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.

Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM



  • Lens construction: 13 elements in 10 groups
  • (protective glass and drop-in filter included)
  • Diagonal angle of view: 2°-5°
  • Focus adjustment: Inner focusing system with USM
  • Closest focusing distance: 14m / 46ft
  • Filter size: 48mm rear drop in

Canon’s most powerful supertelephoto lens

The world’s largest interchangeable SLR AF lens, in terms of both focal length and maximum aperture. Two large fluorite elements eliminate secondary spectrum, resulting in extremely sharp, high-quality images. With Extender EF 1.4x or 2x. a whopping focal length of 1700mm f/8 or 2400mm f/11 can be obtained respectively.


Almost as impressive as this bad boy:

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

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)

Nifty Fifty! (Canon 50mm f/1.8 II Review)

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II: Box

I just picked up the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens, and so far, I’m quite impressed – much more than I thought I’d be!

Until yesterday, when I purchased the 50mm f/1.8, I had been shooting almost exclusively with the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM zoom lens that came with my Canon EOS 30D. I’m still quite fond of the 28-135mm, and for most occasions it’s the perfect walking-around lens (until I can get my hands on one of the L-series zooms). However, everyone I’ve talked to so far in the photography world has highly recommended getting a prime lens, and I wanted to find something inexpensive to tide me over until I could get my hands on the 100mm f/2.8 macro that I’ve heard such wonderful things about.

I’d also heard good things specifically about 50mm lenses (though on my 1.6x crop APS-C sensor, the 50mm is more like an 80mm), and set out to find myself a relatively cheap 50mm as my first prime lens. Of course, I found the 50mm f/1.8 Mark II lens first, because of it’s ridiculously cheap price compared to the rest of the EF/EF-S lineup of lenses, and the reviews said that the optics were surprisingly good for such a cheap lens.

Canon 50mm f/1.8 Mark II
Canon 50mm f/1.8 Mark II

I must say that I agree on both points above: this is a ridiculously cheap lens (both in construction and price), and it’s optics are surprisingly good. I first saw this lens on, so I knew what it looked like, but had no idea of the actual physical quality. If you haven’t seen this lens before in person, and you’re coming from a relatively higher quality kit lens like the 28-135mm, you’ll probably scoff at the 50mm f/1.8 lens. No ultrasonic motor, completely plastic housing and mount, and it’s light as a feather. I almost thought that I was going to break the damn thing when I was holding it, but I decided to try it out anyway, and I loved the clarity of the images that I saw coming from it. It is remarkably crisp, and quite fast for the price – much faster than my zoom at the wide end (f/3.5) and way faster at the narrow end (f/5.6). I’ve found that I’ve been able to take handheld shots in much lower light, and I love the bokeh it makes when it’s wide open at f/1.8.

I’ll admit, the plastic body of the f/1.8 made me strongly consider stepping up to the f/1.4 (the f/1.2 is waaaay too rich for my blood), but the price of the f/1.8 was just too good to ignore. I picked up the f/1.8 locally for $119, while the f/1.4 at the same shop was going for $300, and the f/1.2 was over $1600!

I haven’t been able to process any of the photos I’ve taken with it yet, since I’ve taken so damn many of them, but I’m sure you’ll be seeing my Flickr stream flooded with shots from my “nifty-fifty” as soon as I can get them posted. I’m really getting a kick out of this lens, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking to get their first prime lens for their Canon SLR or DSLR!

Additional Links:

Quality control sticker? (PASSED)


I’ve always wondered what that sticker meant…

Hiro Matsu , Aug 09, 2006; 08:17 a.m.

Anyone recognize this sticker? Thanks.

James Lai , Aug 09, 2006; 08:44 a.m.

Yes, it is a quality control sticker from the Japan Camera Inspection Institute. The JCII was set up by the Japanese government and camera industry to ensure the quality of camera equipment exported from Japan. I don’t think they’ve put those stickers on cameras for several years now, and in the later years there were plenty of knock-off stickers floating around.

via Quality control sticker? – Nikon Forum