Sunday, July 31, 2011

HOT SHOE Innovation - Part 2

Picking up from the last post, we were getting ready to modify the Cheap Strobe Mini-stands so they will allow a secure mounting to a location Speed Ring for a softbox, such as the Chimera shown.  The Hot shoe mount that came with the Speed Ring is awful and practically BEGS the strobe to fall off unless extreme care is taken to exactly align the strobe.  The distractions and thinking on your feet of working on location do not allow for that.

Here is the end product goal.  A SECURELY mounted strobe with the sensor available to an optical transmitter like the Canon ST-E2  Line of sight is not necessary with a Wireless radio transmitter.  For simplicity, the Softbox is NOT SHOWN.

Looking at the Cheap Mini-Stands from the previous post, here is our goal:  Use a hacksaw or Electric Jig-Saw to easily trim the edges of the plastic ministand to fit on to the Speedring Flash arm.  This is why modifying the metal Canon ministand is not recommended.  This is the top view.

Bottom view.  You want to make the cuts as close as possible with out ruining the INTEGRITY of the tripod mount or show itself.  Here is the bottom view.  I used the close-in plastic rails as my guide to keep them intact.  They call it a hacksaw for a reason.

Voila, the Secure Hot shoe is attached to the flash arm of the Speed Ring and is ready for the Strobe to be mounted securely.  Note the angle can be changed to the left or right depending on the location of the Master Strobe or Transmitter.

My preferred location strobe is the Canon 580 EX.

HOT SHOE Innovation - Part 1

Mounting an external flash (like a Canon Speelight 580 EX) on a light stand is not as simple a proposition as it might first appear.  There are standards that Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Pentax use.  This is ISO standard ISO 518:2006.  Click here for the Wikipedia reference.

After suffering a strobe nose dive and subsequent repair, I noticed that various light stand and hot shoe fixtures that are widely marketed are absolutely SUB STANDARD. The following do not have registration holes for the strobe shoe locking pin and will easily allow the strobe to fall out of the shoe.

The following have a 1/4 inch mounting screw on the bottom and DO follow the ISO 518 standard with registration holes.  The Stand on the left is the Canon Mini Stand that comes standard with the strobe and is made of Metal.  The stand on the right is a Chinese knockoff from E-BAY and is cheap plastic.  BUT in this case, that is good.  So these are good for having spares.

The plastic stands can be found on E-BAY for $2.29!

Here an ISO Compliant stand replaces the non-compliant hot shoe on a small ball swivel I use on a background light stand.

Now here is the bonus:  the plastic stands can be EASILY MODIFIED with a HACKSAW to fit on a SPEEDRING.  That is coming up in PART 2.

Check out my portrait gallery to see the lights and stands in action.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

More SIGMA Lens Problems on Canon DSLRs

Error 99 is a well known issue with SIGMA lenses on Canon cameras.  Cost me about $100 to fix that one from disabling my Rebel using the Sigma 35 - 200 due to a bad lens chip.

I was out shooting Manhattan recently with my 50D and Sigma 18-200mm and found that it was "HIJACKED."  By that I mean, uable to change the shutter speed in Tv mode, unable to change the shutter speed in M mode, unable to see shutter speed in Av mode.

Thinking I was having to send the camera back for repair, the Error 99 experience made me suspect the lenses.  I put on the Sigma 50 1.4 and no change.  I then put on my Canon 70-200 EF IS and VOILA - the problem was FIXED!  Each time I turned off the camera and turned it back on again to "Reboot."

So I am suspect of the combination and reliability of Sigmas lenses with Canon cameras.  After the Canon lens fix, I tried my Sigma 18-200mm and it worked again, but for how long.  We will see how Sigma responds.

 Here is my Midtown view from my Night Gallery using my Canon 70-200mm.

I am serously considering either of the following:
Canon 24-70mm EF L f 2.8  or the Canon EF L f/4 24 - 105.  Neither is ideal for APS-C size Sensor as has been outlined in previous posts by this author.