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Topics - CharlieB

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Lighting / ETTL-II: on camera vs remote; evaluative vs averaging
« on: October 02, 2013, 09:41:07 PM »
First, thanks to everyone for helping me along my quest from old Leica/Film 283 flash to 5Dii/7D ETTL flash.

I ended up getting a pair of YN-568EXii flashes.  Had problems with both battery doors, fixed those.  There are threads on both of that.

Here's my question.

I know the differences between ETTL-II evaluative vs averaging metering, with evaluative comparing the preflash vs ambient on some of the central metering areas (not tied to focusing point) along with distance feedback, if available.  Averaging... just considering the preflash over the central metering areas.  That I've got down.

What I'm having a hard time with, is two things:

a.  Why off camera flash, using the YN622's are seemingly the same as averaging even though the camera is set to evaluative.  Its behaving like averaging for some reason.   For instance - same scene, on camera, evaluative is 2/3 stops underexposed as compared to averaging, however off camera flash is the same, regardless of averaging vs evaluative.
b. Why zooming seems to show that evaluative, only when on camera, is underexposed at certain focal lengths (24-105 and 16-35ii) but is good to go at all focal lengths when used remotely with the YN622 - again, it seems that no matter what it says, you're getting averaging not evaluative when the YN622 is ues.

Any thoughts?

Lighting / (pics added) Yongnuo 568EXii - my fix, and future mod....
« on: September 29, 2013, 01:26:56 PM »
A while ago, after some forum debate, and thinking, I opted for one, then another YN568EXii.

First... hey, good design.  I like 99 percent of what they have there.  The build quality is pretty decent (with noted exception below).  Both flashes run consistantly with regard to exposure and recycle times.  They work marvelously with the YN622 remote setup.  Zero issues there.

Here's whats going on with these otherwise excellent flashes.  After speaking with some other Yongnuo users, It seems the first of the 568EX's had a problem with the tension on the batteries.  They sat low in the compartment, had some issues getting good tension and good contact.  Someplace along the line, Yongnuo listened, and put taller/stiffer battery contacts in the flash.  Thats good!  Problem is, they didn't beef up the door to handle the stronger force now put upon it.

Both of my battery doors broke, in exactly the same way, after the same amount of time - and they have only been used so far in the house for testing of the setup.  Zero harsh treatment.  You can see by the direction the little plastic lock broke off that the force was from the inside, pushing out.   Both flashes broke the bottom two rear most locking pieces.  Contacting Yongnuo... they said to contact their eBay store, and they'd list the door as part - about $20 each shipped from China.

That prompted me to go for a better solution, since any replacement door would have the same issue.   One possible solution, too late for me, is preventative action.  If you look at how the locking tab works, and fits, you can see there is room for a fillet of material behind it to give it strength.   If I was doing this on a new flash... I'd use some of that great black superglue (StewMac.com).  I've used that stuff to actually rebuild bakelite pickup rings on a Guild electric guitar (not standard rings, and long long out of production).  Also used it to totally rebuild the lost tip of a Gibson L6-S pickguard (the forward tip, that always breaks).  Its good stuff, strong, and easy to work with.  Just have to be super patient and go in thin layers, allowing dry time of at least half a day each layer.  Think in terms of five or six nights with a toothpick, and an out of action flash during that time.

Ok... thats not for everyone.   So, let it break, then fix it.

The YN568 is easy to get apart.  Very orderly inside too.  Most of all, its easy to get back together!  Electrical connections are snap in plugs.  You needn't get it far apart though, in order to change the door.  Two screws, left and right, on the main housing accessable when the flash is rotated 90 degrees.  Four screws holding the shoe/base on.  Thats it.  It seperates.... you'll need to take the front off, then finagle the pin holding the door out, and finagle the new door into place and slide the pin in.  You'll also have to get the spring arm correctly placed in the case.  Not hard, just... may take three attempts before you get it right.

However, since I don't have a replacement door, and its just as bad as the original....my option was to be a little more permanent.  Remember, the flash is already broken... so how bad can it be right?   I evaluated the location spot for an external thumb screw on the door, judging where the hole would appear inside the flash.  There's a LOT of open real estate area in that flash btw, and an external power pack would be easy to adapt in.  Anyway, about 1/4 inch down from the tip of the arrow on the door, you can make a little hole and fit a nut within the flash (epoxy) and voila....thumbscrew to the rescue.   You'll need a 6-32 thread thumbscrew with about a 3/8 inch long thread.  Computer case thumbscrews "may" work, as I had one that fit that very description, but I also noticed I had others that were short threaded.

Now for the mod....  I may do this after Biketoberfest.   Not before, in case I screw it up.   I think I'll be able to fit a power jack under the door, with corresponding opening right through the door for the plug.  I plan on using a standard barrel type power connection, and while not the sturdiest, a little velcro to hold the cable from moving about will be good enough - for my use at least.  Power to be had from a 6v sealed lead/acid battery, as is available from many sources, and which also fits nicely in a common rifle magazine pouch.  Charge with a wall wart fitted with another power jack on its cable.  Quick and simple, not high tech at all.   The power connection within the YN 568 is the top most and bottom most inner batter connections.  The rest just bridge to each other to series fit the batteries.   Don't use both power supplies at the same time please, or.... as I may do, is just remove the thumbscrew at that point, and install a flush fit screw.  At that point, I'll stick a fork in it, and call it done.

Folks.... this is a good flash, many parts are hot glued in place to prevent them vibrating loose, a nice touch to see a capacitor not just hanging in the air, nice to see the little connector cables all with plugs and jacks inside the flash.   This is not a junk item, by any stretch of it whatsoever.

Hope some of you may be of benefit of my misfortune, and my couple of fixes. 

Many thanks!~

PS - I went out today and bought some things to actually do the fix.  Ended up getting some 8-32 nylon thumbscrews from "that big box home store" for the whopping price of $0.75 American money, and since my 8-32 tap was worn from tapping some stainless steel motorcycle parts... I opted for a new tap and the proper drill as a kit for about $5.25 in similar American money.  Total price with tax, just over six quid.

I ended up using a small chuck hand held, and things drilled and tapped nicely. Had to go back and enlarge the hole in the door a little, to allow the thumbscrew to easily pass, and alls well - save for a little deburring to get the excess from the edges of the holes.  In nylon, the slightly larger 8-32 size made more sense for strength, and there's just enough meat in the plastic of the body to allow direct threading into the material.  Nylon on styrene should be ok.  Should it wear, I can always fit the epoxy'd on screw as formerly described.

Pictures in the next post, no particular order

Lighting / I need some flash advice...
« on: September 05, 2013, 09:53:07 PM »
I do mostly "event" photography - just did DragonCon in Atlanta, and I do Daytona Bikeweek and Biketoberfest, Leesburg Bikefest, Sturgis, Laconia, maybe a few other 'Cons if folks ask me.  I only do DragonCon regularly.

In the past, I've shot a lot film at these events, shooting Hasselblad 500c/m and Leica M's.  Hasselblad sort of dropped by the wayside, as set-up posed shooting was becoming less of what I did, and candids were more the norm.  So, I kept plugging away with my trusy M4's and M6's

Flash equipment - I'd keep one M4 set up with a flash rig - basically two 283's in 16x24 Chimera box on a frame.  That was the vast part of my shooting, and yes, changing film became damn near performance art in itself.

This year, I said, hey, what the heck, I wont like the quality of the light, but lets shoot with the 7D and a 28/1.8, and I'd augment that with a trusty M

Not happy at all....

So here's where my thinking goes -

I can get a Quantum light for the Canon EOS's - but that will run me about $1300 or so, or a bit more.  It will go well in the Chimera rig though.  Plus side there is the use of a parabolic reflector and bare bulb.   Bare bulb is fantastic for some conditions.  I've shot entire weddings with bare bulb and HP-5 film (in the old days...) and it was just fantastic with a 1940's look to the result. 

Or, I can maybe just begin to get my feet wet with a Yongnuo YN565ex, or even two of those.  My thoughts there are I can also use those in the Chimera rig, and... later on they can be radio slaves.   I'd rather do the 565 since I really need a battery pack - screwin' with batteries is one thing I'd rather not have to deal with while shooting, and the quick recycle is a plus.

Or, I can just use the two low voltage shoe 283's in the rig as they are, shoot manually and forget E-TTL.  Cheap option, but... I always shoot color negative film, and of course that is forgiving with exposure.  I'd generally tend to slightly over expose on purpose when shooting negative film.   I can see a lot of testing, and fewer keepers going with the present flash rig.

Gimme some thoughts, shoot me down... I'm up for it so long as I can get pointed in some logical direction.  I've got an arsenal of 283's, all low voltage...all been re-capped and adjusted.  They work well too with Quantum batteries.   Got two of those Chimera rigs - the otheris a box I had cut square on special order so its 18x18 (I think?).  Doesn't matter, you can use it on square or 1:1.5 aspect ratio, same great results.

I'm really stuck on carring the box... I just love the effect of a soft broad fill.  Its very forgiving when mixed with ambient light, even strong and contrasty ambient light. 

And finally, maybe there's options I've missed.   Not too fond of Canon lights, seems there are better bang for the buck out there.

The Yongnuo's ... I wonder how they'll hold up.  You hear about infant mortality with those, but seemingly if they last past a month or so, they're good to go?  Dunno.   Last weekend, I shot 50 rolls of Ektar with the M4 and oh... 5000 shots with the 7D.   So I'd need something that will hold together ok.  I'm actually surprised that the 7D's tiny flash held up actually.

So, thats my story (and I'm stickin' to it!)

EOS Bodies - For Stills / EOY perspective: Past cameras you miss the most
« on: December 25, 2012, 08:25:54 AM »
Just thinkin', on a cool Christmas morning....  After reading the "progression of cameras" thread, I got a little wistful for past hardware, wished I still had it.

My top three

1.  Nikkormat FT2 with 50/2.0 Nikkor - my first good quality SLR, and I had it for years, took a lot of great pictures with it.  It was all I had, one body, one lens, so I learned to make do with what I had, and it taught me to see better, be more creative, take more photographic chances.

2.  Not on my "progression" list through oversight, but I had a little Rollei 35 with the Zeiss Tessar.  Just a fun camera.  Had a little meter battery powered meter built in, made in Germany, black... pseudo James Bond stuff.  And the imaging was VERY good... amazingly good in fact.

3. Nikonos III with the 35/2.5 W-Nikkor.   I loved that lens.  The camera was good, with limited shutter speeds and such, but the lens was fantastic.   One of the most detailed photographs I ever took was of a local hospital building, on Panatomic-X film, under-rated by about a stop and a half.  That picture really defined "detail" on the 35mm format.  I took it with a Nikon S2, with a 35/2.5 W-Nikkor.   Take that lens, put some more modern and decent coatings on it (improving it!), and you had the standard lens for the Nikonos.

And runner up - either of the Canon A-1's I owned.  Canon's entry into the digital age, first 35 SLR with "program" mode, also had 5fps drive and a nice little grip that could be detached.  Most of the FD lenses were "ok", but I never really liked their color rendition compared to the Nikkors of the day... I still liked all my FD system and abused it well, and it never let me down.

Software & Accessories / card reader via bluetooth?
« on: December 20, 2012, 09:12:25 PM »
Just wondering, is there any BlueTooth device that is stand alone (say, battery powered) that will read a memory card.

The upcoming situation is that I'll be shooting remotely, will have access to power, but only a tablet to transfer to.  The tablet has no usb, just a bluetooth connection (and wifi).

For that matter, is there any stand alone WiFi card readers... that would do even better than BlueTooth!

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Got my (new) 7D back from repair
« on: November 23, 2012, 04:08:47 PM »
Not tested yet...

Paperwork says - tried to adjust AF unit, ended up replacing AF unit, shutter/focus button, main dial, and CF card slot assembly.

Jeeze thats a LOT to replace!!??  Never took a "non-testing" shot with the camera... going nuts getting it working.

Problem was - it couldn't focus at either close or far without radical (-15 or +15 depending on near or far) AFMA.
Also the camera would fire bursts on single shot, and... the lenses would not "drive", they'd be out of focus, the focus light would confirm "in focus" but the shutter would not release.  Canon says thats due to a faulty CF card slot assembly.   They did a nice write up on it.

We'll see how they did in a little bit...

Lenses / focusing accuracy/repeatability on 50mm
« on: October 30, 2012, 07:54:38 PM »
I'm not all that thrilled with the focusing accuracy or  of the 50mm f/1.4 USM.
I tend to shoot that lens at about f/2.0 most of time.  Closed just enough to control the creaminess at f/1.4.
And its a tough thing to get it to focus where I like. 

So the question is - does the 50mm f/1.2L do any better with focus?  I'd probably be shooting it wide open, or just a hair closed as well.

Thanks for the input!~

EOS Bodies - For Stills / 7D - I'm goin' nuts with focus
« on: October 24, 2012, 09:50:43 PM »
Got a 7D.  New.

It came with 2.0.3 - but I'm not going to blame the firmware.

I like to shoot fast lenses, and shoot them close to, or at wide open.

28/1.8 at f/2 - close distance - five feet or so... backfocus.  At 30 feet - front focus.
50/1.4 at f/2 - same thing
100/2.8 macro - same thing

I'm talking a shift of "-7" at close distance, to +4 at further distances, and +9 at close to infinity distances (300 feet or so).

I'm basically... going nuts here.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / 5dm2 multicontroller help needed (maybe)
« on: July 30, 2012, 08:52:03 PM »
The multi-controller button on my 5d2 seems to act weird - maybe - as I have nothing to compare it to.

Pressing it straight in - to bring up the display screen - sometimes it comes up, sometimes it needs a quick jab, sometimes it needs a long press, and never works unless the camera  is first "awake" via the shutter release.

I really don't know the nature of the beast.   Can somebody clue me in on this?

It seems to be "not hardware" as once I have the screen up, I can maneuver, choose, alter, save all just fine with the multi-controller.  Its only that initial activation of the screen that seems to be weird.  Yes... I'm very careful to press directly in, not at an angle...(as in maneuvering).

Thanks in advance!~

Lenses / 20mm/2.8USM hood question
« on: July 29, 2012, 12:44:32 PM »
Hello, newbie here.... quick question

I had a 20mm/2.8 USM and hood that got stolen with some other photo gear.

I liked the lens, so naturally I replaced it.  Problem is, the new hood wont stay in place, no matter what.

The hood is the Canon one, not aftermarket.  You align the dots, give it all of 1/4 inch of twist and its "on".

I tried another Canon hood, thinking I had a bad hood.  Same thing.

So now my mind is playing tricks on me.  I seem to recall that the hood had that familiar "click" and locked in place when mounted.   Am I going nuts, or did something change?  I used my first 20mm a fair amount, but just about never took the hood off, and neither did it ever fall off.   On the new lens and hood combination, the hood rotates darn near on its own, cuts off the corners when doing so, then just falls off the lens.   Hanging my 5d2 from my side and walking about with the lens and hood, will result in the hood falling off.

Any help, greatly appreciated!~~

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