Friday, November 28, 2014

Review: Sony NP-F970 AA Battery Adapter

Rechargeable batteries are mostly a blessing, but can also be a curse. If you lose one or forget to charge it or forget to bring it, you can really be up a creek without the proverbial paddle. The worst case scenario is that your last battery dies and will not be ready again for hours. If only you could rush off to the store for an over-the-counter replacement...

This is the idea behind a new back up battery, the Falconeyes BB-6. It is the empty shell of a clone Sony NP-F970 rechargeable battery (which I use to power my camera, monitor and LED lights), that allows you to fill it with six AA batteries. AA batteries are almost anywhere and super easy to obtain. If your last battery dies and you have no AAs, a quick trip to the drug store will get you back recording a lot faster than waiting for a recharge.

Of course, nothing is perfect and this cheap solution has one glaring issue that I point out in the video. It's easily solved with a little effort (using these), but may keep some from trying it. That's unfortunate, because I can see this helping a lot of people who have lost their paddle.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Review: Fotodiox ND Throttle

If you are like me and like to adapt old camera lenses to your digital camera, you're probably familiar with cheap lens adapters. These have vintage lens mounts on one side, and the new digital camera mount on the other. They provide adequate spacing between the lens and your sensor and open up a world of great, older lenses to the digital camera user.

An old trick to keep your lens aperture open on a sunny day is to use ND (neutral density filters). These screw on to the front of your lens and restrict light, so your aperture doesn’t have to (watch the video to see why you’d want to do this). A variable ND filter allows you to change the amount of light coming in, so you don’t have to constantly change filters.

The Fotodiox ND Throttle performs both of these tasks. It adapts old (Nikon G, Canon EF or Minolta) still camera lenses to various digital camera bodies. It also includes a variable ND filter inside of the adapter, so you never need to add one on the front of your lens, and all lenses of varying thread sizes are taken care of.

My full review is featured in the above video and includes a look at what you can do with this fantastic device as well as other low-cost workarounds (like a 77mm variable ND filter with step down rings) if you cannot afford this top-of-the line gizmo.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Painter's Pole 1/4-20" Tripod Adapter

There are all kinds of cool ways and places to mount cameras and accessories. Through the use of the universal 1/4-20" thread (most commonly seen on tripod quick release plates), there is a world of accessories out there and if you can't find one, you or someone else can probably make one.

Such is the case with that staple of DIY production, the painter's pole. Most commonly used as a boom pole, it can also be used to mount and extend any number of items. All you have to do is provide an adapter that gives you that magical mount. There are adapters you can buy (from Amazon and eBay), but making one can save you $10-15.

I have built an pole adapter in the past, but that one was made out of a paint roller and wasn't very elegant. This new model is a lot more compact, sturdy, has a larger surface mounting platform, and give you the added security of a set screw. Once attached to your pole, this thing will only come off when you want it to.

The best news it that this adapter will only cost you $3-5 depending on where you get your materials. Some tools are required, but nothing crazy and most you probably already have. Once you have everything, fabrication and assembly will take you less than thirty minutes.

Adapt away!

1/4-20" large, knurled nut from hot shoe flash adapter
Painter's Extension Pole
1/2" PVC slip plug
1/2" PVC slip coupler
1/4-20" screw, 1/4" long
1/4-20" screw (w/tapered head), 1/2" long
rubber washer with 1/4" hole (optional)

1/4" drill bit
11/32" drill bit
countersink or 1/2" drill bit

Shur-line 5-9' Extension Pole
Leatherman Wingman multi-tool


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