Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Batteries for Dirt Cheap

How Do They Make Any Money????

I ordered ten of these Lithium CR2032 batteries on eBay for $1.98 including shipping... from China!

How do they make any money selling ten of these batteries AND also pay for shipping all the way from China to the United States?

It was possible for me to have ordered just five batteries for $0.99 including shipping.  They would have shipped it all the way here too for that price!  How do they make any money doing this?

I ordered these batteries for my Carson SM-44 lighted 5x SensorMag Magnifier.  I use this device to see dust particles on the image sensor of my cameras.  They take two of these lithium CR2032 batteries.  But rather than buy them at a higher price here in the US, I thought I'd take a chance for $1.98 to see if this company in China would actually ship it here for that low of a price.  They did!

I've ordered other things from eBay in the past that came from other countries.  I purchased a Mamiya RB67 medium format camera from Japan on eBay.  Took only 3 days to get it here!  I also purchased a Mamiya lens from Hong Kong.  Took four days!  Each time, the shipping was fast and the prices were a lot lower than items I could have purchased here in the USA.

For small items like these batteries, do yourself a favor and try ordering on eBay.  If it doesn't come, you are only out a small amount of money.  But if it comes, you are saving a LOT of money.  I think it's worth the risk. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Solution To Improve Nikon Df's Low Light Focusing

I figured out a work around to improve the  low light focusing on the Nikon Df and for any other Nikon that needs better low light focusing.  (By the way, the Df's focusing is based on the same focusing as is on the Nikon D600, D610, D7100 cameras...)

I purchased a Nikon SU-800 flash commander (see image above).  This device is used to control multiple Nikon Flashes so you can set up a portable multiple flash studio.  But, the unit also has an infrared focusing beam, just like what a Nikon SB-800 speedlight has.

What I do is put this SU-800 on the Nikon Df's flash hot shoe but instead of having it trigger a flash, I just use it for its infrared focusing beam for shooting low ambient light photos!  I can now shoot in near pitch black darkness with the Nikon Df!

The only issue using the SU-800 is that it is always trying to fire a flash that's actually not being used, so your camera's shutter speed automatically drops to a predetermined sync shutter speed, which is likely not to be the shutter speed you need for the metered shot.  To fix this, I reassigned the Nikon Df's AE/AF Lock button to "Flash Off".  By holding the reassigned AE-AF lock button while taking the photo, essentially I get the SU-800's infrared focusing beam to help shoot in near darkness and also trick the camera to shoot it like there was no flash or commander connected to the hotshoe.  I get perfectly focused and perfectly exposed ambient light photos!  You can do the same thing using a standard Nikon speedlight flash like the SB-700, SB-800, SB-910, but these units are larger and heavier than the SU-800.

The hassle with this setup is requiring a Nikon SU-800 unit to always having to sit on top of the Nikon Df and having to hold the reassigned AE/AF Lock button when taking a photo.  Luckily, the SU-800 is very lightweight and also smaller than a typical flash unit.  It can be left on the top of the camera all the time and just turned on whenever I need to use it.  Only when the power to the unit is on do I need to hold the AE/AF Lock button when taking a photo.

Now I can shoot the Nikon Df without fear of it not focusing in dark environments!  If I think I may need a flash every now and then, I can substitute using the SU-800 with the SB-800 or any other Nikon flash that has an infra-red focusing beam.