Lifehacker: Take Impressive Macro Photographs with Your Point-and-Shoot and CHDK

This sounds awesome. I’m gonna have to pull out my SD450 and give this a shot…pun intended. 😉

Remember the Canon Hacker’s Development Kit, aka CHDK—the open-source firmware that turns your point-and-shoot into a super-camera? Here’s how bug enthusiast Tim used CHDK and DIY ingenuity for better macro results from his point-and-shoot.

Spending more money was off the table for Tim’s spending budget, so rather than pony up for some new, expensive equipment, he turned to the wonder of open source. His setup is a little heady if you’re not familiar with the subject, but Tim used a reverse mounted lens technique along with the focus bracketing feature of CHDK. The results—one of which you can see in the screenshot—speak for themselves.

via Digital Photography: Take Impressive Macro Photographs with Your Point-and-Shoot and CHDK.

The White Balance Lens Cap at The Photojojo Store

This is awesome. I’m definitely going to pick one of these up as soon as I can. I just need to figure out which diameter I want. (My lenses are 72mm, 58mm, and 52mm.)

You may think automatic white balance is good enough. But if you’ve ever had to fix dozens (or even 100s) of photos with just slightly different colors, one-by-one, you know the true meaning of pain.

The White Balance Lens Cap leaves you no excuse for not properly white-balancing every situation you encounter.

Simply flip your camera into custom White Balance mode, snap a photo with your White Balance Lens Cap on, and your camera creates a perfect profile of the actual lighting in front of you.

Best of all, unlike a gray card, the White Balance Cap takes no extra room in your gear bag. Just replace your existing lens cap with this one and you’ll always be able to white balance with no additional equipment.

Squeeze the White Balance Lens Cap’s side tabs for easy attachment or removal, even with a lens hood in place. The center pinch-release mechanism prevents it from accidentally being bumped off, while in your bag or shooting in a crowd.

Each White Balance Lens Cap comes with both a neutral and a warm color dome. Pick whichever you prefer and give all your photos perfectly consistent white balance.

Available for lens thread sizes 52mm, 55mm, 58mm, 62mm, 67mm, 72mm and 77mm. (Don’t know your thread size? Just check the outer rim or bottom of your lens for one of these numbers.)

Note: You may look a little silly setting your white balance by taking a photo with your lens cap still on, but the results are worth it. We promise.

via The White Balance Lens Cap at The Photojojo Store.

Making a Pinhole Lens for SLR Cameras

Pretty cool little guide from CameraHacker.com

Ever since I started learning about photography, I have been fascinated with the art of pinhole photography. I always thought that the possibility of creating an image using the tiniest hole is amazing. If you are unfamiliar with pin-hole photography, see my related links section; I have added some links about pinhole photography for your wandering minds.

Despite my fascination, I have never involved myself with pinhole photography. I read about how to make a pinhole camera out of a 35mm film container. Although the process of making the camera is easy, loading and processing the film is extremely cumbersome. In fact, to use it, one frame of film has to be loaded in the dark, exposure has to be calculated, picture has to be exposed by uncovering the pinhole, pinhole has to be covered, and film has to be unloaded in the dark. All that work for a single exposed frame. But that is not the end, because the frame will have to be processed a personal darkroom, since it is extremely hard to find a place to process 35mm films one frame at a time.

I have always thought, “wouldn’t it be nice if I can have a pin-hole camera that has built-in exposure meter, uses 35mm film roll, and comes with auto film winder?” Then I can concentrate on creating pinhole art, instead of concentrating on the processing of creating pinhole art. After a few years (yes I am a tad slow) I thought, “wouldn’t it be nice if I can have a pin-hole lens on my EOS camera that has auto-exposure, uses standard 35mm film, and has automatic film winder.” Wow!

via Making a Pinhole Lens for SLR Cameras.

(You can pick up the whole book at Amazon here)

E18 Error Fixed! (Canon PowerShot SD450)

Huzzah! I finally fixed the E18 error I’ve been experiencing on my Canon PowerShot SD450, which prevented my lens from extending when the power was turned on, and the fix wasn’t nearly as difficult as I had expected. I’ve even snapped some shots of the process so that you can follow along at home, and fix your own camera if you are experiencing the same problem that I was.

Canon_Ixus_II_with_E18_errorIf you’re not yet familiar with the E18 error, check out this information on the topic from Wikipedia:

The E18 error is an error message on Canon digital cameras. The E18 error occurs when anything prevents the zoom lens from properly extending or retracting.[1] The error has become notorious in the Canon user community as it can completely disable the camera, requiring expensive repairs.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E18_error)

This is a fairly prevalent problem with the PowerShot cameras, and a class action lawsuit was filed (but dismissed) against Canon:

A Chicago law firm, Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, has already filed a class action,[4] while the law firm of Girard Gibbs & De Bartolomeo LLP are investigating this camera flaw and may issue a class-action lawsuit against Canon.[5] There is at least one other.[6] Although the suit was dismissed in a court of law, the plaintiffs are appealing.

Fortunately, at least in my case, the fix did not require returning the camera to a Canon repair facility or having to take unreasonably complex steps.

My solution for the PowerShot SD450/IXUS 55 follows:
(You’ll need a very small Philips head screwdriver, #00, to remove the screws)

  1. There are six screws holding the metal frame of the camera body together, two on each side, and two on the bottom. Remove all screws, pop the strap-hook plate (sorry, probably not the most technical term there), then gently lift the front plate off by pulling up from the bottom, and remove the back plate in the same fashion. These should come off relatively easily. This is what the camera should look like as you remove the plates:
    IMG_5340
    IMG_5342
    IMG_5344
  2. Now, looking from the top of the camera, you should see a small motor on the left side, as shown below (it’s beneath the cable with a “22” written on it):
    IMG_5346
  3. Take your screwdriver (or another small instrument) and gently try to rotate the plastic piece attached to the motor on the left side, as shown below:
    IMG_5359
  4. At this point, try placing the battery back in the camera (if you have removed it), turn the camera to one of the capture modes, and press the power button. If all went well, your lens should now be able to extend and retract properly.

Further information (and other repair tutorials) are available at the following locations:

Unforunately, the site that had the most comprehensive information about this issue, e18error.com, seems to be down for the time being. Here’s a quote from their site that I saved in another blog post before the site was taken down:

HOW IT ALL WORKS:
Canon E18 error happens when the lens gets stuck while trying to extend. The camera will beep a few times and the LCD will display a little E18 in the lower-left corner. The lens gets stuck in the extended position, and refuses to move either to focus the lens or to retract when powered off.

Apparently, people who posted about this incident on forums say they had to send the camera for repair and that Canon has horrible customer support and response time.

Here is how the E18 error looks like. You just get a black screen with small “E18″ sign in the lower-left corner:

The problem usually happens because dirt or sand get into the lens mechanism. But it seems that more and more people are showing, who took great care of their camera, and still started receiving E18 errors.

(http://www.e18error.com/)

Please share your experiences with this fix, or the E18 error in general, in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

BobAtkins.com: Manual focus lenses on Canon EOS bodies

Manual Focus Lens on Canon EOS DSLR
Photojojo: Manual Focus Lens on Canon EOS DSLR

I found this excellent post below from BobAtkins.com about using manual focus lenses on Canon EOS bodies via this great article at Photojojo: Better Lenses for Less Money: How To Use Vintage Lenses with Your DSLR

Using Manual Focus Lenses on Canon EOS bodies

A common question is whether older manual focus lenses from other manufacturers can be used with a Canon EOS body. The answer is a qualified “yes” in many cases. Of course you don’t get autofocus, nor do you get any sort of focus confirmation. Also, you don’t get any sort of automatic iris operation. In most SLRs, focusing is done at full aperture, and if you stop the lens down to, say, f11, it remains fully open until just before exposure, then it stops down for the exposure and opens up again. This gives a brighter viewfinder image and makes focusing easier and more accurate. When these lenses are mounted on an EOS body, stop down metering must be used. That means that the lens is first focused at full aperture (for maximum accuracy), then manually stopped down to the shooting aperture before the shot is taken. Some people have trouble accurately focusing using the standard EOS viewfinder screen, since it has no focus aids (like a split image center). While some of the higher end models (like the EOS-1 series, the EOS 3 and the EOS A2), so have additional accessory screens with focus aids (e.g. screen Ec-B has a split image center), the consumer level cameras (Rebel, Elan, digital Rebel, 10D, 20D) do not.

Clearly using a manual focus lens is inconvenient, but sometimes it can be worth it if the equivalent EOS lens is expensive, if the manual focus lens is better than any Canon EF or EF-S series lens (rare, but it happens), if you shoot mostly static subjects or if you don’t use the lens very often.

via Canon EOS lens Adapters – Manual focus lenses on Canon EOS bodies

Focal DT-5000 + Canon EOS 30D?

Focal DT-5000 Zoom

Over the weekend, I found a great deal on a flash for my Canon EOS 30D at a thrift store, but I can’t find any information on this particular flash unit to determine whether or not it’s safe to use on my DSLR.

I know that it technically works, because I’ve successfully mounted it on my 30D and was able to get the flash to fire when I pressed the shutter button, but I’ve heard some rumors floating about that Canon and Nikon DSLRs are very particular about their flash units, because of their TTL flash metering and circuitry that communicates through the mount.

If anyone has any information about this particular flash, or the specifications on the EOS series DSLR flash mounts, please leave a comment on this post.

Thanks! 😀

Update: I’ve started a discussion in the PDX Strobist group on Flickr to accompany this post:
Flickr: Discussing Is This Flash Compatible With My DSLR? (Focal DT-5000)