Monday, 7 May 2012


I spent all of this morning and part of the afternoon writing an article for my photo tips website. I actually spent over 2 hours just trying to find an idea for something to write about! I'm not very good at thinking of ideas for articles myself so I just try to find interesting articles written by others, then write an article myself on the same topic.

When I'd finished that I moved the bird feeder and washed all the feeders.

When I was looking for ideas for articles to write earlier in the morning, one of them was about how flashes are becoming obsolete as LED lights are now as powerful and much cheaper. I did some research (googling) on this, and couldn't find any evidence to support this claim - all sources seemed to suggest that flashes were far more powerful.

But I thought it might make a good subject for an article, comparing the strengths and weaknesses of LED light panels vs. flashes. Now I could write the article without actually having ever used an LED light panel, but I thought it might be worth getting a cheap one so I can actually compare the light output to a flash in real life.

Unfortunately the article I'd read didn't cite an example LED light panel, other than saying that they cost about $300. Now, I certainly don't want to spend that much, but I think buying a cheaper LED light panel, you could probably infer what the light levels of a larger panel would be like. I'm guessing that a $300 LED panel would be equivalent to about 4 cheap units. So I can buy 1 cheap unit, and 4 units should give 2 stops more light (double the light from 1 to 2 units = 1 stop increase, then double again from 2 to 4 = another stop increase).

So I spent quite a while doing research to try and find an LED panel that is reasonable value for money. In the end I decided to go for the CN-160 LED light panel, which has quite a few good reviews on Amazon. The reviews did mention that the plastic foot of the panel is very easy to break, and also the panel does not have the ability to be connected together with other panels to form a larger panel.

I looked at the TRIOPO LED Light Panel as well, which appeared to be the same as the CN-160, but with a different (possibly better?) mount. It also allows connecting multiple panels together to form a larger panel, an improvement compared to the CN-160. But I couldn't work out if it had the same power as the CN-160 or not. So I just bought the CN-160 instead since that has good reviews (I couldn't find any reviews of the Triopo).

While I was looking for the different LED light panel reviews, and also while I was searching for article ideas in the morning, I found quite a few good DIY photography posts. One was this one about an insert for rolling bags: FStoppers: [DIY] The DIY $30 Rolling Camera Bag. Then I found a nice video on youtube about customising a standard bag by creating an insert out of cardboard and a cut up camping mat.

One of the comments on that video suggested just buying a proper insert. So I looked at them as well, they seem to be about £20-30. But for making your own insert that is comparable, you'd need a camping mat (about £5-6), probably a couple of metres of velcro receptive fabric (found some here for £6.99 per metre, probably plus P&P as well: Display Loop Nylon (Velcro Receptive)), and velcro hooks (about £3). I actually already have sticky back velcro hook strips that could be used though.

Looking through my ebay watch list, I just noticed something really stupid: A New Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye lens sold for US $3,890.00 (Approximately £2,407.48). The seller does not normally sell this sort of item, just gives the standard sales info for the lens, and does not give their reason for selling it. No photos other than the stock photo either. This is more than the lens would cost new from a shop.

On the same evening, less than two hours earlier, the same model lens was sold by a different seller. Their auction was for the lens Mint in Case. Perfect. Overall a 10. But no box. They give details and photos of the actual lens for sale. They have a history of selling camera gear (the user name is dscamera). The final price for this auction? US $1,276.03 (Approximately £789.72).

I would say the earlier auction sold off slightly cheaply, but the later auction price is stupidly high, and I don't get how anyone would bid that much. mq-38 is the name of the seller of the really expensive one.

Not quite as mad, but still reasonably surprising, was that a copy of Kirby's Dream World 2 sold for US $102.50. It wasn't described as mint in box, but it did look it. Yet a different auction for the cart only ended up selling for US $5.50. So the box, manual, and inserts are worth over eighteen times as much as the actual game?!?

Also this afternoon / evening, I watched some videos about making a DIY dolly track. The results looked pretty good. I didn't mean to spend so much of the evening researching DIY photography stuff, but I guess it might save me some money.

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