Posts Tagged ‘gadgets’

Thursday, March 25th 2010

The Most Overrated Camera Accessory of All Time

Let me introduce you to the diffuser. You may be familiar.

Diffuser / Omnibounce

The diffuser, in this case an Omnibounce, is the white plastic thing photographers like to put on their flashes.

This is undoubtedly the most expensive piece of plastic I ever bought. (It was something like $30 if I remember correctly.) And perhaps the most unnecessary.

Considering it is basically a remolded tupperware box, it does hurt to dwell on what it cost.

The point of it is to soften the light from the flash. The only thing is, there is a much better way to soften the flash and that is to bounce it off the ceiling. Which will cost you exactly $0.

If you try to do both at the same time – point the flash straight up with the Omnibounce mounted – the expensive white plastic will be counterproductive since it will shine light straight at your subject. In doing so it brings back the flat look and harsh shadows you were trying to avoid in the first place. Hover the photo below to see what the Omnibounce does.

Test of the Omnibounce diffuser.

And if you for some reason point your flash straight at the subject – for instance if the ceiling is coloured or non-existent – the Omnibounce will give you just as flat light as you would have got with the flash on its own. The few photons of light that the Omnibounce actually manages to spread out sideways is nowhere near enough to fill in the shadows.

Hover the image below to see what the Omnibounce does in the straight-on situation.

Test of the omnibounce.

In fairness, it does blur the shadow edges very slightly though. Here the Omnibounce gave a warming effect too, but that’s just because some of the light has bounced off our beige wallpaper to the left of the desk. If you’d been in a green room, you would have got a sickening green tint. 😉

As you can probably guess by now, the Omnibounce is not one of the things I carry around in my camera bag. And if you haven’t already wasted $30 on one yourself, I suggest you don’t.

Stay tuned, I’ll soon be presenting the most underrated camera accessory.

Tuesday, February 24th 2009

New Toy: Phottix Cleon C8

As I wrote a week ago I’ve bought a few camera gadgets with some birthday money I got. Now I have received all three that I’ve ordered so far. (I’ve already written about the cleaning kit I got.)

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The Phottix Cleon C8 is a wireless shutter release compatible with many of Canon’s digital SLRs. Mine arrived today so obviously I had to try it out.

All the necessary batteries were supplied so it was just a matter of putting them in place.

The button on the remote has a half pressed and a fully pressed state which work just as the shutter release on the camera. Halfway down for focusing, all the way down for taking the shot.

It seems to work fine for the most part, but in high speed drive mode it always takes at least three frames. No matter how quickly I press the remote it will click through three shots.

This is a fun thing to have and allows you to do some weird stuff that isn’t possible with a normal wired remote.

Jumping cat

Jumping cat

I’ll write something about the Seagull Right Angle Finder when I receive the adapters for it (which weren’t included when I first got it). As it is now it won’t fit my 30D.

Sunday, February 15th 2009

Ordering a Few Camera Toys

I got some money for my birthday and I had a few ideas for things to get for my camera so I’ve been doing a bit of gadget-shopping. Here’s what I’ve got so far.

Photographic Solutions Sensor Swab type 2

Photographic Solution’s Sensor Swabs. I thought I would have a go at really getting the sensor clean. My hand blower can only do so much. Got a bottle of Eclipse cleaning solution too. From Ebay, for $50 including shipping to Sweden. That’s about half of what the Swedish on-line camera shops charge for the same thing.

Phottix Cleon C8

The Phottix Cleon C8. A wireless shutter release which lets you be in your own photos AND decide when the photo is to be taken. Found it (new) on Ebay for $31, including shipping. Should be some fun to play with. 🙂

The receiver fits into the flash hot shoe and is connected to the camera. It uses radio so it will go round corners and through walls to a certain extent.

Seagull Right Angle Finder 1x-2x

The Seagull Right Angle Finder 1x-2x. It can be very difficult to see through the viewfinder when you are shooting really close to the ground. This should make it a lot easier. Also, the 2x magnification will hopefully make it easier to focus more exactly. $43 on Ebay with shipping.

I’m also planning on getting one of these, a Seculine Action Level:

Seculine Action Level

Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether you’re holding your camera straight, especially when shooting in the dark. This little gadget fits into the camera hot shoe and has five LEDs which light up depending on how you tilt the camera. When level, the green LED in the middle lights up. It also works for vertical shots, both left and right.

I’ll be getting this from Amazon UK for about £25 with a gift token I got for Christmas. I’m just waiting for Jenny to decide on what she’s ordering so we can get our things at the same time.