The Yongnuo YN-565EX ETTL Flash for Canon and Nikon is so far very nice. Yongnuo has really stepped up their game with this new YN565EX, providing a solid build that feels very similar to the Canon 580EX II which is the top notch in Canon gear. Many other features only available in Canon's top flashes are also included in the YN-565EX such as PC sync and External Power port option. For an on camera flash with Canon DSLRs, it works transparently for the average consumer. In ETTL mode, communication with the camera are recognized including Zoom Distance, Aperture, and Flash compensation. Note: This flash does not have an HSS option.
When used off camera, the flash can be set to Slave mode and triggered from a variety of Canon Master or Nikon Commander type triggers. Although you can fire the flash remotely, I need to do more testing to see if ETTL is still working wirelessly. I noticed the flash was not picking up my flash compensation, zoom, or aperture. It seems to have defaulted to a more manual mode but still fired as a slave. Maybe i'm missing something in the settings? Since this YN-565EX can be triggered through a Canon Master, this should (ideally) work to be triggered from the 'built in' wireless triggers from the Canon 7D and Canon 60D cameras (turn on Flash trigger in menu). I think the T3i may also have this option. In any case, the many features, build quality, and price makes this a perfect flash for on camera use, and for experienced flash photographers the manual modes 'off camera' work excellent too. You can find them online via eBay (click here).
Most of you will just skip this post, but for Geeks like me that enjoy all things DSLR, here's a look at some of the current Canon Lens Replica Mugs / Cups. Needless to say, i've collected a few, and i've also given out a few as gifts. The one gift idea you know won't ever get thrown away. If i'm not using them as mugs, I use them as Pen holders on my desk. Also available in some Nikon versions (click here).
Even the cheapest ProAim mattebox runs you well over $280 (including shipping), so this new single filter MatteBox complete with side flags for half price + free shipping is a much better option than the recent cheap plastic version (found here) that holds NO filters.
The shallow hood looks like it can accommodate wide lens setups, but no information on if the filter can be rotated (for polarizers or grads). Not the best of the best, but I know some of you were excited about the $70 dollar version matte boxes for pure aesthetics, so I suggest you at least hold out and get something like this. Not only uses more metal in construction (except hood), it looks much better, and also serves a better purpose by holding a filter (like ND). New mattebox can be found on eBay (click here).
[Update] Prices starting to move upwards since this post. [Update again] Seems like they dropped pricing back down hearing complaints.
Inexpensive Single Filter MatteBox with Full Flags
This won't eliminate all ambient noise like a true sealed sound proof room, but when you can control or eliminate sound deflections that can reach your microphone, it takes your audio to another level. An excellent tool when doing voice over or narrative work to your videos. Here's another cool looking portable DIY sound booth for microphones. The walls break down using Eyelets and Hooks when not in use. [Thanks Joel]
$109 Auralex ... Box of 24 Studiofoam Wedgies (enough for audio walls, plus a back wall that I built to put behind speaker. Use Liquid Nails to glue the Wedgies to the particle board walls).
$10.75 1/4" 4x4 sheet of Particle Board @ Home Depot (probably need 2 sheets)
$1.18 Metal Eyes @ Home Depot (pack of 8)
$1.18 Metal Hooks @ Home Depot (pack of 4)
$2.29 2x2x8 Wood @ Home Depot (use for reinforcement on walls. The amount depends upon how much you want to reinforce, but you will definitely need these to anchor the Metal Hooks and Eyes for attaching the side walls to the back wall - and for the ceiling to prevent sagging)
Ceiling: 35" wide x 28" Deep (it simply sits on the two walls with a bit of overhang)
Side Walls: 24" tall x 28" Deep (walls connect to the back with the eye hooks
Back Wall: 24" tall x 36" long
I know I must have looked like a complete idiot spinning around with a Painters Pole, but the real reason the HX9V is placed on top is for Pole Aerial Photography. Here's a few samples of today's P.A.P. as I follow along to annoy Olivia during her recent shoot. You can see my shadow on the ground holding up the pole (above)
First image is eye level of the location.
Second image shows more of the scenery. Set the Sony HX9V camera on 10 second timer, and raised the Shureline pole. I used a palm tree in the foreground to give it a little more sense of height.
This will all become much more interesting as soon as my 30' Pole rig is complete...
One of the biggest questions about JuicedLink's DIY roller bearing slider (bring your own rails), was what the footage could possibly look like. Finally here's a couple of samples and some clever use of a bike wheel along with an extended version of rails which shows that the trolley can stay put. More on the JL DIY slider kit can be found at the JuicedLink blog (here).
(Above) Video was just for fun, don't take it seriously
I've probably tested more stabilizers than the Brady Bunch Family has fingers and toes (combined). Not everything makes it on the blog, because it just ends up as wasted sapce. Now i'm not saying some of these stabilizers 'won't fly'. What I look into and weigh in on is Stabilizer vs. Price. With enough muddling around (a few days and a few modifications), you can probably get some decent shots with most stabilizers.
Since I just posted about questions on other Random stabilizers I don't think is worth the asking price, here's another one for you - not to consider. Besides looking quite odd, the current asking price is several times that of other stabilizers which are easier to fly and faster to balance. The handle has shock absorption, the stage can be positioned forward/back, and the weight can be shifted left/right. The odd color choice and design might have been based on old Buck Rogers technology. You would think the tripod stand base design would work well to sit your camera down, but it acts as a counterweight. If you are required to shift that weight to an angle, it will no longer sit as a tripod and just topple over.
The video demo was shot just for fun, and it was the first time out with it. It's definitely not easy to fly. I don't agree on the price tag running several hundreds of dollars while there are already existing units on the market that are much cheaper and already have proven results. If they dropped this down to about $80 dollars, it might be worth considering for those on a budget and a lack of aesthetic appeal. There is also a low mode version, and a kit that doubles as both low mode and tripod base mode found on eBay (click here).
After recently posting up the Palo Alto adapter from PhotographyandCinema.com, I decided to take mine out for a spin (literally). With this little adapter and a cheap Shurline Pole, you can get some really cool views in both Photos and in videos. It's more than strong enough for something like the Sony HX9V. This time out, I decided to see what it would look like if I spun it around pointing towards myself. It's definitely weird, but stems more ideas on some cheap yet creative camera movements. I'm seriously going to stack two of these poles together to see if I can double the height....