Category Archives: equipment

To Catch a Moose

or any other creature on video

I understand that I need to keep the gate to the backyard closed otherwise unwanted animals might stray onto our property. I especially don’t want a moose coming into the yard; it would eat all of our newly planted vegetables.

I came across an article in the newspaper a couple of weeks ago that convinced me that I could make sure that neither a moose nor any other undesirable fauna would sneak into our yard.

And so I followed the advice and found an inexpensive device that I hope will alert us to potential invaders.




This trail camera package includes a strong metal case that protects it from the elements and external tampering.

Here the motion detector, four infrared beams and the lens are on top while a color viewing screen and control buttons are on the bottom of the camera.

Here is the camera with the cover over the screen and control buttons. It is decorated in a camouflage pattern.

My camera was in heavy rain for several days but has not been affected by the moisture. I feel comfortable positioning it on the ground.

The camera uses a set of six AA batteries. Having used it for three weeks and recorded 150 clips, the batteries are still 70% charged. The motion detector is said to be sensitive up to 80 feet although I have not confirmed this. Additionally, the nighttime infrared illumination is adjustable to 120 feet, another item I have not confirmed.

You can choose to record either still images or video clips. When set for still it can fire off up to sequential eight images. It can also make time lapse recordings.

I chose to record 10 second video clips. Clip duration is adjustable in increments up to 60 minutes. When the unit’s motion detector is tripped, recording begins. Optionally, you can choose to record a status line on the bottom of the images that have time, date, etc.



Here’s a couple of video clips of our first encounters with nature’s offerings. BTW, night images don’t appear in color, only day light when the IR illumination isn’t being used.

Well, we didn’t catch that moose on the video, just a hungry little rabbit. But I assure you that the trail camera is ready for whatever may invade our yard.

Nikon Equipment for Sale

this article will be removed after the sale

Ready. Set. Go.

I’ve gone mirrorless, so I thought it was a time to clean out one of my closets that is full of Canon cameras, lenses and accessories. And now I have another closet of Nikon gear that I’m doing the same.


Here is the list of Nikon stuff that’s for sale. All items are in excellent to very good condition. This list and availability will be updated until all items are sold. You can see the photos of the equipment below.


SOLD – Nikon D600 body $400 24MP full frame, shutter actuations 4562
SOLD – Nikon D800 body $700 36MP full frame, shutter actuations: 9620
SOLD – 14-24mm f/2.8G lens $800
SOLD – 16mm f/2.8 lens $500 fisheye
SOLD – 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 VR lens $250
SOLD – 28-70mm f/2.8D lens $350
SOLD – 50mm f/1.4D lens $200
SOLD – 70-200mm f/2.8G VR lens $700
SOLD – 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR lens $325
SOLD – 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR lens $600
SOLD – 85mm f/1.8D lens $250
SOLD – 300mm f/4 lens $300
SOLD – SB-600 speedlite $100
SB-800 speedlite $150
SOLD – Altura speedlite $ 50 Model AP-N1001


All items are available for only for local (Grand Rapids, Michigan), cash only transactions.




If you’re interested in any of these items, please contact me:


     


    Note: I may not have the boxes and instruction manuals for each lens


    Nikon D600 body with 24MP full frame sensor only 4600 shutter activations, pop-up flash

    Nikon D800 body with 36MP full frame sensor 9600 shutter activations, pop-up flash


    70-200mm f/2.8G VR and 300mm f/4

    80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR & 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR


    14-24mm f/2.8G and 28-70mm f/2.8D

    85mm f/1.8D and 16mm f/2.8D fisheye


    24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G and 50mm f/1.4D

    SB-800, SB-600 speedlite and AP-N1001 speedlites

    Canon Equipment for Sale

    this article will be removed after the sale

    Over the years, I’ve accumulated a couple of closets full of cameras, lenses and accessories. Now it’s time for me to empty those closets and to downsize my photographic holdings.


    Here is my list of Canon equipment that I am selling. All items are in very good to excellent condition. I will keep this list up to date until all of the items are sold. Please see the photos of the equipment below.


    SOLD – Canon 5D Mark II body $400 full frame 21MP, shutter actuations 4248
    SOLD – Canon 6D body $600 full frame 26MP, shutter actuations 6100
    SOLD – 8-15mm f/4L $625 zoom fisheye
    SOLD – 17-40mm f/4L $400
    SOLD – 20mm f/1.8 $200 Sigma brand
    SOLD – 24mm f/3.5L TS-E $700 tilt/shift perspective control
    SOLD – 35mm f/2 $300
    SOLD – 50mm f/1.4 $200
    SOLD – 70-200mm f/2.8L IS $625
    SOLD – 75-300mm F4-5.6 IS $100
    SOLD – 85mm f/1.8 $200
    SOLD – 100mm f/2.8 $300 macro
    SOLD – 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS $650
    SOLD – 135mm f/2L $450
    SOLD – Extender 1.4X $150
    SOLD – Extender 2X $200
    SOLD – TC-80N3 Remote $ 50 timer controller
    Angle Finder C $ 75 90 degree viewfinder
    SOLD – 580EX II Speedlite $200
    580EX II Speedlite $175
    Altura Speedlite $ 50 Model AP-C1001
    SOLD – Extension tube set $ 10 manual exposure
    SOLD – Metabones Adapter $175 to use Canon EF Lenses on Sony FE full frame body


    All items are available for only for local (Grand Rapids, Michigan), cash only transactions.




    If you’re interested in any of these items, please contact me:

       


      Note: I may not have the boxes and instruction manuals for each lens. All lenses are EF for full frame.

      Canon 5D MkII body with 21MP full frame sensor only 4300 shutter activations


      100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS and 70-200mm f/2.8L IS

      75-300mm f/4-5.6 VR and 135mm f/2L


      24mm f/3.5L TS-E and 17-40mm f/4L

      8-15mm F/4L fisheye and Sigma 20mm f/1.8


      50mm f/1.4 and 35mm f/2

      2X EF Extender and 1.4X EF Extender


      Angle Finder “C” and TC-80N3 Remote Timer

      Altura AP-C1001 and 2 580EX II speedlites


      100mm f/2.8 macro & 85mm f/1.8

      Extension tubes & Metabones EF to Sony FE body

      Staying Clean

      Keeping Safe during the Covid Pandemic

      Many businesses that have been allowed to open during the Covid pandemic have had to follow strict guidelines to keep their employees and customers safe. This has been proven to be an especially challenging task.

      For the past year we’ve all been using some combination of face masks, shields, gloves, disinfectants, bleach, gowns, paper towels and hand sanitizer among other things all with the goal of keeping the virus away from our bodies.

      Like other establishments we were spending a considerable amount of time cleaning our facilities. We use spray bottles of sanitizer to clean tables, chairs and other surfaces and then wipe them dry. To save time and supplies, we purchased an electrostatic sprayer. They are different from conventional sprayers in that an electrostatic charge is applied to the disinfectant as it leaves the cone making miniscule droplets that are evenly dispersed. That the droplets are so small allows them to dry quickly.


      This employee is using a large electrostatic sprayer to clean a dining table.

      The cone on the end of the wand evenly distributes the disinfectant. The disinfectant dries in a few seconds and is safe to the touch.


      In this slow motion video the employee is using the wand to apply the disinfectant.


      This 3 gallon capacity sprayer has a rechargeable battery and can be worn as a backpack.


      This is a smaller sprayer comes with two rechargeable batteries. The unit weighs less than the orange one above. Instead of a wand, the nozzle is used to adjust the spray pattern of the disinfectant.


      The one gallon capacity tank for this sprayer has backpack straps for easier use. Two ounces of the concentrate are mixed with water to make a gallon of sanitizer. This brand of concentrate is confirmed to kill Covid germs.

      So far we’ve had good success with these sprayers. If you’re looking for a way to keep your facility clean you’ll want to consider an electrostatic sprayer.

      A Learning Experience

      how Google helped me solve a problem

      As an avid outdoor-nature photographer, I’ve always believed in the saying: “you can never have too many mm’s between you and a distant subject”.

      Recently I decided to add more mm’s to my camera bag and purchased a Sony 200-600mm lens to accompany the Sony A7 III.

      My first opportunity to use the new lens was on a trip a few weeks ago to Florida.

      This is one of the first images that I snapped. As I closely reviewed it in the viewfinder I could tell that it was obviously out of focus.

      The first thing I did was to immediately check the lens setting to use autofocus. It was.

      I then checked the camera menu to see if it all settings were correct for autofocus.

      Next I took several more photos but no luck.

      They were all severely out of focus.

      Disappointed, I decided to set this lens aside for the reminder of my time in Florida.

      Upon returning from this trip I planned to send the lens back to the vendor for repair or exchange.

      However, before calling the vendor for a return authorization, I spent a few minutes googling “Sony 200-600mm autofocus problem”.

      To my surprise I found a post that was identical to my problem. When I purchased the lens, I also purchased a circular polarizing filter (huge 95mm) to help reduce glare. The individual who wrote the google post explained that his filter interfered with the lens’ autofocus mechanism. By removing the filter, his images were no longer out of focus.

      So I took the filter off my lens to see if this solution applied to my problem.

      BINGO. The autofocus mechanism worked perfectly and produced this image.

      I’m happy that Google helped me solve my problem.

      I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to take advantage of the extra mm’s during my stay in Florida. And I’m reminded that I need to test out new equipment before I’m in the field. I’ll continue to search out for a filter which may not interfere with my camera’s autofocus. Perhaps a different brand has properties that enable the autofocus to perform correctly. We’ll see.

      Anyway, I’m ready for my next opportunity to get outdoors with this lens.

      Happy shooting!

      Sony A6000

      I’ve been a proponent of Sony’s NEX mirrorless cameras since they first appeared three years ago. The reason is simple. The NEX series produce images comparable in quality to conventional DSLRs, accept interchangeable lenses yet are very compact. They are substantially smaller and lighter than DSLRs.

      Sony’s newest model is the A6000. Although Sony has dropped the NEX moniker, the A6000 retains the same compact footprint as the earlier NEX6 and NEX7 models.

      A few days before our recent extended vacation, an A6000 arrived in the mail. I used it heavily on our extended family vacation. Instead of writing a wordy review, I put together a “photo review” that demonstrates the versatility of the A6000. If you’re on the hunt for a feature packed, technically advanced and affordable camera, you should look at the A6000.

      You’ll find this quick and dirty “review” on my blog over at Stay Focused. Please click here to go to my online magazine.

      Written by: Arnie Lee

      Not Afraid of the Water

      There’s a few weeks still left on the summer calendar so jump on in – the water’s fine.

      After seeing a demo of this camera last January, I took the plunge and ordered this Nikon 1 AW1.

      What’s unique about this camera is that it uses interchangeable lenses and can be submersed – the specs say down to 50 feet. But I’m not a diver so I haven’t used the camera that deep. Instead, I wanted a camera for snapping the family on the beach or in the water.

      A sandy beach isn’t a problem – just dip the camera into the water to clean it off. Underwater shots are easy – especially if you’re wearing a pair of goggles – the LCD screen is very visible beneath the surface.

      This camera is also built to be rugged. Nikon says that it can withstand a fall from 6 feet, but I didn’t test out this “feature”. When winter arrives it can withstand freezing temperatures down to 14 degrees.

      The camera with an 11-27.5mm interchangeable lens sells for about $750. I bought the orange silicone protective sleeve which makes it easier to hold underwater.

      The AW1 is mirrorless with a 14.2MB sensor. It’s very compact. Two lenses are submersible: the 11-27.5mm zoom and a fixed 10mm. You can mount other Nikon 1 lenses but they are not submersible. The built-in flash works underwater too so you can add light should you find the subsurface water dark.

      This is a lightweight, compact camera that takes good quality images and as you can see is really a blast to use. And a lot of splashing won’t hurt a bit.

      Listen Closely

      A Glance at the Nikon D4s

      I got a peek at Nikon’s new D4s camera today and it’s a doozie.

      Although it’s lighter than the D4, it has a remarkable 16MP sensor that’s superb at high ISO settings. It sacrifices a higher pixel count in exchange for superior noise reduction. In fact we saw an amazing demonstration at ISO 25600 with virtually no noise.

      Its high speed, rapid fire capability is sure to attract the following of sports and action photographers. The D4s is rated at about 11 fps with continuous autofocus and autoexposure.

      Here’s a short recording that I made at Nikon’s booth today. The shutter sounds like a miniature machine gun.

      Press the play button

      That’s an amazing speed.

      Although it’s a better performer in several respects, the new D4s is lighter weight than the predecessors D4 and D3s.

      That’s the teaser for today for Nikon fans.

      Nikon’s rep Paul Van Allen tells me that today is the first day that the D4s is on sale. Price for the D4s body is $6,500.
       
       
      Written by: Arnie Lee
       
       
       


       
       
       

      It’s Personal

      Camera Brands Are Like Religion

      Not a week goes by without someone asking me what brand of camera they should buy, a Canon or a Nikon.

      Most of the time they’re wanting to replace their good quality point-and shoot camera. They’re looking for more advanced equipment along the lines of a DSLR.

      Having owned or used literally dozens of cameras, especially in the past five years, I have a definitive answer which I’ll share with you shortly. But what I find interesting is that so many photo enthusiasts also have very definite answers to this question.

      Let me back up a bit and explain why I’m writing this.

      A Facebook friend wrote that he was looking for a new DLSR. “Should I buy a Canon or a Nikon?”, he posted. I replied “or a Sony?”. The point I was trying to make was that there are more choices than only Canon and Nikon.

      A few minutes later there were many more replies on his Facebook status: “Nikon”; “CanonCanonCanon”; “I shoot Nikon”; “I use a Nikon D90”; “Canon definitely”; “I have a Nikon 5000”; etc.

       

       

      It’s not surprising that a camera brand is a very personal choice. It is as though each photographer is pleading with my friend to heed only his or her suggestion. Isn’t proselytizing their brand like forcing a person’s religion onto another?

      Yet when I think about it I was doing the same. I was suggesting that a Sony NEX camera is similar to DSLR but without the weight and bulk. And since I am very fond of carrying lightweight equipment, I frequently use a Sony NEX camera.

      Of course I could have chosen a different way to respond to his initial post by asking a few qualifying questions: will he be taking lots of sports or action; are movies part of his photography repertoire; how much money does he have to spend.

      But frankly these qualifying questions don’t matter much.

      Here’s my answer to his question: it doesn’t matter if you choose Canon or Nikon. Both have equally capable cameras in the various price ranges. And Sony also has equally capable cameras. One could argue that Pentax and Olympus also offer quality models too.

      There’s too many slanted opinions for my friend to make his choice based on all of the Facebook replies. I hope my friend makes his choice based on how the equipment feels in his hands; getting the most features for the price; availability and affordability of additional lenses; past experience with previous purchases.

      What do you think? Any comments?

      Written by: Arnie Lee

      MakerBot’s 3D Printer

      At this year’s Consumer Electronic Show I became quite interested in 3D printing technology. A couple of months later, I visited MakerBot’s store in New York City for a one-on-one demonstration. When I left, my wallet was lighter (to the tune of $2500).

      Since then I’ve become a fan of this relatively new technology. Having used it for a few months, I think these amazing devices will be commonplace in a few years.

      If you’d like a little background information on the model which I bought – Replicator 2, I’m going to send you over to our other Stay Focused site for some quick reading.

      Read about MakerBot’s Replicator 2