2011 Nov 08
I’ve been using my second pair of Sony MDR-V6 headphones for a couple years now, and the fake leather on the earpads started deteriorating. My first pair of V6s had the same problem and I ended up throwing them away. I remember finding little black pieces of fabric around my ear and on my shoulder and wondering what they were! That was way back in the early 90’s before the Internet became popular. This time, however, I did some research online and found out that not only is this a widespread problem, but there is a widespread solution as well. Basically, ditch the Sony earpads and buy some new ones (even before the Sony ones go bad). The most popular pads are Beyerdynamic DT250/DT280 Replacement Earpads. They are made for a different brand/model, but they fit the Sonys perfectly. I bought mine from Sweetwater for about $19. Installing them was very easy — just pull off the old Sony pads and you will see how the new ones fit. Next, place the foam cover over the speaker and then carefully stretch the new pads over the rim. The pads came with another plastic part which is not needed and can go in the trash. The velour pads feel so good compared to the old pleather (although they do get a little hotter than the stock pads) and the sound really improves! This improved sound quality is why people recommend getting rid of the Sony pads immediately. At any rate, I’m very happy with the new pads and the headphones are now better than new!
2011 Nov 07
I uploaded a photo last week of my old Minolta camera straps and trying to decide which one to use on my new Sony A77. I ended up going with the smaller one because I wanted my camera rig to be more compact. Plus I like that the Sony (especially the 7-series) has Minolta DNA. To add to the brand confusion, I attached a folded piece of exposed 35mm film over the Sony logo using some gaffer’s tape and now the camera is really in “stealth mode”. It’s not that I intentionally want to hide the Sony logo — that piece of exposed film has a practical purpose! I’ll explain below.
This past weekend had a little photoshoot in which I could try the new camera out with studio lighting. I have an Alien Bees AB-800 strobe with a shoot thru umbrella. I use that as the key light (main light), and then use my Sony HVL-F56AM flash unit as a back light to blowout the background or as a fill light. To trigger the AB-800, I connect it directly to the camera with the PC Sync cord. To trigger the flash gun, I use the camera’s built-in wireless flash system which basically uses the onboard flash to send signals to trigger the flash unit. This signal is not itself supposed to be strong enough to affect the exposure, however if you are close to the subject I’ve seen that it can leave a little bit of shadow. This has been the case with the Minolta wireless system since it was introduced back in 1992.
To get around this, Minolta photographers have been using the ol’ “exposed film over the onboard flash trick”. The flash signal will still travel through the film to the external flash unit, but it blocks out any light that might affect the exposure. It’s an effective hack that has been used for a long time now and it really works! It makes the camera look a bit less pretty, and more of a workhorse, which I kind of prefer.