Brian’s Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

Ok this is my second recipe in my authentic Cajun series of cooking.  This recipe I biased off a 10 min conversation with my granny a few months ago. She is Cajun french as most of you know. So im 1/4 Cajun technically.  I feel like though I am 100% Cajun and want to pass on the heritage. She told be the basic ingredients, I had to basically make up the rest and guess the proportions. I also added what I wanted to make it my own beyond the basics. So this is uniquely my twist recipe. I think it turned out well. Although next time I may use less onion so you can do it 2 ways I will list out below. Next time I am going to take better pictures. However I figured to write it down before I forgot it. 

Every one in my family cooks and cooks well. In Cajun culture most family time is around the kitchen. With that comes cooking. 🙂 I think its part of why the food in Louisiana is so good is because every one grew up cooking theses type of dishes. 

My sister amazes me she is allot like my granny.  She makes up wonderful dishes. Not necessarily Cajun but good. I ask her how she made it. Normally she just makes it how she want and that’s good. I am trying that but writing things down though. 

Last night I wanted to try and figure out how to make chicken fricassee. However for time reasons I figured I would leave that for another night. I worked so did not have time for a 4+ hour cook. I needed to find something quickly. Jambalaya has been on my list to figure out for about 2 years and takes around 2 hours including cutting and prep. Most of what is out there recipe wise is really a creole Jambalaya because most have tomatoes. I really am not a fan of creole versions. I don’t like tomato and okra so tried making it the Cajun way. So I found out that there is roux based jambalaya from my grandmother so that what I set out to create. 


-1/4 cup of flour
-1/4 cup of oil
– 1/2 sweet onion chopped “Depends on how much onion you like. I did a whole onion the next time I am going to do 1/2”
– 1-1/2 stalk of celery finely chopped
– 1/2 green bell pepper finely chopped
– 1-1/2 pounds of shrimp
– 1 box of chicken broth 32 oz 
– 1 tbs of minced Italian parsley
– 1 clove of garlic minced
– 2-1/3 cup of rice “I use Zatarans rice. I normally pick up a few bags when I run to Louisianan” 
– 1 lb of smoked sausage “i used lean turkey sausage, you can use pork Andouille whatever you like” 
-Season to taste, I used Tony Chachere seasoning and some Zatarans  Cajun seasoning.
1. Start by cutting all the vegetables as described above and put in a bowl.
2. You can go ahead and chop the sausage into 1/4 slices. You can also peel the shrimp and set aside. I had larger shrimp so I cut in 1/3rds.
3. Start making your roux out of the flower an oil. Put oil in and wisk in the flour a little at a time. Brown on medium to low depending on if you had made roux ever. Make sure to keep it constantly moving so you don’t burn. If you start getting black specks you burnt it and throw it out and start over at a lower heat. 
4. As soon as it gets to be about the color of a light paper bag to paper bag. Turn off heat and pore the vegetables in and stir to stop the roux from burning and to instantly saute the vegetables. 
5. Add roux/ vegetable mixture to a large pot.  
6. Don’t add heat to your pot yet. In the skillet you made to roux out of scrape out all of the left over roux and throw your sausage in to brown.  Brown you sausage and add to pot. 
7. Next we need to add our rice and chicken broth you may not have to use all 32 oz  of chicken broth  but add enough to cover the mixture. You can add more broth or water  as cooking if you need to. However remember this is not a soup.
8. Cook on low to medium stirring occasionally covered until rice is almost done.  
9. As soon as the rice is almost done but you have enough liquid to cook your shrimp. Add your shrimp and cook an additional 10-15 min to fully cook the shrimp. 
10. Serve and add sliced green onions to top for some color and taste. 
Enjoy and let me know how it goes cooking or if you have any questions. I will try and answer this is all the joy of trying something new and all of us learning together. 
Next time I cook it I will take step by step pictures. 

Hursey Shrimp Stew

I think I am going to start blogging family recipes that I have been able to duplicate. None before have every been written down. I after cooking and playing with ingredients duplicated based on tast what I ate as a child.  Not many of them are written down. Those that are are mostly vague mostly on proportions of ingredients.  So I had to figure it out. Gumbo took me about 8 times to get right but we will get into gumbo in a later post.

My goal is to document and share theses recipes with as many people as possible to show what real Cajun cooking is like. There have been many misconceptions of Cajun cooking. People think Cajun means spicy this is a misconception as you will see with this recipe. Cajun food is very simple and had to be because families were very poor and lacked resources to make complicated meals. Also people misunderstand and think Creole meals are Cajun meals. While they have their similarities. Cajun meals are much simpler.  You can read more about this here.

One saying is make it your own so I added my spin to her shrimp stew. I use some white wine when saying the vegetables. Yes she said that’s not cajun and laughed. 🙂 My family has a saying “Make it your own” so I did.

Granny’s Shrimp Stew: 

– 2 Pounds Shrimp
– 1 large sweet onion
– ¼ cup of Italian parsley
– 2 cloves garlic
– 1 stalk of celery
– ¾ cup of flower
– ¾ cup of oil
– 6 table spoons of white wine
– 7 cups of shrimp stock
– Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning tm and salt to taste “don’t make it hot you only need a slight hint of the spice.”

1. Start by pealing the shrimp set aside the shells and refrigerate the shrimp tell ready to add.

2. Take the shrimp shells add it to 8 cups of water in a pot. Note this will cook down. Add shells to water and boil for at least 30 min.

3. While the stock is being made cut the vegetables and set aside. They will ned to be diced.. I use a pampered chef chopper.

4. Once chopped add the vegetables into a skillet with a little bit of olive oil to sauté. Sauté for about 5 min I season a tad during this. Then add the dry coking white wine and continue to sauté while you are making the roux at the same time.

5. You want the roux to be blond about 5 min on medium low heat just enough to break down the flour.

6. When you get to the point you like it remove from heat and add the vegetables to the roux. Note because the vegetables are already hot this will NOT stop the roux from cooking so you need to be quick.

7. Add the roux vegetable mixture to a large pot.

8. Poor the shrimp stock into the pot also and mix tell fully blended.

9. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover; Stir every 5 or so min to prevent burning for an hour. You want the liquid to be a thin to mid grave consistency. Add seasoning to taste. It should not be a spicy flavor. It needs to be just seasoned right.

10. I put the shrimp shells back into the other pot and add water to have it ready if I need to add more liquid..

11. While it I simmering cut the chop up shrimp into smaller pieces. If medium to large shrimp. You will add this at the last 15 min of cooking.. 30 min before the end of the simmering start making your rice.

12. Serve and garnish with a spring of parsley “bon appetite”

Our Solar Eclipse Adventure and photography lessons learned

***Pictures at end so you have to read my post to get to the awesomeness.

If you saw my post on august you would of seen my post on extensive prepping for the eclipse to cover the experience as best as I could with research and testing.

My dad invited us up to see the eclipse with them at a local B&B in Hiawassee Ga. We left early in the morning at 5am expecting there to be heavy traffic. That was not the case at that time. So we got there by 7:30am. We found a patch out back from every one where we would not disturb the other guests and set up our tripods. To figuring out where the sun would be by a star app I had that let us fast forward time ranges. That was a life saver in planning where we were going to be.  So we setup and were ready to go. I had My Canon 60D with a 60 year old Vivitar 200mm f5.6 pentax lens with a 3d printed solar filter holder and LCD screen hood.

The whole thing kind of felt like before I shoot a wedding anticipation of getting the shot you want also excitement of experiencing something not to many get to see.  I have done Lunar eclipses before but this is so much different.

First and foremost was the worry about the kids possibly starring at the sun. However my dad set up his telescope and reflecting plate up for them Truly out of all the ways that you could watch it that was the best and most detailed for the partial phases.


What was the neat thing I think is the over all light.  It was interesting it felt like golden hour as it got darker with warm light however the shadows got sharper instead of more defused. Of course thats because the light source got smaller. I then started searching for the crescents that were created from the pin holes in light from the trees. Theses were fun to play with on the ground and on people. 🙂


As it got closer to totality the air got cooler and cooler. it started about 90. I would say by the time of totality it was near 70.  About 30 min before totality the crickets started chirping like it was night time. It was very interesting.

Then the moment of totality it quickly goes from sunlight to dark in only a few seconds. Then you are over whelmed by the sight. You can hear people cheering around you, yelling, honking horns, fire works. Every one at one single moment across the area is in aw and amazement of what is happening. It is not a single persons experience its every one all around you experiencing the same amazement at the same time. Its magical.  

Photographing the eclipse is a challenging feat to accomplish especially when you change from regular to totality.

I would suggest the following:  

  • The Key is to practice and research.  Learn the exposures.
  • Setup and test early 
  • Put tape over the eye piece so you don’t accidentally look.
  • Use solar filter with live view
  • During totality take out of live view and shoot without filter. Then after put back on the filter and switch back to live view. 
  • Slow down and think during change in phases.
  • Bracket exposures for totality. Target Totality Corona 0.2 with 1 ev brackets I did 7. This failed on me will say why below.
  • This is the main lesson I learned. *** Change over to totality settings 2+ min before totality to allow for error.
  • Also NEVER no mater how much you trust it look through the view finder with the solar filter on.  I used live view. 

What happened with me is everything was going fine until I went to make sure i was lined up, had switched to my custom setting then switched on bracketing. I did this right at the totality shift hence the 2 min warning part. I have practiced this many times. What i did not take into account was that my m42 to EOS adapter the lens would start unscrewing right when I was adjusting.  Then the tripod shifted skyward. I scrambled to get it pointing at the sun again then realized the filter was still on. My dad calmed me down, talked me through it and I was able to get it back on aim. However at this point I had bracketing on, but instead of custom is was in bulb mode. So when I started to press my shutter release it did not sound right.  I saw the pictures were blown out and I was at 400iso and so I put at 100iso and kept firing while watching the eclipse with my eyes instead of through the camera. Now ay you can explain it pictures can not capture it fully. I just kept clicking.  I did miss about 10-20 seconds of the beginning with my own eyes which I will never get back. However even since I had my settings messed up me constantly clicking the shutter release caused the pictures to turn out very nicely.. Yes I could not do the HDR I wanted to but I think they are lovely.  I watched the rest of the totality.

After totality I went to take a quick look and when I did I jumped up and down yelling I got it because I got the shot I wanted all along. 

Equipment used and 3d printed parts.

First lets talk about the 3d Printed parts.  You can buy or make some of theses also.

  1. Solar filter holder for diffrent sizes.
  2. Solar finder. Use this instead of looking at the sun even with glasses. I tried this is safer and better.  🙂 Not wear sunglasses when looking at the range finder. The reflection is bright.
  3. Solar hood for my LCD screen. I will need to find this file. 

Now Lets look at the photography equipment used.

  1. Canon 60D:
  2. Pentax M42 – EOS Adapter
  3. Old tripod from the 60s
  4. 40+ year old Vivitar 300mm f5.6 lense pentax m42
  5. Cactus V6 MKII radio trigger with cable release cable. 

Don’t forget to have fun.

Bottom line I highly recommend if you ever have a chance go to the zone of totality in a solar eclipse. Next one is in 2024 so get prepping. Next one after that is 2048.  Totality is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Don’t focus on the photography that is secondary. focus on spending it with Family, friends, and new friends you meet there, and family.  You all are going to experience one of the amazing sights ever seen on the earth.  


Preparing for the Total Eclipse – Safety and Photography

Total eclipses are not necessarily rare when they are rare is when they are over large populated areas especially over the continental united states. While most of the United states will be seeing the crescent shape of the sun of viewed though glasses or projection methods. There is a thin strip through the united states around 70 miles wide that will be in what is called totality. This is when the moon completely blocks the sun and we see the suns corona. During this 1-2.5 min  of totality you still can damage your eyes.  Your vision can still be damaged by UV rays at totality. During the whole eclipse you better have you solar glasses or pin hole projectors on. If not your vision may be permanently damaged. This is where it gets scary with younger kids and people in general. Even in totality it is not recommended to stare at the sun. So do what you parents told you as a kid don’t look at the sun.   

Credit: NASA

My family is going to be going to the path of totality. It is only about 40 miles from me. What I am scared of is the risk that there will be to non understanding children.  I have some ways I am planing to go about this. While glasses are good and all. They are not 100%.  So I don’t want to really give my kids the impression that is an option. So what I have done is generated alternative safer ways for kids to view the eclipse or sun in general. 

  1. View the eclipse though Live view on my camera. What live view is is basic the view finder through the lcd screen meaning optical you have no line of sight to the sun optically directly.
  2. Use a telescope reflector plate – This is a plate you put at the end of your telescope that projects the sun on it that you can view safely. 
  3. Use a pin hole projector. – You can see the sun if you punch a hole in a pice of paper or card stock or something and put a pice of paper on the ground and you can see the sun as a circle of light on the ground. As the eclipse happens you will see the eclipse live on the ground.

Some safe ways to view the eclipse can be had at

For Photography I have always wanted to shoot an Solar eclipse. I have done lunar eclipses before. I wanted to experience a solar event and shoot it.

2008 Lunar Eclipse I photographed

To take pictures of a solar eclipse research needs to be done and practice. First difficulty I found was getting solar filters.  They were sold out every where and manufactures could not produce them quick enough.  After a few try to get one that screwed onto the lens and canceled orders because of stock.  I remberd I had a 3D printer. 🙂 So I went to work on getting solar film that was almost just as difficult. I ordered film from 4 different places 2 of them got canceled because even though they said they had it in stock they did not.  I went and spent over 100$ for the film and shipping to get it here before the eclipse. I ordered it from 2 places just in case and suprisngly I got it. I went on thing verse and was able to find most of the sizes of filter holder for the lenses we would be using.

58mm,63mm(had to scale),72mm and I made the filters.


Next step was testing and setup selection. I do not have the best lenses or equipment but I will make it work. What I have decided on using is the following.


-Canon 60D, T5i, 20D, The 60D and T5i will handle 2x 300mm lenses and I may use the 20D for a wide angle shot of me and the sun during the eclipse. We will see. Main focus will be the 60D.
-Lenses: Vivitar 300mm f5.6 Pentax lens with m42-EOS adaptor from the 60s, Canon 70-300mm f3.5-5.6
-Various tripods that are not great:
-Cactus 6v MKII triller used as shutter release
-Magic lanter firmware for advanced bracketing

Next was testing setup. What I found was 300mm with a crop sense trying to line up the sun seems to be safest setup. I had a 3x teleconverter however I can never line up the sun correctly.

I found out that you should never target the sun with you looking in the suns direction. First time I did this is a used solar glasses to get it in the ballpark then live view. I started seeing spots when flipping between the glasses and the camera because I was looking in the suns direction and wasn’t a good or safe way to do it. What I found is you can print or make whats called a solar finder for a camera. I found this is the best way to get in the ball park. However if it is made of white material wear at least sun glasses to help with the reflection.

With this you sort of treat it like a sun dial you aim tell you have no more shadow gets you in the ball park.

Next was testing. First of all I had to find a day it was not raining. I was able to test some during my lunch break. The results seem good I even saw sunspots.  I think I am ready for most of the eclipse. My only worry is during totality I hope I am ready and there is no clouds. Practice Practice Practice. I am going to get all my focuses down today and to marrow and mark focus points on my lenses.  

Sun Picture is at 300mm, f5.6, 1/60, 640iso. The suns moving and you have a long sense general rule of thumb is to have the shutter speed faster than your focal length but a solar filter blocks 99.9999% of the light from the sun so I find it needs a tad more exposure.  

New Exposure taken today.  Its neat how the location of the sunspots has changed because we are moving.  around. 🙂


Remember to be safe have fun experience a for some once in a life time event. Ohh one more thing DO NOT LOOK AT THE SUN DURING NON TOTALITY. Even with glasses just glance. 

~ Brian Hursey

Disclamer:  I am not a profesional in solar safety nor am I responsible for damage to your eyes. Do your research deeply prior to the eclipse for safety. 

My new Monoprice Maker Select V2 3D printer.

I have always wanted a 3d printer. However until I got back into rc I really did not have a need for one. What I have found is now day most hobby shops are now shut down in place with online retailers. It is really sad because  I use to work at one and it went out of business also.  Because of this when I need to order even small parts like control horns for example I have to make 50-100$ orders to justify the 18$+ shipping from china and not know if it will ever make it to my door step.

It has also been an amazing printer out of the box. I looked into saving some $ and buying a kit printer for around 180-200$ However this printer was mostly assembled for regular 299. I got it for 269 on amazon prime day. I do not regret it at all.

I have also printed filter holders for my cameras for the up coming solar eclipse.  I could not find any filters that were still in stock for my camera so I was able to get some sheet film.  


Lighting a RC Airplane and first night fly.

I was excited when I heard there was another night fly at our club. I have never done a night fly and a few months ago we had one that my daughter and I watched. I always have liked building and electronics so I told myself I need to build one. Originally I though a while back on building a new FT Arrow wing with the lights inside. However I have not had time to build a new wing. My FT Arrow I built as a FPV wing back in December 2015. So it has had a long life. Through some rough let’s call them landings right? It has become almost completely worn out. I was about to retire it when I thought to myself. Hey this would be a good night fly wing.
I almost had no time to get ready for the night fly. However it was rescheduled twice because of weather leaving me just long enough to get it done. My daughter before I could get 10% done with my wing rather her airplane with lights on it. So I did her FT Tiny Trainer first.

Ok so I kind of want to go through the process of how to light your aircraft. I went and found some LED strips. I wanted to use 5v so I could power it off of the rx. Note make sure your bec can handle the load. The strip I bought was .

I got 5M of it so roughly 16 feet. It was plenty to do two small airplanes. What I found to do is first plan out how you are going to lay out your lights. I decided to actually plan out cut the striping and put it on the model before soldering. You need to think of how I can make each side different so I can tell which way I’m going.

Once you have the design laid out on your plane now you have to start connecting all the strips together. Measuring the wire striping, tinning the wire, and tin and solder to the pads on the strip takes some practice. It took much longer that I imagined but I think it was worth it. A couple of times I came close to having the solder bridging the connection between + -. You don’t need to make every connection on the end of each strip. It can be in the middle or spread out to avoid bridging of the pads.

Once all the connections were done I covered the bottom leading edge with red translucent tape, and the vertical stripes behind it with packing tape to hold down the wire and protect it for moisture.
In the end we had a great night fly at the club. About 5 people showed and at one point we had at least 40 of us in the air chasing each other around.

Lillie go to fly her airplane and did a great job considering the plane was under powered and it was basically flying on the edge of a stall on a 2s.

If you haven’t yet try lighting one of your planes. If you already have the wire and solder you can get away with lighting a plane for under 20$ and it totally worth it.

Let me know if you have any questions concerning lighting a plan and happy flying.

Pixel X800C Flash Preview/Review


Pixel gave me the opportunity to test their newest flash. Currently this is the pre production model so the look and functionality may change.

The Pixel X800C is a Canon ETTL-II flash. It can act as a ttl wireless master and slave via both radio and optical. It boasts guide number of 60 @ 100ISO at 200mm.

-GN 60 @ 200mm 100iso
-Manual and auto zoom
-TTL/M/Mult Flash modes
-Radio FSK 2.4Ghz and optical master and slave.
-1-500Hz Stroboscopic flash
-360 degree head adjustment with lock adjustment.
-Manual power 1/1-1/128 in 1/3rd increments
-Recycle time 2.5sec 1/1 power with Eneloop’s
-dot matrix lcd screen
-Power 4xAA batteries
-USB, PC, and Battery pack ports
-EV and FEB 1/3 power increments
-Battery Life 180 flashes at 1/1 with Sanyo Eneloop’s
-USB firmware upgrades

First impressions:

When I got the flash it came in a nice box well packaged. The flash was in its pouch. It was in a bubble wrap protective pouch also. The pouch has been re-designed and now you can wear it on your belt two different ways nice touch. Holding the flash I really liked the size and the improvements it had over the mago. Now it has rubber seals on the sides of the head and a button to press to lock and release the head. This is exactly the way that my Canon 580EXII is. It is a nice and welcome feature. Now heavy modifiers will be more secure. However make sure and press the button to turn it. :)

The locking foot is again the canon style locking foot.. I am not a big fan of dial locks anymore. I guess I have been spoiled. They work but they are a Pain to tighten. I am glad manufacturers are moving toward the canon style lock for third party on camera flashes.

The flash it self is very well designed and has clean lines. The LCD screen seems to have a tighter dot pitch than the mago making it seem more crisper. I also like the size. The flash has all the normal things you would expect of a quality flash.. The head rotation, and the wide angle panel and bounce card use is well done..

img_0001 Large Dot-matrix LCD screen:
One feature I am seeing being added to more and more flashes is a dot matrix screen. While this may be a tad more expensive it really adds to the flexibility and usable interface if designed right.
img_0001_01 Button Layout:
The layout of the buttons seems to be intuitive. The top row you have dynamically depending now hats on the LCD then you have a mode button, the dial and ok, and then of course the on off and lock switch.
IMG_7492 - Version 2 Quick lock lever
One feature that has started showing up in some third party flashes is the quick locking shoe. This one is canon style. That type of locking shoe in my opinion is much better than dial locks.
IMG_7487 - Version 2 Ports:
The Pixel X800C comes with a HV port *need peel brand pack*, PC port, and a thread mount for Canon accessories. It also has a micro usb port for fw updates. I kind of was disappointed we did not see a 3.5mm port here they are much more reliable than a PC port and becoming more standard.
IMG_7485 - Version 2 Battery Compartment:
The battery compartment is what you would expect. The door is smooth to close and locks in place.
IMG_7485IMG_7511 Diffuser panel and bounce card.
The normal diffuser panel standard on many flashes now days so nice to have. It goes in and out smoothly and is not flimsy.


This flash like the mago was quite intuitive. I was able to pick up and use. I did have to check to see how to get into s1 and s2 mode in the manual but everything else I was was able to find.

I love the locking head. This helps when using modifiers on camera. The locking head is just like my Canon 580EXII it also has rubber seals on the side. I do not know if it is weather sealed like a Canon flash but I would assume the seals help some if it gets splashed.

I normally take the flash out for a spin in the quick moving situations. What else is quick than my kids playing. I was able to keep up with them in bounce. I had to remember though the head locks and not to force.

One of the things that I do not like and wish could change is for example when you go to bounce with say a Canon 580EXII it goes to 24mm for bounce when the head is tilted up or down.. You can of course bypass this but manually setting the zoom. With the X800C it will not reset the zoom when tilting. It also when in a tilt position zoom with the lens. I normally have to switch to manual zoom to over ride this and get my wide bounce.

I would use this flash fine on paid shoots.

Power testing:

I saw that the guide number is 60 @ 200mm and the Mago is 65 @200. It seems to not to be as powerful as I would like it compared to the other flashes I have tested. It is more powerful than the YN568EX but not as powerful at zoom levels than my other flashes. It still is a powerful flash and I do not see any handicap using it.

E-TTL testing:
I wanted to test out the EV accuracy between my Canon 580 EXII and the X800C seemed to perform well. The X800C goes -3EV to +3 EV. Main issue I discovered was when you put the flash in optical or radio master modes. You got a 1 stop in exposure drop.

HSS testing:

The X800C seems to perform will in HSS work. On camera and off camera with my YN622C works well. It has enough power to help in mormal situations. It works with the YN622C fine off camera in TTL with HSS. I was able to use this outside under a pavilion on a bright day to expose the background correctly while lighting the subject.


In Multi Flash mode you can control the number of pulses and the flash frequency. This is very handy if you are doing things like trying to capture an object multiple times at different points in a frame. The lower the power the more pulses you can get in of course. It seems pretty easy to setup.



Manual mode:

The X800C has power adjustments in the 1/3 increment’s in manual mode. You can also use in s1 and s2 off camera.



Wireless Master and Slave:

One thing the X800C has that even some high price third party flashes don’t have is master mode in addition to slave. Even more impressive is that this can be with optical or radio. You can do X800C to X800C or, you can add in combination of Pixel King and Pixel King Pro system. This is not compatible with the Canon RT system.

You can control the functions through either the flash its self or through the camera flash control menus.


On flash control:



In camera menu control:






TTL Slave Functionality:

You have the ability to set the flash to ttl slave in group A, B, or C across 4 channels.


S1 S2 slaves:

You have the ability to do standard optical slave modes. One mode is trigger on first flash. The other mode is if you are using t/l flashes also and it will ignore the ttl pre flash.




Over heat testing:

The X800C has a sensor based overheat setup. With sensors in the head and body. I did some abuse testing sorta bypassing the sensors bu opening the bater door. Not a good idea. I have been informed my beta unit was bad and they were unable to duplicate it. However either way I would suggest letting the protection do its job and when it gives you there over heat message let it cool off.


As above I saw an exposure difference by 1 stop when switching into optical or radio master. Pixel is working on fixing this. Also I ran into an issue with getting an ERR20 when firing the flash on my camera without first wooing the flash to recycle. I had the same issue with my first YN568EX and it was an improper ready signal returned to the flash. I informed Pixel also and they are working on correcting. Also I had to abuse overheat test failure which looks to be my beta unit.


I really like this flash. Its user interface is easy its a nice size. Has a great display.. It is well built and sturdy. I always love the canon quick releases. The feature set is great for a third party flash. Currently there are more and more flashes with builtin radio. However its nice to see another one and it is my first TTL flash with builtin radio.


-Good build
-Large clear LCD
-USB firmware upgrades
-Slide locking foot
-Master and slave modes Radio and Optical
-Sensor based overheat monitoring

-Proprietary HV port
-Use of PC port instead of the almost new standard 3.5mm port
-No 1/4-20 mount thread on side.
-With YN622C you can not do manual power adjustments
-Will not work with Cactus V6 because digital protocol does not match Canons exactly and no analog quench pin.

Pricing and availability information not available yet.

Voeloon V760 Canon Speedlight review


Yet another installment of flash review time, This time I got to test a flagship speedlight from Voeloon. I have been quite impressed with the quality of Voeloon products so far. I already reviewed the Voeloon 331EX and I have been enjoying using it. The Voeloon V760 however is a much more powerful flagship flash model.

What comes in the box:

● Voeloon V760 Flash
● Flash soft pouch
● Flash Stand
● Manual
● Warranty Card
● Flash pamplet


● HSS 1/8000
● E-TTL II For version Canon
● Compatible with Canon/Nikon wireless flash system(master and slave, Can exposure when as wireless master)
● Guide Number: GN60(ISO100, 180mm); GN38(ISO100, 35mm)
● Support Multi function & Front-Curtain/Rear-Curtain sync
● Fast recycle time: 2S(Ni-Mh battery)
● Auto/Manual zoom (24-180mm)
● Dot-matrix LCD & LED backlit
● Support on-camera or wireless TTL exposure compensation & exposure lock
● Equipped with indicator light for wireless remote mode
● Support red-eye reduction flash mode
● F1/F2 optical flash mode
● Support custom menu, memory function, sound monitoring
● Metal hot shoe, Low power tips & key lock
● Overheating protection(Thermal cut-out)
● PC terminal & external power source socket
● Built-in wide panel & bounce card

First impressions:
The flash was nicely and cleanly packed. The box was well padded. Inside everything was layed out nicely.. My first thought when I took out the manual was that it was thick and similar to brand flash manuals. There was a nice warranty sheet with it similar to the ones you would get with canon equipment. I love flashes with flash cases or pouches.. It keeps the flash nice and scratch free in a busy bag.. It has a flash stand that comes with it and fits nicely in a pocket inside the flash case.. The feel of the flash makes you think now this is a good quality flash.

Build Quality:
The flash is built well I would say it is up there with the brand flashes. The build between the Pixel Mago and the V760 is a toss up also.. Seems most flashes now days are getting better and better built catching up to brand flashes. Photographers starting now days are definitely spoiled with the affordable options out there. I do a thing called the squeeze test. It is where I very firmly squeeze different parts of the flash determining the amount of flex it has in it to tell the thickness and build of the flash.. The V760 is about on par with my Canon 580EXII which is basically my base line in testing quality. The V760 has much less flex than my YN568EX flashes. I did notice on the V760 that if tapping the back side buttons they are a tad lose causing them to tilt and move so the text gets out of line. Now that is nit picky but I try and mention every aspect.

<IMG_6089 Large dot matrix screen/Button Layout:
Normaly I am use to orange or green screens this screen is a pleasant sorta neutral grey. It is bright and I am able to view it from an angle that would be helpfully while on stand. The button layout is intuitive and easy to use..
IMG_6080 Quick lock lever
One feature that really lacked on third party flashes is quick release leavers. You always had to fight with the wheel. Voeloon implemented a quick lock lever almost exactly like the Canon leaver. It is a very nice feature I am seeing more and more of this in flashes. It brings a smile to my face when I see this.
IMG_6092 Ports:
The Voeloon V760 comes with a Canon Style HV port, PC port. No thread for mounting canon accessories. As with the Mago I kind of was disappointed we did not see a 3.5mm port here they are much more reliable than a PC port and becoming more standard.
IMG_6090 Battery Compartment:
The battery compartment almost exactly matches the Nikon style compartment. The door is not flimsy and is quality made. The battery symbols are painted white and easy to read what is positive and negative. I like this instead of just engraved only symbols
Diffuser panel and bounce card.
The normal diffuser panel standard on many flashes now days so nice to have. I however rarely use it or bounce cards any more. It still is nice to have.

In Use:
I did not have any shoots during my test period, however I had a challenging event. Christmas morning with 10+ kids at a grandparents house. In the pure ciaos of Christmas morning I was using the Voeloon V760 to capture the children opening their presents capturing those special moments.. The flash kept up and I did not really have any noticeable issues with focus acquisition. The flash indicates its dual processor that assists in this and exposure not not sure I can tell a difference but seems to work good. The af focus light has horizontal lines that cover all of the focus points on my 60d. The Lines are much more defined than my Mago focus spread. Also the light is in line with the cameras view unlike my YN568EX and my YN622C which always ends up a tad high.



I got to test out the optical ttl slave with my popup master on my 60D which worked well with line of site. I was able to set my Voeloon 331EX and V760 on the floor and do a quick setup photos for the girls for my mom on Christmas. I was also able to get the v760 to work with both the YN622C and the Cactus V6 transceivers. More to come on this..


Like many of my other flashes when bouncing you need to use FEC, however it seemed like I did not need to use as much as with my Canon 580EXII which normally sits at +1ev all the time… See further down for testing..

E-TTL Exposures:

The Voeloon V760 seems to be exposing subjects quite well with consistent results bounce and direct. When bouncing like all of my other flashes normally you have to add a tad FEC. With the Coellon V760 it seems I did not have to add any more than I have had to add with my Canon 580EXII.

Focus assist:

As mentioned before the focus beam is a nice spread covering the focus points of my Canon 60D. It seems that it is a has the sharp points but yet illuminates more than just the sharp lines.. In testing the YN focus assist lights seem a bit high the others are more to the middle of the viewfinder. Im sad to say but the Canon 580EXII is on the lower end of AF assist spread although it still does a good job.. The YN systems are a tad sharper lights. From my understanding YN uses a laser type of light it looks like unlike the others.


Voeloon V760 AF assist Light:


Canon 580EXII Center point/ All AF assist Light:


Pixel Mago AF assist Light:

Avantek DF660 AF assist Light:


YN568EX AF assist Light:


YN622C AF assist Light:


Flash Spread in zoom:

One thing that impressed me was the quality of the flash spread on zoom.. I compared the V760 against the Canon 580EXII. It seems the V760 has a smoother distributed spread in zoom positions than my Canon 580EXII this was a pleasant surprise. See the following comparison.

Power Testing:

The Voeloon did very well compared with my other TTL flashes in my arsenal.. I did regionally test against all my flashes including manual but the spread sheet go out of hand so I narrowed it to my E-TTL flashes I have.. Now take theses tests with a grain of salt I tried to keep as controlled of an environment as I could so they should all be the same.. Theses all were measured with a light meter set on 100iso 1/250 shutter speed


Tilt head and swivel:

A must have for me in the flash is the ability to tilt and swivel the head. With this flash I am able to angle it and bounce off the walls and roof around me to get the lighting effect I need. The rotation is 270 degrees and 90 degrees up and down.

F1 and F2 slave:

A feature that basically I have come to expect in flashes and actually if reviewing flashes that do not have slave options. I point this out as a must now days to manufacturers. F1 means it fires on the initial flash.. This means that if you are using other manual flashes this is the option you use. If using TTL flashes set it to F2 so the optical slave will ignore the ttl pre flash and fires upon the main flash.

TTL master and Slave:

One really cool feature is the ability to either be master or slave to canons E-TTL IR flash system. Most third party flashes will allow you to be slave but being the master is a big positive. Having the master control on flash is good. I got to try this out while taking pictures of my Nieces at christmas. It worked really well. You can set the flash on camera to emit or not emit to the scene. Also all the in camera menus work correctly it seems. So you can managed the master functions either through the flash control menu, or from the flash its self.

Slave notify pulse


In Multi Flash mode you can control the number of pulses and the flash frequency. This is very handy if you are doing things like trying to capture an object multiple times at different points in a frame. The lower the power the more pulses you can get in of course. It seems pretty easy to setup.

Audio feedback:

One feature that many brand name flashes do not have but off brand flashes do is a ready beep. This is very important to me during a shoot because I know when the flash is ready to fire again with out having to be looking. When you are sitting there taking photos of your client quickly you do not have the time to be distracted looking for the ready light to change.. With a ready beep you can keep your view focused on the subject through the viewfinder to get the best photos possible. I am however not a fan of a beep each menu change. I believe this needs to be an option difference between ready beep and if you want menu beep.

Over Heat Protection:
The V760 has builtin over heat protection to protect the tube and flash from buying up. The overheat protection kicks in after 25 consecutive full power pops.. It works correctly. I tried to ask if there was a secondary system besides just the count could not get verification. I know some flashes have the number limit then they have a secondary over heat sensor to fully shut it down.. Voeloon said you can turn it off for 5 min and turn it back on.. You can disable overheat protection in the sub menu but I would highly suggest not turning it off. Unless you feel like you want to fry your flash for fun.. I would strongly suggest against it. Turning over heat protection off will shorten the life of your flash or completely burn it up.. I did test the feature and it shut the flash off after 25 shots.

Recycle time:
They indicate recycle time full power with enloop NiMh batteries are at 2 seconds. I have not had a chance to test this. Look back for an update on testing and comparison to there flashes.

Radio trigger compatibility:
Of course one big thing is many of us don’t necessarily want to switch trigger systems.. So it is nice when flashes work with existing systems and this is the case with the Voeloon V760… Of course it will work with all center pin fire triggers. However now days we are concerns with triggers that allow for remote power control.

The Voeloon V760 seems to work fully with the YN622C Manual and E-TTL control. FEC does not show actual on the flash adjustment however the flash output still changes so as fully as I can tell the YN622C is fully compatible.


Cactus V6:
The Cactus V6 you can not manually create a profile because the V760 uses a digital protocol, however there are existing profiles that work with the V760. To use the V760 with the Cactus V6 you need to be at Cactus V6 FW level v1.1.006. It seems some older and newer FW versions do not work.. I am going to address this with cactus but v1.1.006 does work. You can use the Godox v860C profile or the YN568EX* profile. I would suggest using the Godox v860c profile because the flash power is a closer match on the v860 than the YN568EX..


Voeloon future Canon TTL trigger:
Voeloon developed the 810-RT trigger for Nikon they are currently developing one for Canon that will work with their E-TTL flashes among others. I may be reviewing this later on so more to come.

The Voeloon V760 is a good well built flash. Its price point is in the mid to high 100$. I would expect the flash to be of quality and it does not disappoint.. It has some touch competition now days. I feel my self putting this flash on my camera just as much as my Canon flash.. It is powerful and able to keep up with the situations I need it for. The power output and performance of this flash I have no problem using it in professional use.

-Well built flash, seems good quality in construction
-Feature packed
-Large LCD screen that is easy to read
-Intuitive controls and use.
-Manual and E-TTL
-Cactus V6 and YN622C compatibility *see review text for Cactus V6 FW notes*
-Canon like quick lock shoe

-Lack of usb port for firmware upgrades
-PC port instead of 3.5mm
-Lack of 1/4-20 mounting thread “I always want a 1/4-20 thread on the side Like RF60 and LP180 for stand mounting but that’s picky.”
-Price *I feel that the quality of the flash the price makes sense*

Price: ~169 on ebay ~189-200 on Amazon..

Voeloon 331EX Speedlight review


I got the opportunity to test the Voeloon 331EX flash. Now most of the time I test manufactures flagship most powerful flashes. I will be testing the flagship Voeloon v760 also so you will get that type of review coming up. Please understand this is a smaller compact speed light. Even though its small it is still a well worth it lash. I normal walk around with a large speed light on my camera when I have my Canon 60D without the battery grip on it almost seems over bearing. It swing around violently. What is neat with this speed light is it is smaller and more compact while still producing great results. Now this is not necessarily the best speed light if you are going shooting with high ceilings at weddings. However for general use as the average every day photographer this may be for you.

One thing that is neat with this speed light is that it has a built in LED video light like the Pixel Mago I tested earlier. This is very cool especially when I want to quickly get a video of the kids in a low light environment.. This gives more versatility to the flash. More to come on this later.

What comes in the box:

– Voeloon 331EX flash
– Flash soft pouch
– Flash stand
– Manual
– Warranty card
– Flash pamplet


Lets get down to the features..

-This is a TTL flash the canon version is E-TTL II..
– HSS 1/8000
– LED Lamp
– Can be master and slave for Nikon and Canon systems..
– GN of 30 at 100iso and 50mm.. GN: 23 at 100iso and 24mm
– Manual zoom 24-50mm
– Recycle time of 2 seconds with Ni-MH batteries
– S1/FS optical slave
– Dot-Matrix Back lit LCD.
– Rear and Front Curtain sync.
– Exposure compensation and exposure lock local and wireless
– Ready beep, and custom memory
– Metal shoe with canon style locking mechanism..
– Over heat protection
– Wireless indicator light

This seems like pretty much the standard ttl flash list plus a few more niceties that many brand name flashes don’t have like F1 and F2, and ready beeps.. I like both of theses so you can easily add them into existing flash setups. Now days I almost demand those features in new flashes.. F1 and F2 slaves when testing the Pixel Mago I basically indicated to be valuable this is a must in today’s market. They listened and added it later in firmware.

The following table shows the full specifications together with test results for the 2 mid-range speedlite offers from Canon: 320EX vs. 430EX II.

Model information
Brand Canon Voeloon
Model 320EX 331EX
Class mid-range mid-range
First introduction 2011 2012
Available new? yes yes
Output specs
Guide number spec
(35mm, ISO 100, in meters)
24 23
Flash duration spec
(full power)
unspecified unspecified
Recycle time spec
(full power)
2.3 sec 3.0 sec alkaline, 2.0 sec NiMH
Wireless Flash
Manual power settings No Manual settings 1/1 – 1/2 – 1/4 – 1/8 – 1/16 – 1/32 – 1/64 in 1/3 stop increments
PC sync port no no
Optical slave no Yes F1/F2
Other trigger Canon wireless TTL slave mode Canon wireless E-TTL Master/Slave mode *Canon version of flash*Nikon wireless i-TTL Master/Slave mode *Nikon version of the flash*
Standby mode configurable (C.Fn-01) configurable (Normal, Short. Long, off)
Flash features
Swivel flash head -180 to +90 degrees -180 to +90 degrees
Flash head tilt 0 to +90 degrees 0 to +90 degrees
Manual zoom head 24 + 50 24 + 50
Auto zoom 24 + 50 (no auto zoom, manual slideout) 24 + 50 (no auto zoom, manual slideout)
Bounce card / 2nd reflector no / no no / no
LCD display no yes
Flash foot material, type metal, standard ISO (Canon) metal, standard ISO (Canon)
Power supply
Batteries used 4 x AA 4 x AA
External power source no no
Nikon TTL
D-TTL na na
i-TTL na yes *Nikon version*
CLS wireless slave na yes *Nikon version*
CLS wireless master na yes *Nikon version*
Canon TTL
E-TTL(II) yes yes *Canon version*
E-TTL(II) wireless slave yes yes *Canon version*
E-TTL(II) wireless master no yes *Canon version*
TTL features
AF assist beam yes (flash tube / LED in live view) yes (flast tube or LED video light)
Stroboscopic mode no Yes 1-90 times 1hz-199hz switches to 25times starts droping times from 90 after 5hz.. Max times at 199hz is 25.
Exposure compensation on the flash no -3 to +3 EV
Sensor size detection no no
Modeling light yes yes
High speed sync yes yes
Price ~199$ ~149$

First impressions:

When I got the package it came in a nice box. It was well padded and packed. The flash came with a full well written manual, a warranty card similar to what you get with old canon equipment and lenses. It comes with a flash stand and soft flash pouch for protection and travel. The flash is neat.. I am use to a large flash so it is kind of cool to have a more compact and flexible flash. This is something easy to throw in a smaller bag or fitting into your pocket while still having the options to be able to provide full use and much of the same features in larger flashes. I think I will be using this often for every day average use. It is a flash you can just throw in your pocket or bag grab your camera and go take pictures.

Build quality and Physical comparisons:

The build quality on the flash is very good for third party flashes. It has none to very very little play when squeezing it unlike my YN568EX which has a decent amount of play. It looks well polished.. Looks to basically be biased off the Canon 320EX design. There are however some differences. Mainly theses differences include that the 331EX has quite a few more features. What is noticeable by just looking at the flash is that the Canon 320EX has a manual switch settings on the back of the flash. The Voeloon 331EX has a full LCD interface with intuitive controls and a dot matrix LCD screen.

In use:

Using this speed light is nice. It is one of the first ones I go in grab because of its size. I thought a purfict time to test would be the rush of kids opening up thier Christmas presents. I only braught the Voeloon 331EX and the v760 with me on my trip out of town. No other flashes. The Voeloon 331EX by default when trying to focus lights its LED light up illuminating the subject so focus can be obtained. It worked pretty well much less annoying than with the built-in popup flash that pulses like a 1970s disco on drugs when it is trying to obtain focus..

It is easy to quickly adjust the FEC when needed on the back of the flash of course you can do this on the camera also. All you have to do is hit right or left on the buttons to increase or decrease the FEC in 1/3 stops.. It is very intuitive and easy.

TTL exposure and use:

TTL-E meetering seems to be quite accurate. Like many other flashes I use bounce mainly as expected like with others I had to add +.3-+1 exposure compensation to around for the changing bounce. However this is normal and I even need to do it on my Canon 580EXII.. I used it for fast moving christmas photos of kids to test its flexibility in the craziness.


Focus assist light:

The focus assist light normally for bigger speed lights is a ir light or for like popup flashes you have the pulse of light to gain focus. The 331EX gives two options. You can choose style rapid pulse of flash to gain focus, or you can chose the default option of the led video lite lighting up the subject to obtain focus. This in my opinion is better than the pulse of flashing light. However the or light with focus patterns of larger speed lights in my opinion is a less distracting and better option in use.


Remote shutter release:

One interesting feature I noticed was the ability to use the flash as a remote IR shutter trigger with compatible cameras. This is kinda cool for those that do not already have a trigger. However it is just a single trigger you do not have the option of a 2 second delay like canons standard IR trigger.

Locking shoe:

What is really cool is instead of using the locking dial that most third party flashes. The 331EX uses a locking lever. This looks to be well made and very very similar to the Canon version. I really like locking leavers. They are much better than having to tighten the dial never knowing of its tight enough..


LCD screen:

The LCD screen seems clear and easy to read. Visibility though starts to suffer if looking at it from more than a 45 degree angle from any direction. So don’t expect to be able to read it when your looking up at it from directly below unless it is tilted toward you.


Flash Head Zoom:

The flash head has two positions wide and telephoto. Those are set at 24mm and 50mm. Because of its size there is no auto focus motor in the flash it seems. so you have to manually slide it in and out. Most of the time I bounce and stay at 24mm so not to big of a deal with me.

Tilt head ans swivel:

A must have for me in the flash is the ability to tilt and swivel the head. With this flash I am able to angle it and bounce off the walls and roof around me to get the lighting effect I need. The rotation is 270 degrees and 90 degrees up and down. This is standard for a mid range flash and well welcome feature.


F1 and F2 slave:

A feature that basically I have come to expect in flashes and actually if reviewing flashes that do not have slave options. I point this out as a must now days to manufacturers. F1 means it fires on the initial flash.. This means that if you are using other manual flashes this is the option you use. If using TTL flashes set it to F2 so the optical slave will ignore the ttl pre flash and fires upon the main flash.

TTL master and Slave:

One really cool feature is the ability to either control or be a slave to canons E-TTL IR flash system. Most third party flashes will allow you to be slave but being the master is a big positive. Having the master control on this small of a flash package is good. I got to try this out while taking pictures of my Nieces at christmas. It worked really well. You can set the flash on camera to emit or not emit to the scene. Also all the in camera menus work correctly it seems. So you can managed the master functions either through the flash control menu, or from the flash its self.


In Multi Flash mode you can control the number of pulses and the flash frequency. This is very handy if you are doing things like trying to capture an object multiple times at different points in a frame. The lower the power the more pulses you can get in of course. It seems pretty easy to setup.

Audio feedback:

One feature that many brand name flashes do not have but off brand flashes do is a ready beep. This is very important to me during a shoot because I know when the flash is ready to fire again with out having to be looking. When you are sitting there taking photos of your client quickly you do not have the time to be distracted looking for the ready light to change.. With a ready beep you can keep your view focused on the subject through the viewfinder to get the best photos possible.

Video Light:

One feature that is pretty cool and I have not seen on any other flash besides the Pixel Mago that has the LED light built in. It is a cool addition to use in a pinch. However like the Mago you can not have the LED light and the Flash at the same time. So it is not suitable for use as a modeling light in say a softbox. In practice this light is handy for normal use. I used it getting video of my kids opening presents on christmas and you could drastically see a difference in with the light and without it. It is definitely useful. Don’t expect a very powerful light but it serves the purpose.


For the price and size this flash is a good value.. It is very much feature packed and easy to use.. It was definitely model after the Canon 320EX however they have majorly improved upon it the desing. It is a very featured packed flash far exceeding the feature set in the Canon 320EX flash. They have added a whole new control interface and a LCD interface. The build quality is actually on par with the Canon flashes I have. I am decently impressed with this flash and it is a perfect all around flash for mid range use. Now I would not go and shoot a wedding with this flash because of the midrange power of it. However for every day use of pictures I need it is perfect light weight and useful.



-Smaller flash
-Feature packed
-LCD Interface
-LED light
-Intuitive controls
-Build quality
-Manual power Levels.
-Cactus V6 and YN622C flash trigger compatibility. *Note make sure and update the Cactus V6 to latest firmware and use Canon 320EX profile


-Mid range power
-No IR focus assist in lue of LED or pulse focus assist
-Manual zoom adjustment


Where to buy:
You can find the 331EX on Amazon and Ebay most ship from china.. Prices ranged from 148$ – 168$ US