Monday, June 28, 2010

Nikon Screw Type Sync Cords to 3.5mm Mono (Mini phone) for RadioPoppers, PocketWizard, CyberSync

You would think these cords would be easy to find at a cheap price, with the growing number of Strobist out there … But, Noooooo
This is “why” I am blogging about this … to help the next guy looking for these.
To make a long story short …. I found them at

I bought both for $ 42.50 + $ 3.50 ship = $ 46.00 total … which is the Best price I could find. And it arrived within a week. (not bad)

So, if you want to bother reading the rest of the story … here it is
There was two types I was looking for:
1) Nikon ScrewLock PC to 3.5mm Mono … FlashZebra $ 15.00 … did not like the regular one’s that came free with my RadioPoppers JrX studio Radio Receivers … when I used them on my D700 PC to RP JrX trigger … the PC connection would always Fall Off at some point in the shoot. So, these Nikon ScrewLock type sync cords really works wonders.

2) Nikon ScrewLock 10-pin to 3.5mm Mono … Pre-Trigger w/switch … what this allows you to do is use your RP JrX studio Trigger / REC and Fire your D700/D3 at a distance , or just use as a remote.
I need to mention … on the 10-pin to 3.5mm Mono Pre-Trigger … Not sure if I have all the settings right yet … (will update when I do)
But, this is what I know from the limited use so far.
I works! Weather I fire from the RP JrX studio Receiver attached to it … OR use the RP JrX Transmitter to fire it from far away … it works.
But, It does NOT allow consecutive shooting … say 8 fps with grip on the D700 … it’s a limitation of the RP Trigger … because if you hold down the Trigger button, the RP trigger is programmed to shut off.
There is something strange happening as well … I can fire three in a row quickly … but, it seems to stop and pause for some reason. If I am slow and steady , it’s not a issue. This might be a config issue I need to work out. (fyi: I have it set to CH, but it seems all the same on any setting)
So, this is probably not the best set up for sports … and this is probably "just" an easy way to use RP triggers you already have, as a Remote trigger for your camera. And with the RP JrX , you are talking really , really far away.
A few other things … you have to Pre-Focus … I like to set it up in Manual Focus .. and AF using the AF-ON button.
The other thing is when the switch is on the “Dot” … you can Review your shots and look at the LCD. But, you have to flip the switch to actually SHOOT.
Hope this helps others … and I will update this page if I Learn more. 

Ross Hamamura /

D700 Camera Settings

Thought I would post this on a seperate blog ... because it is popular, and to make it easy to find.

1) "My" Nikon D700 camera settings (which I have posted before, fyi)
This is "evolving" but here you go:

* First: and most importantly I put ALL my favorite D700 camera "Menu" items on the ... "My menu" , menu (did I say that correct?) ...
this stops me from having to dig deep into the confusing list of menu items (so, now I have no clue where they are in the real menus lol)
* I LIST them in my must used order ... currently

* Second: and very important for me ... I tweak/customize some of the wheels and buttons to work better for "me". I will START with that, because it is the most used tweak on a shoot.

1) f9 reverse rotation = ON: so the comp wheels work in the right direction, * Change main/sub = ON ... both these changes helps me in my most used mode "A" Aperture priority ... allows me to change the Aperture with the BACK wheel ( I like changing the Aperture while my finger is on the shutter ) , and EV comp with a press of the EV button and BACK wheel. OR I can EV comp with the Front wheel (with no EV button press ... needs a b4 change)
* Menus and playback = ON
2) f2 Multi selector center Button : one of my most used feature ... * Shooting Mode = Reset to bring back my AF point to the Center quickly , * Playback Mode = Zoom so on a "automatic" Review on the LCD after each shot , I can quickly / easily Zoom in to 100 % aprox on the shot , this also keeps it in Review mode , and not shut off. (of course you need to Turn ON "Image Review" in the Playback Menu as well)
* another Big Trick in this menu is to set Playback mode>Zoom on/off>MEDIOUM MAGNIFICATION (which is about 100%) ... you can also in playback with this center button zoom trick , roll thru your shots at this zoom , cool when you want to compare two seq. shots.
3) f4 Photo info/playback ... Info at Up/Down , and Playback Left/Right ... in Photo Playback this allows me to quickly scroll thru my Fav Info OR go back and forth on my images.
4) Relates to above : in the Playback Menu ... "Display mode" ... I have Focus point, Highlights checked ... "my" most used playback modes. note: I can still scroll thru and see a histogram, but because the Histogram is generated from the imbeded JPG (in the RAW file) , and that I ONLY shoot RAW ... the Histogram is only slightly useable ... Highlight Blinkys more useful imho in the RAW digital age, where you can push to the Right.
5) Have the Focus mode selector switch to S (single shot) , and the top left dial to CL (set at 5fps) ... caution: whenever you take the D700/D3 out of your bag , check this Focus mode selector - You will thank me latter. This switch moves sometimes.
6) Metering Selector to "3D color Matrix II" ... fancy for Matrix ... and adjust all my comps with that in mind. The D700 Matrix Metering is very consistent and predictable ... and that is the most you can ask for. I will put myself down as Loving it, so I use it all (most ) of the time. Well, whenever I can. :)
7) AF area mode selector : Dynamic Area AF ... Very Fast AF/Accurate, and great in Low Light. I am super happy with the AF on the D700 and the new f2.8 lens.
8) d4 CL mode shooting speed 5fps (CL is my default setting) (CH is 8fps) ... If, you are the Focus and recompose type ... this will create problems for you, because after each shot in CL the D700 does re-focus , so your AF point needs to be above your subject.
9) e1 Flash sync speed 1/320s (Auto FP) ... so anything above 1/250 is auto HSS Flash
10) f1 switch : both , so on a right move of the light switch BOTH the back LCD and the top lights up , so I can do a quick check on the settings via a large 3" LCD
11) f11 No memory card = Lock ... no memory card , no shooting ... note: default is unlock (not a good thing)
12) f12 Reverse indicators to - 0 + ... logical for me
13) a1 AF-C priority selection : Release + Focus
14) b4 Easy exposure compensation = ON ... this let's me comp the EV in A using the front wheel (this in combo with my other settings)
15) in the Set Up Menu , LCD Brightness set to -2 ... this will give you a more True Brightness of your shot on the LCD ... listed this last , but is very important imho ... you might have to play with this for your own Monitor and PP (Post Processing) style.

Now, on to my Favorite "MY MENU" choices: (IF, you leave it on My Menu ... the Menu button quickly goes back to it. "My Menu" on the D700 has eliminated my need to ever go into the regular menus :)

1) e3 Flash ctrl for built-in Flash ... Which actually has the controls for Flash Commander Mode CLS , Love it, Use it. I am a strobist CLS kind of guy :)
2) ISO sensitivity settings ... auto ISO is a great feature , but you just have to be careful with it. I probably change this the most ... with my default at ... base iso200 top end iso6400 (being that on a D700 the "Unity Gain ISO" is iso6400 the hint is the dial setting, even though "in camera" it can go higher ... anything else can be pushed processed from a RAW file in Post, with the same results) ...
* and the shutter at what I can handhold "specific" for the Shoot/Lens. This is best when the conditions are changing fast. Shadow and Bright as you turn.
I also must note: "whenever" Lighting conditions are tricky ... say, almost anytime after the Sun actually sets ... I Turn Auto ISO OFF , and set the iso manually (most of the time, anywhy)
3) e2 Flash shutter speed ... my default is 1/30 but that changes.
4) a8 AF point selection ... when speed in selection is important I use 11 point
5) a3 Dynamic AF area ... 9 pr 21 depending on things around target
6) a5 AF activation .. I need this then I want to lock a AF in MF ... then I turn AF-ON only. Something I do often.
7) a9 Built-in AF assist illuminator ... so I can quickly turn off and ON
8) c3 Self-Timer delay ... let's me set the sec ... can use this instead of a remote shutter
9) Active D-Lighting ... allows me to turn Off an ON ... because it does affect how you expose in A mode , and therefore underexposes the RAW file (and can create a slightly more noisy file). (I shoot RAW) ... but, even in RAW D-Lighting ON shows you better (via the imbedded JPG) what can be done with the RAW file, and fyi LR v2.6 at default DNG LR import is very close to the D-Lighting JPG but less noisy imho.
10) Focus tracking with lock-on ... this is for AF-C shooting if you need to change
11) Long exp. NR
12) Multiple exposure
* I also have Shooting Menu and Custom setting BANK listed ... but, have not really used this much yet.

*** So, there it is ... IF, you have any improvements, to MY Nikon settings ... or something I left out , that would be important to use ... let me know. email:
and I will update this blog.

Hope this helps,
Ross Hamamura /

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Second Portrait Workshop by Tracy Wright Corvo JULY 25 SUNDAY

Because of the success of the first Protrait Workshop put on by Tracy Wright Corvo ... there will be another workshop on July 25 Sunday.

Again sponsored by Hawaii Photo Rental Hawaii Photo Rental LINK ... did you notice that ALL Workshop participants will get a 15% discount on lighting gear for one month?

Will be at the same location, studio f22.

7/7/2010 update: ONLY 1 more spot left open! ... wow, this workshop will be sold out again.

To REGISTER: Email Tracy at

The goal is to make this workshop "even" better. And have a few good models to shoot, Tracy assured me that there would be at "least" one model I might want to take out my camera and take a snap :) Ok, I am excited already ...
(again, this is not a level "two" version, next step ... that some have asked about)

On the strobist side :) ... that I am doing ... I will bring the "very" popular RadioPoppers JrX "studio" version this time (and hope to have everyone Hands-On with this Off camera Flash trigger) ... that should work on ANY DSLR body with a Hot Shoe. (and can control the power level of AB,WL,Zeus strobes with a RJ-11 jack) ... also, have a cool four flash softbox to show, FourSquare by Lightware LINK here for more info FourSquare LINK

And "might" demo the RP CUBES (time permitting) which allow you to control the power level of your (Nikon or Canon TTL) flashes on camera. (problem is my sb900's don't work with them lol ... you would think you could find some cheap sb800's , but noooo ... so far the Metz 48 AF-1 TTL seems to be a candidate, but the TTL eye is not in the same location to "also" use my PX TTL RP triggers)

Will also have there, the inexpensive strobist "Manual" Flash that is very popular ... the LumoPro LP120 (budget manual strobist flash $130), and the new LP160 ($160 , Manual flash , NOT TTL) which is touted as being as powerful as the top Nikon and Canon flashes (which I hear it is!), Four triggering options (great for strobist), has a metal Hot shoe mount (good new feature, yes I have broke one of my feet (Hot shoe mount) on the cheaper older LP120 (which MPEX will fix FREE for you fyi ... you just need to pay for shipping), a new digital optical slave that will ignore the TTL 'pre-flash' (cool, so you can now mix TTL flash with this manual flash, out-of-the-box), and as fast a recyle (hmmmm), at a fraction of the cost (but, did I mention there is no TTL or CLS) ... still, for strobist a great value. MPEX site for flashes is here:,736.html mpex flashes LINK
I love these Manual flashes because they are cheap and easy to use, and have all the strobist connections you need built in. (and there is less of a worry that someone will try to steal them lol).

Hope to see you at the workshop on July 25, 2010 ...
Have a feeling it will be FUN. :)
Ross Hamamura ...