Tags: 80mm, advertising, Apo-Digitar, Apple, Aptus-II, design, digital photography, equipment, Leaf, lighting, Phase One, Profoto, Schneider-Kreuznach, set, Sinar, still life, studio, tools
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posts tagged ‘Aptus-II’
Alright, to be honest: I’m not going to write much because I’m dying to get into Sonic Generations on my 360!!!
Be sure to check out Matt Pickett’s blog, rolled out fresh on 11/11. Matt rocks, his inaugural post rocks, can’t wait to see him get going with it. Go learn something: http://www.mattpickettphotography.co.uk/blog/
I’m dropping off some odd stuff from over the weekend; nothing to write home about, probably, but pretty large in terms of production time. Three sets in one day plus an emergency trip across town to IKEA for a glasstop without text imprints. This shoot was tied to a mock campaign for depression help-lines. Get it? This campaign is the antithesis of those dark, scary, and unnerving ads that I hate so much. I truly feel for anyone who suffers from depression. Please get help.
Also, chomping to mess with my 24mm Nikkor, I had plenty of incentive to grab some production stills. That’s the best part, really! Enjoy ~~>
Here’s a fun post! Say, let’s build something cool. I’m going to detail the shutter trigger monitor/profiler that I built this week and I’m including the schematic and parts list in case you want to experiment or build your own. Just keep in mind that this device requires an oscilloscope for full functionality, or at the very least, a pulse width counter. Also keep in mind that I am not responsible for your actions and that includes plugging things you’ve made into your expensive cameras – I refer you to the disclaimer at the end of this article for clarification. Right then, this is an offshoot of my router/sequencer project, but also a handy tool in its own right.
Camera shutters are mechanical/electromechanical devices that are prone to drift and corrosion. It’s great to be able to peek at the timings and trigger contact profiles in order to diagnose and evaluate their performance. This goes from handy to critical if you have applications that depend on the accuracy and consistency of, say, the leading edges of your shutter contact pulses. This is my situation and that’s primarily why I built this tool – but it’s a useful tool for general photography and camera repair as well. From a development point of view, this device acts as an adapter for my ScopeMeter, which I consider to be the handiest tool ever, that allows me to examine the electrical (and later, optical) performance of my shutters, etc.
This first design (Mark I) features three shutter ports, one for each of the three types of PC cable common in my kit: 1/4″ (shutter-to-generator), 3.5mm (shutter-to-radio), 2.5mm (shutter-to-back). This is purely convenience, however do note that the profiler can, with modification, act transparently and pass-through triggers to generators, digital backs, or whatever else you might connect to your shutter – this is planned for the next version (Mark II). Right now, let’s walk through the first version of the device.
The unit automatically powers on when plugs are inserted into the input jacks. When the inputs are empty, the batteries are completely open and will not drain. Power state is indicated via the green LED on the interface panel which also serves to indicate that the correct type of cable/plug is inserted and that the device is ready to go. The BNC port is for measurement output and it’s limited, protected, and designed to link to high and very-high impedance measuring devices such as oscilloscopes, DMM’s and counters. The output state is handily indicated by the yellow LED which turns on when the output is high and remains off when the output is low; it’s included for quick, on-the-fly connection checks and chain debugging without a scope attached. Leaving the profiler attached to a scope or other measuring device will not drain the batteries as long as none of the inputs are connected.
Connection to a shutter can be via any shutter cable that sports a 1/4″, 3.5mm, or 2.5mm TS connector. Only two-conductor (mono) plugs are supported, three-conductor (stereo) types will be ignored as long as the ring and sleeve are not common – in that case the profiler will not turn on. Any shutter with a contact type trigger output can be profiled and monitored as long as a proper cable exists or can be made. Connection to the scope through the BNC port should be made via a shielded RF cable, 50 or 75 Ohms. Noise floor is not a problem for this application so cheap cables are fine but higher quality cables will always make your life work out a little bit better.
All together, the device is compact, rugged, and easily stowed in my grip kit, ScopeMeter case, or even my pocket. I’m not actually going to carry it around in my pocket, but it would fit easily! So let’s hook it up to my ScopeMeter and have a look. As shown above, we’re into channel A with nothing in, nothing out.
Once connected to a shutter, the device powers on and remains ready to send trigger measurements to the scope. In this case I’m using my on-camera trigger cable for a Leaf back which is plugged into the 2.5mm input on the profiler. All three inputs are electrically parallel and do exactly the same thing.
I’m ready to go; now to setup the scope. I should point out that I’m testing the mechanical Copal 0 leaf shutter on my Schneider Apo-Digitar M 120mm here; this could also be any electronic shutter, SLR body, medium format lens – again, any shutter or camera with a switching trigger. It could also be connected via radio; the profiler can be used to examine radio delays and timing as well. I can also use it to look at the trigger output of an electronic technical shutter, a DSLR, or a digital back. Anyway, once connected I set my scope to fit a 3VDC peak and scale the display to the anticipated shutter speed – in this case I am starting at 1/125 sec. My Fluke 124 has the cool cursor feature, so I’ve set the cursors to delineate a perfect 1/125 sec. pulse width, which is 1000 / 125 = 8ms. You can also see that I’ve set the trigger to wait at 1.5VDC, or roughly half of the ~3VDC max output of the profiler. And so the scope waits happily until the profiler sends it a shutter pulse to chew over. For convenience I’m running my scope on-trigger instead of single-shot so that I don’t have to reset the hold each time I want to read the shutter – I can just click away and always expect the latest reading to be displayed. Either trigger mode will work just fine.
A closed shutter trigger (open shutter) means high output which is indicated by the yellow LED. Above I have the shutter locked open to take the picture, but pulses as short as 1/400 sec. can be seen and verified on the LED indicator. You can see in the picture that the scope is reading a steady ~2.8VDC with the output of the profiler in the high state. This peak reading will drop as the batteries wear, but timing performance will not be affected. So let’s look at an actual reading for the 1/125 sec. shutter speed setting on this Copal o.
(*click*) There we go. Instantly I can see that the trigger contacts close cleanly. I can also see that the trigger opens before the expected 8ms has elapsed. This is due to a combination of shutter mechanics and probably a slightly fast shutter. Note that any pre-delay is not recorded because the scope is triggering off of the shutter contacts, so presumably the shutter has opened fully before the initial trigger and will finish closing after the contacts break open. In order to get the actual photo-time of the shutter being tested for comparison I would need to use an optical sensor – this will be covered in Part II. For detailed analysis, I can upload any of the captures into FlukeView.
Here I can look closely at the rising edge characteristics and determine how my sequencer inputs will trigger from this shutter. And after looking at a few shutters I’ll have a better understanding of how to develop the input buffer sensitivity. Okay, but this is really unnecessary for most applications. I would like to point out the glitch that is seen just after the peak settles – this is probably due to cable capacitance or some other electrical aberration and it is seen on every shutter I’ve tested. It would be fun to track it down, but honestly, who cares. I’m hooked up, so let’s look at a few other shutter speeds while we’re at it.
(*reeclick*) (*reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeclick*) These are readings for 1/8 sec and 1 sec shutter speeds on the same shutter. In each case I can see a crisp leading edge and constant output throughout the pulse. I have also verified perfect consistency over multiple actuations, and that’s exactly what I’m looking for. This shutter is electrically healthy and it will be perfectly compatible with my sequencer trigger inputs. I will cover more in-depth shutter performance testing once the optical section is completed – at that point I will be able to record the actual photographic performance and also see where in the shutter cycle the trigger is switching.
BIT OF A WARNING! The schematic above is updated from the wiring shown in the pictures. It has been modified so that the shutter inputs are tip-positive. The pictures in this post show wiring for tip-negative. Not a big deal at all; the reason is to provide broader compatibility with transistor switching in electronic devices. Build from the schematic, not the pictures. Also, I do not advise connecting this circuit as a pass-through to other devices. Wait for the second version which will feature a safe opto-isolated pass-through.
Moving on, and as promised, the schematic is given above. The circuit is basically a DC power supply working against a small load balance with a standard flyback and a series protection diode guarding the output which is designed for very-high impedance measuring tools. Noise can be a problem when reading peaks. The load resistor (R3) fills two shoes: sinking the scope input when the output is low and acting as a stabilizer when the output is high. The shunt diode (D3) is there to protect sensitive transistor logic on triggers such as digital backs, DLSR’s, and radio transceivers. The protection diode (D4) is provided as a matter of course to protect everything from wayward output connections. I am using stereo TRS jacks to control the power via the plug sleeves.
As to the power supply, I like the convenience of 3V power from two AA batteries, but this could easily be a 9V battery with adjustment to the resistor values. I know that 3V is safe for all modern shutter devices that I use as it is well below the standard sensing voltage. A Profoto D4 generator, for instance, listens with a > 10V potential.
So let’s open the hood and take a quick peek.
The Hammond enclosure that I am using is perfect for this application. The top panel is removable and easily machined with a drill press to take the connectors and LED’s. I’ve tightened all the nuts snug and set them off with a bit of Loctite to keep them from changing their minds.
What you see is mostly interconnect, with all of the business happening in the diode/resistor group soldered to the output jack. Very easy stuff. Solder cleanly and solidly and protect component leads with heat shrink for durability. Solder flux should be removed. In this case I’ve used Kester 331 organic core, so a warm water rinse took care of that. Keep water out of the 2.5mm jack if you do this and dry completely with warm air before setting the heat shrink and installing into the enclosure. A no-clean solder/flux could be used and the rinse could be avoided, but that’s no fun.
A nice fit with room for the future. Not shown are the two open-cell foam sheets that slip below and above the circuit in order to hold everything secure and provide plenty of shock protection. Expect a much shorter service life if everything is left to flop around.
Finally, here is a parts list for Mouser Electronics – the exact parts you see above, in fact. If you do decide to build one of these or experiment with shutter measurements, please share back. Lots of room for improvement here and, like I mentioned, stay ready for Mark II with simultaneous optical measurement, a safe pass-through, and more.
|1||546-1553BYLBKBAT||Enclosures, Boxes, & Cases 4.62 x 3.11 x 0.95 HAND HELD|
|1||523-115101-06-24.00||RF Cable Assemblies BNC St Plug-BNC St Plug 8218 24 in.|
|1||161-7000-EX||J3||Phone Connectors 2.5MM STEREO|
|1||161-MJ355W-EX||J2||Phone Connectors PHONE 3.5MM STEREO|
|1||502-112BX||J1||Phone Connectors 3C ENCLOSED 1/4|
|1||571-5227169-7||J4||RF Connectors BULKHEAD SOLDER JACK|
|2||78-1N4148||D3-4||Diodes (General Purpose, Power, Switching) 100V Io/150mA T/R|
|2||71-RN55D-F-150/R||R1-2||Metal Film Resistors – Through Hole 1/8watt 150ohms 1% 100ppm|
|1||71-RN55D-F-5.6K||R3||Metal Film Resistors – Through Hole 1/8watt 5.6Kohms 1% 100ppm|
|1||645-558-1301-007F||D1||LED Panel Mount Indicators GREEN DIFFUSED 14in WL LOW CURRENT|
|1||645-558-1201-007F||D2||LED Panel Mount Indicators YELLOW DIFFUSED 14in WL LOW CURRENT|
|(also)||24 AWG stranded hookup wire, solder, various heat shrink tubing|
As always, thanks for reading and happy building. Remember to share a link to this post when you can, it sure helps me out! Also, make sure to check out some of my recent posts for some pretty sweet images, projects, and builds. Cheers!
If you decide to build the device that I outline herein, that’s great, but you do so at your own risk. I cannot be held responsible for any damage to yourself or to your equipment that may result from the use or misuse of the electrical equipment that I describe in this article. I advise you to consult a professional regarding the specific equipment to which you intend to connect any device that you make.
I’m killing myself trying to prep the sequencer project for manufacturing before I become saturated with shooting due to a special topics course in food styling that starts tomorrow. I’m totally excited about this. The only problem is that, because it is a mid-term course, we will meet from 8AM to 5PM every Monday. That’s nine hours. No problem. Tom Moore is teaching and we’re joining the culinary program, sounds like a hell of a good time to me.
Before the sequencer update, check out my latest portfolio addition. The first time I gazed upon a toaster with a LCD I knew something like this was going to happen eventually. It was also a great way to test out the counter top I built. Lots going on here. If you’re wondering: the wall is false, made of foam core. The LCD display was modeled digitally; however it does match the actual display and is based on scan of the plastic protective cover out of the box. I am using a false DOF here stylistically, but I was crafty about it. It looks right. Also, something is missing, can you find it? I’m having a lot of fun with this kind of strange style, and all the fun appliance humor that I’m pretty sure most people won’t appreciate.
OK then, I have been putting in LONG hours to get the sequencer ready for manufacturing. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just visit my previous post. The first order was to add isolated and buffered outputs which required a large addition to the electronics. Once this was accomplished and the parts sourced, there was a rather hefty PCB redesign to accomodate - this is still in the works. Today I am happy to share the final chassis design. I have dropped the Hammond enclosure idea and have decided to design my own enclosure from scratch. This was a huge undertaking and it took uncountable hours of research, design, and fitting. Ok, it took about twenty hours. But, that’s a lot of hours. This enclosure fits everything quite nicely with an extreme utilization of space, which is something that was not possible with the pre-manufactured Hammond box. Also, I am saving myself a ton of trouble by having the end panels milled directly for the parts that mount to them. The end product makes it look easy, but I had to track down and find the engineering drawings for every single part and specify each cut and drill hole to those specs, in addition to figuring and allowing for tolerances. A ton of work, but actually it was all kinds of fun.
The new enclosure will be milled from 2.5mm black anodized aluminum blanks with 2mm end panels. The channels on the edge of the front panel are 1mm cavities which fit into the 1.5U edge channels. The external components are all placed so that they avoid everything inside, specifically the power supply, the main board, and the daughter board. I am not showing the rear panel, but it is drilled to precisely mount the internal components. Hopefully everything will come together.
The big news is that the components are all sourced and ordered. Thank you, Mouser!
Added: Since two people have asked about the new board, here it is. Major additions are fully buffered and isolated 3A switching outputs, four pin output channels to support isolated switching, mountings for the newer 1012 daughter board, USB power routed through the data channel, drilling for 24AWG and 18AWG wiring, and industry standard Molex K.K. power connectors.
Just a quick drop off. That phone snapshot, the new countertop, a pre-existing idea, and Dave on hand resulted in a prototype shoot on Monday. The concept is obvious, so I made sure to shoot clean and allowed for some experimentation. I was probably not as strict about a few things as I normally would have been, but in the end I’m glad about that as it lends a bit of comfort, having the straws and other items just a bit off and such. I think I learned something there. Anyway, we constructed both sets and shot the product on each set aligned as closely as humanly possible. I think I used every movement on my camera to get the second shot to match the first. Angle and focal movements were frozen, but everything else was variable between them. We carefully matched lighting, but also allowed for some differences in character to match the expected ambiance. With nice, clean frames coming in, post was a blast. There are issues, but they are nit-picky. I am very happy with the result. Thanks to Dave M. for all the help.
Starting to use the D4 a lot more and I’m afraid I’m falling in love with it, which is bad. A seriously hardcore generator that handles like a kitten. No, really, it purrs. Very accurate, very versatile. It’s awesome.
Damn, it’s been a long time. I’ve seen so many great photographs and met so many great photographers in the last two months that I can’t possibly know where to begin. Its organization time over here at my tiny work space. I’m totally thrilled to be working under Todd Dobbs while producing my final portfolio at AiC. No more doo-daddling, it’s time to get down to the tacks and start producing.
I spent the afternoon at LEGO Universe in Louisville, CO thanks to creative concepts instructor, Tom Finke. I don’t have the words needed to convey so much awesome. I learned more about LEGO design, LEGO engineering, and LEGO philosophy than I could have dreamed. The place is busting with creativity. I would love to work for them.
On the other side of things, I have been finalizing a laser beam condenser (optical) for a >1 Watt 532nm laser assembly that I’ve been working with for a few weeks now. I’ve decided to remarket myself as a photographer and maker/builder/creator, so this blog will dip into a few side projects now and then, hopefully it will keep things more interesting. I like to design and build things. Most of the things I design and build have applications in commercial photography. Sounds good to me.
At MLP I’m just about ready to commit and finalize my logo design and get some correspondence printed. The website is updated. I now have telephone service via Phone.com. In fact, my shiny new desktop IP-phone arrives tomorrow. Call system is in place. Notice the new phone number, it’s already active and connected. If you are not familiar with virtual phone service and IP hardware, do yourself a favor and do some research. It’s totally the future. Affordable, scalable, non-localized, non-contract…how can any telephone system be better than that?
Enjoy the shots from this last week – more to come. I’m thrilled to be back in the swing.
I can’t find my production stills from the Advanced Studio portrait session…but if I do I’ll append them. I wanted to shoot a character portrait on our Advanced Studio set, so I came up with the idea of some kind of deep Irish locale with a mighty looking fellow who is up to no good. Nice hat, nice pipe; he’s connected…you probably know what I’m talking about. The hat is my own Hanna of Donegal pure wool; it was perfect for this scene, I’d been dying to use it. I wanted to use a Peterson pipe (Irish), but decided that was a bit forced, so I opted to use an English billiard provided by Tip (the subject). Additional technical direction came from the rest of the class. I like shooting characters, and I love dragging out the RZ67. This was shot with the RZ 110mm at f/2.8 if you’re interested.
Also this week, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, I completed the final shot for my Survey course; I’m ready to wrap that up. Chrome by Loris Azzaro. I do want to get into some more complex fragrance stills, but I also love the minimal ones… Some tech notes: I have a Schneider 120mm Macro Apo-Digitar on hand for a few weeks and this is my first time working with one. Amazing lens, absolutley top of the pack. I can tell from one go that this is a lens to have around. It is possibly the sharpest Digitar for small to medium product work, it provides a nice working distance at 120mm, and it has a generous image circle (and on top of that, Schneider’s numbers are conservative). This scene required mildly severe movements, but I didn’t even begin to test the limits of the circle on a 36x48mm sensor – and no lens calibration required.
Check out that shaver. I bought it for personal use, but I admit that I picked it purely for its aesthetic values and had a product shot in mind the whole time. It’s a good looking device, I had a lot of fun lighting it. Obviously this is a study in new school illustrative product lighting; sexy, clean, and sharp. Hyperreal. I’m learning a lot from these studies, and that’s how I like it.
My second Seamaster shot comes from my Advanced Studio course with Tom Moore. The set was constructed in our 9th floor studio and is being used by the entire class for a great variety of shots. Special thanks to Kelsey Hansen for assisting and helping to direct this still. Some pretty basic contrasts happening here, with the steel and the damp barn…you can figure it out. Check the production stills. We used a lot of light, very subtly. Great fun on this one! I wrapped another shoot with Kelsey and much of the class this morning on the same set – like a group effort; will post that soon.
Have a great weekend. Eat and drink!
I’ve been experimenting with some catalogue style watch photography this week. In preparation I begged and cheated and lied in order to get my hands on one of my favorite chronometers of all time, the Seamaster 2254.50 – this is the black dialed sister to the popular James Bond blue dialed 2531.80. A big, heavy, sexy deep-sea saturation-diving watch; it’s a classic that I’m happy to have around for a while. I’m a huge fan of Omega and if you are inclined I urge you to visit their website and dig around for some really breathtaking catalogue work. I hope I am that good someday.
While I have this watch I want to do some advertising shots with it as well, so look for that. No production snapshots this time, but I’ll be sure to post some next time – quite a lot goes into lighting a watch like this, just count the facets…we made a special tool for holding mirrors and reflectors that I think would be interesting to explain. Also, I’m looking for a used Acute2/D4 ring light to modify specifically for lighting bezels…stay tuned!
(Added: I found this still of the table set for this shot.)
I’ve got two new pieces to drop off. These images are the first to come out of the new workflow, and the Bombay Saphire piece was the first from Capture One 6.2 which was released just this morning. (Note that the Saphire shot was a way bigger deal than the Absolut shot.) I’m trying to get back into documenting my setups, but I got rusty. Also, I really just wanted to take pictures of my new Sinar. It will get better, I promise. I can’t leave a post without some geek info: I’m moving all of my lenses to Sinar boards and I need to get a Sinar-to-Cambo board adapter from S.K. Grimes! That probably deserves a post on its own. Sooooo, I’m about to have a bunch of Cambo lens boards for sale if anyone is interested. After an entire quarter studying and shooting outside of the studio, it is totally awesome to be back. More in the works, stay tuned, and thanks a bunch for all the support!
Whoa! Things are ramping up! I’m directing and shooting a preliminary sequence for my graduation portfolio as I round the bend into my final year at AiC. That’s exciting. I’m shooting contracts here and there and moving out old equipment – making room for some new. See note below. I’ve also started teaching Capture One to a few students, and possibly a few instructors starting this week. Busy.
This week brings huge changes as I switch over to the Sinar platform (evil Sinar!) via a brand new X body. I couldn’t resist any longer and I was offered a deal I really couldn’t refuse. Along side that comes a 150lb camera stand and a huge Manfrotto 400. This rig takes over as studio queen whilst my trusted and beloved Cambo Ultima sticks around for out-of-studio jobs, secondary, and backup. On the production side, I’ve really been getting into Profoto’s Air system combined with Capture One for lighting control directly within the workflow window. Everything is now managed from Capture One… Really, really sweet. I make no apologies for being a gear head, btw. I think I’ve found the one area of photography where that’s okay.
Earlier today I chatted with my friend and fellow studio rat, Kelsey Hansen, about starting an interest group at AiC dedicated to tabletop and still life. It would be great to get together in order to talk about trends, tech, do some camera and equipment demos, visit some commercial studios, and so on. Honestly, I can’t believe that this doesn’t already exist. If you’re a student and you’re reading this, PLEASE CONTACT ME OR KELSEY if you’re interested! Awesome.
Here’s the note: I have a gorgeous Cambo Master PC technical camera (L-Frame, base tilts, variable-axis tilts, fully geared) with perfect bellows, 4×5 glass, extension rail, and hard case for sale. I’ve been going back and forth about selling it, but the new Sinar ends that indecision. All in EX+ condition. I really hate to let this camera go, it is a classic. I also have several MINT- Nikkor lenses on Copal shutters to let go if you’re looking. Contact.
And, suddenly, it looks like the latest Safari 5.0.5 update for OSX breaks my current implementation of the Facebook Like button running in my site-wide footer. I’ll have to fix that. Always something.
I’ll leave off with a new shot. This started out as a classic bottle and glass still, until my friend commented that, had she that glass of Green Label, she’d be drinking it not looking at it. Ha! Brilliant! Thanks Stacey.