4K video on the Canon 550D / T2i ? No.

It's a fake - but Magic Mantern for the 550D is great. Happy New Year!

original post:
5 minutes ago I saw this clip on Phillip Bloom's website...

Shooting 2K, 3K and 4K video on my little camera? Is it real??


Lia74 feat. Kiddo - Be Friends (official music video, shot on a Canon 550D / T2i)

This is my first little music video. Entirely shot on a single Canon 550D. It was very cold when I shot the clip, but the camera performed very well. I used some aftermarked batteries and had no energy problems at all. The lenses I used to shoot this: Canon 18-55mm 3.5-5.6, Canon 50mm 1.8, Beroflex 28mm 2.8. To light up the faces I used my Z96 led light and a silver reflector in some shots. But since I didn't have assistants all the time (Thanks for your help, Marko), I couldn't use the reflector in all shots. So in some shots I had to light the faces up in post. My Capa viewfinder was foggy all the time, but it did it's job. I also used my DIY steadycam in some shots, but since there are so many cuts, you can't see that very well.

Feel free to ask anything you want and please comment and share this.

And please visit amazon and iTunes to support the artists.

By the way, here's a flickr photostream with some screenshots.

Merry Christmas to all of you,


Magic Lantern firmware for the Canon T2i / 550D and 60D

If you're shooting video with your Canon 550D or 60D you should definitely check out the Magic Lantern firmware. It will give you much more possibilities to adjust the settings on your camera.

I installed it today and it really blew me away! It is great!

What i liked most:
- turning off the AGC
- on screen audio meters
- live view zebras !
- on screen cropmarks
- built in intervalometer for shooting timelapses !
- custom (native) ISO steps !!!
- custom shutter speeds !!!
- kelvin white balance !!!
- DOF "meters"
- higher bitrates !!!

These are all the features that I missed on this camera (but there are many more). So if you're interested in "tuning" your 550D or 60D check http://magiclantern.wikia.com - and please consider a donation if you like it.

Here's a nice video by Matt Dennie that demonstrates what the new firmware looks like:

My rating 5/5.



jonni's DIY steadycam - 1st test flight

This is the first real test flight with my DIY steadycam. The ground was frozen so it was hard to walk. Also, I'm not a trained steadycam operator but I think the result isn't too bad. I'll practice a little bit and upload another video soon.

Check the posts below for more information on the steadycam.

Hope you like it,


jonni's DIY steadycam - assembly video

Here's the assembly video for my DIY steadycam. Check this post for more infos.



jonni's DIY steadycam

If you don't know what a steadycam / steadicam is good for, I'll try to explain it in a few words. When shooting video one of the most important factors is the stabilization of your camera. If you don't do it right, your footage will look shaky - and this is what we really want to avoid (in most cases).

You'll find yourself in situations when it's absolutely not possible to use a tripod. Even if some lenses do have build in image stabilization, they can't compensate the shaking that you'll get while walking or running around with your camera. So when you are filming while walking around and it's not possible to use a slider or track dolly you'll need another kind of mechanical stabilazation.

There are different steadycam models on the market. I think that most of them are really good, the only problem is their price. So if you have some time and the right tools you can try to build your own model.

This is my DIY steadycam:

My main goal was to built a steadycam for DSLRs that is as small as possible, fully adjustible, lightweight but still very strong. As you can see in the image above it is adjustible just like all the other models. But there are some more facts that I would like to point out. I used a high quality universal joint which is very agile and therefore the movement is compensated very effective. The handle is very soft and big which makes it possible to carry this thing around a while. The steadycam is made out of aluminum and therefore it's very lightweight. The weights are made out of brass. It is possible to loosen and tighten all the screws without any additional tools. This makes it possible to make quick adjustments when changing lenses or adding other equipment. It can carry my 550D wit a LED video light or other DSLRs with medium sized lenses easily. The first test runs went pretty well - I will upload a video as soon as the sun comes out.

The parts have just been painted black and are still drying - I think this thing will have a really professional look.

Hope you like it. Feel free to ask anything you want if you have some questions.



Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D Firmware Update Version 1.0.9

There's a new firmware available for the 550D on this site.

This update...
"Fixes a phenomenon in which tone jumps become noticeable in some images, depending on the shooting scene, when shooting with the Auto Lighting Optimizer settings (Low / Standard / Strong)."



Canon 550D on the Delkin Fat Gecko mount

As a big fan of cool camera angles I had to try mounting the 550D to my car and shoot some clips while driving around.

There are many products on the market which make it possible to mount your camera to a car, bike, door or whatever. But after comparing all these products on the web I had to get the Delkin Fat Gecko. It is a really solid, small, cheap and reliable product. I got mine for 70 Euros which is about $90.

Here's a video of the Delkin Fat Gecko. I thinks it shows pretty well how strong this mount is (you don't have to understand the words, don't worry):

The build quality is almost perfect. I didn't expect to get a product with this quality when I ordered the Fat Gecko. It's pretty heavy but the adjustment screws keep everything in place all the time.

I tested it with my 550D, the 18-55 kit lens and a lens hood. The suction cups do their job very well. In the beginning I was sceptical and afraid that the mount could get loose, but after a few minutes I knew that there's really no reason to be afraid when using the Fat Gecko. You only have to make sure that your mounting surface is smooth and clean.

The only thing I have to test is if it works better with IS turned on or off. The clip above was shot with IS on all the time. But I tested it with IS off, too. Have to compare the shots.

My rating - go and get it. 5/5.

arigato gozaimasu,


Full Version of "The Bridge" by Marlon Torres

I just came along the very inspiring full version of "The Bridge" by Marlon Torres - and i HAD to share it! This was entirely shot on Canon 7D and 5DMKII DSLR cameras!

Check this link for more information.


Favorite DSLR video sites

Just added some great DSLR related sites to my feed reader (after I deleted a lot of other sites) and wanted to share my favorite ones with you.

the site that let me fall in love with DSLR videos:

the guy that made me buy a Canon:

the site that shows the greatest equipment:

other great sites:

my little site:

Hope you'll take a look at these sites. Let me know if I missed a good one.



Canon 550D underwater photo and video with the DiCAPac SLR Case

Since underwater cases for DSLR cameras are way to expensive for my budget ($1000++) I was searching for an underwater bag for my 550D and came along the DiCAPac SLR Case. It's a $115 (90€) bag for your DSLR camera which is meant to be waterproof up to 5m. It's pretty big so you can even put in a 7D or 5D if you want to. You can find even cheaper cases on ebay, but to be honest - I don't trust them. The DiCAPac case has a large optical lens with a diameter of 85mm, so you can use it with a big variety of lenses. And the quality of this glas is really good. I couldn't notice any light loss at all.

To keep this article short, here are the facts. After some tests I took a few underwater photos and shot some videos with this thing and it works! The quality is amazing! This is a product I can recommend without any doubt.

Here's a short video to show the abilities of this bag

But before you hit the buy button and get this thing you should be aware of some things. Handling your camera with this bag is really hard! You can fit 2 550Ds in this bag easily. I think it will work better with bigger cameras. Making adjustments during a shot is almost impossible. So you have to make all your settings first (even zoom and focus) and then start the shoot. Another problem I had was that my 18-55mm kit lens was way to small, so I had to push the tube for the lens against it all the time to avoid filming the inner side of the tube. But with some practice or by taping the tube towards the bag (or using a longer lens) you should get some really nice shots, even if this bag can't replace any professional case for your DSLR.

I can't wait to test this bag on a rainy day...

My rating:
price: 5/5
quality: 5/5
handling 2/5



Z96 dimmable LED video light - how to use it as a strobe (bug)

Shooting video at night without enough light is almost impossible. You can pump up the ISO which will result in a grainy image or use an extra light source. In case you are searching for a portable but still powerful light source for run-n-gun shoots you should take a look at the dimmable Z96 LED video light. Build quality is good, the light is very bright and also dimmable, you get 2 diffusors and a shoe mount to put it on top of your camera and it works with 5 AA batteries. If you need a bigger light source you can get more of these and stick them together. The LEDs on mine Z96 don't have the same color. Some are white, some purple and some yellow. But this doesn't affect the light at all.

Check this post on cheesycam.com for more information.

I was really happy when I got mine. Tested it with an AC adapter (not included) and it worked really good - I'm still using it as my desk lamp with the AC plug. But when I put some batteries in it I noticed that it started to flicker after a while. First I thought it was a problem with the LED light but then I realized it was because of my batteries.

So if you need a strobe (maybe for a music video or to simulate some flashes) - this is how you get the effect: simply take 4 fully loaded AA batteries instead of 5 and stick in another empty battery. Then twist the dial till you reach the brightest light (not at the end any more but somewhere in the middle) and adjust it slightly till the light starts to flicker. Once it started to flicker you can adjust the strobe speed by twisting the dial. For me this effect is reproducible, I don't know if it works for every Z96 LED light.

Hope this was interesting.



Super cheap and lightweight video / timelapse setup (Canon 550D, 10-inch flexible tripod, Bilora Professional 1153 fluid head, H&Y Fader ND, 3-way rubber lens hood)

A fried of mine sent me this link where you can buy a 10-inch flexible tripod for $11.90. Basically it is the same as the "Joby GorillaPod SLR-Zoom" (the biggest GorillaPod) which you can get here for $49.95. The only difference I know is that the joints of the cheaper one are a bit stiffer. I decided to get one because I don't want to carry my tripod with me all the time. Shipping to Germany took 2 weeks and I'm really satisfied with the quality of this product. It carries my 550D with the 50mm or the 18-55 kit lens, a metal stepping ring, the H&Y fader ND and a big 3-way rubber lens hood without a problem. And the best thing: It also works nice with my new "Bilora Professional 1153 fluid head" mounted to it. I got the head for 39.99€ ($52) from a local electronics store in Stuttgart. I tested a lot of fluid heads (cheap and expensive ones) and decided to get this one. It's really cheap, build quality is great and panning is comparable to some of the cheaper Manfrotto heads. So all in all it's a great small head for shooting stills and videos - and it comes with a nice quick release plate.

This is a really lightweight and small setup with all the basic accessories you need for shooting nice timelapses or videos with some smooth pans. But you'll definitely need some more stuff for handheld shots or if you need to record usable sound.

My rating:
10-inch flexible tripod: 5/5
Bilora Professional 1153 fluid head: 4.5/5
3-way rubber lens hood: 4.5/5


Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D Firmware Update Version 1.0.8

A new firmware for the 550D is out.

"Firmware Version 1.0.8 fixes a phenomenon in which the set aperture moves unexpectedly when shooting movies in manual exposure mode using some Canon lenses (such as macro lenses)."

For instructions how to install it and for the files you need click this link.



How to achieve shallow depth of field when shooting video with your DSLR in bright sunlight

Shooting video in bright sunlight makes it almost impossible to achieve a cinematic look with a shallow depth of field. If you don't put a ND filter in front of your wide open lens when shooting video at a slow shutter speed the image will get to bright (overexposed). To avoid this you can choose higher f-stop values which will brighten down the image but also destroy your shallow depth of field as you can see in the stills below.

So if you want to shoot videos with a shallow depth of field at slower shutter speeds (which you definitely should do) you have to use ND filters or a ND fader when the lighting is to bright. If you don't want to change filters all the time get a ND fader - it works really great for shooting videos and adjusting it is also really easy and fast. Here are two videos to show the difference when shooting video with a ND fader and without one in bright sunlight.


H&Y Fader ND - a short review

I got a comment that the "H&Y Fader ND" is an imitation from the "Light Craft Workshop fader". To be honest, I have no clue which one is the original, but I think it's the "Singh Ray Vari ND" because this is the most expensive. I read Phillip Boom's post on these faders (this is the post) and decided to get the cheap one. I paid $79,19 (=64,42€, ebay seller "anne14389", shipping took 2 weeks to Germany) for my 72mm sized filter. I think this prize is unbeatable. But as I said before, I don't know if this is a genuine filter. 
Here's a sample video of the H&Y Fader ND on my Canon 550D with a EF 50mm 1.8 II lens. The setting was 1080, 24p, 1/50s, f/1.8, ISO100 and I twisted the fader from it's minimum to the 8th stroke (the maximum is on the 10th). It was really really bright when I shot the video. I had to choose f/20.0 to get the same image without the fader. By the way, the colors are flat because of my camera setting.

The thread on the outer side (e.g. for a lens hood) is 77mm. Build quality is really good (metal and glass) and the box it comes with is also really nice. Only negative thing so far: it doesn't come with a lens cap so you have to get one seperately. I ordered one for 5,98€ on ebay. I also ordered a 3 way rubber lens hood for 4,45€ to avoid lens flares and to protect the fader.

I will use this fader with my EF-S 18-55mm kit lens and with my EF 50mm prime lens. The kit lens has a 58mm filter thread, the 50mm prime has a 52mm thread. So I ordered 2 stepping rings (each one less than $2 on ebay) which make it possible to thread the Fader ND to these lenses. I decided to buy a bigger fader because I want to use it with lenses I will get in the future, too.

What are these faders used for? They make it possible to darken the image like normal ND filters. The only difference is that you can adjust the density of the filter (range from ND2 up to ND400 with this fader). This makes it possible to shoot videos with a wide open lens in bright sunlight without changing the shutter speed. Another nice thing that you can do with these faders is to take a long exposure picture in bright sunlight without getting it overexposed. This is a nice technique to shoot a sight on a crowded place if you don't have the chance to shoot it without people in front of it - the people will be blurred and you can see the whole sight. Another thing that many people do with this type of filter is to shoot water with longer exposures to make it look smooth. 

What can I say about the optical quality? I think it's great. Colors are nice and I can't see any distortion or vignetting at all. Only when I twist the fader over it's maximum - but this is not what it is supposed to do. I will use this filter for shooting videos primarily, but it also works nice for taking photos. 

If you want a really cheap Fader, get this one. Maybe the more expensive faders will give you even better quality, but the price-performance ratio of the H&Y fader is excellent for people on a very tight budget. My rating: 5/5.



Shooting videos with your DSLR - pt. I - basics & lenses

1st things 1st. Before you decide which lens to buy, you have to understand what the lens descriptions mean and what influence they have on your video. In this post, I'll try to explain the basics - for more information check wikipeda.org

The focal length of a lens tells you how much of the scene can be captured from a specific position. It's much easier to explain this with some still images, so here you go.

This is the same scene shot with different focal lengths from the same position. As you can see, the image gets wider with a smaller focal length. Extreme wide angle lenses are called fisheye lenses. It's possible to shoot extreme perspectives with this type of lenses, but they will also give you a lot of distortion (as seen in skateboard videos), which you have to be aware of. So you'll definitely need a wide angle lens (18mm or less) for shooting big objects (e.g. buildings) from a position that is close to the object. Lenses with focal lengths around 50-85mm are great for shooting portraits of people because you don't have to be too close to the person. Lenses with focal lengths above 85mm are called tele lenses and are used to capture things that are far away from the shooting location. If you own a camera with and APS sensor like the Canon 550D be aware of it's crop factor (1.6). A 50mm EF lens on a 550D or 7D will give you an image like a 80mm lens on a 5DMKII (EF-S lenses are designed for cameras with APS sensors, so you don't have to calculate with the crop factor)! Lenses like the Canon EF-S 18-55 are so called zoom lenses because they offer a range from 18 up to 55 (which is 29-88mm equivalent on a crop sensor). These are nice lenses if you like to shoot videos without carrying a lot of stuff with you or if you don't like to change lenses all the time, BUT prime lenses (lenses with a fixed focal length) are much better when it comes to image quality. Also keep this in mind: zooming during your video will look crappy, so don't buy too much zoom lenses if you want to shoot videos with your DSLR.

Prime lenses do often have better aperture (f-stop) values than zoom lenses which makes them much better when it comes to shooting video under low light conditions. Larger (wider) apertures mean the the lenses have bigger openings for the light to fall into them, which makes them faster because they don't need as much time as lenses with smaller apertures to capture the same shot. Fast lenses do have smaller f-stop numbers like f/1.2 f/1.4 or f/1.8 (the aperture gets smaller (more narrow) and the lens gets slower with increasing f-numbers). Here's a video to demonstrate the effect of the aperture to the image under low light conditions.

As you can see in the video above, a fast lens is much more capable for shooting video than a slower lens. But you have to be aware of the fact that your image will get a very shallow depth of field (only a thin area of your shot is in focus/sharp) with a fast lens that is wide open (big aperture). Check the following pictures to see the effect of the f-stop values to the depth of field of a still image.

Smaller f-stops will result in a very shallow depth of field. This means that the background and foreground of your shot will look very blurred. A lot of people like this effect and in fact shots with a shallow depth of field look very cinematic. If you don't want your video to have a shallow depth of fiel when shooting in low light, you'll have to choose a higher f-number and turn up the ISO. As you can see in the video below, the aperture stays the same and the image gets brighter (but also much noisier) with higher ISO values.

But there's one important thing you have to concider when shooting videos with a fast lens in bright sunlight: because the lens is so fast you will have to set a very quick exposure time for your videos if you don't want them to get overexposed (to bright). But short exposure times will result in a clipped video which is terrible (exposure time should be twice the frame rate to result in a smooth video - I set it to 1/50s in most cases). To avoid this problem you can close you lens (narrow aperture) which will result in a deep depth of field (everything in focus) or attach a ND filter to brighten down the image and make longer exposure times possible. I reccomend the last option because it makes it possible to shoot with a wide open lens in bright sunlight without changing the exposure time of your video. I will show you the effect of ND filters on videos in a seperate post with my new Fader ND.

Do you need image stabilization (IS) in a lens? For handheld shots without a steadycam or rig - yes. If you shoot from a tripod - no. This depends on what you're shooting and how much you want to spend. An IS lens is definitely better (you can turn IS off when you don't need it) but also much more expensive. If you're on a very tight budget and you don't need IS you can keep your eyes open for old M42 lenses and adapt them to your DSLR. I will post a video with a M42 vs. Canon EF comparison soon. What you definitely don't need for shooting videos is a lens with ultra fast focusing (e.g. USM) because you will have to focus manually (autofocus and video? No.)!

So this is what I recommend to put on your shopping list if you want to shoot videos with your DSLR:
- fast prime lenses (f/1.8 or faster!) and some ND filters or a ND fader.
- next thing should be a wide angle lens or a zoom which starts at a short focal length (18mm or shorter).
- what you need when filming animals or other objects that are far away: a tele lens.
- the most important thing: go for primes if you have the money to buy more lenses because they are faster and sharper than zoom lenses.

If you're shooting skateboarding / bmx / ... videos and don't want to spend too much:
- go for a fisheye lens or a zoom lens which starts at a short focal length.
- if this is to expensive screw a cheap fisheye lens to your kit lens (will give you some distortion but who cares).

If you want to have only one lens for shooting video and photos with:
- I feel sorry, but that won't be possible. I would buy a zoom lens like the Sigma 18-200 and a cheap
- fast prime lens like the Canon EF 50mm 1.8 for low light videos.

What do you think? Which cheap lenses are the best for shooting videos with? If you have any tips write a comment below.



A lot of new equipment for my 550D to review

This is just a picture of some new equipment on my desk that I will review soon. It's
- a Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens,
- a EW-60C lens hood replica from China,
- Canon Macro extension tubes that I will compare to a
- +10.0dia 58mm Macro Lens,
- a 0.45x 58mm wide angle lens for a fisheye effect,
- a M42 to EF adapter for attaching old lenses to the 550D,
- a lens cleaning pen, and
- a H&Y Fader ND for shooting video in bright sunlight with a wide open lens.

Can't wait to review these things.



jonnionhd.com - new domain

I'm planning to post more videos about my equipment and other DIY projects, so I decided to buy the domain jonnionhd.com. If you have any wishes for this site let me know. I hope you like it and that you will check by again.



A cheap 50mm f/1.8 lens for good photos and superb low light videos

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II is a $99 lens that's great for shooting photos and videos with. It gives you a very shallow depth of field and also makes it possible to shoot under low light conditions. It has a focal lenght of 50mm which equals 80mm on the 550D (crop factor 1.6).

Yes, most of the lens is made of plastic - but I don't care because the price is really good. One advantage is that it's very lightweight, but on the other hand you will hear some ugly noises (same as on the 18-55 kit lens) in your videos when you focus manually. But with an external microphone this problem should be solved. Autofocus is very fast and works great under low light conditions. But be aware that this lens has no image stabilization. So running around and shooting videos will not give you the best results (to avoid shaky images say Hi to a Steadicam).

What's really poor is that the lens hood for this lens (ES-62) costs $30. 1.8 lens - $99. Some plastic with Canon written on it - $30. This is a price I really didn't want to pay. So I ordered a $5 lens hood from China. And I think it's basically the same as the Canon lens hood. So here you can save $25.

The lens is really fast and it's much fun to shoot videos with it since you can turn down the ISO values when shooting under low light conditions which will avoid ugly noise. This lens + hood combination is definitely a great deal if you're on a budget. If you have more money you should take a look at the 1.4 lens which is even better but much more expensive ($350).



High Resolution Screens from the "Timelapse test 2" video

Here are 3 original screens from my second timelapse video. Click the photos to see the full resolution.

Looks really great on a full HD television but uploading to vimeo messes it up a little bit.



Timelapse test 2

This is my second timelapse video. It's made of 393 pictures that I shot on my Canon 550D with the aide of my cheap timer remote control. I think the quality of this video is much better than in my first one. That's because this time I set the ISO to 100 instead of leaving it in automatic mode. What I really don't like is that all the thin lines look interrupted. I think this has to do with the resize filter (nearest neighbor) that I used to convert the video to 1080p.

Here's some data from the video:
cam: Canon 550D
lens: Canon EF-S 18-55 f/3.5-5.6
settings: manual mode, 36mm, MF, f/4.0, ISO 100, 1/2500s, picture size small
production: interval 10s, 393 pictures, 24fps, 1080p


Another thing that I had to deal with this time was the flashing overheating icon on the display of my 550D. It occured after only 250 shots! So I do really recommend to place your camera in some shade or make shadow with some objects before you start the shooting. The low battery icon was also flashing on this shoot, but the camera still had enough power to finish the shooting.

Here are some pictures of my setup and the flashing icons on the display (shot with my 1st gen. iPhone).

As you can see nothing special. Kit lens, cheap timer remote cord from China and an old tripod I got for free ;)

I hope this was helpful.




The DSLR Cinematography Guide

If you're new to DSLR cinematography, check out this article. It's very helpful and teaches you all the basics for shooting videos with an DSLR as well as a lot of stuff you would have never thought of could be relevant.

If you like it consider a donation - you'll get rewarded with a printable pdf version. My rating: 5/5.



Timelapse test 1

Here's the 1st timelapse video that I recorded with my new timer remote cord.

I did a lot of mistakes, but I'm still learning and I learned a lot from this short video. I forgot to set the ISO to a fixed value. Therefore there's a lot of flickering in the video (looks ugly because you can see that the video was created with single captured photos). This won't happen again the next time I shoot a timelapse video ;)

Here's some data from the video above:
cam: Canon 550D
lens: Canon EF 50 f/1.8
settings: MF, f/1.8, ISO auto, AV auto, picture size small
production: interval 4s, 356 pictures, converted to 1080p with VirtualDub, 24fps

If you don't know how to make a video out of a lot of stills, check this tutorial - it's really easy.



Tips for timelapse photography (updated)

How to shoot nice timelapse videos:

- Turn off the auto focus before you start shooting. This will avoid image "pumping" and also increase the battery life of your camera. I do focus with AF and then switch to MF - this helps me to find the right focus.

- Select a shutter speed that captures the movement in your shot. This will result in a fluid video. If your shutter speed is too fast, your video will look clipped. So choose longer shutter speeds. If your image is to bright go for higher f's or use a ND filter to reduce the light that gets into your lens.

- If your subject is moving fast (cars) select a short interval time. If it's moving slow (flowers) the interval can be longer.

- Check your camera settings before shooting the timelapse. Manual mode should be preferred. You don't need RAW and big sized images for a timelapse videos, so change it to JPG and choose a smaller size.

- Think of the ISO you want to set (keep it low to avoid noise), don't leave it on automatic. If you do so you will se ugly flickering in your video.

- Turn down the brightness of the screen and swith off the image review to increase the battery life.

- Last but not least, check your battery power and the space on your memory card before shooting the lapse. This will avoid a freak out that - in the worst case - can lead to a broken camera ;)

Continuous interval shooting is not the best treatment for your camera. Mirror and shutter are designed for a specific number of shots (some say 100.000 some say more - I don't know how long they last, but I don't want mine to get repaired). Mirror lock does not work for liveview mode (which I prefer because I think the mirror has to work less in liveview mode), but it can be very helpful when your exposure is around 1/15 and you don't want your shots to get shaky (remember that you have to turn off liveview and that only every second shot is recorded to your card).

I hope this helps. If you have other tips or if you know how to protect the mirror and shutter write a comment please.



Shoot MC-36B timer remote cord for the Canon 550D

My timer remote cord for the 550D arrived yesterday - here's the unboxing video.

I ordered it for 24.30 Euros ($29.98) on ebay (shipping for free). The seller was "digital-winway" and shipping to Germany took less than two weeks. On the packaging the model is named "RS-60E3", in the instruction manual it's "MC-36B", which I think is correct (google search). Build quality is really good, the buttons seem to last a while and even the display is illuminated. Another great thing is that batteries are included, even if this is not mentioned in the article description. I would say this is definitely a good deal. By the way, the manual is in English.

This is not the cheapest remote cord for the 550D, but I decided to buy this one because it looks reliable and i has two batteries - which means it can work a while. It's also very important to mention that you can set the number of shots to infinity. This is what you need when shooting timelapses - and that's what I bought this thing for ;)

Some data:
timer delay: 0s up to ~100h
exposure time: 0s up to ~100h
interval: 1s up to ~100h
number of shots: 1 to 399 or -- (unlimited)
power: 2x AAA 1.5V alkine batteries
battery life: 2 months of continuous shooting

Here you go with my first and second test video and some tips for timelapse photography.



550D vs. 7D vs. 5D Mark II

This is the research I did before I decided to buy the 550D...
(photos and data taken from canon.de, prizes from amazon.de 06/2010)

I searched for a cam to shoot great photos and videos with, so I compared the 550D, 7D and 5D MK II. As you can see, the 550D is the cheapest of these 3 cameras. It has an APS-C sized sensor like tke 7D which is average for beginner and semi-pro DSLRs. It works with Canon EF and EF-S lenses, but you have to take care of the crop factor. The 550D has the same video modes as the 7D and an even better display. Other advantages are that this cam is smaller and lighter then the others and that it works with much cheaper SD cards (I know that this in fact isn't really an advantage (stability, speed), but for me it is because I like to have my cam with me all the time). The build quality is not as good as on the 7D or 5D MK II - but I don't shoot in rain and I don't want to drop it so I don't really care about this that much. As I said before, I'm no professional, and I don't shoot sports that much - so 4 pictures/second are okay. Same fact for the AF sensors - I only need the middle one, so this is no big disadvantage to me.

The 550D does shoot really nice pictures, but the best thing about this camera is the manual control you have when shooting videos (same as on the 7D). So if you want to have a really really good DSLR for the prize of an average one - go for the 550D. You won't regret it.


jonni's 35mm DOF adapter (for M42 and Canon EF lenses)

This is the DOF adapter I built for my Casio EX-F1 when I wanted to achieve a cinematic look in videos I shot with this cam. It is very cheap and one of the shortest adapters I've seen so far. It works with regular Canon EF lenses like the 50mm 1.8 and also with old M42 lenses that you can find for cheap on ebay (I got my 55mm 1.4 lens for 40 Euros).

The image is recorded upside down, but you can solve this problem very easily with a 180° rotation in post production. I also tried to attach this adapter to a Panasonic camcorder and it worked fine - I just needed some cheap stepping rings to make it fit.

Here are some videos to show the abilities of this adapter:

As you can see in the videos the adapter works very well. It is a very cheap solution to get some shallow depth of field in your homevideos that you shoot with your camcorder. The only problem is that you have some light loss and that you can see some grain in the videos (depending on the focusing screen or ground glass you use). To avoid this you have to let the ground glass (screen) vibrate or rotate. I don't like vibrating adapters because of the noise they make and I also think that the vibration has some bad influence to the sharpness (because the movement of the screen changes the flange focal distance). A rotating adapter would be a much better solution. But I have never built one because now I have this superb Canon 550D and I don't need this adapters any more ;)

Here are some tips for all of you that plan to build an adapter like this:
- try to make it as short as possible (light loss)
- don't use a cheap macro lens (distortion, chromatic aberration)
- don't use a cheap ground glass / focusing screen (hot spotting effect)
- use a high quality condenser lens (reduces the hot spotting effect)
- screw don't glue.

If you have trouble with the quality of your adapter read this:
- The distance between the lens and the ground glass (GG) is the most important thing and has to be absolutely correct. It is called "flange focal distance (ffd)". Check wikipedia for the right ffd of your lens.
- Next thing is the quality of your GG. You will loose less light if it is thinner. It also has to be very fine if you don't want to see a lot of grain. So if you have enough money and if you don't need a circular one go for a Canon screen.
- If the quality is still bad check the tips above again. Hope this helps.

If you're interested in the process of building my adapter, here's the original post in a german EX-F1 forum.

Got any questions? Write a commet.

Good luck with your project,


Post #1

What is the purpose of this blog?
...this will definitely be no news site! My intention is to show some tips for shooting good videos and photos with the Canon 550D on a budget. I don't know if this will work out, but I'll try my best and hope it helps someone out there a little bit.

Who is the author?
...jonni, a student from Germany, interested in art, photography, video, etc. I'm no professional, I just like carrying around my camera and shoot some stuff.

I bought my 1st digital camera in 2003. I don't know the model any more because I switched to a Pentax Optio S after 2 days ;). When my brother killed this camera my Casio addiction started. Exilim S500, S600, S770 and finally the EX-F1. The EX-F1 is a really nice camera with a lot of fascinating features like highspeed video - but you simply can't compare it's quality with DSLR material. When I saw some ultra sharp and clear 7D videos on vimeo, I decided to save some money and go for it. But then the 550D came out...... and here I am: brand new 550D and some money left for lenses and other accessories ;)

Maybe you know my EX-F1 videos on vimeo or my DIY DOF adapter tutorial. If you liked this subscribe to my posts - I plan to build a steadycam and a slider for DSLRs, too. The material is already bought ;)

If you're interested in "art" check out my other blog: jonnionart.blogspot.com

When will this blog start?
...as soon as the layout is ready ;)

I hope you'll check by again. If you have any wishes for this site let me know.