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18
MAY
2009

More SB-600 remote flash (CLS) samples

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Instead of bouncing the flash off the ceiling for a very soft, even and wide flash bounce, what you can do also is to utilize the SB-600/SB-800’s manual zoom function to create a “Snoot” effect (along with a wide angle lens), which creates a spotlight that would make your subject stand out.  This is great for that moody effect you want to achieve with your subject.

Note in the example above, the flash is mounted off camera on a stand (or you can just handhold the flash,) thus creating a cast shadow at an angle.

18
MAY
2009

Stars

I made two exposures of the sky in my front yard, one for 30 min, and one for 100 min.

General rule for long time exposure is to set your iso at lowest possible settings, with an aperture of f8 or smaller. A neutral density filter would help darken the exposure even further for extremely long exposures.  A mechanical film camera is the best for this kind of application.  If you have to use a digital camera, you must make sure the camera’s sensor noise is within controlable level so it does not interference with your final image.  It is always a good practice to turn the camera’s noise control function on to reduce electron noise caused by the sensor.  Also, most digital camera’s batteries will not last longer than 2-3 hours on bulb setting.  Shoot in raw, so it will be easier for you later to reduce/enhance the exposure and control the color cast.

startrac-100min

16
MAY
2009

Nikon SB-600 Speedlight Remote Bounce Flash Samples(CLS)

Simple lighting techniques that works.

The Nikon SB-600 speedlight flash’s build-in wireless firing system is one of Nikon’s distinctive features that stand out from it’s competitor Canon.  With SB-600’s very affordable price,  everyone who owns a modern Nikon digital SLR can have fun firing their SB-600 remotely and effortlessly. Bounce flash always produces better results, softer shadows, and better skintone than a direct flash.  Provided there is a neutral roof that you can bounce your flash on.

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Plato, with a SB-600 set 45 degrees to my left on the table, and bounced up towards the ceiling.  The catch light around him from the ceiling nicely differentiates him from the surroundings.

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Zigi sleeping in a long tube.  The flash is placed about 20 degrees on left side of camera, bounced towards upper part of the box in front of him, the light bounces inside multiple times thus reduce the shadow cast on the back wall of the box.

Imagine if you mounted the camera directly on your camera and shoot them, these images would be made with the cats horribly lit up while the background rendered almost completely dark from lack of ambient light.

15
MAY
2009

My Review of Nikon MB-D10, Multi-Power Battery Pack for the D-300 & D700 Digital Camera

Adorama

Nikon MB-D10, Multi-Power Battery Pack for the D-300 & D700 Digital Camera

Most Powerful Battery Pack Up To Date

Li Chicago 5/14/2009
5 5

Pros: 2500 shot in one charge, Reliable, Fast Recharge, Accept EN-EL4a Batt, Navagation Buttons, Balance heavy lenses, Easy to Install, All metal construction

Cons: Adds a lot weight to D700, Bit pricey

Best Uses: Balanced camera weight, Back Up, Extended batt life

Describe Yourself: Pro Photographer

The grip is essential for your D700/D300 if you are shooting on a daily basis, with an adapter, it allows you to put the most powerful Nikon EN-EL4a battery on your D700/300, thus allow uber extended shooting times.

It’s constructed of all metal, not like any other cheap battery grips you see that’s made with all plastic. It fits extremely well on D700/D300. The 5-way navigation button on the grip provide extra option for navigating menus and autofocus points.

Highly recommended. Without it the D700, D300 wouldn’t be your D700 or D300.

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14
MAY
2009

My Review of Nikon SB-600 TTL AF Shoe Mount Speedlight, Guide Number at 35mm Zoom Head Position, 30/98 (ISO 100, m/ft), USA Warranty.

Adorama

Nikon SB-600 TTL AF Shoe Mount Speedlight, Guide Number at 35mm Zoom Head Position, 30/98 (ISO 100, m/ft), USA Warranty.

Suitable for any events besides extreme

Li Chicago 5/14/2009
5 5

Pros: Easy To Use, Versatile, AF-Assist, Wireless Firing, Fast Recycling, CLS Compatiable, Durable, Powerful Output, Lightweight, Consistent Output

Best Uses: Portraits, Weddings, Fill Flash, General Use, Night Photography, Photojournalism

Describe Yourself: Professional

This flash packs tons of power and functionality in a compact form (relatively.)

Compare to SB-800, this flash is quicker to operate and lighter to carry, with only a slight reduce in output power and lack of more wireless control functions besides the basic. It also comes without a build-in bounce card, but that can be fixed by a simple D-I-Y.

It is designed to fit any shooting situations.

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14
MAY
2009

My Review of Vanguard SBH-200 Ballhead with Quick Release for the Elite and Tracker Tripods, Supports 44 lbs.

Adorama

Vanguard SBH-200 Ballhead with Quick Release for the Elite and Tracker Tripods, Supports 44 lbs.

Great for the price

Li Chicago 5/14/2009
4 5

Pros: Strong Construction, Lightweight, Arca Compatiable Plates, Compact

Cons: Knob Placement Not Ideal, Un-precise locking

Best Uses: Long Exposures, Reducing Noise (ISO Reduction), Weddings, Stabilization, Portraits, Sport Photography

Describe Yourself: Pro Photographer

The Vanguard SBH-200 ball head is very affordable to own. In fact it locks very tightly once you figure out how to lock it properly. The main locking knob will lock the ball about 80% tight, but to lock it completely tight, you have to make sure that the pressure controlling knob is also locked tight, otherwise the ball is movable with medium force.

Other than that, the ballhead have a very solid construction and seems durable.

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14
MAY
2009

My Review of Giottos MT-9261, 3 Section Aluminum Series, Universal Tripod Legs, Supports up to 17.6 lbs., Maximum Height 62.8″, Metallic Color.

Adorama

Giottos MT-9261, 3 Section Aluminum Series, Universal Tripod Legs, Supports up to 17.6 lbs., Maximum Height 62.8″, Metallic Color.

Better than real Gitzo,No I’m Not Joking

Li Chicago 5/14/2009
5 5

Pros: Anti-SandDust, Good Stability, Non-Twitsting Legs, Free tripod bag strap, Folds Small, Unfolds Quickly, Very Stable, Lightweight, Durable

Cons: Rubber leg grip is flimsy, None

Best Uses: Self Defense, Reducing Noise (ISO Reduction), Portraits, Long Exposures, Stabilization, Photography

Describe Yourself: Pro Photographer

I’ve owned a carbon fiber Gitzo leveling tripod couple years ago that cost me $800 to purchase, surprisingly that tripod had horrible quality control issues where the central column can not be locked completely, it would always move a bit even though the locks locked down to maximum. I swear I would never get a Gitzo again.

This tripod, a Chinese knock off of Gitzo, has taken the gitzo design and made it much better and approachable to the norm. And what’s surprising to me is that it’s build quality is rock solid, there are no moving parts at all when the ballhead/camera is mounted onto it. It just sits there like a rock.

It’s got triple tripod head lock (Gitzo only got 1 locking screw.) It’s new design allows me to extend all the legs at once (Gitzo can’t do that.) And it’s real light weight

It also comes with free tripod bag, free camera strap…and a tools porch for all the tools needed to adjust the tripod. None of those are included for the Gitzo… Doh!

so Kudos to Giottos for making such a successful duplicate with better build quality than the real Gitzo.

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13
MAY
2009

New Toy – Nikon D70

The Nikon D70 features am amazing 1/500th of a second flash sync speed.  This is crucial for most outdoor shoots in bright sunlight.  Compare to most Nikon’s newer offerings, the D70 still holds a position of its own among newer cameras.  Nice features on the D70 include:

1/500 flash sync speed

Light weight

Low noise high ISO performance (usable up to ISO 1600 in RAW)

Large capacity CF card support (can use 32GB or 64GB cards)

3fps shooting of unlimited jpgs.

Mirror lock up

Can be brought at a bargain (I got mine for $210)

Amazing battery life (at least 700 shots per charge)

2 dials on the camera body allows quicker adjustment of settings.

Folder support

Compatible with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (on camera flash can be used as a commander)

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