Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category
I originally bought a Canon 17-40mm f4L to use with my 5DmkII with the theory that it would be much lighter setup than lugging around my 24-70 f2.8L.
The problem was the Canon combo wasn’t that much lighter or compact… it would still be a pain. After looking around on some forums I came across a couple of months old 2nd hand Fujifilm X100S and decided to give it a shot. I sold off the 17-40 and haven’t regretted it yet!
Inspired by Mr Hobby @ Strobist I decided to gaffa (or gaffers) tape it up to give it a rough older more stealthy look. Gives some protection as well. In terms of protecting the front lens, I have two filters – one with the glass removed (this is required otherwise the lens will hit the glass while focusing) and the other on top of that. Saves me having to keep a lens cap on, though it does protrude a little. I also have a Filter Adapter Ring and Metal Lens Hood – this will let you use only filter – but it sticks out more so I don’t really use it.
With this setup, I can throw the camera around and not really worry. Gaffa tape protects the corners and the stacked filters protect the lens. It’s my home made Black Edition X100S lol.
I’ve been using this camera for a few months now, it came to Japan with me earlier in the year and performed flawlessly. It’s low light ability is excellent for its size, ISO 6400 is usable and its size/weight makes it super portable. So much so I touched my 5DMkII probably twice since I got it.
My strap of choice is the Domke 1-Inch Web Strap with Swivel – Awesome because the main strap is swivel clipped on & can be removed to make a smaller strap if required. Woven rubber in the main strap also keeps it in place when slung too. It also features little leather tabs on the rings to protect them from scrubbing/scratching the camera body.
SD card is an Eye-Fi Mobi 16GB – Integrated with the X100S which has an Eye-Fi Transfer on/off feature – This saves battery when you don’t want to transfer any images.
About this card…firstly, it’d be a good feature if it actually worked! The setting doesn’t do anything at this stage – Something I have brought up with Eye-Fi Support who tell me they are looking into it. I found a post on DPReview that showed a firmware update fixed it but they made no mention of this in my support replies. Stay Tuned.
In terms of Wifi transfer to an iPad or iPhone though, it works really well and is very easy to setup. You download an app, type in a code that you get with the card and it automatically will setup the Wifi Network on your phone – then off you go. As you take photos it will transfer to the phone when the App is active. Perfect. Unfortunately it doesn’t let you choose or browse what is on the card and selectively transfer images/videos – It will just send everything. (No RAW or vids over 2GB though)
If you’re interested in seeing more X100S photos – Check out my other X100S specific site – ex(100)es
Freight Forwarding. A few people have asked me about this and my experiences with it so this post is to go over the in’s and out’s of how I buy stuff and ship it over from the USA.
I use a company called Shipito and it’s so damned easy to use. You sign up for an account there – I haven’t got a Virtual Mailbox yet (I think I will soon though) and just use the Individual Package option. (The difference between them is you pay $8.50 per individual package, or you can pay $10/month or $50/year as a subscription, and only get charged $2.50 per package)
Once you pay them, you get a US postage address. Time to run off and find some things to buy. My example is below.
I bought a few goodies from a US online store called Surf The Earth Snowboards. They had free shipping within the US which is good to look out for. I entered in my US postage address and paid with my credit card for the goods (with this specific shop I had to do verify my CC because my Billing address was in Australia, and Shipping address was USA – Not hard a quick phonecall to my CC company and that was sorted). Once the item arrives at Shipito‘s warehouse you get an email to notify you.
Now the best bit here, is that they TAKE PHOTOS of your package! I didn’t realise this but thought it was pretty cool.
At this stage, you fill in some Customs information (Value, Gift, etc) and pick a shipping method. They have heaps – DHL, TNT, FedEX, USPS – All with the prices there for you and insurance options. Since they have already measured out and weighed the package – the proper costs are all there.
So for my goods, it cost $54.92USD to ship down. (Saving of about $20 bucks over other shipping methods direct to Australia..and that is just shipping! Be sure to read below for total costs saved)
Once the appropriate information has been entered – Your item is ready to be shipped and goes into a queue to be mailed out!
If you have multiple packages (With the virtual mailbox option) you can combine postage as well to save more cash.
Overall, awesome little service that I believe is worth using if you like buying goods from the US. If they have free shipping within the US, even better – as the delivery rates provided are typically cheaper (due to volume discounts) than most stores.
So how much did I save exactly by using this?
Camera gear – Retail for $978AUD. They are $798 USD ($759 AUD)
Accessories I bought retail here for a combined total of $140AUD. They were $94USD ($89 AUD)
Shipping cost me (inc. fees) $63.42USD ($60 AUD)
So if I bought in Australia = $1118 AUD
What it cost me from the US, Shipped = $908 AUD
So $200 bucks saved including the fact I had to pay for shipping+fees. Can’t complain!
It has been a busy few days. I was at Federation Square today shooting for MS Australia’s Kiss Goodbye to MS Campaign which was awesome – Got to meet and have a chat to comedian Tim Ferguson, 2011 Australian of the Year Simon McKeon and DJ/Model/TV Personality Georgia Sinclair! Donated my time for the cause and it was a great day (and a long one… was there from 730am to 3pm snapping away!)
Big thanks to Elfreda @ Scarlet Media for the hookup!
Saturday was spent down at Sandown Raceway for the WRX Club Trackday. Lots of awesome cars and got to speak with a few of the owners. Handed out some cards as well so, if you are reading this and have one of my cards – Make sure to go read this Sandown update for photos from the day and purchasing information!
I had bought an Ikea MICKE Desk awhile back because it was pretty simple, had some good drawer space and more importantly, hidden cable management!
The only downside to this desk was its depth. Unless you used a laptop or something on it, there really wasn’t much space at all.
In order to overcome this, the thinking cap came on and with some inspiration spurred on by this workspace and the whole Ikea Hackers movement. I decided to see what I could do to improve the desk, rather than go out and buy something totally different. (I did look, but didn’t see anything that fit my needs and that was affordable – so might as well make something!)
My idea started off as to use an extra shelf. Raised, so I could place the monitors on it and gain much needed desk space underneath back. I had a LACK wallshelf hanging around so I played around with that first, to get an idea of what would work.
Using some old Manfrotto boxes and the LACK, this is what it looked like:
Here was the final result, at a cost of under $65 AUD. Pretty good for more functionality, looks decent as well!
If you’re interested and want to see the progress shots on how it was all put together, check out the flicKR set here.
Interested in peoples thoughts on this! Let me know what you think.
Queens Birthday weekend! Went down to Lounge on Swanston St in Melbourne tonight to check out Slice, specifically aerobiotic‘s set and take some photos again. Same sorta deal as last time, but different venue and ..more challenging lighting.
This time I used some flashes to create my own light where neccessary, with some cool results – taking advantage of the smoke machine’s mist. I’d would have liked to stay for Clint and Stu’s Input Output project set, but at 3am..Wasn’t happening that night!
For most of these shots, unfortunately I don’t write down the strobist info for any of them, and i’m amazed people actually remember the details. All I know is that for most I was switching between 1/8 and 1/16 @35mm ..any more than that and it would just overpower the smoke. The 18-200, nifty50,10-20 and 10-17 FE were used for these.
So why did I choose to use remote flashes in a bar/club environment? Well coming from last time, I decided I wanted something a little different..The rays of light the flashes created through the smoke machine was something I didn’t even think of at the time.. until I checked the back of the camera.. Guess you accidently learn something new everyday. It was good not having to rely on the random colourful light as well, and seeing how they could be worked into the images.
Please have a look at the rest of the set here! Don’t forget to hit that like button below if you deem this likable!
If you are interested in having some photos taken of your set at whichever venue (in Melbourne) – Feel free to shoot me an email – aaronactive at gmail.com – Won’t cost you anything, besides getting me + 1 free entry to said venue, and you get a copy of photos from the night for private use..Anything else we can always talk.