, HDR with Qtpfsgui


Just found out about Qtpfsgui. I had some previous struggles with HDR images but the tone mapping I was able to get by local adaptation wasn't quite what I wanted and it took a lot of work (see my previous post for some more samples). Following (more or less) the tutorial from garmahis.com I managed to get some really dramatic images (Fattal algorithm is really striking). When it comes to High Dynamic Range images you can get better results with Gimp and Qtpfsgui (open source tools) than with Adobe Photoshop or Photomatix (the Adobe image aligning algorithm is quite good and even the HDR creation seems better that Qtpfsgui's but it lacks "dramatic" tone-mapping algorithms). There's a long way to go into HDR imaging, but here is a comparison between my previous tone-mapped images (on the left) and the ones generated with Qtpfsgui (with minor tweaks and some layer blending).

Subway advertising (Quack quack in the back)


Subway advertising.

Quack quack in the back !

"Stick 'em up !"

Or as one of my colleagues mentioned to me: "What what in the butt !"

Homemade remote control


The Samsung GX-20 (as Pentax K20D I guess) is great overall: very ergonomic buttons with intuitive controls, great build quality and feeling but it has some major drawbacks (in my opinion): no option for turning noise reduction completely OFF (so a 1minute exposure takes two minutes) and the bulb button has to be continuously pressed for long exposures (and these lead me to the conclusion that the 14.5MP sensor is rather noisy and the manufacturer knows that ;) ). But I really want to be able to do some night photography too, even if the camera is obviously not intended for that. I bought a Pentax infrared remote control (since the Samsung is also IR capable) but the first time I tried to shoot some stars I found that it's not practical at all - there's no locking mechanism on the remote control and I still had to keep that darn button pressed for the entire exposure time, which got me frustrated rather quickly.

But, there's also the cable release option. Since I had already spent some money on the (mostly useless) IR remote I decided not to buy a cable remote, but to make one myself. The remote control is rather straightforward (and the same way might be for Canon, Nikon, etc.). If for a Canon A530 a (USB) homemade remote control you need some power source, CHDK, and a little more work, the homebrew cable release for a DSLR needs only some circuit closing (with switches and/or pushbuttons).

Parts needed:
- some container (I used a dental floss box)
- a cable with a 2.5mm male stereo jack (or a 3.5mm jack cable and an adaptor)
- a switch (for continuous shooting and bulb mode)
- two push buttons (for shutter and auto-focus)
- tools of the trade (soldering iron, solder, pliers)
- (optional) adhesive Velcro so you can stick the remote to the camera during a long exposure.

Pinouts: ground, auto-focus button, shutter release (test it before soldering to find out which is which).

Making of my homemade DSLR cable release: stick the buttons into the box and solder the cables: ground goes to all three buttons, shutter release goes to one push-button and the switch, autofocus goes to the other push-button.

So that's it - homemade Samsung DSLR remote control !