This blog is devoted to the application of optical fibers in photography. I have several homemade (DIY) flash adapters channeling the light from the flash close to the lens. The technique can be used mainly for macro photography, but I will show examples for wide angle close focus techniques as well. The recent version is called fiberstrobe V3, hence the name of the blog is "fiberstrobe".

Saturday, August 2, 2014

SEL30F35 + VCL-ECF1 lens combo

This is my current favorite lens combination. It's a fisheye lens adapter (sony VCL-ECF1) in front of a 30mm macro lens (SEL30F35):
The SEL30F35 lens itself is very special. Maybe not the best for every purpose but it can take outstanding photos. You can read my detailed review about this lens here.
I love fisheye lenses and I frequently used the VCL-ECF1 fisheye adapter on the dedicated 16mm pancake lens. I have previous post about the photos taken with this rig. For lighting I used a twin flash adapter:
 http://fiberstrobe.blogspot.de/2013/03/spring-re-loaded-and-failed.html

 http://fiberstrobe.blogspot.de/2012/11/twin-flash-for-close-focus-wide-angle.html

I read on photo forums that this adapter can be used on the new 20mm lens, which gave me the idea to use it on the 30mm macro lens (since I don't have the 20mm pancake lens).
How does it perform? I like it a lot, but it requieres perfect composition, good lighting and nailing the focus well (despite the good DOF). Maybe the keeper rate is much lower, than with other lenses, but if you want to take something new, not just the standard boring macro photos, it's the lens combo you should seriously consider.I had only few hours to try it but I see a great potential in it.
Few photos below to convince you:












Don't forget to mention my blog when you win the next photo competition with this lens combo, that you saw it here first.
Cheers

Marcell




Sunday, July 6, 2014

Twin flash adapter for portraits

I added two large diffusers to my set-up. Now I can use it for portraits. It won't work under strong sunlight, so no chance to overpower the sun with it, but I can imagine that it can be useful for outside evening events or dim halls with not proper ceiling (either strange colored or to large rooms with far away ceiling):


 On the left (from the photographer's direction) side, there is a simple soft-box, while on the other side a kind of beuty dish. Below you can see some snapshot of my family:





There is a bit of light leakage through the bent fibers in the front and it causes even some colour shift, so I will cover them soon:
You can see the middle spot is yellowish compared to the other catchlight shapes.
Overall I'm happy with the results and in my opinion it could be a good solution for photographers working outside without walls and ceilings. Wedding or event photographers could use it and it surely would attract the attention of the people.
A similar product is available on the market, the Bounce-Wall, by California Sunbounce. It's a bounce panel on a bracket reflecting the camera flash, which imitates flashlight bounced from a wall or ceiling. A review of it you can find on strobist:
http://strobist.blogspot.de/2012/09/bounce-wall-geniusinsanity-line-goes.html

The obvious advantage of my solution is that I have two light sources with more flexibility to adjust and modify.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The ├╝ber macro lighting system


After many months of planning and even more months of delay the new twin flash adapter has been born. This is basically the big brother of my previous twin adapter I made for my sony nex-5. It still rocks and I use it quite frequently but I wanted to make a similar one for my DSLR as well. I hoped that I can improve further the design and I planned to include some new idea. The more powerful strobe I have for the sony a100 hopefully opens some new opportunities to use it also for outdoor portrait photography.




Let me summarize the changes compared to the small twin-flash adapter:
  • I used black flexible hose for everything. It just looks cool.
  • More fibers were used (160 instead of 55)
  • Longer arms
  • Better attachment to the flash
  • Stronger base plate
  • Magnetic attachment of soft boxes (and other modifiers)
  • Ring shaped end arrangement of the fibers
The following items were used from loc-line:

Assembly piers (78002), 1#                    (It helps in assembling the parts)
Fixed mount (51895), 2#                        (Attached to the base plate, it holds the whole assembly)
Double socket (59872), 2#                    (The direction of the hose should be reverted with this piece)
T-fitting (51825), 2#                              (Better, than the Y fitting I used previously)
Segments (51801), 8# (48 small piece)  (Depending on the length of your arms)
Nozzle (51803 or 51806)                      (Optional, it can be useful as a snoot)

In addition I used approximately 150 m from 1mm diameter end-glow fiber, some glue (also SUGRU), wood sheet (8mm) for the base plate, screws, and various tools.
The whole concept and the work was the same as in case of the little brother, so I would just highlight some basic differences:

I used sugru rubber to fix the fibers to a wooden plate intended to connect the fibers to the flashlight.

It didn't work that well to fix the fibers to the loc-line hose, so I needed extra glue to fix it (I may tape it at the end as a final solution). :


 I arranged the fibers in a circle format using a wooden plate (airbrushed to black before). I drilled 8 holes after sawing out the intended form. Black SUGRU was used to fix the branches into the holes:

I wanted to use some advanced way to attach the light modifiers to the end of the arms, so I fixed two magnetic rods to the sides of the wooden plate. The two yellow magnetic rods were fixed by yellow sugru. You can also see a male screw intended to be part of the soft box (it was too small and the magnetic force was to weak to hold it firm, so I used a bigger one in the final version:


For the attachment of the fibers to the strobe a plastic container was used. To help the cutting a front opening a hot needle was used to pierce the rather stiff plastic:


Here you can see the almost final version in action. There is still a lot of light loss, so in the final version I covered the inside part with aluminium folie and also covered it outside. 

  

Some foam rubber was also used for a better "push and fix". Soft box is usually not really needed due to the arrangement of the fibers but to achieve an even softer light a new soft-box was designed.  A plastic container of my favourite rice pudding was used, but I painted the side of the soft-box to not to look so getho (It didn't help I have to confess).


How does it work?? Almost perfect for macro, but due to the length of the fiber the light loss is quite a lot. Nevertheless, when the light is placed close to the subject no problem to set the highest F numbers even at base iso. Few photos taken with the new set up (all hand held):

 Here, the direction of the light was important because the worms were in the shadow. I aimed the arms facing fom below to upwords position.

Light was placed to the sides more in a kind of backward position while taking the above picture.

This is a typical side lighting with slightly underexposing the background (sky).

Used as simple front-side light to approach this damselfly. It was not afraid of the two light arms.
More photos are coming
Cheers






Thursday, May 29, 2014

Unboxing for the new project

I've just received a parcel full with items for my new fiberstrobe adapter project. Some unboxing photos below:






You may already found out that these loc-line pieces for a new twin flash adapter. I couldn't resist to assemble the pieces to the more or less final form:

Just for giving you an idea about the size I placed next to it the twin flash adapter I'm currently using for my mirrorless camera:
Stay tuned. More details are coming soon!!
 





Saturday, May 17, 2014

Science Center Spectrum, Berlin

Recently I've visited the the Deutsches Technikmuseum and the Science Center Spectrum in Berlin. I can really recommend both for you and your family. My kids enjoyed the science center with lots of hand-on experiments explaining physics. The section about the optics was extremely cool and there was a demonstration explaining how the optical fibers work. I tried to take a photo but it was pitch dark:


At the next station you can manipulate prisms and lenses:

The Deutsches Technikmusem has a very nice exhibition about the history of the photography. My children were too tired so I left them with my wife and I just rushed through the exhibition. his small showcase was devoted to underwater photography:

Some cool old classic lenses were also exhibited:

The museum and the science centre is next to each other and you have to buy only one ticket for both.
Highly recommended if you visit Berlin.




Friday, April 25, 2014

Ground spike as photo accesory holder


I've been to an outdoor shop recently where I saw some aluminium ground spikes for tents. Immediately, it popped into my mind that it would be a cool holder of flash or background, so I bought few of them. They were cheap and very light. Now I had to add an ¼ thread screw and they were ready to be use as small tripod (actually monopod). 



You can add a tripod ball-head for a better flexibility if you want to replace your tripod with it, but I will mainly use to support my flashlights. 


I also wanted to try it as a holder of background for studio like shoots in the nature. I combined an office clamp with a short flexible hose from loc-line and the background holder was ready.





I tried only once but the results are promising. Here you can see these new rigs in action:







However, it’s the matter of taste whether you like such too artificial photos:




Gluing parts is not yet perfect, but I will discuss the options in the next post.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Spring Snowflakes

Last weekend we had a fantastic weather, so I jumped on my bike to spend few hours in the nature. The forest was fantastic, as its ground was covered by the white flowers of thousands of spring snowflakes.


To make my rig light I just took a nex-5 with the 16mm lens, the fisheye adapter and the 30mm macro lens.
I also planned to take some specially lit photos, so my versatile twin flash adapter was also with me. Lots of stuff at the end but my camera bag was still not that heavy. Practically this flower was the only worthy subject, so I tried different techniques from panorama, extreme wide angle to macro.


The small camera allowed me to get strange angles using the sky as background. The tilting LCD with focus peeking also help to get the focus correct. Try the same with a DSLR, it won't work. The very short close focus distance of the SEL30F35 was also very helpful.
I used small flags on both arms of the twin flash adapter to prevent light spill to the lens. If you check the photos in larger format you can see some play with the light. You can find the whole series on my flick page (better resolution):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fiberstrobe/sets/72157642377199014/

Cheers

Marcell