The world of camera gear is getting really into this whole touchscreen thing. Touchscreen interfaces appeared on a bevy of cameras at Photokina this month (especially when paired with Android OS) and even on a new light meter, the Sekonic L-478D. The latest guest to crash the party? The flash.
The new Metz 52 AF-1 is the world’s first hot-shoe mounted flash unit to offer a touchscreen interface. Granted, the screen isn’t as flashy as the touchscreens found on the devices mentioned above — it won’t be winning any beauty contests anytime soon — but it gets the job done.
Announced this morning, Nikon’s new D600 is a powerful little full frame DSLR at an unprecedented price point, and should be quite popular among photographers looking to upgrade from a crop sensor camera. At $2,100, it’s more than a grand cheaper than Canon’s lowest-level full frame: the Canon 5D Mark III. However, the camera isn’t geared towards every kind of photographer. David Hobby of Strobist states that Nikon has completely overlooked one segment: photographers who are serious about off-camera lighting:
The first thing, and given recent history something not unexpected, is the lack of a sync jack. I was pissed off surprised when the D7000 didn’t include it. But a full-frame body without a sync jack? That’s just a little weird.
It has a 1/200th sync. Game over. [...] True, it is only a third of a stop as compared to 1/250th. But with speedlights and daylight, that is a critical third of a stop. To be clear, this camera makes every single flash you own less effective.
Also, the difference between 1/250th and 1/200th sync is deadly when it comes to stopping action when balancing flash and ambient. 1/250th is dicey enough. 1/200th just doesn’t work.
There are currently rumors floating around that Canon may be gearing up to launch a cheaper full frame DSLR as well, possibly to be called the Canon 6D. If it does materialize in the next month or two, it’ll be interesting to see how the price point and feature set stack up against the D600.
Nikon D600: Think Twice Before You Jump [Strobist]
If you’re interested in the subject of lighting, check out Guess The Lighting. It’s a website by professional portrait photographer Ted Sabarese through which he shares photos he finds — including iconic images, advertisements, magazine covers — along with his guesses and sketches regarding how the images were lit.
This idea came to me after I had shot this photo in the daytime. I had been seeing a lot of celestial-type shots on the Internet, but most were just landscapes with no action. My main focus is action sports, and I love a challenge. I figured I would give it a try. To start my photo, I knew I needed to light up the interior of the arch, the arch itself, and the rider. Hot shoe flashes have plenty of power at this time of night, so I brought three Canon 550EX flashes. A lot of photographers use spot lights or flashlights to “light paint” photos like this, but to keep my exposure time short enough to not have the stars moving in the photo, plus capture the action, it was necessary to use flashes to expose the arch and rider.
After buying a Yongnuo flash and finding its wireless capabilities “hit and miss”, Marcell of fiberstrobe decided to try out something he saw on a forum: using a fiber optic cable as a sync cord. The Yongnuo YN460-II can function as an optical slave, so the basic idea is to channel light from your camera’s flash into the light sensor of the strobe. To solve the problem of light leakage, Marcell also created an accessory using LEGO bricks, cardboard, and duct tape to fox the fiber to the sensor and protect it from direct sunlight.
DIY fiber sync cord (via DIYP)
Flash diffusers come in all shapes and sizes, from DIY Home Depot versions to more expensive professional grade equipment. None of these solutions seemed adequate for 30 year photography veteran Les Tirmenstein, however, and that’s why he designed the FlashPipe. Read more…
When working with rim lights, or shooting into a significant backlight, glare becomes a serious issue. The typical solution to this problem is setting up flags on either side of your subject, but who needs flags when you have a spare piece of Coroplast sitting around your studio?
Virtual Lighting Studio is an awesome new free studio lighting simulator that doesn’t require any installation — you use it directly in your browser. It offers a large number of options for customizing your setup (e.g. number of lights, light type, gel, positioning) and the result is updated in real-time on the virtual model’s head.
Virtual Lighting Studio (via Strobist)
Not too long ago I finally got around to picking up a decent manual flash for exploring lighting and speedlight techniques. I picked up a Yongnuo YN-560 Speedlight Flash for Canon and Nikon, and my friend Sean was kind enough to send me his old radio triggers to play with. I was mostly all set to start exploring the world of off-camera lighting…
Photographer Allen Mowery has a step-by-step tutorial on how to build a useful DIY flash mounting accessory using a ratcheting hand clamp and standard 1/4-inch threaded screw. It’s a cheap DIY version of the Super Clamp or Nasty Clamp, and can help you place your flash in places that are inaccessible to light stands or traditional equipment.
DIY Photography Super Clamp Tutorial (via DIYP)