An ultra-small lightweight day out camera setup.

Hi everyone,

For my last two local trips out I decided to take my relatively little used Olympus E-PL5 camera and Lumix 12-32mm as I had other things that I needed to do and carry and I didn’t want to carry around some of my other somewhat more bulky camera gear. I dug out my tiny Samsonite Trekking camera bag and managed to squeeze in a fair bit of gear.

Firstly, to get a sense of scale, here’s the bag sitting on top of an A4 sheet of paper.

In the main compartment my E-PL5 with lens attached and my EV-4 electronic viewfinder ready to attach and in the top mesh pocket, a 58mm ND filter.

In the the front compartment, my Holux GPS data-logger, two spare camera batteries and, in the front zip-up mesh pocket, my Nikon Coolpix A-100 camera with my Manfrotto mini tripod attached in a red waterproof pouch so I even managed to fit in a backup camera!!. πŸ™‚

Lastly I attached a very small tabletop tripod through the two belt loops and used one of my handy Thinktank red-whips to secure it tightly. Behind this is another zip-up pocket into which I put a few lens wipes sachets and a lens cleaning cloth.

Amazing what one can get into such a tiny bag. πŸ™‚ . As for the weight, I don’t know, it was so light that it didn’t even register on my electronic bathroom scales!.

Kind regards,

Leigh

WANDRD Tech Pouch used as a camera bag fitted with my home-brew security mod. (Video)

Hi everyone,

Another short video today.

Here’s an alternate loadout, Olympus E-M5 and M.Zuiko 14-150mm, a snug fit width-wise but doable. πŸ™‚

Kind regards,

Leigh

My recent outings and gear selection.

Hi everyone,

I thought I’d do a quick post on my recent outings to Bognor and Chichester. A short while back I did a video and in it I promised that I would do a post with some images taken with my chosen camera and lens selection.

For the trips I managed to squeeze one more lens into one of my small Manfrotto camera bags. In addition to my Olympus PEN-F, M.Zuilko 30mm f/3.5 ,Lumix 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 and 35-100mm f/4-5.6 lenses I also took my 20 mm Lumix f/1.7 but in the end I didn’t find the opportunity to use it but, when I do I’ll post some images here.

All packed, but where’s the 20mm ? πŸ™‚

Well, it’s below the Lumix 35-100mm attached to it using my MOVO lens changer. This device did come with a strap which I quickly discarded, one because it didn’t look that great a quality and two because I don’t want my lenses hanging from my neck or shoulder but one could do so if one wished. Instead I fitted a small wrist strap for added security when changing lenses. The main advantage to me in using this is that one can dispose of a couple of lens back caps thus reducing the chances of loosing them and, primarily, the lenses don’t bang against each other in the small bag. I’ve also fitted JJC lens hoods to 20mm, 30mm and 12-32mm lenses and the 30mm lens is in a small soft lens pouch..

I’ve posted most of these shots previously but I’ll repost them here. First some taken with my M.Zuiko 30mm f/3.5 macro lens.

Now some shots taken with my Lumix 35-100mm lens, a very sharp, compact little lens.

A few (of many) taken with my favourite Lumix 12-32mm lens.

Hope this is of interest, with the exception of the 12-32mm lens, both the camera and lenses have all been purchased used in great condition and, as always, I travel compact and light. πŸ™‚

Kind regards,

Leigh

The art of considered packing. :)

Hi everyone, as I guess most of you know I love to get all the gear that I need for a shoot into the smallest lightest bag that I can find to do the job, in this case one of my older Tamrac Digitrek bags, a nice small well made bag which I’ve had for many years now. I’ve fitted my Heroclip to the carrying handle and it’s held in place during transit by one of the two side buckle clips passing over it so that it doesn’t slip around.

The bag is quite versatile and has an outside pocket in which I’ve stored my intervalometer and a most vital (and cheapest) πŸ™‚ piece of kit, a section cut from a neoprene mouse mat which is a really useful if one gets a filter and/or lens hood stuck.

In the front zip up pocket I have stored my tiny Nikon Coolpix A100 with Joby mini tripod fitted, an SDHC card case, an 82 mm lens cap for my wide angle hoods, 2 spare camera batteries, 2 spare AAA batteries for the intervalometer, my GPS data logger and (in the red bag) my grey/white and black cards.

With the cards unpacked.

The inside comprises of a zip up transparent pocket in which I’ve stored several step up rings, a cleaning cloth, some lens wipes and the lanyard for the colour balance cards. In the main compartment I have my E-M1 camera plus VF-4 (right angle adjustable) electronic viewfinder (really useful for low down shots) which saves my old aching legs and back πŸ™‚ , two lenses, my 12-32mm Lumix and my 9-18mm M.Zuiko and, in another one of my small red drawstring bags, two metal wide angle lens hoods to fit my ND filters.

With the hoods unpacked.

The bag is very compact for travelling as you can see from this shot of me holding it.

Using the Heroclip to hang the bag from one of my lightweight tripods both for added stability for the tripod and to keep the bag and its contents off of wet ground or, for that matter, hanging it from anything!. πŸ™‚

This is my heaviest loadout at approx. 4 1/2 pounds but, not shown here, the bag also has two belt loops on the back of the bag to help distribute the weight. Stick my filter pouch into a jacket pocket or on my belt and I’m good to go. πŸ™‚

Kind regards,

Leigh

More ND filter and custom white balance (CWB) experiments.

Hi folks,

To pass some time I’ve been doing some more tests with my K&F concept ND filters, long exposures, noise reduction, my intervalometer and custom white balance. I was keen to see what happened colour cast and image quality wise when I stacked two of my filters, my ND1000 and my ND8-128 set at ND8 giving a total exposure lengthening of 13 stops (10+3). I first set the custom white balance with my 18% grey card and took one shot at 1/15 sec. @ f/3.5 with single autofocus for reference . I then fitted the filters with the custom white balance selected and took a 9 minute 6 seconds exposure with the camera in bulb mode and with the camera’s noise reduction enabled. As previous both shots were taken under identical lighting and at the same aperture and focal length. Note, one cannot set CWB with a 10 stop or greater ND filter fitted as it’s just too dark thus I left it set with the no filter CWB setting.

I think that the shot with the filters fitted is a tad more saturated but it’s extremely marginal and it’s most definitely worth enabling the noise reduction if it’s not already set to on or auto. The downside is that it more or less doubles the length of the shot as it takes a dark slide so I had to wait nearly 20 minutes to view the resulting image. As an additional experiment I repeated this with noise reduction turned off but the result was pretty poor. Enabling noise reduction doesn’t present me with any issues as, given my interests, I’m unlikely to take many extreme long exposure shots.

Custom white balance and no filter for reference.

Same custom white balance setting with ND1000 and variable ND8-128 set at ND8.

Kind regards

Leigh

Custom white balance adjustments to correct K&F Concept ND filter colour casts.

Hi everyone,

I did some tests this morning using custom white balance (CWB) with my various K&F concept ND filters. These were all conducted at the same aperture and ISO and under identical lighting conditions using an 18% grey card to set white balance without any filters fitted and each time I fitted a different filter. I was particularly interested to see if there was a shift of colour cast at each of the variable ND filter settings.

First a CWB shot taken without any filter for reference.

Now with the variable ND 8-128 filter @ ND8, ND16, ND32, ND64 and ND128. Custom white balance taken at ND8 setting and applied throughout.

Now the ND2-32 variable + CPL filter set at ND2, ND4, ND8, ND 16 and ND32 with no changes made to the CPL. Custom white balance taken at ND2 setting and applied throughout.

Lastly the ND1000 filter which is underexposed. I manually focussed before fitting the filter as it was too dark for the autofocus to lock.

With 1 stop exposure correction

With 1.5 stops exposure correction

I’m quite happy with these tests, the variable filters seem to be pretty consistent in terms of any colour casts across their setting range. There are some fairly minor changes to exposure/saturation but nothing that I can’t live with and one can set a custom white balance for each filter. I’ll happily use auto white balance all the time with the exception of when I have an ND filter fitted. Another thing I was looking for was if there was any noticeable decrease in sharpness and, if it is there, I think that it is minimal to say the very least, I can’t see it.

I should just add that this isn’t in any way a criticism of their filters, I’m happy with them and, in my opinion, they’re good quality filters at a fair price and there are far more expensive makes out there that also exhibit a colour cast. The important thing is finding a reliable method to correct for it, in the field when there’s not anything white in the frame that can be used to sample white balance in post processing..

Kind regards

Leigh

Gear and gadgets video

Hi everyone,

My first attempt at a video featuring some of my favourite photographic gear and gadgets which I hope you might find of interest. The cable release takes two AAA batteries which is handy, I’m using re-chargeable batteries in it. The Neewer tripod also has 360 degrees marking around the ball head to aid panoramic work and a spirit level. One can download the GPS log files from the Holux data logger to the computer via the USB port and use software such as Geosetter plus Exiftool (both free) to add GPS information to one’s RAW files. It can also act as a mock GPS provider using the built in bluetooth connection to a mobile phone.

Kind regards

Leigh