A quick follow up to yesterday’s post. I received my Turnstyle 5 bag today. My first impression was how small it is but it accommodates all of my chosen gear comprising of my PEN-F camera with Lumix 12-60mm attached, M.Zuiko 9-18mm and 17mm f/1.8 lenses as well as two 58mm filters, two spare camera batteries, USB battery charger, some moist lens wipes and my LCD hood.
Lately I’ve started to use my ThinkTank turnstyle 10 v2 sling bag again. I’m now suffering from all sorts of pains and I’ve come to the conclusion that this type of bag is probably the best for me unless I’m going utlra-light and just carrying a small camera with just one lens in which case one of my small Manfrotto shoulder bags is fine.
First of all I find that if I carry a shoulder bag on my shoulder then I’m always conscious of it slipping off my shoulder. If I wear it diagonally across my body, messenger style, then the strap digs into my neck and chest and makes my neck and shoulder blade really painful and it makes getting at my gear more tedious. I’ve tried a back pack but for my type of photography which I believe is commonly referred to as “run and gun”, although sadly I’m not doing any running with my leg and hip pains, a backpack is impractical as I don’t want to have to keep removing it or faff around getting to my gear.
So what does that leave me?, well a sling type bag. The Turnstyle bags, of which there are three models (5, 10 and 20), differing in capacity, offer a really practical solution for me. As I’ve gradually honed my gear more and more in an effort to reduce weight and I now only carry a camera and an absolute maximum of two or three lightweight lenses I don’t need or want a big, heavy, cumbersome bag. The Turnstyle 10 model that I have is fine but I’ve worked out that the smaller and slightly lighter Turnstyle 5 model, specifically designed for mirrorless camera systems might be an even better solution so I’ve ordered one. The different models of bag are more or less the same in terms of features.
A few things that I really like about these bags are, the comfortable, ergonomically curved-shaped, shoulder strap, being able to swivel the bag around in front of me and quickly and easily get to the gear, change lenses, batteries etc, the detachable waist belt which helps to spread the load and keep things from moving around on the move and, an absolute must have, the built in rain cover. The bag can also be swiveled round to one’s side or just hung from one shoulder, half-on rucksack style.
There is also a benefit to smaller bags as it forces one to limit the amount and, for me, the important thing, weight of the gear that one is carrying and concentrate of just taking the lenses that, from experience, I’m pretty sure there’s a high probability that I’m going to use as opposed to the “I might use it so I’d better pack it just in case” type lenses and accessories that, on close scrutiny, I rarely use. So if I only use a particular lens or other piece of gear once in every few hundred or so shots that I take then there’s no sense in habitually carrying it around unless I’m pretty darned sure that I’m going to use it. In doing this am I missing a shot or two here and there?, sure but it’s certainly not a deal-breaker as the pros far outweigh the cons and my ageing and aching limbs thank me for it!. 🙂
My eyes are so very important and I spend a lot of time in front of monitors. Two useful pieces of software. An extension for Google Chrome called Dark Reader – https://darkreader.org/ which sets website backgrounds to black rather that the obligatory white. I use this all the time, it has a facility to be activated between certain times of day and also at sunset to sunrise once you’ve given it your map location (use Google maps to get latitude and longitude for your location) but I like it all day. Another feature is the ability to bypass various sites which don’t play nicely with a black background like WordPress or to whitelist only the sites that you want to use it with.
Another useful piece of software which I’ve recently started to use is IRIS, https://iristech.co/ this isn’t free, nor is it is expensive but it is great. It can reduce the colour temperature of a monitor/s (reducing blue light) and brightness between times or, as I have it setup, between Sunset and Sunrise once you have entered your location. There are many other useful features including setting up a list of applications such as suspending the software whilst running colour fidelity critical software like all my photo editing software programs once you’ve set it up. There’s even a AI feature to hook up a webcam which I’ve done (for security with sound disabled in Windows settings and pointing at a blank wall), to automatically sense room brightness and adjust monitor/s brightness accordingly. Together they really do help reduce eye strain.
I have no affiliation to either of these companies or their products.
Lately I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my small macro setup and using the opportunity of being indoors to rethink things a bit.
My macro setup comprising of Olympus EM-5 I camera, M.Zuiko 30mm f/3.5 macro lens, Godox X1-T radio flash trigger, LED ring flash/light (mounted off lens), JJC FC-03 off camera flash cable and Rollei cable release/intervalometer.
Closeup of the FC-03 attached to the camera’s hot shoe which supports TTL mode. I’ve also fitted an LCD shade and here I’m using the 10x magnification factor of the camera so that I can accurately manual focus. I’m powering the camera via the attached grip and a dedicated mains power adapter.
The business end of the 30mm lens with the ring flash attached. I’ve fitted a lens hood and circular polarising filter and then the ring flash. The polarising filter is only of use when the ring flash/light is removed and mounted separately or I’m using another lighting arrangement as it has no effect because the light direction is perpendicular to the lens. I’m going to experiment with using some linear polarising sheet which I can position in front of the light and I can use it in addition to polarise the light source.
Closeup of the Godox X1-T flash trigger mounted on top the FC-03 flash cable with the ring flash controller mounted on top of the X1-T. The X1-T, triggered by the camera, fires my Godox TT-350 flash and acts as a manual pass-through to the ring flash controller. The ring flash unit has two modes flash and light with a of 7 levels of brightness adjustment as well as one or two banks of LEDs. Using this I can either choose to use the ring flash in LED mode or flash mode and also trigger the TT-350 flash.
Goddox TT-350 flash. I’ve mounted this on a small tripod with one of my Manfrotto-style quick release plates. This allows me the option of removing it and attaching it to one of my full-size tripods which I’ve also fitted with the same quick release system and position it as I choose.
I’ve also mounted my GVM RGB LED light to another of my small tripods and attached a boom arm which gives me an additional lighting option to throw into the mix if I wish. The light has an app for the mobile phone which allows one to change the colour and brightness.
The complete setup
A quick test shot lit from above with the ring flash in LED mode, custom white balance set with a grey card. I found some sticky-back wood effect material in the pound shop 🙂 which I’ve stuck to some card to give me a nice wood-effect background. This is actually a two shot manual focus stack assembled in Affinity as I wanted to capture the background as well.
I had this happen once before on my E-M5 II in Greece with green spots and again yesterday with my VF-4 in Bognor!. If you use high diopter correction as I do and are unlucky enough then it can happen in very bright sunlight as was the case today. I’d recommend that you keep the evf side to your body at all times in strong sunlight especially if you use high diopter correction. I inadvertently reversed it when changing lenses, only for a few seconds at the most and now I have large yellow streaks/blotches in the VF-4 EVF. As the VF-4 is detachable it can at least be replaced, not so nice with a built in EVF as it’s a repair job.
Whilst I’ve been stuck indoors the last couple of days due to a combination of torrential rain and now my back playing me up yet again I’ve taken the opportunity to rearrange my modest macro setup. Now I’m going to paint the units white as soon as I can get to a shop and buy some paint.
This lens was my first micro four thirds lens as it came with my original OM-D E-M5 I camera. I was far too quick to dismiss this lens in favour of “better” lenses, a lesson I’ve well and truly learned since. Recently I’ve been re-visiting the lens and it’s very impressive macro mode. I grabbed a few items and set the camera up on a tabletop tripod on self timer. The lens is also weather sealed and I took it out with me the other day on a recent trip into Bognor.
As I’ve now fitted my VF-4 electronic viewfinder to my PEN E-P5 I thought I’d have a look around and see if I could find an LCD shade for my PEN E-PL5. I bought a JJC shade that seems to fit and work pretty well. The shade incorporates a screen protector and the shade part clips on and detaches if not required. They come in silver or black, I chose the silver one to match the camera. I don’t like LCDs and don’t want to have to keep moving the VF-4 from camera to camera so this look like a fairly good compromise. I’m nor sure how it will stand up to the rigours of time but it’s quite well made and cheap. 🙂
PS. It also helps if you increase the LCD display brightness in the control menu just like you would on a mobile phone. Of course this will drain the battery faster but at least you are in with a better chance of seeing what you are shooting in bright light. 🙂