will activate an FTP download. The software and the manual are both in French and the downloads runs around 6MB. Bonne chance and Caveat Emptor.
To my knowledge only the Windows version is available from this site. I have no idea at this time where a Mac version may be found, or an English version for that matter.
Of course all of this would be moot if Epson North America would just post the utility on their site.
The Kodak Gray Scale Equivalent
Vincent Oliver of photo-i provides the following information. The Kodak Gray Scale (CAT 152 7654) is available from most major professional photographic supply stores.
The percentages shown are the 4 gray levels that appear on the Epson reference chart.
For 90% use Kodak number 11
For 70% use Kodak number 7 or M
For 45% use Kodak number 3 (falls between 3 & 4)
For 20% use Kodak number 1 (falls between 1 & 2)
The 45% & 20% are not accurate but it will give you a good starting point.
Although the 45% & 20% patches don't have a Kodak wedge that matches, you can get near enough. Don't look at the density look for the colour cast.
Vincent Oliver of photo-i has done the photographic community a service by publishing a comprehensive tutorial on how to download, translate and use the Gray Balancer software. It's found on his site in an article titled It's a Gray Issue For Epson USA.
There is now a patch file online which converts the downloadable French language version of Gray Balancer into English. It was written by Thomas Fors and it is available from his web site. Thanks Thomas!
Update — January 3, 2003