Sunday, June 24, 2007

Telestik - Great Gadget

It never fails. I get my camera around my neck and start looking like I know what I'm doing and something falls to the ground. Could be the lens cap, or the spare battery or whatever, but now I need to set the camera down so I can lean over and pick the bugger up. Its a pain and odds are it found its way into some crack or crevice, or rolled under some bush, making the pickup even more fun.

By chance I found a great tool for picking up all sorts of stuff. Its called the Telestik. Its got a very sticky surface on one telescopic tenicle, and a magnet/hook on the other. The thing works pretty slick. My first recovery was a battery that fell and then bounced down an incline. I had it back in no time.

For $30 its a good thing to keep in the camera bag, or maybe on the chair for daily use. Warning: 4 year old boys love this gadget so either hide it or get two.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

DSLR's and the Shutter Button Blues

I love photography but I tend to get annoyed at my inability to control the shutter button so much that I 'walk' away from my hobby for periods of time. I keep googling and hoping some wizard has developed a functional remote control - keep on dreaming.

My new Nikon D-80 is good stuff, and have found ways to take some decent photos. Let me quickly add that while I think the D80 is a better camera, any model Olympus with the live LCD is perhaps a better camera for wheelchair users. The ability to place the camera high or low (down and dirty even) and take photos removes the ever so standard perspective one can produce from a wheelchair. If I ever get to go on safari, I'm buying another Oly with a 12mm-24mm lens for wide-angle 'perspective' shots.

Nikon sells a 18mm to 200mm lens that has all but eliminated the need for a 2nd lens to lug around. Thats a huge benefit for us rolling shutterbugs. In six months I've never once removed the lens! Its compact so I downsized my camera bag and has VR (vibration reduction) which is makes my so-so ability to hold a camera steady look so very good. At appx $900, its very pricey, but even this penny-pincher can see the value.

Reluctantly, I'm using the Nikon wired remote-control in my mouth to activate the shutter with my tongue. Its way too big and I feel very uncomfortable using it, but it works better than anything out there. I bought 2 after-market models with the idea of modifying them but the electronics arent too reliable. The actual nikon switch is much more responsive, but of late even it is not firing reliably. Perhaps its not saliva-proof.

The best part of my new setup is that I can compress the shutter 1/2 way and focus the shot, or move the focus point like those normal people do. Even better, you can hold down the button and fire off 3-shot bursts each second. Its looks pathetic but the results are damn nice.

Let me finish this by saying that if there is a clever engineer on this rock who wants to partner up and develop a slick shutter control (mechanical, electronic or somehing in between)I'll finance the endeavor. I'm sick of choking whilst I wait for the perfect shot.

See Jim Watters' remote review of Nikon remote for many D-series cameras.