Friday, 14 October 2011

Going on a walk and unbranded battery is rubbish

Today was nice weather so I went out on a walk.

I received the £2 part-refund for my cheapo canon LP-E5 battery today, so I charged it up and then tried to put in the camera. But it wouldn't go all the way down into the battery slot. The battery has 3 little slots that 3 metal pins in the camera slot into. On either side of the slot the battery has a metal contact, and I found that one of these contacts was bent into the middle of the slot, which was why it wouldn't fit into the camera properly. I tried bending the contact back into place using a pen knife, but it would always get bent again when you tried to put it in the camera. Strange that it worked okay in the charger though.

So it looks like I wasted £4 on a rubbish battery. I ordered an official canon one from Amazon for £22 this evening, shouldn't be any problems with that.

I also saw an ad in the latest edition of Pop Photo (which I get through Zinio) for a device called Professor Kobr√©'s Lightscoop. The images in the ad showed what a great difference it made, so this intrigued me. I checked online and found this review: Professor Kobre’s Lightscoop Review. This review also shows before and after photos with a pretty amazing difference.

The lightscoop is just a mirror that bounces your camera's pop-up flash onto the ceiling to give a much more natural and diffuse light. This is a pretty standard way of shooting with a speedlight / flash when indoors. So I was quite amazed by the photos in that review that show a comparison between a speedight that looks to have been bounced from the ceiling and the lightscoop. The lightscoop photo is far superior.

Since both the lightscoop and the bounced speedlight should be essentially doing the same thing, I wondered how this could be. After reading about how the lightscoop requires you to use camera settings of a large aperture e.g. f/2.8, ISO800, and the shutter set the max flash sync speed (1/200s - 1/250s usually), the only thing I can think of is that different camera settings were used for the bounced speedlight photo. If the speedlight photo was taken using a smaller aperture or lower ISO value, then it could be that ambient light is contributing more to the lightscoop photo, and giving it the better look.

When I looked at the photos on the lightscoop website, I noticed most of them seem to have quite nice warm skintones. So I think the secret of the lightscoop might be something to do with allowing more ambient light to effect the exposure (thanks to the shallow aperture and high ISO). It certainly seems to give great results though.

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