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Topics - Hannes

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Lighting / Bare bulb mod of YN-560 III (with pictures)
« on: July 19, 2014, 05:09:38 PM »
I decided to try and see what happened if I modified the brilliant Yongnuo YN-560 III to bare bulb. End result was interesting, large modifiers are better filled and amount of light has increased by between 1/3 to 1/2 stop depending on modifier (bigger effect in softbox than brolly). Light has also turned a bit cooler as one of the fresnel lenses is slightly warming. The quality of light seemed a little better with less of a central hot spot and somewhat softer in a softbox and a fair bit harder in my PLM knock off (hobo lighting 163cm parabolic silver umbrella). I wonder if this is because there was less light spillage around the umbrella bouncing off the small room I was testing it in.

Now for pictures (first is clicky for all the pictures in the series):

Bare bulb modyfiying the Yongnuo YN-560 III flash

The flash before modding it. Please be aware that you could potentially electrocute yourself doing this if you don't know how to make sure the capacitor is empty. You could obviously ruin your flash as well, don't blame me in either case.

Taking off the side strips of rubber and metal clamps holding it in place

Completely disassembled. The wire on the left either needs to be soldered off the board and then back on again, cut and rejoined or the cage holding the flash tube and reflector in place to be cut open to let you take out the flash tube.

Cutting an aluminium blanking to replace the fresnel lens. 1.2mm aluminium sheet is ideal thickness. I used a standard hacksaw and metal file to finish the edges. I also tried polishing it with a dremel but results weren't good as the surface became more dull.

Blanking plate together with a piece of 32mm wide acrylic tube with 2mm thick walls cut in half. Piece is 60mm long.

Holes drilled, one is 5mm and the other 6mm. The larger hole is needed to pass the flash tube through and the smaller is perfect size to use the rubber retainers to protect the wires.

All fitted back together. I elected to cut the wire and solder it back together to avoid soldering on the PCB. This may increase resistance and decrease flash power slightly but I took that chance instead of risking ruining the flash. Rubber retainer has been cut in half as otherwise it wouldn't fit and the pieces are held in place with a bit of electrical tape on the backside. The white plastic basket holding the flash tube and reflector may need some bits snipped out of the sides to leave enough space to pass the wires up. Acrylic tube was glued on with epoxy glue as it would bond better between the uneven edge of the acrylic and the aluminium than super gluing (some poor sawing by me).

Total cost - about £5 with offcuts and epoxy glue off ebay and I still have enough parts to do another three flashes. It took about three hours in total as I was trying things as I went along and I don't have anywhere proper to work on these projects. If you have a normal work bench and know what you are doing I'm pretty sure you could knock one out in half an hour or so.

Canon General / Toshiba and canon working on 15nm NAND flash
« on: February 28, 2014, 06:56:29 PM »

Excellent news, smaller lithography of flash memory will make them cheaper, more energy efficient and pave way for even bigger capacities

So much for canon not inventing

Sports / Indoor climbing competition
« on: February 02, 2014, 06:13:42 PM »
A couple of years ago I was involved in starting up a climbing competition series for the universities in and around London. Yesterday was round three of season four and I decided to go down and take some photos of the action. Lighting was unfortunately pretty dire with lots of fluorescent tubes and bright green crash mats with vaguely pink walls so each corner needed a separate colour balance

Lenses / Macro lens for the missus for christmas
« on: November 07, 2013, 02:25:09 PM »
She expressed some displeasure yesterday that I hadn't bought her a macro lens yet and told me I ought to get her one for christmas. Question is which one though? She prefers the 40D but I want to be able to use it on my 1D as well so that rules out the 60mm macro. She wants to mainly photograph flowers with it so I imagine the 50mm 2.5 would work quite well but I'm a little put off by the age of the design and the short focal length, I'm hoping to be able to use it as a normal lens as well as a macro. In that kind of focal length I'd rather just get the 40mm pancake. The 100mm non-L stands out like a winner when it comes to price but the problem is she has zero patience for either eternal flashes or tripods so I would expect a lot of blurry shots without IS (yes I understand the limitations of it in macro but every little helps after all). Given that she doesn't like the weight and heft of a 70-200 f2.8 I doubt a big lens like a sigma 150mm 2.8 OS would go down very well. In reality she could probably do well with just a normal close focussing lens but I don't mind flashes or tripods and would quite like to have a proper macro lens myself. The zeiss macros are too expensive unfortunately

Shall I just buy her a 100mm L macro and be done with it? Of course I could just get a 100mm non-L and a ring flash for her for the same money. How well does it work to do handheld flower macro with a non stabilised lens? Most of the shots will be at less than 1:1 magnification I expect.

Software & Accessories / Third party LC-E4 charger?
« on: October 16, 2013, 04:03:59 PM »

anyone have any luck sourcing a third party charger that will happily take Canon OEM LP-E4 batteries without too much problem? There seems to be only a couple of versions of third party chargers out there and this is the most common version http://www.amazon.co.uk/BTBAI®-battery-charger-camera-LP-E4/dp/B00CRFAJLG/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1381950896&sr=8-14&keywords=canon+lp-e4

Anyone tried it? Obviously I'd rather have an original canon but they are expensive if I were to buy a new one and the used ones don't come up that often so I need something until I've found a used one.

Ideally I need to be able to find it in the UK

Lenses / Lenses for climbing photography
« on: May 13, 2013, 09:06:49 AM »
Not sure if anyone on the forums has any experience to share for shooting climbing but here goes. I'm looking for a new telelens and is wondering if there is a better option than a Canon 70-200 2.8 and a 1.4x TC.

Photographing climbers is a bit tricky because of the perspective. Shoot from underneath and you only get shots of various bums and soles of feet while if you shoot from above you usually get tops of heads or people looking like they are straining while on the toilet. The only way to really shoot properly is being at the same height as or slightly above your subject which then means you can only rarely choose how far from your subject you will be. Because walking with a pack full of climbing gear is heavy enough and then adding a couple of heavy lenses makes my knees hurt just thinking about it, so it can't weigh too much either. Since I live in Britain weather is well, inclement at times. During the last six trips I've been to Wales I've been hailed on five of those trips so weather sealing is a plus. I'm by no means a professional and do it only as a hobby though I have managed to get several hundred pounds worth of gear as a result of the photos I've taken. It is far from what I shoot most but it is the bit where I'm finding my equipment lacking a bit.

I'm currently using a 40D, a 400D, a 24-105, a sigma 70-200 f2.8 and a 58mm f2 MF lens. The 400D will be replaced with a 5DII as soon as I find one which looks clean and doesn't cost too much. The 400D and sigma were bought for selling again as they were really cheap and below market value. The 40D will be replaced somewhere down the line with something a bit more weather resistant.

I've been trying to come up with the ideal lens combo for photographing climbers and it is a bit tricky. I know from previous experience that equivalent of 200mm on FF isn't enough reach a lot of the time. A reasonable aperture is very handy as backgrounds, especially indoors, are very distracting if not blurred out properly. It is also usually pretty dark indoors but movement isn't fast most of the time so 1/125 is often enough to get sharp pictures if stabilised. For indoors I may well be able to bring two bodies but for outdoors it'll be too much to carry with me and two lenses will max probably.

So far for me I'm leaning towards a used canon 70-200 f2.8 MKI (MKII is more than I can justify spending, especially as I'll need a TC as well) with a MKII 1.4x TC. The option of having a 2.8 aperture is very appealing for lots of other photography apart from just climbing so is a pretty big plus. Other lenses I have thought about would obviously be the 100-400L but I'm not sure about the rather small max aperture and not so modern IS and not to mention the reputation of being a dust sucker. Push pull I don't mind as I've used those before in the film days. Sigmas 120-300 f2.8 is a bit big and the new version too expensive anyway. The sigma 100-300 f4 would have been ideal FL and aperture if only it'd had some form of stabilisation. The 70-300L is no doubt a very good focal length and lens but again the aperture isn't very exciting. The new sigma 70-200 f2.8 OS and the sigma 120-400 aren't really more appealing than their canon counterparts unfortunately. The Canon 300 f4 IS has crossed my mind several times as they go quite cheap, I'm just worried about the lack of zoom given my limitations in choosing a position as 300mm may well be too long. Had it worked to bring two bodies it would be a solid option. Tripod and flash will rarely be with me as I won't be able to use them so don't count on those.

Anybody have any insights to share or should I just go for the 70-200 I with a TC and be happy? Once the 5DII has been bought I doubt I will opt for the 40D much so won't have the crop advantage. Buying a compact feels a bit like a step backwards and I do have one which I usually bring as it fits in a pocket. Pictures coming out of it are a bit of a let down though. I'd rather buy a (cheap) used lens and sell it on rather than renting as I'm spending too much on this hobby as it is. I'm happy enough with the 24-105 so I'll keep that for the foreseeable future

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