Thursday, February 24, 2011

Photography - Need film clips?

You decided to develop your film yourself to save some money. Now you need a whole bunch of things, like the Omega 11113 Non-Weighted Stainless Steel Film Clips 10-Pack for which you will pay $49 for 10 clips. That would be if you only want to develop AND dry just 5 films at a time (you need one on the bottom to keep the roll from curling).

Or you can get a bag of 25 clips (Clip It Up Additional Clips 25-Pack) for $9.34 (as of 2/23/2011).These clips will work just as good and to create the weighted ones, just use a heavy duty washer as a weight.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Photography - light proof material (for darkroom, changing bag, focusing cloth,etc)

For a project I researched lightproof material. The absolute cheapest option I found was the "Blackout Drapery Liner" found in most fabric stores. My tests show that is 100% lightproof (though you may want to test for pinholes, just to be safe). The one I tested is Roc-Lon but the one linked to the left is less expensive and just as good.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Photography - Safelight for darkroom for $13.50 ...

... if your darkroom has fluorescent lighting. All you need to do is wrap this tape around a (low power) bulb and you are all set. Alternatively, you can use it to cover a flashlight (or any LED or fluorescent light) and you have an "instant" safe light.

JVCC LITHO-1 Lithographer's Tape: 2 in. x 72 yds. (Red)

Obviously with a single roll you can make many safe lights, so you can split the cost with other friends! Do not use with incandescent bulbs, at best you'll stink up the place, at worst you'll burn your house down!

Photography - incredibly cheap B&W film ($0.45!!)

Update 4pm : It's a trick, they will charge shipping cost for each roll of film! If it's too good to be true, it probably is not true...

I just stumbled on these, I think they might be either short dated or expired, but who cares, B&W film is good for a long time. Clearly they are not going to last long, so if you want them, get them now!

On the Amazon page if the listed price is higher, look for the "x new from : $nnn" line, it may still be an option there.
Kodak Professional TRI-X 400/400TX 35mm Black-and-White Film, 36-Exposure Roll - $0.85/roll
Kodak Professional TRI-X 400/400TX 35mm Black-and-White Film, 24-Exposure Roll - $0.48/roll
Ilford Delta 100 Professional Black-and-White Film 100asa 35mm 24-exposure - $1.89/roll

and many others : Really cheap film!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Motorcycle/Auto : Using high(er then necessary) octane gas

It is astounding how many people are ignorant about what gas should they use in their vehicle. A lot of people will keep putting high(er then necessary) octane gas in their vehicle (at significantly higher cost) thinking it's "better" or it will make it go faster (or smoother) etc. Nope, you are just throwing money away!

Your car has a User Manual. Find it, see what is the recommended octane and use that. Using higher octane will not do anything for you, other then lightening your wallet. Do not use lower then recommended octane either, that might hurt your car.

If your car's recommended octane is 87 and you are using 93, in a year (assuming you are driving 12000 miles a year at an average MPG of 20) you throwing away $157 (at current average prices).

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Photography - Need a cheap portable reflector for portrait/product photography?

Using reflectors is a very inexpensive solution for portrait/product lighting. In some cases, using a flash to fill in shadows is impossible if you want to use a fast lens wide open to blur the background, because of the limited sync speed most SLRs have. So reflectors may be the only practical solution. They cost $20-60 and you can use them in all sorts of ways to enhance the portraits/products you are shooting :

Westcott 301 Photo Basics 40-Inch 5-in-1 Reflector
ePhoto 32" 5 in 1 Photography Portrait Studio Collapsible  32"REF

But if you are on a really tight budget, even these may be too expensive for you.

Luckily, if all you need is a silver reflector (which is what I've been using most of the time), you have a much less expensive alternative. A winshield shade like this one :


is nearly identical in construction with the reflectors above, folds flat and small and it's very light. It only costs (now) $7.79 and you get two panels. You may even already have one in the trunk!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Photography - cheap AND good 85mm f1.4? Yeap!

Audience : SLR/DSLR owners (Nikon/Pentax/Canon/Sony/Olympus) who want to shoot in low light and/or with very narrow depth of field.

I REALLY, REALLY like fast lenses. I have a 30mm f1.4, a 50mm f1.4 and both of my zoom lenses are constant f2.8. But I've been drooling for a fast 85mm lens for a while now. But a 85mm f1.4D Nikon Nikkor lens sells (now) for $1175 !!!!! and the similar lens for Canon, Pentax, Sony and Olympus are similarly priced (i.e. way out of my range).

Then I accidentally found an article about the Rokinon 85M-N 85mm F1.4 Aspherical Lens for Nikon which sells (now) at Amazon for $259. $259? That's surely a piece of crap was my first thought. Then I made some research and lo and behold, it's actually not (crap, that is)! Everyone seems to concur, it's a good lens in absolute terms but it's an AMAZING relative to the price!  See a few samples here : Sample 1 Sample 2 Sample 3

There are versions available for Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Sony and Olympus and for the Nikon version they have one that has the metering chip in case your camera is not AIS backward compatible (like D90, D80, D70, D70s, D50, D100, D5000, D3100, D3000, D60, D40, D40x). Any of these cameras will required the chipped version for the metering to work.

Please note that this lens is not autofocus, you will have to focus it manually. Check carefully compatibility to your SLR.

Note : This article is based on extensive on-line research (reviews/sample shots/MTF curves/etc). I am not in US now so I have not yet acquired the lens, but I will once I get back. Can't wait! Naturally I'll update this article once I have the lens.