Friday, July 31, 2009

I got Schmapped!

So early in the year I went to Garfield Park Conservatory to try and work the light and get some pictures that had the feel I wanted them to have, not the way they were actually lit. It was rainy and cold on the day I was there, a very flat cold light. So I gel'd up and tried warming things up in different ways, some worked some didn't. This shot was just a quick snap I took of powder puff tree in full bloom. I flicked a little light with my strobe on a stick and snapped off this DoF shot. I liked it as I thought it looked like a fireworks explosion. Well fast forward to a few weeks ago, and Schmap contacted me about it asking if they could use it. Flowers are not something I usually shoot or usually have an interest in shooting, so I was suprised anyone even noticed it. Well I guess they picked it and put it into their guide. I'm okay with them using it since I consider it a snapshot and not my more serious work.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Deal of the Day - The pencil box snoot!

Office Depot has these nice little Pencil Boxes for back-to-school, only $0.79. I was looking at them and thinking they might work as a snoot. I do like my cereal box/gaffers tape ones, but this his a very nice high grade plastic so I figured it might be worth the gamble. So I picked up 2. They fit my SB-800s very snug, but the black part does fit over them. I figure I can cut it to fit and I've got a store bought looking modifier for under a buck.

The even better part is the inside, its a nice translucent plastic that lights up just like an expensive diffuser material for a flash. So its 2 for 1, you get some nice material to play with to make your own design for a diffuser and a snoot.

Let me know if you pick one up and find a good use for it!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Canon 5D Mark ii - Exposed

Well if you haven't noticed I like to tinker. I always have and probably always will. So when I get bored I fix things, all sorts of things. A while back I started repairing digital cameras for fun. Recently after I bought my D300 another damaged D300 came up for sale that had taken a humpty-dumpty fall from a tripod with a 70-200 2.8 attached. I bought it for parts just in case anything happened to my new D300, but after ordering a new button I had it all fixed up. Its now my backup camera to my other D300.

So last month I was reading about a Canon fellow that had the misfortune of having his newly acquired Canon 5D mark ii fall into a lake while setting up for a shot. I bought the camera from him for salvage to see if I could get it working. I figured best case I could and then I'd play around with it to see what Canon has to offer. Worst case I'd end up parting it out eventually to recoup my money. Since I fixed the Nikon so fast that I never got a chance to document any of it,I figured I'd document the tear down of this camera body as it might be of interest to someone out there.

I even made a pointless video that I sped up showing the partial tear down. The video isn't the best as it was my first time trying to do something like this, but you can see as I strip away the rear, top and side panels of the 5D2 to expose and inspect the inside for water damage. I found very little water exposure on the first time tearing it down, but on later tear downs to find the odd behavior it was giving I found the board that was lightly corroded.

Here is the main culprit, it was the board on the bottom of the body. There was corrosion on 3 of the ribbon connector areas and 2 of the surface mount ICs. I carefully cleaned them off and sprayed the entire board down with a 0 residue PCB contact cleaner. The camera has been flawless ever since, but only time will tell, and with water damage you never know for sure, corrosion can kill very slowly and create odd issues with systems, in this case the buttons acted irrational and certain shooting modes would do different things.

I have since cleaned all the corrosion off and its working fine, although I do plan on ordered a new board from Canon at some point. I bought one lens for use with it, and one flash and I will be documenting some of the obstacles I found using off camera flash with Canon. I will also show some hacks to get things to work, like rear curtain sync and high speed sync.

One other side note, the body construction of the 5D2 I was not particularly impressed with for a camera in its price class. I would have expected a stamped steel frame in the lower end bodies, but not in one thats a notch from the flagship. This is my own personal opinion however having seen both the D300 and 5D2 on the inside. The D300 skeleton looks like its battle ready, a large cast body wrapped in plastic, the 5D2 had a simple and not rugged design. Also I really wish there was some solid weather sealing, I didn't see any o-rings at all on the 5D2.

More to come later...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Quick Deal of the Day - USB Swivel

I was at Radio Shack when I came upon this, a USB Swivel, Radio Shack part #26-785 on clearance. I think the original price was $6 something but it was Clearanced at just $1.37. Perfect to getting more rotational flexibility for the Wireless Tether. This should be a nationwide clearance item, so if you happen to be there it might be worth picking up!

PS - I have a big post coming soon, I just have to finish editing the video.