How Many Hot-Shoe Strobes Are In A Monoblock?


This is an interesting question. On the Red corner we have hot shoe strobes: they are (relatively) cheap, small and portable and recycle pretty fast, but they need lots of AA batteries. On the Blue corner we have monoblocks; They are big and more cumbersome but they give A LOT of light.

So whats the trade off, when are you better getting several small hot shoe strobes and when are you better off using one big light? This is not a trivial question to answer especially since hot shoe strobes measure in GN, while monoblocks measure in Watt-seconds. now with TTL monoblocks this becomes a really interesting question.

Neil van Niekerk did an empirical test trying to answer that question. His comparison addresses the power aspect while leaving convenience, price, light shape and modularity out, but even at that it gives a good idea about how to begin dealing with the trade offs involved.

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Yongnuo’s YN600EX-RT Now Selling, Looks Remarkably Similar To Canon’s 600EX-RT Flagship


Earlier in august this year Hong-Kong based company YongNuo announced that they are releasing the YN600EX-RT – A Canon compatible strobe.

Some Canonistas, especially off camera flashers (AKA strobists) were pretty excited about this announcement. Mostly because the strobe was said to be compatible with Canon’s new 2.4GHz RT radio system that their 600EX-RT strobe features.  The RT is a pretty awesome TTL triggering and strobe control system working on radio rather then on IR. But, Canon’s strobe sells for about $499 while the new Yongnuo which appeared on eBay today only sells for about $185. Roughly a 1:3 ratio.

DIYP are the last to be blamed with lack of frugality, but looking at the images that popped up on YongNuo’s sites got me thinking. Look at the two photos on the top. See any resemblance (aside the obviousness of the names). The strobe on the left is Canon’s 600EX-RT flagship, and the right one is the new YN600EX-RT.

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The GaffGun Straighten, Tapes and Secures Cables In Seconds


If you ever had a set with lots of cables you know how important it is to have them all secured. Even with the best insurance plan you really don’t want anyone stumbling over one of the ‘bumps’. In the ‘good’ scenario, they will stumble curse a little and continue, in the medium scenario they will fall. And in the worse scenario they will take down your $20,000 lights.

So what do you do? You get down on your hands and knees gaff like crazy. Sadly, Gaffing a cable to the floor, while classified as grantwork, is not an easy task. It involves tapping small bits of gaff on the cable and then going back and reapplying gaff to the whole thing.

And this is what the GaffGun is here to solve. The GaffGun is somewhat of a packaging tape dispenser on steroids. You drop a Gaffer roll in the thing and simply roll it on the floor. It has rails to guide the cables and securely gaff them to the floor. This means that it is almost trivial to run cables in a straight line.

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Sekonic Shows Their One-In-The-World Prototype Of The C700 Spectrometer


Have you ever had to balance LED lights? If you have, you know it is a nightmare. For once not all 6500K are created equal and even if all the LEDs on your setup are set to 6500K, they light output is slightly different. The other thing is that regardless of the color temperature, LED lights (and other pulsing lights, such as fluorescents) do not show a consistent light pattern.

This inconsistent light pattern means that a graph showing the color signature of an LED light may have spikes on certain colors. (have you ever heard on the horrible green spike?). Here is the thing though, (in general) the color meters that we currently have are not built to measure those color spikes, they assume that the signature is linear and sample the light color at wide intervals. Those wide intervals may cause the light meter to miss a spike (or a valley).

This is where the Sekonic C700 comes into play. We had a chat with Sekonic International sales director, Lorenzo Gasperini and he explained to us how the C700 is coping with those issues. There are some good news. Apparently, Sekonic rushed production and only had 2 of the C700 units produced, and even those were not guaranteed to be the final models. And there is nothing more exciting than putting your hands on a one of a kind unit :). And yes, the screen was stellar :)

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Quadcopter Racing and the Future of Cinema

It seems like as soon as quadcopters came onto the market, photographers began adapting them for more than just disastrous fun on Christmas afternoon. Since then, hobbyists, photography enthusiasts, and even corporate giants (let’s hear it for Amazon!) alike have been putting them to multiple uses, both business and pleasure.

AIRganoy, a “quadcopter racing fanatic association” based in eastern France, holds regular events for remote control pilots, including races like the one below that would seem more at home on a Lucasfilm set. The contestants race through the forest along a pre-marked course where, as seen in the video, “eating dirt” is a bit more reality than euphemism. Each copter is equipped with a video camera which sends a live feed back to the pilot, allowing them to navigate the treacherous, obstacle-laden course.

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Watch The Technology Under The Plastic In Nikon Lenses

We know that lenses are some of the most innovative piece of technology around. It actually quote surprising how much technology one can cram into what once was “just a piece of glass”. But today’s lenses feature so much tech and innovation that it is scary. This promotional clip from Nikon Asia shows how each of the different lens technologies look like once you take the lens shell away and look inside it.

The music is horrible, but it gives some great understanding on how a lens actually works, including some insight into the VR mechanism.

[NIKKOR Lens Technology via iso1200]

Understanding Full-Frame vs Crop-Sensor Impacts on Depth-Of-Field And Perspective


There has been a lot of discussion going on about what are the impacts of using a crop sensor vs full frame when using a particular lens. How are crop factor sensors impacting depth of field and what are they doing to composition. In fact if you went to any photography forum on the web, you are likely to get as many answers as forum members.

Of course, the answer to that question really depend what you are comparing and how you are doing your tests. Photographer Neil van Niekerk did a thorough test accompanied with clear explanations on what actually makes a difference when using a crop sensor vs a full frame and  the answer is not that simple.

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Siros – A $1,000 Broncolor Strobe (Yes, Broncolor. Yes, $1,000)

When we did the Benjamin vs. Rebecca Challenge a few months back I asked Ben how much the Broncolor cable between the pack and head costs? It was around $800. So, in Photokina, I was quite surprised and pretty happy to see that Broncolor are coming out with Siros – a ~$1,000 strobe.

Here is the interesting part, according to the discussions we had with Broncolor those $1,000 heads will have all the features of their big $10,000 brothers. They will not be as fast, or as powerful, but they will still give you that super fast T.1 t to completely freeze water splashes.

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