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Flaat for Canon
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Custom Cropmarks for Magic Lantern on the Canon 550D


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Quick Monitor Calibration Chart


MY VIDEOS


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Here you'll find a list of things that I use and love, plus some other widely recommended stuff, with descriptions and comments. I'm an amazon.com affiliate, so I've set it up as an online shop (and I get a small percentage every time somebody buys something following my links). I hope you find it useful.








Accessories


cleaning - filters - batteries and remotes - lighting - adapters

Cleaning kit


CamerasAccessoriesStuff for video
Lenses for CanonLenses for NikonLenses for others
Giottos large blower
Use this to get dust particles out of your lenses without touching them and risking scratches.
My usual cleaning routine is: blower, brush, blower; if there are no oily marks or nudges on the lens, it's done; if there are, then use a disposable Zeiss wipe.


Lens pen
Use the brush side of this to gently get dust particles out of your lenses without risking scratches.
This is not the actual lens pen I have, but mine is not made anymore; this looks like a good alternative, cheap and with nice reviews, so if I had to get a new one today it would probably be this one (as I only use the brush side of the thing, it's not a high-risk item).
My usual cleaning routine is: blower, brush, blower; if there are no oily marks or nudges on the lens, it's done; if there are, then use a disposable Zeiss wipe.


Zeiss pre-moisted wipes
Use this to get oily marks or nudges out of your lenses.
I prefer these one-use-only wipes over reusable wipes: if the wipe gets dirty and comes with tiny bits of hard dust, it may damage your lens. These are cheap enough that I prefer to be on the safe side.
My usual cleaning routine is: blower, brush, blower; if there are no oily marks or nudges on the lens, it's done; if there are, then use a disposable Zeiss wipe.


Filters


Tiffen UV protector filter
A cheap UV protector filter.
The UV part of the protection is absolutely useless for modern cameras: it was useful on film days, but basically every digital sensor nowadays has a built-in UV protector.
So the usefulness of this filter is that it protects the lens from your fingers and from casual hits.
The impact of this filter on image quality is negligible, but still, I prefer to be careful with my lenses instead of putting extra glass in front of them. But for beginners some kind of protection is a must: lenses are much more expensive than filters...
This is the only screw-in filter I'd buy in the exact size demanded by each lens (one filter for each lens, intending to never take it out).


Hoya circular polarizer
A cheap circular polarizing filter. There are better ones out there, but they are more expensive. This is the one I have, and seems to be good enough for what I need.
A polarizer is used to take away reflections: from glass (to get a cleaner image), from the sky (to make it darker and bluer, instead of blown-up and white), from water (to make it look more transparent), from plants and grass (to make it look greener), etc.
You can see what it does and how it affects image quality here.
As with all other screw-in filters: get the ones that will fit on your biggest present or future lens (usually 67mm or 77mm), and buy cheap step-up rings to adapt the filters to all your lenses (I actually glued a step-up ring to 67mm on all of my lenses, and bought a 67mm cap for each of them; it makes a world of difference when changing screw-in filters). This setup won't probably be compatible with using the original lens shade, so consider buying also a screw-in rubber hood.


Tiffen ND filter 0.6
A cheap ND filter that takes away two stops of light.
A Fader ND or a set of Cokin P resin filters would be a lot more confortable to use than these screw-in filters, but image quality is way, way better with these Tiffen screw-ins: check my tests here.
It basically has no effect on sharpness. But it's not top-notch quality: it has IR filtering issues, so there is a greenish color tint when shooting outside with 3 or more stops of filtering (either through a strong filter, or through a stacking of weaker filters), which in any case is manageable if you use manual white balance.
For shooting in sunlight on a bright day at ISO 100, f/2.8 and 1/50s, I usually need a total of 6 stops of ND filtering.
As with all other screw-in filters: get the ones that will fit on your biggest present or future lens (usually 67mm or 77mm), and buy cheap step-up rings to adapt the filters to all your lenses (I actually glued a step-up ring to 67mm on all of my lenses, and bought a 67mm cap for each of them; it makes a world of difference when changing screw-in filters). This setup won't probably be compatible with using the original lens shade, so consider buying also a screw-in rubber hood.


Tiffen ND filter 0.9
A cheap ND filter that takes away three stops of light.
A Fader ND or a set of Cokin P resin filters would be a lot more confortable to use than these screw-in filters, but image quality is way, way better with these Tiffen screw-ins: check my tests here.
It basically has no effect on sharpness. But it's not top-notch quality: it has IR filtering issues, so there is a greenish color tint when shooting outside with 3 or more stops of filtering (either through a strong filter, or through a stacking of weaker filters), which in any case is manageable if you use manual white balance.
For shooting in sunlight on a bright day at ISO 100, f/2.8 and 1/50s, I usually need a total of 6 stops of ND filtering.
As with all other screw-in filters: get the ones that will fit on your biggest present or future lens (usually 67mm or 77mm), and buy cheap step-up rings to adapt the filters to all your lenses (I actually glued a step-up ring to 67mm on all of my lenses, and bought a 67mm cap for each of them; it makes a world of difference when changing screw-in filters). This setup won't probably be compatible with using the original lens shade, so consider buying also a screw-in rubber hood.


Tiffen ND filter kit
A set of cheap ND filters. There's not a lot of info on the Amazon web about this kit right now, but it seems to be a 0.6+0.9+1.2 kit, which would be absolutely perfect (strong enough for shooting ISO 100, f/1.4, 1/50s on a very, very bright day). The alternative is that it could be 0.3+0.6+0.9, which is enough for shooting f/2.8 on a bright day; but I think the 0.3 filter is not very useful (changing from ISO 100 to 200 makes nearly no difference on image quality), whereas the 1.2 allows you to use only 2 filters in front of the lens most of the time, instead of 3.
A Fader ND or a set of Cokin P resin filters would be a lot more confortable to use than these screw-in filters, but image quality is way, way better with these Tiffen screw-ins: check my tests here.
It basically has no effect on sharpness. But it's not top-notch quality: it has IR filtering issues, so there is a greenish color tint when shooting outside with 3 or more stops of filtering (either through a strong filter, or through a stacking of weaker filters), which in any case is manageable if you use manual white balance.
For shooting in sunlight on a bright day at ISO 100, f/2.8 and 1/50s, I usually need a total of 6 stops of ND filtering.
As with all other screw-in filters: get the ones that will fit on your biggest present or future lens (usually 67mm or 77mm), and buy cheap step-up rings to adapt the filters to all your lenses (I actually glued a step-up ring to 67mm on all of my lenses, and bought a 67mm cap for each of them; it makes a world of difference when changing screw-in filters). This setup won't probably be compatible with using the original lens shade, so consider buying also a screw-in rubber hood.


Batteries and remotes


Opteka battery for T2i (550D)
A cheap clone battery that's worked for me just as good as the original one.
I've got two of these for my T2i, and another two for a 50D. They've been working great for over a year now. Absolutely no problems. They last just as long as the original ones, and are charged in the same charger (actually this is important: it is the quality of the charger that kills most dying batteries; if you use a good charger, like the original one, they will live long; if you use a bad charger, any battery, original or clone, will die young).
Make sure you get the ones that work with your camera. And make sure you can use the original charger (for example: the 5D2 ones need to have a charging chip inside the battery, otherwise they'll have to be charged with a different charger, and, it it's not good enough, they'll die young).


Timer Shutter Release Control for (most) Canon Cameras
For shooting without touching the camera (if you need extra stability, e.g. for long exposures), and for programmed shots (e.g. for timelapses: take one shot every two seconds, or every minute, then conform them into a video, like here).
This is the one I use (mine is branded Yongnuo, but it is the same one). It could be better thought-out (e.g. it could have an OFF switch, instead of making me take the batteries out), but it does its job quite well, and is cheap.
Make sure you get the one that will work with your camera.


Timer Shutter Release Control for (some) Nikon Cameras
For shooting without touching the camera (if you need extra stability, e.g. for long exposures), and for programmed shots (e.g. for timelapses: take one shot every two seconds, or every minute, then conform them into a video, like here).
This is the one I use (mine is branded Yongnuo, but it is the same one). It could be better thought-out (e.g. it could have an OFF switch, instead of making me take the batteries out), but it does its job quite well, and is cheap.
Make sure you get the one that will work with your camera.


Lighting kit


22" (60cm) 5-in-one reflector
A small 5-in-one reflector (translucent, silver, gold, white, black). The easiest way to control light when shooting outside (the other option being huge, expensive lights).
This is not the one I use, and will surely not be as good as others, but it is really, really cheap, and probably good enough for a beginner.


43" (110cm) 5-in-one reflector
A medium-size 5-in-one reflector (translucent, silver, gold, white, black). The easiest way to control light when shooting outside (the other option being huge, expensive lights).
This is not the one I use, and will surely not be as good as others, but it is really, really cheap, and probably good enough for a beginner.


126 LED video light
Cheap and small LED continuous light. Much less power than a traditional main light (plus it also needs diffussion), but useful with modern cameras that can shoot good quality video at ISO 800 or higher.
I also use it as a very powerful torch for night photography.
You'll have to buy the batteries and charger separately.


Battery for 126 LED video light
The ones I use are not exactly these, but they are clones too. They lasts about an hour. You'll have to buy the light and the charger separately.


Lens adapters


Fotodiox Nikon to Canon adapter
A dumb (no optics, no electronics) lens adapter for using Nikon mount manual lenses on a Canon camera (they have to be manual: the camera won't be able to control aperture or focus).
Fotodiox is widely regarded as one of the best brands for this kind of kit. I've also used Chinese cheap adapters, and my conclusion was that at least some of them are just as good as the non-pro Fotodiox; but others may not be as good, and the non-pro Fotodiox are not that expensive.
This is the standard version. The pro version is higher quality and provides a tighter fit.


Fotodiox pro Nikon to Canon adapter
A dumb (no optics, no electronics) lens adapter for using Nikon mount manual lenses on a Canon camera (they have to be manual, the camera won't be able to control aperture or focus).
Fotodiox is widely regarded as one of the best brands for this kind of kit. I've also used Chinese cheap adapters, and my conclusion was that at least some of them are just as good as the non-pro Fotodiox; but others may not be as good, and the non-pro Fotodiox are not that expensive.
This is the pro version, which is higher quality and provides a tighter fit.






Copyright Similaar 2011 -- similaar.feedback@gmail.com -- @Similaar
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