Andrew Macpherson

Tag: Gizmos

Eye-Fi vs Shooting Tethered

by on Jun.05, 2011, under Equipment, Off the wall

Just been trying a borrowed Eye-Fi card with a CF adapter in my Canon 5DII, to see if it would work.  My goodness it was so slow till I turned round to “point” the CF slot in the camera at the hub. then it speeded up to about 15 seconds per frame from having been taking minutes.

When I compare this with Canon’s EOS utility which takes about 3 seconds even on the end of a USB cable with a 5m regenerating extender, and you’ll see why I’m not rushing out to buy one.  The lack of wires would be nice, and I hope we’ll start seeing Bluetooth tethering in every new camera soon, but this is just too slow.

It’s nice to have downloaded an apparently working version of EOS utility (December update), but I would still advise setting “leave image on card” out of general paranoia, along with putting the camera into “one shot” drive mode, just to avoid overrunning the buffer.

I do like the Lr Watch folder feature to bring in the photos transferred on the tether, but found Lr’s built-in camera control less useful than I had hoped — I had been expecting something closer to On-1’s camera remote for iPhone and iPad, with pretty full control, rather than just the remote shutter trigger.

It’s all an issue because we’ll be doing event-style portraits to raise money for camera club funds at the Bishop’s Stortford Carnival on the 19th. We need a new higher resolution projector, now that the competition resolution spec has improved.

This leads to a thought for the day: “HDTV” describes a comparison with what went before, not any sort of absolute quality.

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International Power

by on May.09, 2011, under Equipment, Off the wall, Travel

Universal Power Bar with UK sockets

Terry White just posted a Tech blog item titled International Power Revisited detailing the power connection problems of the international traveller. For the qualified D.I.Y. enthusiasts, or those with access to a qualified electrician, I offer my travelling tip, Andrew’s universal power bar.

The idea is based upon the universal availability of IEC power leads, often called kettle leads.  There is always one available at your destination, with the correct local plug, so all you need is your own home country power bar, which has the right shaped sockets for all your gadgets, with its plug replaced by an IEC C14 in-line plug to connect to the kettle lead.  Since the kettle lead is usually reasonably long, you only need a very short lead, saving space and weight in your luggage.

As always when travelling the issue is actually to make sure that the units you are plugging in are ok with the local voltage.  You should also be careful to keep the total load below 10 amps, as that is the rating of the IEC connectors.

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Why use a Tripod?

by on May.04, 2011, under Equipment, Off the wall

Really good post about camera shake on Larry’s Cheap Shots which demonstrates why one should use a remote shutter release, and mirror lock-up quite graphically.

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Photo Selection Slideshows

by on Apr.03, 2011, under Equipment, Presentation

It’s sometimes awkward  showing photos to a client, especially when you don’t have a projector, a huge screen, and ProSelect software, or the volume to justify such tools.  The laptop screen really does not cut it.

This weekend I realised that a very simple investment did a lot to give access to a viewing medium that is already installed at the client’s home, that they are fully comfortable with — their large screen TV. The tool? A long DVI to HDMI cable gets you their giant 1080i screen as a second screen.  Unfortunately the TV will not be colour calibrated, but the customers will be attuned to it.

The beauty is, the switch over to Digital TV means that most homes will have recently installed one, and the risk is only with the “early adopters” who have only installed the lower-resolution “sport” version of HD-TV in the mistaken belief that there would never be true HD 1080i transmissions, and those who are still using set-top boxes.

Of course the “HD” in HDTV is strictly a statement of improvement, and not any sort of absolute statement of quality, but it’s as good as we’ve got for now.

Now if only Adobe Bridge would do Slideshows on the second monitor.

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Fun at Focus on Imaging

by on Mar.13, 2011, under Equipment, Off the wall

On Monday I took some time out to go to Focus on Imaging at the NEC in Birmingham.  This year we got away in good time, and arrived before the halls opened at 10am.

One of the highlights was meeting Dave Cross, Photoshop guru from NAPP who was demonstrating on the onOne booth.  A truly charming person, and if you don’t know of him look at the “Ask Dave” and “Photoshop User TV” podcasts from Kelby TV He started the show with a demonstration of the onOne iPad camera remote control app, and an explanation of how useful this is to the single handed photographer, before he went on to introduce more of the onOne suite.

A big surprise was the absence of Canon but that had been pre-nnounced, and really odd was the apparent absence of Nik Software as their website was advertising Focus — if they were there I neither saw them, nor found them in the show guide.

Sony had various entertainers — contortionists, gymnasts, jugglers — to give you something to photograph, and FJ Westcott were demonstrating their continuous lighting with the aid of a mini studio complete with beautiful model, and a competition for the most interesting shot.

Continuous Light Temptress

The entries have to be added to their Flickr group by April 1st and there is a restricted model release, for personal, portfolio, and educational purposes only.

Otherwise the show was interesting, some things one carefully averted ones eyes from (eg Phase One) others were very useful (Lion Picture Framing).  As always it’s important to go to these things with complete research if one plans to buy, including checking whether what one wants will be available. Nomad print boxes for instance only had their heavy-duty cases at the show, so I wasn’t able to save on the simple storage versions, unfortunately the extra cost of the rugged version which they had brought to sell was more than the postage cost.

A big benefit of going on Monday was that the show floor was not too busy, and it was possible to talk with the various suppliers, avoiding the crush of the weekend crowd and the bargain-hunting frenzy of the final day.

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Misled by omission

by on Mar.11, 2011, under Equipment, Off the wall

Ever since I bought my studio kit I’ve been kicking myself.  It’s nice, does the job, is significantly better than the older heads owned by the club, but

  • It came with nice long sync cords rather than wireless triggers
  • Adjusting the power output requires one to have ready access to the back of the head

An after-market wireless trigger was easily obtained online, and the units do have photo-triggers, so one can use a speedlite at minimum power as well, but the power settings, that was a serious PITA.

Nor did it help that every training video I watched had the presenter clicking up or down the lighting with their Elinchrom SkyPorts.   Obviously the Elinchrom SkyPort system is the way to go.

Then I noticed the next generation of the Elinchrom system I have the D-Lite IT 2 Go, comes complete with built-in SkyPort wireless trigger for just £200 more.  I didn’t notice what wasn’t being said, but I hope you have (continue reading…)

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