Photo gear

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  1. I bought myself a new toy today, nothing fancy though! I was finding that battling through the woods to get fungi-fotos with a tripod was getting a bit much, especially as mine, although good, is heavy and cumbersome and getting it to go low was really frustrating. So I have just invested in the Gorillapod 'Focus'. I got the focus as they didn't have the smaller 'zoom' but at least it will take the 7D with the 100-400 if ever I feel so inclined. I am hoping that this will be much easier for fungi and low down insects ( a lot of the spiders around here have webs very close to the ground). Weather permitting I shall take it for a trial run tomorrow.

    Staying on the subject of tripods, whilst in the shop I tried out a couple of carbon fibre ones. Wow, what a difference! So one of these is next on my shopping list. If anyone can recommend any one in particular I would be grateful. I am looking at getting a ball socket head as well, the one I have at the moment has all those levers. I have seriously considered a gimball but I really want to keep the weight to a minimum. The nice man in the shop has given me too many options to consider, there is also a ball head with a centre column that pulls out and lays sideways so you can have the camera pointing straight down for macro. Oh decisions decisions! Any input gratefully received!

    Also on the shopping list is a ringlight/flash, I have been mulling over these for way too long but I have now decided to try a cheap one that does have TTL metering. Out here in SA its not as easy as other continents, anything bought from ebay will probably either incur huge taxes or get stolen. We do have a similar set-up called BidorBuy but a lot of the stuff is imported. I once bought a simple lens hood from Hong Kong, never made it into the country! At least I got a refund. Anyway, now I am waffling!!

    Oh, one more new toy today... a simple led clip on flashlight that pivots and turns...could be useful for lighting up those little mushrooms!

    Finally, a complaint. Jungle are costing me a small fortune! loving it though!! :) :) :)
    Replied 5 years ago, modified 5 years ago
  2. I know what a gear addiction is, Claire, sorry for spreading it.

    Enjoy your Gorilla pod! I have one as well for when we're on travel, it is very light and flexible. That said, I'm kind of clumsy still in leveling it, so I only use it for landscapes so far. I do have the same issues regarding low height for macros.

    As for tripods in general, it's very easy to go wrong. I once heard a sales guy say that a typical photographer buys 3 before buying the correct one. I have a rock solid Manfrotto that can take the weight of any lens, yet it weights a ton and setting it up takes a long time. I too am considering a carbon fibre one. I keep hearing great things about Gitzo, although it's an expensive brand. That said, a correctly chosen tripod will last for a lifetime.

    Love to hear about your macro flash experiences as well.
    Replied 5 years ago
  3. Hi Claire!

    Have you looked at Gitzo tripods yet? I bought mine second hand (its about 30 years old) and its beats almost every tripod in stability and versatility. It can even mount the centre column upside down, to thats a very stable macro setup. It only cost me about 75 bucks, new they cost 10 times as much. Gitzo is considered one of the top brands and its worth it. So maybe thats another alternative for you to consider, aargghh;)
    A centre column that can be moved sideways is considered to be very unstable with heavy equipment as yours is. A reversible column will give you none of the problems you will face when the camera shakes due to wind, mirror movement etc.
    Don't buy a light tripod, don't buy a cheap obe. As with your quality setup it needs a tripod to match. I read that on many fora and you know it was true. This is my third tripod, and it will be my last. Now that is a moneycosting money saver;) i am typing on a pad so I still hope you catch the core of the story here. Have fun!
    Replied 5 years ago
  4. Thanks Ludo. The tripod head I was shown did actually go upside down, didn't mention that, sorry but I am not sure of the make of the one that was recommended. Just waiting on a call from the camera shop guy who is trying to get them at a better price. I do already use a manfrotto which is a great bit of kit, really sturdy, but heavy. I am definitely going to have to get carbon fibre if I am going to lug it around. I know this is going to cost big time but hopefully it will be a one time purchase and like you say, my kit deserves it. Going back to carbon fibre, do you think that is not such a good idea as it is so light? Hmm. maybe I should get a decent head that will fit on the manfrotto as well as on a lighter tripod which I would use just for going further afield. I did look at one but I cant remember the make, began with an 'S', four letters I think. it was as light as a feather but also had a handy hook underneath for hanging your bag on for extra stability. Thankfully the guys at the camera shop are really helpful so i shall see what they can come up with then check reviews and stuff. Replied 5 years ago
  5. A couple of months ago I went to a Canon (CPN) event at Burgers Zoo where Angela and Jonathan Scott (2 amazing nature photographers) talked about their adventures and the why and how use of equipment (they use Canon too). They told us about their personal favourite heads regarding tripods. They use fluid heads for movie recording. These are a lot cheaper than the photocamera counterpart and more friendly in use. I have no personal experience with that, so just for your info:)
    About light tripods: mine does not have a hook and does not need to. I guess a hook could work, with a heavy rucksack or such attached, why not indeed. It makes carrying around a lot easier, that's for sure. My tripod is alluminium, a Gitzo Reporter Gillux, of godly quality:)
    Personally I would not go for a center column that can go sideways, it will definitely shake the camera, no matter what bag you'll attach underneath. I read reviews for a month, informed the creators for availability of spare parts etc (for my Gitzo they still have ample supplies, even after 30 years, new stuff was compatible too). So don't only trust the guys or girls at a shop, that is what I would suggest:) Wish you wisdom in your choice, which is half the fun anyway:)!
    Hear from u, Ludo
    Replied 5 years ago
  6. Thanks Ludo! Replied 5 years ago
  7. Hey guys, I spent some bucks too, ahum like 8 of them:)

    I have ordered a USB OTG cable (an On The Go cable) for one of my Android tablets. It is a very cheap gadget I must admit but when working provides tons of fun, for example with macro shooting. When your Android supports OTG it is possible to hook your camera to the OTG and use your tablet, with pinch for zooming, touch for focussing and many camera functions within a touch. Receiving the cable today, will tell you all about it. It is like having a laptop hooked up, but with touch capability and portability. Nice! (I think).
    (This cannot be done using iPads though, Apple has security set too tight for the external port)
    Replied 5 years ago
  8. Interesting! I guess you will use this in tripod situations only? Replied 5 years ago
  9. Yes, for now I think so too. I would not want to hold both in my hand and look like a circus act:) A 7 or 10" touch screen with 15fps feedback in live view. The fps will need a bit gettng used to but indeed in a tripod situation it will do just fine. Keep you in the loop! Replied 5 years ago
  10. Something I have not played with much is the 70D has wifi and so I can control it with the ipad. Great for setting the camera up on the tripod and then watching from another room. Not quite sure the range of controls on it (only used it once) must try it out again. I know there is another gadget you can get which is not particularly cheap that gives you almost total control over your camera from a hundred or so meters away if I remember correctly. However, for myself, taking photos of monkeys and birds, I really don't trust my running speed over that distance to protect my camera from prying hands and beaks!
    Looking forward to hearing how you get on with your new toy Ludo, it does sound great for macro! Sometimes it is the cheapest accessories that give the most pleasure!!
    Replied 5 years ago, modified 5 years ago
  11. Hi Claire, thanks, unfortunately they have sent the wrong OTG cable, and since patience seems to be a virtue..;)
    I've got one of those remotes btw, a Hahnel Giga T pro, range up to 300m and radio controlled. The latter is the most important as indeed I am not a very able sprinter. It can trigger a signal through walls and do not need line of vision at all. I've bought it for about 50 euros.
    Ok keep you informed!
    Replied 5 years ago
  12. @Ludo: let me know how long is this OTG cable? My camera 70D has wifi and I played a bit with my tablet. It is real fun - I camouflaged the camera on a spot where waterfowl used to come on shore and hided in the bushes. Unfortunately I couldn't make a single shot because some anglers decided that this is the perfect place for them and spoiled my mission. Any way, the main question is zooming. You say with the OTG cable it is possible? How long is this cable?
    Replied 5 years ago
  13. Hi Jivko, no problem in asking! The cable itself is in its core just a converter to female USB socket. I think there is a tony tiny bit intelligence in the cable itself, for not all OTG cables that fit actually work. It is about 10cm in length, but as it ends in a female plain USB socket you can attach any USB cable to it. The longer the cable the weaker the signal so it has its limits but 1 to 1.5m is no problem i would bet. I am waiting for my correct type of cable and then ill do some tests and let you know!
    Replied 5 years ago

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