Saturday, January 12, 2013

Long/Heavy Lens Pistol Grip with Shutter Release

   After using a Nikon Pistol Grip 2 to support a heavy Nikon lens on occasion, I decided I wanted to be able to use the existing switch on the grip to trigger the shutter.  Unfortunately, there is no Nikon cable available for this purpose.  By using a few commercially available parts, and performing a little soldering, it is possible to fabricate an OEM-looking cable that can be used to both focus and fire the camera shutter using the trigger on the pistol grip. 

   The interesting thing that became apparent after completing this project is that it now is easy to support and operate the camera using either the right or left hand.  This is great when attempting to hand-hold a heavy set-up since it will be possible to swap arms.  The application is not limited to heavy or long lenses, though.  It can also be used as a grip for just a regular camera by attaching the grip to the tripod mount on the camera.  This seems like it would be a great modification for someone that does not have use of their right hand or arm.  The grip makes any camera a right- or left-hand camera! 

  The Nikon pistol grip can be used with other brands of cameras, like Canon, provided the appropriate connecting cable is purchased.

   To start this modification, there are a few pieces that need to be ordered...  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The RadioPopper System: My Experiences

   Although there is plenty of technical information on the two RadioPopper (RP) systems on various web sites (e.g. RadioPopper, Strobist, Flickr: Strobist), there isn't as much information regarding the JrX and PX systems in terms of general usage and operational characteristics.  Hopefully my personal experience with both of these systems can add another perspective for those considering remote triggers for their Nikon or Canon flash units.  Not only are both systems described in terms of their individual operational characteristics, but the characteristics of using both systems simultaneously is also described.  This article is prefaced by noting that these are nothing more than my opinions.  There are certainly users out there that would not agree with some (or all) of my opinions and conclusions.

The JrX Studio System

   At some point it became apparent that the infra-red (IR) trigger line-of-sight system for Nikon flash remote control was not working for all of my needs.  The IR system reliability was just too low in some situations, particularly outdoors.  Plus, I wanted the ability to put the remote flashes behind barriers.

   Not having the funds or the need (so I thought) to invest in a TTL-based system, the RadioPopper JrX Studio system was quite appealing.  The JrX system allows full manual control of certain flash models from the camera using simple knobs.  There at first appeared to be several advantages to this system:

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Project: Nikon SB-800/SB-900/SB-910 Quick Battery Loader-Unloader


AA Battery Loader/Unloader

The goal of this project is to develop a method for quickly loading and unloading AA batteries from Nikon SB-800, SB-900, and SB-910 flash units.  While this won't save much time for a single flash, it can be real handy when using multiple flashes.

Why go to this much trouble?

   Being the geeky technical-type, taking care of equipment is a big peeve of mine.  Having had a few pieces of electronic gear ruined by leaking batteries - not only as a kid but also as an adult - I decided that leaving AA batteries in my Nikon SB-800 and SB-900 flashes was not an option.  I tried the generic AA battery holders, but quickly grew tired of having to handle each individual battery at the beginning and end of every use. With multiple flashes, the process of dealing with batteries became a real pain.  As a result, I sought a better and faster way to load and unload batteries from these flash units.  Although this article is targeted at Nikon units, any flash unit that has batteries arranged in a single line will work with this holder.