Links Tips

Wall–sized posters

Ever wanted to reproduce your photos for large–format, wall–size mounting?

Photojojo shares with us this wonderful site called “Block Posters” which does exactly that, produce several PDF files that you can print in your printer and stitch/join/mount together to result in a poster that can take up wall spaces. Though quality may significantly be lower, these wall posters can still be very eye–catching.

Try it!

Flashes Links Tips

Can you use your old flash with your DSLR?

A good number of first time DSLR buyers used to own film SLRs with a dedicated hotshoe flash. Most flash guns built during the film SLR days cannot take advantage of the various advancements in flash photography like Nikon’s CLS (Creative Lighting System) and Canon’s ETTL (Evaluative Through-The-Lens) and ETTL-II. However, a more important (and potentially dangerous) note is that most old flashes have extremely high trigger voltages. The electronics in digital SLRs like the Canon EOS 400D/Rebel XTi can be destroyed by old flash guns with these high trigger voltages. This article explains this issue quite well:

Why Are Newer Cameras in Danger, but not Old Ones?

Once upon a time, all camera shutters were triggered mechanically. The flash switches were mechanical switches, made of metal. Cameras from the 1950’s-70’s even have two different flash settings, each with minutely different timings: “X” for strobes, and “M” for flashbulbs (which needed an extra 1/250th of a second or so to ignite).

Modern electronically-controlled cameras use a thyristor capacitor, a solid-state device that switches according to voltage potentials. It switches on and off much more quickly than mechanical switches, making it excellent for electronic control, especially of short durations. But it’s also susceptible to problems that weren’t present in the previous generations of cameras.

So how do you prevent yourself from ruining your 800 dollar camera? This comprehensive listing of flash trigger voltages over at (from the same source as the previous link) will help you identify problem strobes and flashes. Just identify the flash you’re using and check its details in the table provided; it also contains specific notes from fellow users with first–hand experience with specific models of flashes.

This information can be very helpful for people experimenting with flash photography, especially now that it’s on the rise and greatly inspired by the strobist blog.

Links Techniques Tips

A Better Bounce Card

If you’ve been shooting with a lot with a hot shoe flash, you’ve probably encountered light diffusion gadgets like the Stofen OmniBounce, the Flip-it, or the magical Lightsphere. These attachments were designed to provide good light using flash guns and avoid direct flash at all cost. However, these items don’t come cheap.

A solution for budding amateurs often involves little bounce cards that work in certain situations, though not as versatile as those mentioned above. Enter Peter Gregg’s “A Better Bounce Card” which is meant to be a DIY project. This is something you can do on your own, at home, with just a few dollars worth of materials you’d typically find in art shops. Watch his tutorial video and try this one yourself, I think it holds its own against the popular (and expensive) alternatives.

Links News Reviews Tips

Canon EOS 400D Reviewed @ pipho

Canon EOS 400D Reviewed at

Remember the first few photo samples and initial impressions we posted a few weeks ago on the Canon EOS 400D/XTi? Regie Fernando now has his complete review of the new Canon body on the pipho forums. It was actually published several days ago, and it seems several enthusiasts are now shooting with this camera.

If you’re a fellow Filipino shooter lurking in the pipho forums, you might want to take advantage of this wonderful offer provided by Henry’s Camera: Canon EOS 400D for 46,000 pesos, with a two–year warranty, an extra battery, and several other freebies. This is a good deal and seems a bit cheaper compared to other Hidalgo shops. Some are reportedly selling the 400D body only, for 42,500 pesos — a very tempting deal. Once prices drop below the 40k range, the temptation would be too hard for me to resist. ;)

Links Tips

Most Popular Digital Cameras of August 2006

Ever wondered what cameras are selling like hotcakes these days? Digital Camera Review has compiled the most popular cameras for August 2006. If you’re buying one anytime soon, you should consider this list. However, be aware of cameras that were just made available this month, like the Canon EOS 400D/XTi.

Some quick tips for camera buying: be sure to hold one for size and ergonomics! If you’re spending several hundred dollars on a piece of gadget, or anything for that matter, be sure you can actually use it. Some cameras are notoriously small, or simply too hard to use. Another tip: avoid buying last season’s models unless you know your stuff. Believe me on this, get the most out of your money by doing online research and finding the camera for your needs that’s within your budget.

Happy shopping!

Links Tips

Hongkong photo gear prices

Most of the time, we look for the best deals on photography equipment. This is typically the lowest price possible without sacrificing quality. For us shooters here in Manila, when Hidalgo can’t get us what we need, we resort to buying it outside of the country, or have someone buy it for us. Hong Kong immediately comes to mind as it can give the cheapest price in the region.

Now to get an idea on the price of photo gears in Hong Kong, YG Billy’s World of Photography is one great resource. He lists several well–sought lenses and bodies for most SLR systems, including most popular accessories. Even included is the name of the shop he got the lowest price quote on! Next time you’re Hong Kong shopping, you know you’ll be getting a good price.

Commentary Links Techniques Tips

How to take good photos with a flash

Flash photography has been looked down by some proclaimed “experts” as a lower form of photography. In fact, these same people instruct beginners to always shoot without the flash, if possible.

In the case of point–and–shoot compact digitals, shooting without the flash can give you better results, but not all the time. Backlit scenes are almost always better shot with a flash. For indoor shooting, it boils down to choosing between blurred no–flash photos, or bad flash photos. Using a flash can make or break a photo.

SLR shooters on the other hand have the luxury of using hotshoe flashes for creative lighting. However, you really have to understand your flash system to make the most out of it. Canon users would benefit much from this article on the EOS flash system.

After learning the technical aspects of flash photography, improve on your skills by learning its practical applications, including the technique involved. To get an idea how certain lighting effects are achieved through the use of a flash, dg28’s technique page should get you running. For more on flash photography and creative lighting, the Strobist blog is a worthwhile regular read.

Commentary Techniques Tips

Do not Focus-Recompose!


The focus–recompose technique is one of the most shared techniques in modern photography, especially with the adoption of point–and–shoot compact digital cameras that use very small sensors producing extremely deep depth of field. Since most compact digitals have mediocre to average autofocus performance, the need for locking onto a high contrast subject of the same distance has been a necessity especially when shooting in low light situations.

However, this method no longer applies to DSLRs both film and digital, since these cameras have significantly larger sensors and lenses that do not focus along a flat plane. This article explains the phenomenon more, and teaches us how to maximize the use of our AF systems and produce tack–sharp focused images.

Commentary Tips

JPEG Facts

Michael Furtman shares his thoughts on using JPEG compared to raw for digital photography. As you all know, there are digital shooters who shoot RAW 100% of the time, insisting on its latitude in post–processing. On the other hand, there are those who prefer JPEG to maximize storage, and increase the camera’s shooting performance. Shooting in JPEG clears the buffer much faster for many digital SLRs allowing for more shots and bursts.

The great majority of photo enthusiasts would rather choose the format that best fits a certain situation. If you’re going to take action photos, JPEG would allow your camera to be a lot more snappy. For landscapes and tricky lighting, the wealth of adjustments you can do to a RAW file would allow you to take a “shoot now, worry later” approach.

In relation to the article, I suggest using the format best suited for your needs. And please don’t forget that JPEGs do not lose quality when you reopen them, unless you’re actually rewriting the original file, then you’re in deep trouble. When editing a JPEG, save the revisions to a new file in your editor’s native format, better with all the adjustment layers intact.

Photoshop Tips Tutorials

Align with horizon

This is a common mistake many of us do: great landscape photos slightly tilted to one side. This simple tutorial should be very helpful in fixing such a problem.

But next time, always try to get your horizon horizontal! Using a tripod helps a lot, especially those with leveling mechanisms.