equipment protection – Is firing the built in flash every few months necessary?

Internal flash considerations are quite similar to external flash (and indeed there are cameras advertised where the flash has died by capacitor), but the involved energies tend to be a whole lot lower, so the capacitors may not need to be as specialised as they are in an external flash of significant strength.

However, powering up the camera and powering up the internal flash circuitry are different things. In many automatic flash modes, the flash charge circuitry is not powered before the camera determines by metering (at shutter half-press, for example) that the flash may be needed for a shot: after all, powering the flash circuitry takes a chunk off the battery charge even in case the flash is not actually getting fired.

In contrast, external flashes typically power up their high voltage circuitry when switched on.

flash – Do you really need to fire flashes regularly when not otherwise used?

Years ago, I read someplace that in order to stop a flash deteriorating in storage, every month or so, you should put some batteries in the flash and fire the thing a couple of times.

I’m beginning to think this advice to fire flashes every now and again to prolong their life was perhaps applicable to some older, now-defunct technology and has simply stuck around unquestioned since then becoming part of photography folklore. Or, perhaps it never had any real use at all.

After all, between manufacture and sale, it’s not unusual for electrical items to sit unused for many months, possibly years, and no one seems too bothered by that.

And, looking on Wikipedia (albeit with my limited understanding the science) the main cause of failure of a modern flash tube, beyond the catastrophic, seems to be its overuse.

So, is it really necessary to fire flashes every now and again, or can we just leave them be? If it is necessary, why is it? What’s the science behind the idea?

flash – Black Dots when shooting video on Nikon D5300 manual settings

after i shoot videos for a few minutes these black dots appear on my video. I am aware that my Nikon is mainly a photography camera but i am not sure why this keeps happening when i shoot video in this youtube video that i shot , the lines appear on the white paper on which the drawing in drawn(just click to open it at the time stamp)

they look like flashing black dotted lines

flash – Brightest Portable Speedlight

I like the old Regula Variant 740 flashes (from the 90s or earlier, using 4×AA batteries and working fine with 1.2V NiMH rechargeables). The 740-2MFD has a trigger voltage below 12V. The 740CTX I have measured with something like 180V or so, so unless you do a proper separation circuit, it’s probably to be avoided.

It has the typical “cobra head” form factor and a guide number of 40m at ISO100. The 740-2MFD allows 5 manual settings from P/1 to P/16. Most importantly, however, for the sake of drowning out the sun is that it is specified to be 1/1000s at P/1. Many more modern flashes are 1/200s at full power, making it much harder to drown out the sun because of the longer exposure needed.

Making best use of such short flashes assumes that your camera offers electronic shutter and consequently arbitrary flash sync speed.

Downsides are that its specified for f=35mm equivalent FOV. There is an optional wide angle attachment available with light scattering panes for f=28mm (-1EV) and f=24mm (-2EV). However, acquiring extra bits like that means extra hunting for old equipment: most offers don’t include attachments. But you’ll find yourself in the same predicament regarding almost any old flash without a zoom head. Of course a more efficient remedy for a fixed contraption like the one you are planning is just to move the flashes backwards until they cover the area you want.

Metz 40MZ-1 and 40MZ-3 are nice in that you have 25 manual settings (P/1 to P/256 in EV/3 steps). They zoom down to 24mm. While their guide number of 40 is specified for f=50mm, at f=24mm (the lowest of their zoom ranges) I think they are even stronger than the Regula with 24mm attachment. However, they are specified with 1/200s at P/1. 40MZ-2 will also zoom to f=24mm. Unlike its cousins 40MZ-1 and 40MZ-3, it only zooms up to f=70mm instead of f=100mm, and it does not have a distributor panel built-in that you can manually engage for f=20mm.

I usually use an additional reflector (probably taking 3EV all in all) for closeup photography with my Regula, and 1/2000s of exposure at F16 and ISO160. That does still drown out natural light sources pretty well. Most of the time, the flash operates at P/8.

However, that is at a shorter distance than what you are planning to use (maybe 20cm from the reflector?).
Drowning out the sun

camera basics – Do I need to remove the flash hotshoe cap when taking pictures?

I just bought an Olympus Trip 35 and this is my first ever film camera. I went hiking yesterday and I took the camera to take shots. All of them were outdoors.

I was just wondering, the little cap that’s on top of the camera, covering the silver bit between the flash hotshoe rails, should that be taken out when taking pictures?

I’m very new to this, and it might sound stupid but I need to know.

data recovery – USB flash drive not working or is appearing as an empty disk drive, Disk Management reports “No Media” with 0 bytes size

Failing Flash Drive

“No Media” means the flash memory controller cannot communicate with the NAND flash memory on the drive. Because of this, it appears to the computer as an empty disk drive. This is usually caused by the NAND flash failing. To the computer, the drive is not much different than a floppy or optical drive with no disk inserted.

As a result, it is not possible to access any data on the drive, nor is it possible to repartition or reformat the drive. Again, from the standpoint of the computer, there is no medium in the drive to be formatted or repartitioned.

Fake Drive?

It is also possible that the drive is fake and the cheap memory chip in the drive has failed. Drives failing in this manner will often show up as a storage device with 8MB capacity.

Potential Hardware-Specific Restoration

From this answer: You can obtain more information about the drive and its controller using a tool called ChipGenius. You might be able to recover the drive hardware by using a tool such as Bootice to manipulate the MBR.

Additionally, if the drive uses a Phison controller, you may be able to use the Phison USB Mass Production Tools to reprogram the controller and restore normal operation. Note that doing this will erase all data on the drive.

Data Recovery

In cases where stored information is merely corrupted, consumer data recovery software can often recover the contents. However, that won’t work if the drive fails as described here.

There are data recovery services that can use special equipment to try to recover content from the chips. However, it is expensive. If you can’t restore the drive to normal operation, it probably isn’t worth sending it to a data recovery service unless the data stored on the drive is particularly valuable. You should simply replace the drive.

grub2 – Can’t boot Ubuntu 18.04 that’s permanently installed on USB flash drive

So I got a new laptop at work and instead of creating a dual boot system, I bought a 256 GB USB drive and permanently installed Ubuntu 18.04 on it. To boot it, I now just hit F12 during boot (Dell machine) and select the right USB partition. That way I can use my laptop for personal use without storing any data on the on-board hard drive or leaving any other kind of trace.

It has been awesome when it worked, but that is the issue. Many times, including tonight, the boot process will stall at “Loading initial ramdisk” and then nothing happens besides laptop and USB drive getting pretty warm.

Strangely enough, the problem seems to occur rather randomly as I sometimes could boot Ubuntu without an issue the next morning even if it didn’t work the night before… I have looked at ways to repair the GRUB on the USB drive using a Ubuntu LiveCD from a second USB drive, but the instructions are not detailed/straightforward enough for me to be successful as it involves editing grub-mkconfig and grub.cfg somehow.

Did anyone have the same issue with an Ubuntu installation on an external USB drive? Can you point me to detailed instructions that let me fix this using a LiveCD?

adb – Flashed magisk_patched_boot.img as fastboot flash recovery…Phone stuck on Powered by Android

I was trying to root my Micromax Q440 and I tried to follow the steps ie;

1: fastboot flash recovery c:twrp.img
2: fastboot flash boot c:magisk_patched.img

but in the 2nd step, I used recovery instead of boot as a result my phone is currently stuck on “Powered by Android” screen and none of the Power + Volume(up) functions are working.

It also shows Orange State and your device will boot in 5 seconds

Is there a way to recover or this device is gone forever..?

adb – Bootloader is unlocked, fastboot returns “FAILED remote: Not allowed to flash” when trying flash .img

I am trying to root my Google Pixel 3a with Android 10. The bootloader is unlocked. It says so in the dev settings, and I have to go through the warning prompt every time I reboot my device.
I am following these instructions for rooting it(using method 2). When I run the fastboot command to flash the patched .img file, it returns:

C:UsersMyPCAndroid>fastboot flash boot_2 magisk_patched.img
target reported max download size of 268435456 bytes
sending 'boot_2' (30392 KB)...
OKAY (  0.798s)
writing 'boot_2'...
FAILED (remote: Not allowed to flash (boot_2))
finished. total time: 0.861s

I tried without the “_2” which also does not work. I used fastboot getvar current-slot to determine which partition is correct.

Things I’ve tried to troubleshoot:

  • Running cmd as Administrator (im using win10)
  • Confirmed OEM unlocking is turned on in the dev settings (it is, it
    says “bootloader is already unlocked”
  • Confirmed USB debugging is on
  • Disabled “Verify apps over USB” and “Verify bytecode of debuggable
    apps” in the dev settings.
  • Confirmed file transfer is enabled from my PC and my Phone (it is, I
    can transfer files back and forth between them)
  • Tried a different USB cable

lighting – Continuous drive mode with a flash- impossible?

It is quite possible within certain parameters. Those parameters would include the ability of the camera body to regulate the continuous drive rate, the ability of the flash to provide the needed light at a power level setting that allows for a fast recycle rate, and the ability of the photographer to find the rate where the capabilities of the camera and flash can work together for the best combined results.

If you can combine the ability to control your burst rate to something around 3 or 4 frames per second and can light the scene adequately with a very low power setting, with many speedlight models it is possible to have the flash fire for every frame in such a burst. You just need to play around with the components you are using and see where your “sweet spot” is.

Some cameras will allow the user to set a continuous drive mode rate that is slower than the maximum for the camera. I’ve had cameras that gave a choice between, say, 8fps high speed continuous or 3 fps low speed continuous. I also have a camera that will allow me to set the rate from between 1 fps and 8 fps for the low speed continuous setting and from between 2 fps and 10 fps for the high speed continuous setting. There are also quiet modes on some cameras that will reduce the maximum frame rate.

How long a flash takes to recharge after a particular discharge is dependent upon the total capacity of the flash’s capacitors and the amount of power used for a particular strobe. Most speedlights control flash power by controlling the duration of the flash. When set to very low power only a fraction of the flash’s total capacity is actually discharged. This allows the capacitors to be raised back to full capacity much faster than if a full power discharge had been used. If the flash is capable of drawing power from an external battery pack this will also usually speed up the time needed to recycle.

This is what the external battery pack port looks like on your YN560 II flashes:
Battery Pack Plug
It’s on the left (That’s the PC Sync connector on the right). It is a fairly standard pin arrangement that most generic external battery packs will fit.

A few flashes will allow the flash to refire as soon as the shutter is pressed with whatever amount of energy is stored in the capacitors. Most won’t fire, though, until at least the amount of energy needed for the power to which the flash is set is stored in the capacitors. Some won’t fire until the capacitors are fully charged, even if power is set to a low level.