Posts Tagged ‘hacks’
If you’ve tried to scan film using an ordinary flatbed scanner as you would a piece of paper, you’ve probably discovered that it didn’t turn out very well. The reason is because film needs to be illuminated from behind, while conventional scanners capture light that’s reflected off what they’re scanning. Before you give up hope and shell out money for a film scanner, here’s some good news: you can build a cheap and simple cardboard adapter that turns any scanner into a film scanner!
Photographer Adrian Onsen wanted to use the AI Servo autofocus mode on his Canon 40D in low-light situations, but found that the AF assist beam is only emitted once until focus is achieved rather than every time the camera needs to refocus. He then purchased a laser pointer from a dollar store, disassembled it to obtain a defocused beam of light, and attached it to the top of his camera. The hacked-together AF assist tool ended up working pretty well — Onsen was able to shoot sharper photos at a dance club without anyone noticing the extra light. To learn more check out his in-depth writeup here.
Reflector mounts (the things that attach a reflector to your bike) are so cheap that bike shops often give them away for free. Add a standard tripod screw, some washers, and some wing nuts, and you’ll have a super cheap camera mount that you can attach to a bicycle (it’s also a way to attach a camera to some random pole if you need to). You can also find a text version of this tutorial over on Instructables.
Do you have an efficient way of keeping track of which batteries or memory cards are fresh and ready to use? Flickr user Damon Hair uses Post-it Flags to tag charged batteries and formatted memory cards, letting him quickly swap out used ones when shooting without having to check them one at a time. For an even cheaper solution, you can try wrapping a small rubber band around them instead.
Here’s another quick tutorial by Destin, the guy who helped popularize using chickens as a cheap Steadicam alternative. It was made on an airplane flight when he wanted to shoot some photographs of the ice forming outside his window. If you’re ever in a situation where you want to shoot a macro photo but don’t have a macro lens, try flipping your lens around for a cheap and easy macro photography solution.
If you have an old or broken flatbed scanner lying around and gathering dust, a neat thing you can do is convert it into a cheap, do-it-yourself lightbox for viewing negatives and slides. Photo-enthusiast James Wilson did this as a weekend project:
It was a simple process; gut the scanner, hook up a light fixture inside it, and paint the inside of the glass white. Total cost was around ten bucks for the light fixture, wiring, and paint. [#]
Andrew Lathrop came up with this novel way of building a simple radiation detector using an old compact camera, plastic scintillators, some reflective material, and black tape. A scintillator is material that lights up when exposed to radiation, and might be a little difficult for you to get your hands on unless you work in a science lab. Lathrop sent his idea to newspapers in Japan after the recent earthquake, but none of them decided to publish it.
If Doctor Octopus were to design a DIY flash accessory, it might look a little something like this. German microbiologist Marcell Nikolausz has been experimenting with using fiber optics to split a single flash unit’s light into multiple light sources. Optical fibers are threaded through Gorillapod-style Loc-Line channels, allowing flexible and stable positioning of the light sources. Each individual light source can be controlled using various modifiers (e.g. diffusers, gels, etc..), changing their quality and intensity.
Image credits: Photographs by Marcell Nikolausz and used with permission
Cinematographer James Miller spent two years developing a technique for converting 8mm footage to digital by beaming it directly onto the sensor of a Canon 5D Mark II. He replaced the bulb on an old projector with LED lights, and used elements from a disassembled lens to focus the light. You can read a step-by-step walkthrough of this project here.