Archive for the ‘Apple iPad’ Category

Apple Sidecar

December 17, 2021

Apple “Sidecar” is a free utility that enables you to use an iPad as a secondary display for your Mac.

Sidecar is only compatible with relatively newer devices such as my MacBook Air (M1, 2020) and iPad mini 6. [Note: Significant capability is added to my iPad mini by pairing the tablet with a Logitech “KEYS-TO-GO” wireless keyboard (compatible with both my iPad mini and MacBook Air) and Apple Pencil (2nd generation) or Logitech Pebble M355 Wireless Mouse.]

I tested Sidecar recently and I’m pleased to report it works as advertised. I’m just starting to think about how to utilize Sidecar. Any suggestions? If so, then please comment on this post.

Must-see TV

The show notes for the following video by Apple Support lists a link to a Web page entitled “Use an iPad as a secondary display for a Mac.” The first section is called “Get ready” and includes a sub-link to another section called “Sidecar system requirements” (located near the end of the same page). Also see the next section, “Additional requirements.”

The next video by Tech Gear Talk provides lots of useful guidance for making settings, how Sidecar works, as well as some practical applications.

The last video by Terry White answers the obvious question, “Can your iPad be used as a graphics tablet for use with mac OS applications such as Adobe Photoshop?” The answer, in a word, is “Yes!”

As you might have guessed I’m wondering whether Sidecar can be used to enhance my Photopea workflow. More later after I experiment.

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Multimeter test results: GyroVu continuous power adapter for Panasonic

September 14, 2021

Eureka! I found my RadioShack Digital Multimeter.

In a recent blog post, I said I would like to use a multimeter to test the actual voltage output of the GyroVu USB TO PANASONIC DMC-GH2 (DMW-BLC12) BATTERY 40″ CABLE w/ 3.1A USB POWER SUPPLY that provides continuous power for my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 superzoom bridge camera. This blog post features the results from that test and more.

Panasonic rechargeable Li-ion camera battery

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 uses a Panasonic DMW-BLC12 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery (7.2V, 1200mAh), shown below.

Panasonic DMW-BLC12PP 7.2V Li-ion battery (front).

The positive and negative terminals of the battery are marked on the back of its case.

Panasonic DMW-BLC12PP 7.2V Li-ion battery (back).

I set the multimeter to measure voltage and touched the black test lead to the negative (-) terminal, then touched the red test lead to the positive (+) terminal. The LCD on the multimeter displayed a voltage of 07.29V, as shown below. That’s good!

Voltage output from Panasonic 7.2V Li-ion battery.

GyroVu continuous power adapter

Next, the GyroVu “USB Charger” (shown below, to the lower-left) was plugged in a 120V AC electrical outlet. The GyroVu dummy battery was connected to the 3100mA USB connector on the GyroVu USB Charger.

Although the positive and negative terminals of the dummy battery aren’t marked on its case, they are in the same places as on the Li-ion battery.

Once again I set the multimeter to measure voltage and touched the black test lead to the negative (-) terminal, then touched the red test lead to the positive (+) terminal. The LCD on the multimeter displayed a voltage of 08.36V, as shown below.

Voltage output from GyroVu dummy battery for Panasonic.

GyroVu says the output voltage of the dummy battery is 8.0V, so 8.36V seems to be within specs.

For what it’s worth, the Owner’s Manual for the model of RadioShack Digital Multimeter that I used specifies the accuracy of the multimeter is +/-0.8% of the reading, or in this case +/-0.07V.

Therefore I think it’s safe to say the GyroVu dummy battery has a slightly higher voltage than the Panasonic Li-ion battery. Is the higher voltage cause for concern?

Perhaps the more important question is whether amperage matters more than voltage. Regular readers of my blog might recall that I used my Drok USB Tester to measure an amperage of 0.45A drawn by the camera when it was connected to the GyroVu adapter and powered on. Is that amperage safe for the camera?

I’m not sure of the answer to either question, although I am certain further investigation is required.

Anker external power bank

Each GyroVu “dummy battery” adapter cable features a USB connector that can be used to connect your digital camera to an external power bank such as the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD 45W), shown below.

Product image courtesy AnkerDirect.

My Drok USB Tester was connected to one of two USB ports on the Anker power bank. The output voltage of the power bank was 5V, same as the GyroVu “USB Charger.”

The GyroVu dummy battery was plugged into one of two USB ports on the Anker power bank. Once again I set the multimeter to measure voltage and touched the black test lead to the negative (-) terminal, then touched the red test lead to the positive (+) terminal. The LCD on the multimeter displayed a voltage of 08.36V (shown above) — exactly the same as when I used the GyroVu “USB Charger” as the source of continuous power.

Voltage output for GyroVu dummy battery for Panasonic connected to Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD 45W.

At this point I think it’s safe to say the Anker power bank is safe to use as a source of continuous power for my Panansonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 camera, that is, assuming the ~8.0V output of the GyroVu dummy battery isn’t a problem.

Related Resources

This blog post is one in a series of posts related to continuous AC power and long-lasting battery power for select Canon, Fujifilm, and Panasonic digital cameras.

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Dragonfly socks

June 4, 2021

A good friend sent a special gift to me. I love me some dragonfly socks. Thanks, Susan!

I know you’re thinking “Gee, I wish had a pair of dragonfly socks.” But you don’t. Hah!

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Alvin? Alvin? Alvin?!?

February 3, 2021

I thought I had figured out how the “FUJIFILM Tether Shooting Plug-in PRO (Mac)” does automated focus bracketing. My working theory was (past tense) the plug-in commands the camera body/lens to move from one auto-focus (AF) focus point to another, based upon the two end-points selected by the user. So I devised a test for my theory. Turns out I was not only wrong, but I’m more confused than ever based upon my test results!

My theory arose from the observation that the focus point changed from the beginning to end of every focus bracket test shoot. For example, the first end-point was near the following focus point…

and the final focus point was near the last end-point.

My camera is set to display 425 AF points. There are 25 AF points in each row, as shown in the first photo.

For the first set of test shots, the plug-in set the number of shots to three (3). That made sense at the time, since I could have selected three AF points manually and covered the image well enough so that the entire subject is acceptably in focus at an aperture of f/16.

During the next two sets of test shots, I selected the same end-points but the plug-in wanted to set the number of shots to greater than 180 photos for both tests. No way I was going to shoot that many photos since my theory was a bust — 180 shots far exceeds 25, the number of AF points in a single row.

Perhaps the number of shots has something to do with the function of the slider for each eye dropper, but I don’t know — I haven’t figured out how the sliders work. (Anyone? A little help, please.)


A toy Alvin (the Chipmunks) was photographed against a pure white background (255, 255, 255) using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique.

02 FEB 2021 | BoG Photo Studio | toy Alvin (the Chipmunks)

9 photographs were taken using a Fujifilm X-T3 digital camera, Fujifilm MCEX-11 extension tube, and Fujinon XF80mm macro lens, including a set of three photos from my first automated focus bracket test shoot plus some test shots before/after the focus bracket.

The photos were edited using Apple Aperture, exported as TIFF files, then loaded into Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 in order to create the focus stack.

Related Resource: The Chipmunks : The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) (2:22)

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Fresh Air

January 22, 2021

Fresh Air. In the house. Aw yeah, I love that new computer smell!

21 JAN 2021 | BoG Photo Studio | new digital darkroom

The preceding quick-and-dirty photo was taken using an iPad mini 2 — it’s grainy due to low light in the room where my new computer is set up. Hey, sometimes expediency trumps quality.

Gear List

Related Resources

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Another B&H Photo packing/shipping fail

December 16, 2020

I ordered three items from B&H Photo on 11 December 2020: one item is backordered; two items were delivered on 15 December.

The first photo shows the parcel “as is” when it was delivered by Fedex. Notice two of four box top flaps were open — it was possible to lift the top enough to see the contents of the box!

The next photo shows the other sides of the box top were still sealed shut.

The last photo shows the open box, before I unpacked the items I ordered. Notice a single piece of bubble wrap is the only packing material inside the box: there is NO PACKING MATERIAL on either the top or bottom of the smaller boxes inside the larger corrugated cardboard box; and there is NO PACKING MATERIAL on two sides of the smaller boxes. That can’t be good for shipping fragile electronic equipment safely!

What are the take-aways?

As I wrote in a related blog post last May, the problem of inadequate packing material seems to be the new normal at B&H Photo. Now it appears you can add cardboard boxes that don’t stay closed and sealed to the list of epic fails by the B&H shipping department.

This doesn’t work for me — photo gear and related electronic equipment is too expensive to cut corners on packing and shipping. I said it in May and I’ll say it again — c’mon B&H, you can and should do better!

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


What is it?

November 25, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages. It’s time for another exciting episode of “What is it?” Well, what is it?

Editor’s Note: I promise to upload a better photo of the mystery object later today.

Post Update

Here’s the better photo I promised a few days ago. Better late than never, right?

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Will it work? Is it safe?

November 6, 2020

As promised in a blog post on 12 October 2020, this is the first of several follow-up posts related to using the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD 45W battery as a power source for select Canon and Fujifilm digital cameras.

The power bank is one of two recommended by Fujifilm, so it’s reasonable to assume the battery is safe to use. That being said, I must admit I was hesitant to test the battery with a relatively expensive digital camera like my Fujifilm X-T3!

GyroVu” sells adapter cables that enable an external battery to be used as the power source for several makes and models of digital cameras. I recently ordered GyroVu adapter cables from B&H Photo for my Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Fujifilm X-T3. The following warning was included in the package for the Fujifilm adapter.

Specifications for proper operation.

Naturally I wondered whether the Anker battery meets the specifications to function properly with the GyroVu adapter cables. The specifications for the battery are printed on its textured case, in tiny letters that my tired old eyes are unable to see without using a magnifying glass!

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD 45W battery

Notice the specifications highlighted by the red rectangle superimposed on the full-size version of the preceding photo. [USB] Standard Output is 5V at 3A, within specs for the GyroVu adapter cables.

What are the take-aways?

Knowing the battery should work, and more importantly, should be safe to use, I was encouraged to test the battery as the power source for my Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Fujifilm X-T3 digital cameras. I’m pleased to report both cameras work as expected. More later in a series of follow-up blog posts.


The B&H Photo Web page for the GyroVu USB to FUJIFILM NP-W126 Dummy Battery Intelligent Cable (40″) says the cable is compatible with Fujifilm X-T1 digital cameras (see the section entitled “Overview”). THAT’S INCORRECT! The page also says the cable “allows the use a USB power source to power devices that use a FUJIFILM NP-W126 battery.” THAT’S ALSO INCORRECT!

Fujifilm X-T1 digital cameras use an NP-W126 (7.2 V) battery; Fujifilm X-T3s use an NP-W126S (8.4 V) battery. The names for the two batteries are similar but similar is not the same, as indicated by the difference in their voltages.

The GyroVu Web page for the USB TO FUJIFILM (NP-W126S) BATTERY 40″ ADAPTER CABLE says the cable “Connects any power source with USB female connector to Fujinon Cameras using NP-W126S battery” and specifies the output voltage as 8.4 V. That means the GyroVU cable will work with Fujifilm X-T3 digital cameras and will not work with Fujifilm X-T1s.

Bottom line: I tested the GyroVu adapter cable (SKU: GV-USB-126S) and Bescor NP-W126S Dummy Battery & AC Adapter Kit for Select FUJIFILM X-Series Cameras with my Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera and the camera DOES NOT POWER ON. Buyer beware!

Post Update: Further testing shows an NP-126S battery can be used to power-on my Fujifilm X-T1. I cannot explain why the Fujifilm brand battery works and the GyroVu and Bescor power sources don’t.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Laowa LED Ring Light for 25mm Ultra Macro Lens

October 9, 2020

I prefer artificial light from electronic flash units rather than continuous light sources such as LEDs. That being said, when the working distance between lens and subject is small, a lens-mounted LED ring light makes sense to use.

Minimum focusing distance versus working distance

The “minimum focusing distance” is the distance from the subject to the focal plane. The “working distance” is the distance from the front of the lens to the subject. For macro photography, usually the latter is more important than the former.

According to Venus Optics (Laowa), the minimum focusing distance for the “Laowa 25mm f/2.8 2.5-5x Ultra Macro lens” is 23.4 cm at 2.5x magnification and 17.3 cm at 5x. According to several Web sites, the working distance is 45 mm (4.5 cm) at 2.5x and 40 mm (4.0 cm) at 5x, or a range of working distances from ~1.8 to ~1.6 inches.

Adding one or more extension tubes reduces the working distance and increases magnification. For example, adding a Kenko 12mm extension tube reduced the working distance from 45 mm to ~30 mm at 2.5x.

And it’s worth noting that adding the Laowa “Canon EF lens to Fujifilm X mount camera adapter” to the lens further reduces the working distance — the adapter is ~26 mm wide, essentially equivalent to adding a 26mm extension tube. Combined with the 1.5x crop factor of Fujifilm X-Series cameras such as the X-T1 and X-T3, it’s no wonder the magnification of the lens is increased dramatically when used with select Fujifilm cameras!

Ultra Macro Lens

The first two photos, courtesy B&H Photo, show the version of the Laowa lens for Canon EF. For what it’s worth, f/4 is the “sweet spot” for this lens.

Product image courtesy B&H Photo.

Look closely at the front of the lens. Notice a “flange” (one of two) that is visible around the outer rim of the lens. Those flanges are used to mount the Laowa LED ring light on the lens.

Product image courtesy B&H Photo.

LED Ring Light

The next two photos, courtesy Allen’s Camera, show the Laowa LED ring light.

Product image courtesy Allen’s Camera.

The LED ring light ships with a USB power cable. A power source for the ring light is NOT INCLUDED. My next blog post will feature a discussion of the pros/cons of the power source solution I decided to use.

Product image courtesy Allen’s Camera.

LED mounted on lens

The last photo shows the Laowa LED Ring Light mounted on the Laowa Ultra Macro Lens that is mounted on my Canon 5D Mark II digital camera. The USB power cable is connected to the LED ring light but not connected to a power source. (Don’t mind the clutter in the background!)

Notice the face of the LED ring light extends ~5 mm beyond the front of the lens, thereby reducing the working distance by ~5 mm (~0.5 cm). Plan accordingly.

Laowa LED and 25mm Ultra Macro lens mounted on Canon 5D Mark II.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

GodoxPhoto app

October 7, 2020

As the current odonate season is winding down, I’m gearing up for a long off-season of studio photography.

I just started experimenting with the free “GodoxPhoto” app that enables remote control of Godox external flash units via Bluetooth wireless technology. The app is available for both Apple iOS and Android devices.

The app works with any Bluetooth-capable Godox flash trigger, such as the Godox X2TC, Godox X2TF, and Godox X2TO/P. The number “2” in the product name indicates the second generation of these flash triggers: second generation flash triggers are equipped with Bluetooth; equivalent first generation flash triggers are not, e.g., Godox X1TF. Godox “Pro” series flash triggers, such as my Godox XProF TTL Wireless Flash Trigger for Fujifim Cameras, are not equipped with Bluetooth.

Godox gear is rebranded under several names, such as “Flashpoint.” The “Flashpoint R2 Pro Mark II 2.4GHz Transmitter” series of flash triggers is made for Adorama exclusively. These devices, such as the Flashpoint R2 Pro Mark II for Fujifilm, are equipped with Bluetooth. If you prefer the “Pro” style Godox flash triggers, then you will need one of the Flashpoint models in order to use the GodoxPhoto app.

Getting Started

Turn on Bluetooth on the flash trigger, e.g., my Godox X2TF. Press the “MENU” button to access the custom functions menu. Use the scroll wheel to highlight “BLUE.T.” Press the “SET” button. Use the scroll wheel to highlight “ON” and press the “SET” button. Press the “MENU” button again to exit the custom functions menu.

Go to “Settings” for your Apple iOS device and turn on Bluetooth. Next open the app.

GodoxPhoto app icon

On the “Home” screen, tap the “Bluetooth” button.

Home screen

All Godox flash triggers have a unique alphanumeric identifier, such as “GDBH-D7E1” for my Godox X2TF. I speculate “GDBH” stands for Godox B&H. I bought all of my Godox flash triggers from B&H Photo, so only the last four characters are unique to each device.

Enter the “Password” for your flash trigger.

Password screen

By default, the password for all Godox Bluetooth equipped flash triggers is “000000” (six zeroes). Experts suggest that you don’t change the password.

Default password: 000000


If you would like to use the app to remotely control external flash units, tap on the “Flash” icon on the “Home” screen. As you can see in the following screenshot, I tested three groups of flashes: Group A was set for “Auto” (TTL); Group B and C was set for Manual using different power ratios.

Flash screen


My iPad mini (with retina display) doesn’t feature a built-in camera flash. No problem! Tap on the “Camera” icon on the “Home” screen in order to open a camera app (embedded within the GodoxPhoto app) that enables me to shoot photos using my iPad mini while remotely controlling one or more external flash units.

Camera settings screen

For example, the following photo of my Godox X2TF flash trigger was taken using the GodoxPhoto app on my iPad mini and a Godox TT685F external flash unit. My iPad was paired with the Godox X2TF via Bluetooth, as indicated by the Bluetooth icon on the LED screen (shown below).

Godox X2TF flash trigger

What are the take-aways?

I think remote control of external flashes will be a good fit for a tethered shooting workflow.

Version 1.9.2 is the current version of the GodoxPhoto app. Although the app is “more mature” and far more capable than the last time I tested it, the GodoxPhoto app is more like a work in progress than a polished finished product.

Some functions are less than intuitive, so I’m sure you will need to access “Help” by tapping on the “Setting” button on the “Home” screen. See what I mean about being counterintuitive? “Setting(s)” is the last place I’d think to look for help! Perhaps there should be an “Info” button on the “Home” screen, where “About” and “Help” would be a better fit.

Setting screen

Related Resources

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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