Monday, August 30, 2010

Wireless triggers for external flashes

Couple of days ago I bought a Yong nuo rf 602 wireless trigger for external flashes.

I was kinda skeptical about Chinese made triggers but for 30 USD you can't go wrong with this one.
I had a cheapo trigger that I was using years ago. It was like 15 bucks from ebay. Worked like a charm the first few weeks until I replaced the batteries. After that it was basically failing after 2 shots or so.

I then bought a Microsync from Tamrac

It worked perfectly for the higher end flashes. I was so fond of it I even brought it to our work. I tried it on our Calumet lights at work and it never failed me...not even once.

I then tried it on some of my cheap Chinese made lights...that is when I realized that the Microscync does not really work on them that good. It really didn't work at all! I was using those cheap sl-150's. My 15 dollar trigger works on them like a charm...but not the Microsync.

I really didn't care at all, till I was planning to buy a secondary receiver. The receivers were around 80-100 bucks online. Pretty expensive so I opted for a cheaper more reliable alternative. I didn't wanna spend 400 bucks on a set of pocket wizards so I browsed online and I found the Yong nuo rf 602.

The first time I opened the box, I was very impressed. Build quality was far from the usual disposable builds of other Chinese made triggers. It was pretty nice. The buttons were snappy the battery compartment was decent and the receiver can also be used for speedlites. So I put it on my Sigma flash and it works! It even wakes the flash when it's in sleep mode. The transmitter sits on the camera body nicely. The best thing about it was that it even works on any external flashes, even the cheap ones!

So I decided to put it in my Sigma flash, put the flash on a stand and go out to shoot! It was night time so it was pretty dark outside. I took a shoot of this spider and my flash worked perfectly!

So the Microsync goes to ebay so I can buy a secondary receiver for my rf 602.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

High speed close ups

Couple of night ago, I wanted to try out a high speed close up shots.

I had an idea in my head to take a shot of a matchstick igniting. That'll be pretty interesting!

Things that I needed were:

70mm macro lens
Shutter release, wireless or not
A stand for the match
of course my camera

So I put a single matchstick into a stand so I can focus on it without moving. The camera is in a tripod too so it can be as steady as I want it to be. I put in my shutter release so I don't move my camera when I take the shot. Focused on the matchstick as close as I can then turned the lights off. I setup my camera to the narrowest aperture that I can get without making the shot underexposed, for this I had it at f8. ISO at 100 and speed at 500/sec.

The flame from the match is enough to be your main light, so no external lighting sources needed further for this. So I got another match to light it up, shutter release in my other hand, and BOOM! I take the shot.

When you are attempting this shot, make sure that the actual flame is far enough not to touch your lens! If it does, you might have to invest in a new one.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Love the macro

Still having fun with my macro lens. Took it out for a spin at the botanic gardens and got some awesome shots off of it. Though for really close up shots you have to use a tripod as for close ups, the slightest movement will throw you out of focus, as these macro lenses have very shallow depth of field even if you are using a narrow aperture in close ups. Here's a shot from that trip:

You can still see the hair from the moths back.

Here's another one with a spider:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Still having fun with my macro lens

Took out me macro lens for a spin our bathroom!

I setup my crappy old speedlite on a stand and took a picture of a water droplet from our tub.
Though my speedlite doesn't have high speed sync, I had to just use natural lighting coming from our bathroom lights.
Of course I had to increase my ISO to 1000, so I can get that 500th of a second shutter speed.

I really turned out ok.

Although the shot came out to be kinda noisy.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

New lens...HA!!!

Today I received an early birthday present from my girlfriend. I've been wanting one for a loooong time now and it's finally here.

It's a Sigma 70mm ex macro lens. I have never owned one, and for the photography I do, I was wondering why I didn't get one before. Now I can't wait to try this baby for flowers and bugs, but for now I took it for some test shots with my girlfriends baking stuff.

My first impression when I first held it was it's a bit heavy for it's size. Doesn't really matter because it really cannot compare to a 70-200 is usm lens which I carried around for a hiking trip the last couple of months...I mean if I can carry that beast for hours I really can't complain about this one. Build quality is good. Same as what you can expect from an EX grade Sigma lens which is their top of the line. I love that matte finish. Some people don't really like it because it scratches very easily. I couldn't care less. I snapped it onto my Rebel and took my first few shots. I tried shooting with autofocus on.

Now this is the downside to this lens. The motor sounded like Robocop trying to get his gun from his holster. It is LOUD...and I thought the motor on the 50mm 1.8 Canon was loud, this one takes the first place for that! The focus is also slow, and hunts in low light. That is why it has a limiter switch on the side to limit the travel time when it's focusing. with the limiter on, it still is pretty slow. Though I've read that slow focus is typical on macro lenses except for the ultrasonic motor ones. I really didn't care either because I am using this lens on manual focus. Auto focus on macro photography isn't fun at all.

Here is where it gets good. The lens is SHARP. As I have read on one review site, one guy says be careful not to cut yourself. I suppose macro lenses are supposed to be sharp but this one is crazy sharp. Here's a sample of a battery taken about 4 inches away:

Of course, compressing these images to be jpegs for the web does not give it justice. But the original was 10 time sharper than this.

Now 70mm is kind of a weird range for a macro lens. Sigma was pretty smart in doing this as this lens can be used on a full frame sensor and a crop body. Used in a full frame it is a real 70mm lens. Used on a crop body, this becomes a 112mm which is just perfect for macro. In my opinion, 50mm is too short and a 100mm used on a crop body is too long. I have a small studio so I went for a shorter lens.

I am really glad I got this lens. Kudos to my girlfriend.

Here are some shots of my girlfriends cupcakes:

I am back...

Thankfully the surgery went out really well. I would say I'm at 95% right now on my vision. It feels great not wearing glasses at all when taking pictures. My eyes are still healing right now but I can see the difference.

I took a picture of my eye before surgery...just in case :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Got my eyes fixed

I've been on break for a couple of days now. Just got laser surgery for my eyes. Still feeling the sting of the operation but everything else is good though.

It'll take a couple of days to heal and a couple of weeks to completely restore my eyesight to 100%. For now I'm just taking it easy.