Camera Gear Acquisition Mode

10 November 2008

I've fallen back into a bit of light gear-acquisition mode over the past week.

After my photo class on Tuesday, we were discussing the inverse square law of light and practical application of it, and we determined that given 2 light sources of the same power, you know that you can vary the distances to the subject by familiar distances to get a predictable difference in lighting. Specifically, place one light at 5.6 feet and the other at 8 feet, and you should have a 1-stop difference.

I obviously need a second light of the same power as my first to play this out, so I hit eBay and ordered another Sunpak 422D to match my first one. I couldn't figure out which radio triggers would be compatible with the ones I have, so I decided to just order an optical slave to trigger the new flash. I may still end up buying another set of radio triggers, because it'll be fun to be able to share when playing with friends. A second cheap light isn't so bad.

I'll need an umbrella and clamp for that new flash, so I figure maybe I'll hit B&H or another camera store when I'm in New York this weekend and pick up these things.

Then I went out to the museums this weekend, and tried to shoot available light indoors with my kit 18-55mm lens. I ended up on ISO 1600 before I knew it, so I made a lot of work for myself in post processing to clean that up. I ended up with throwing away many shots.

This got me thinking about replacing my kit lens with some f/2.8 lens in the same range, but they're incredibly expensive. I decided to throw a few bids out there to buy the 28mm f/2.8 sister to my 50mm f/1.8 lens. I love my 50mm, but it's a little close when I want to get more in frame than a head shot. I think I'll find the 28mm useful.

I guess the alternative to buying faster lenses is to work harder to light with my 2 flashes (3 counting the dumb little slave), but I don't run-and-gun too much anymore, since most my lenses are manual (requiring 2 hands), and the kids keep my hands full otherwise.

In my unsuccessful spending ventures, I was going to build a backdrop, but I did not manage to find any suitable material at the local fabric store. They didn't have anything wide enough, so I came back empty handed there.

Claire will be pleased, I'm sure, to see that I'm expanding into using my gadget bag in addition to my normal camera bag. ;)

Filed Under: Photography Technology