Canon Hand Strap E2

Since I hold the camera always in my hand while sightseeing or photographing and I simply don’t like the neck strap, i wanted to have a Hand Strap. Canon offers its own Strap with the Canon E2 Hand Strap. I’m using it on my EOS 600D. It is pretty good manufactured, very adjustable and seems durable. BUT, with my hand size (i would say, medium?) the camera is usable, but not so well usable. You can reach all functions on the back with one hand and also the trigger is good reachable, but adjusting the exposure or the aperture can be a bit like gymnastics for your fingers.  I don’t want to say its not worth the money, because if you use it on a 5D MKIII or a 7D it fits very well, but  for the 600D its not perfect.

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Hand Strap E2 on EOS 600D, side

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Hand Strap E2 on EOS 600D

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Hand Strap E2 on EOS 600D,

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Hand Strap E2 on EOS 600D, side

 

EOS 600D

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EOS 600D

The first cam i bought for my self was the EOS 600D. This DSLR, also known as Rebel T3i or Kiss X5, was my first choice not because of the technical specs rather than that is was cheap and a Canon. The decision to use Canon was made by the two facts that a lot of friends have Canon, so i could borrow some equipment, and the availability of Magic Lantern, but more about that later. I bought it with the kit lens, EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II and nothing more.

Handling

I was surprised by the weight of the cam, it is really light and relatively small. I was using it on the mountain, at some hiking tours and also city trips and the weight was not too much at all. The movable screen is really nice and is a feature that i would miss on cams like the 5D MKiii or the 6D. I mainly used it while making time lapses, but also in every other condition it is just a nice to have. I really miss this feature on my 6D. To avoid the moving of the tripod i didn’t use the full size of the pod and tried to mount the cam near the ground. So the wind would have a smaller effect on moving the cam. But this has the disadvantage that, if u point with the cam to the sky, the LCD is really not readable. With the LCD of the 600D this is no problem at all.

Technical Specs

The Sensor is a CMOS APS-C with 18 mega pixels. The cam can record 1080p, but i never really used video recording. Up to ISO 1600 the pictures can be rated as really good but over ISO 3200 the noise becomes really visible (For further reading – Understanding ISO). This is one of the biggest disadvantages, especially with night photographing or low light situations. I personally try to avoid more ISO than 1600 with this cam. Another disadvantage is that, if u ever want to shot a lot of pictures in a row, you have to switch to JPEG. The 600D is only capable of shooting 6 RAWs in a row or 34 JPEGs. I used this one two times right after i bought the cam, noticed this is not the strength of the cam and never used it again.

Magic Lantern

A nice “feature” for all Canons is Magic Lantern, an open source project for an alternative EOS Firmware. I was searching before i chose a camera especially for time lapse photography and sky photography. After some google sessions and approx. 1 million forum posts I found Magic Lantern. It enables a lot of features on all EOS Cameras which are normally just for the higher price league of Canon. In my case the intervalometer in combination with an automatic exposure adjustment attracted my attention. The “holy grail” of time lapse photography, the transition from day to night and vice versa in all EOS cams… nice! The firmware can do a lot of more things and you will probably need one week to explore all of them. The installation is really simple:

  • Check for a full battery and be aware that you are doing this at your own risk! Read the instructions provided with the downloads if you are stuck. 
  • An SD/SDHC/CF card with 32GB or LESS. You can still use larger cards later.
  • Download the OLD version 2.3! LINK
  • Extract the old version of ML and copy it to the ROOT folder of your SD. It is a folder named ML and two file: autoexec.bin and, in the case of a 600D, the file 600D-102.fir. There are also other files for other models but you don’t need them.
  • Now your camera have to be flashed with the new firmware. (Actually, it’s not a firmware, it just sets a flag that the camera can boot from the SD card.) For this power on the camera with the SD card inside and flash the firmware from the Canon menu.
  • Wait for the progress to be done.
  • Now your camera has the latest ML Version installed. Move on if you want to use the cutting edge Nightly Builds.
    • First go to the magic lantern download page.
    • Select the 600D there. Make sure your have the right firmware version! Is there is written 600D.102 then your 600D should have 1.02 firmware. Check that in the Canon menu on the camera.
    • Download the file and extract it.
    • Copy all contents to your SD card, overwrite the old files!
    • Power on the camera.
    • Done.

The old firmware has a nice mode for time lapsing sunset and sunrise, the bulb ramping mode. It simply ramps really smoothly the exposure over time and adjusts the brightness. I tryed this several times and was really impressed by this feature. On the downside, LRTimelapse will not work with the holy grail workflow there.  The Nightly Build will give you the option to use aETTR to create time lapses that can processed by LRTimelapse.

I think the EOS 600D is one of the best starter cams and in combination with the stock lens it is also very usable in common situations.

Lange Nacht der Museen

Last weekend was the “Lange Nacht der Museen” in Vienna. For 13€ you get free entrance to mostly all museums in Vienna. We decided to give the Kunstkammer a try. As usual, in the museum was not a lot of light and a lot of people. But my Sigma 50mm 1.4 could deal with both. The guys in the background are blur and with 1.4 you get a lot of light in the sensor. Yeah, I know with a full frame it would be better. Lets see next year with the 6D… 🙂

Continue reading

LED Ring – Part 2

LED Ring V1In the first post of this series I write how we improved our 3D-Printer to print lager and more complex models. I also mentioned that i want a powerful and cheap LED-Ring for my DSLR. So folks, here is step 2:

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After some successful new prints with the filament holder I tuned some of the parameters for the filament (Temperature, Speed etc.) and also fine adjust the printer. After this, a new CAD project had to be done. The first draft i cam up with was a single tube with 90×90 mm and 5 mm thick. For the inner diameter I choose 70 mm in order to fit a 77 mm filter winding for my Sigma 50 mm /1.4. This Lens have a 77 mm filter winding but the lens is actually only 67 mm in diameter. I fitted 32 holes in it, each 5 mm diameter because the most LEDs have 5 mm, and print it. During the print I searched for LEDs. I ended up with 40 LW514 because they have a luminous intensity of around 35 cd. This will give me in sum 1120 cd with an beam angle of 15°. This will give me around 4000 lx in a distance of 0.5 m and 1100 in a distance of 1 m. For example a TV studio have around 1000 lx.

2014-01-22 18.36.43The printed ring had some issues with the holes so I had to drill them to 5 mm but i looks fine. Unfortunately I hadn’t think about the mounting for the LEDs and also protection of the circuit and so on. But how cares…

A friend of mine came up with a great idea for soldering, so that we don’t need an additionally PCB or wires. We used the leds of the LED to create an inner and an outer Ring. The inner ring is the VCC and the outer GND. Between two LEDs we soldered a resistor (100k Ohms) as series resistance. But take a look for yourself… 🙂

Sadly i didn’t take a picture of the full ring working so here is a picture with 10 active LEDs, quite bright. But I wasn’t satisfied with the result so I imitatively start to think about V2…

To be continued…

LED Ring – Part 1

As I just write, I just got a macro extension tube. Every time I ran into the same problem: i had not enough light… so i checked some websites to buy a LED-ring like this. Unfortunate some people say that these devices have not enough power… so is decided to build my own LED ring so that i will ever have enough light.

Luckily we just bought a 3D printer at work and I am in charge to get familiar with this device. The printer we are using is a Felix 2.0. Is a very easy and i think well priced device for the most applications. Also the community of the printer provide upgrades and the distributor, Felix-Printers, provide upgrade kits if a new version is rolled out. We had a few prints before, but mostly for Students and colleagues. We had a few problems with the feed of the filament so we came up with the idea to build a holder for the rolls. First we bought some rack mounts from a local store an mount them on the wall.

On the picture u can also see the second step, the holder for the ball-bearing. We found a quick solution for CAT drawings here. Autodesk 123D is a free drawing tool for every System, because it will run in the browser window. We designed the holders and print them with our printer.

As the next step we step we used ball-bearings to pivot the filament roll. For this we came up with a normal staff of aluminum. At the ends we mounted the ball-bearings. 

The final result is nice to look:

The CAD File can be found here.

To be Continued….

take a picture of you eye… not that easy

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Today i found a great picture of a eye in the WWW… and i think to myself, ok let’s try this out. I played around with some settings and end up with the standard combination of the EF-S 18-55 and the EF12. But i have some troubles with the light and it was very hard to not move the eye when the shutter clicks… damn evolution!  I take around 50 pictures and this is the best one… :/ not that clear, not that in focus.

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The main Problem is the light. So if i can get an LED ring I will try that again. Maybe i can get a 25 mm ring for my Sigma 50mm/1.4. That my can solve also some of the troubles about shutter speed and eye movement. To hold my head in the right position I used a paper roll… Here a picture of the “setup” 🙂

Longer Stars Time-Lapse

I had a chance to record a longer time lapse at the Hohe Wand near Vienna. After a short check of the weather conditions we decided to take the risk and we were successful! 🙂

We found a little field where we build up our equipment and started the timer. So this is the result:

For a final video i need truly more sequences, but i’m working on that.

Just to be complete: I used as usual my Canon EOS 600D with Magic Lantern and the standard 18-55mm IS II. No filters or other equipment was used with the camera.