Stuff I buy to accompany my cameras

Started Jun 29, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Timur Born
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Stuff I buy to accompany my cameras
Jun 29, 2012

(part 1)

I ordered and partly already received the following toys for my E-M5 and Fuji X10 (all prices including VAT):

Olympus FL-600R flash - 317 EUR

Just received the FL-600R today and still need to gather experience with these kind of flashs. Using 4x Eneloop AA it feels nearly as heavy as the camera + 12-50 lens and makes holding the camera quite exhausting and somewhat awkward. The lack of real estate for the left hand and rather edgy shape of the E-M5 counts more than double when the FL-600R is on. I really feel my shoulder just from trying around with it for the last hour.

Good news is that bouncing straight up from the ceiling really seems to fill our apartment rooms quite evenly (especially when the built in diffuser is used). It's quickly ready to shoot, seems quite versatile and looks and feels good enough for the price (that could be somewhat lower for my taste). +-5 EV exposure compensation seems plenty enough.

The video LED light can be set to automatically change its intensity depending on the available light. If can also be used in combination with the flash, so you could bounce the flash upwards or backwards over your shoulder while the LED is pointing forwards to fill areas that would fall into shadows otherwise.

When the built in diffuser is used you can choose between 8 mm and 10 mm coverage. Once the diffuser is slipped into the flash it automatically turns back to TTL with the E-M5 while showing the focal length currently used by the camera in its own display. I wish the focal length motor of the flash was quieter, though.

Haida "slim" ND 52 mm filter set - 50 EUR

I bought a small set of ND filters via Amazon sold under the Chinese brand called "Haida". The set comes with an ND8/0.9 (3 stops), ND64/1.8 (6 stops) and ND1000/3.0 (10 stops). Additionally you get a JJC "Stack Cap" that allows to screw all filters into one stack and then screw a metal cap on each end for transport. On top of that they added a JJC clip-on lens-cap + JJC Cap Stick to hold the cap to the camera body.

The filters threads are made of metal and extra "slim", so they should be sturdy and hopefully not suffer from vignetting. From reading some reviews I already knew that especially the stronger filters will cause a tone-shift towards blue, so I have to keep that in mind for white-balance.

After a very quick test with the ND8 and ND64 I can tell that auto-focus still seems to work well as long as enough light can still hit the sensor (magnified AF can help, too). However, with the ND64 I noticed that I have to dial in +1 EV exposure compensation in order to get the same exposure as without the filter. I frankly lack experience with these things, but I expected that metering would accommodate automatically to the reduced incoming light.

Time will tell how this works out, especially how good they will help to overcome the flash-sync limit for fill flash in bright sunlight.

Hama USB 3.0 Card Reader - 17 EUR

My 2011 Macbook Pro doesn't come with USB 3.0 yet and I usually need the ExpressCard slot for eSATA and Thunderbolt/DP for an external display. But it doesn't hurt to be ready for the future and even over USB 2.0 I get around 30 mb/s from a 85 mb/s rated Transcend 16 gb UHS-I card. That's 3 times the throughput of what the E-M5 offers via USB cable connection.

16x Eneloop AA 2000 mAh + 4x transport box - 27 EUR

The FL-600R takes four of these rechargeables, so having at least one set spare in a convenient box is a good idea. The others will likely be spread among various devices in the household, charged by a BC-900 charger.

Adobe Lightroom 4 - 117 EUR

After testing and using the Release Candidate for some time I am sold to both its raw developing and especially image file management capabilities. Performance can be an issue sometimes, but hopefully Adobe will get a grip on improving that anytime soon.

Unfortunately it does not deal perfectly well with the raw files from the X10's EXR sensor, out-of-camera JPGs can often achieve better results for daily shots. But it works wonders on high dynamic-range shots in combination with the EXR DR feature of the X10, which allows to get higher DR results handheld than what the E-M5 can do hand-held.

Another drawback of LR is that it seems to offer no functions to delete files from a card using its thumbnail view and to (batch) change the (EXIF) dates of images. Third-party software like XnView and DigiKam can help with that, but I would prefer an all integrated solution.

Last, but not least, that you cannot rotate video files can be a problem, because once you make LR the central part of media management you end up importing all your mobile phone images and videos into LR, too.

(see next post for part 2)

Fujifilm X10
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