Thursday, March 28, 2013

More Bang For The Buck With Nikon

Yesterday's arrival of the D7100 fills a need that we have felt for the last few weeks - an APSC-size sensor with 24.1 Megapixels and the Nikon lens mount.

The chassis is the well-proven D7000 type. Nikon enthusiasts know that this is the result of the continuous development all the way from the D60 days - as each successive generation of camera is introduced the body build quality improves - magnesium castings for structural rigidity - and the electronic performance steadily upgraded.

This means better low-light performance - improved video working - and in this case a more finely divided sensor. I hesitate to say that 24.1 Megapixels will be the final achievement for the 18mm x 24mm sensor because I know that some of the extremely tiny sensors on compact cameras and cell phones can be hold even smaller light-sensitive divisions. Who can say if the major manufacturers will try to make a higher number in the future...

In any case, this should be a perfect camera for the landscape artist or for people concerned with extreme detail. The carry weight of the camera with the average wide-angle lens is also favourable - it is no fun trying to lug a camera that is the weight of an anvil if you are expecting to climb mountains  looking for a view.

Likewise, workers who expect to lug the aforementioned camera through a long day at a wedding or event might welcome this sort of Nikon - every gram of weight you don't support means your arms will feel better.

Of course the camera has all the normal Nikon features - dedicated custom channels for pro's, helper programs for the perplexed, standard PASM for everybody else. Quick-clck bracketing button on the left side of the body so that you do not have to re-program it from the menu. Preview button tucked up near the lens for stopping down.

Interesting feature - if you can live with 15.3 Megapixels in your can turn on a 1.3X feature that gives you just that much more reach with telephoto lenses. In the case of the 18-200 I put on for the heading shot, this means you are fielding a 260mm. Good for sports - good for portraits if you really don't want to go close to the subject...

D7100 - in store now.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

7100 Good Reasons

If I was a brand new Nikon D7100 camera where would I be right now?

In Camera Electronic at 230 Stirling Street.

If I was a customer who wanted a brand new Nikon D7100 camera where would I race into?

230 Stirling street.

Written at 10:54 on Wednesday.

Start the car...


I'm a Laydee - I'm a Laydee...

Sorry, its one of those television buzz-phrases that just lodge in the mind. But this certainly IS a camera for a Laydee.

Nikon Coolpix S01. Internal memory - 7.3 GB - no card needed. Internal battery - charges off the USB port of your laptop or other digital device. 10.1 Megapixels, 3x zoom lens, touch screen control, even does HD 720p videos.

And the size - that's a real 50 cent piece in the images - and a real hand.

Comes in gloss black or shiny silver. Peerfect for pocket or purse - even an evening handbag.

In-store right now.

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The Best Tool For The Job

The best tool for the job - is frequently a debated point. One practitioner points to one item, another holds up something different, and the argument is on. If the job is a technical one the rest of the populace stands baffled.

Suppose you are a dentist who wants to take pictures of teeth and jaws - or a skin specialist who wants to illustrate surface lesions for lectures or books. Or a mechanical engineer who wants to show tiny little parts and mechanisms. You reach for a digital camera with a good close-focus setting and try your luck.

If you have the light just right, and the white balance just right, and the auto focus on and you don't shake too much, you might succeed. Equally you might be too much in the shade, or too blue, or too wobbly.

Rethink. Get yourself a decent DSLR or mirror-less camera. C, N, P, S, or O come to mind...clap on a decent macro lens that will allow you to stand back about a foot from your subject. Put the Metz Mecablitz 15 MS-1 digital macro flash onto the lens, set the flash to take orders from the camera and go for your life.

Note: experienced clinical and macro workers do not try to use the auto-focus on the lens. They set the thing to manual and lean into the subject until they see it in focus.

The Metz people have been making flash units for decades - I have my original Mecablitz 45-CT1 from 1975 and it is still producing saleable pictures - and I've added three more of them from garage sales...Suffice it to say that Metz is the standard of the small flash industry when it comes to reliability.

The 15 MS-1digital fastens to the front of the lens with threaded rings - rather like some of the filter systems these days. There is a quick-release for the flash if you need to do something else with the camera straight away. Metz also supply a funny little clip - rather like a hair clip - that you can see in the main illustration. It is used when your DSLR has a pop-up flash.

The idea of the 15 MS-1 digital is that it can take TTL synchronising information from your DSLR in the same way that remote flashes do. The clip goes over the pop-up flash to prevent visible light flooding the subject while the IR information that instructs the flash goes out the side.

In addition, there is a standard PC socket at the side of the flash to take firing instruction from cameras that do not have a commander flash.

The two tubes mounted either side of the lens are movable - they can toe-in to illuminate subjects at very short range. There is an integral diffuser that you can rotate into position to reduce the intensity of the light.

The GN for this unit is 15 in the metric system - 49 for the imperial. More than enough for intra-oral and full-face shots. It runs on AAA batteries and will poot out 140 to 200 shots at full power.

In short, Doctor, the 15 MS-1 and the C,N,P,S, and O will be OK at TTL for IO and FF.

But that is just my initial diagnosis...

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Big Soft Sale For Big Hard Photographers

Go on. Harden up. Time to soften your photos.

We've just put out a sales stack of CL-brand soft boxes and suitable speed rings on our bargain floor near the front of the store.

The CL boxes come in all sorts of sizes - from little 40 x 40 squares up to massive strip and bed boxes. There are octas as well. Also deep and shallow types and some with recessed fronts so that you can fit egg crate grilles.

The speed rings are available for Elinchrom, Profoto, and Bowens - though there are a limited number of Bowens ones. As you'll see from the illustration, the rings are multiple-use types - they are colour-coded for where the rods are to be inserted.

These are well-built items and would serve a good long time in professional use.

The sale prices are 30% off marked retail for individual items - and if you buy the softboxes with a lighting kit we'll go to 40% off the softbox prices. It is a good opportunity to expand the light-shaping capabilities of your studio.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Timely Protection For The Road

Residents of Leeming, Bull Creek, and Winthrop may be interested in this posting.

We have a good supply of the GoPro cameras in stock this week - enough so that drivers may wish to purchase them in multiples of 2 or 4.

We can particularly recommend the GoPro Silver edition and we're happy to be able to report good stocks of suction mounts and curved adhesive mounts. You should be able to secure your cameras to most surfaces on the motor car and with a little careful measuring you can make arrangements for the cameras to see the front and rear bumpers as well as all the side doors.

Don't forget to purchase some of the SanDisk micro SD cards for your cameras - you'll want them to operate any time you are parked in local shopping centres.

Happy motoring...

Uncle Dick

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Pssst - We Got The Stuff...

Psssst. Hey. Hey, you...c'mere. We got ya stuff...we got ya stuff right here...

You wanted binocular straps? We got'em. Light weight. Let the binoculars slide up to your eyes and down to rest. Op/Tech - ask for 'em.

Sick of hanging the camera around your neck? Try one of the straps that go on the right side of he camera and curve round the back of your hand. The camera can dangle there safely and you can shoot freely. Lots of manufacturers for this and they are all different styles -there's even one made of rubber for those times when you need rubber...

Want to light a macro subject without frizzling it up? Two clock batteries and a Macro light from Promaster are all you need. Ask me later about how good this is for the headlights of model car shots...Also good for nasal or ear surgery, I shouldn't wonder...

Uncle Dick

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Straight Eights - Buick and Sigma

1948 Buick Straight Eight with Dynaflow, thank you. Yes, I own it.

2013 Sigma 8mm to 16mm f:4.5-5.6 HSM, thank you. Yes, I own it.

If you are a photographer who wishes to deal with crowded interiors, with vast landscapes, with real estate presentation, or with large numbers of people - and you are using one of the APSC - sized cameras - then the Sigma 8-16 should be on your list of wanna-see lenses.

I bought one, with my own money, a couple of years ago. I have never regretted it. It goes to all my weddings for the church and hall interiors, it captures the largest wedding party, it opens out crowded exhibition halls and museums, and it makes tabletop photography look vast.

I can't use a filter on it as the front curved surface and the extreme angle of view would mean a very large filter indeed. Never mind - I don't use polarisers on any other lens and I am careful enough with the front surface of my glass. That petal lens hood is a metal protector anyway.

The joy of the Straight Eight is the giant engine and the luxurious appointment inside it. Buick were always the cars of successful executives. The joy of the Sigma 8-16 is the straight lines at the edges of the frames - no fish-eye curvature. Highly recommended for successful executives...

You can get the Sigma to fit Canon, Nikon, or Pentax. If you've got a D7000, a D5200, a D300 - or a 60D, a 650D, or a 7D....motor on down to the shop and let us fit you out with a superb lens. If you arrive in a Buick Straight Eight with Dynaflow you get a special discount!

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New Cameras Here - Now New Cameras Gone

Want to see that again? Come to see us next week...

The new shipment of the Fuji X-100s came in yesterday and I had hoped to open up a box and show you the new camera today. Hah.

All 5 of the little gems are spoken for and laid-by. So I'm not even allowed to peek inside. Hence the pack shot at the top of this post. Most frustrating.

From the published information on the net it looks as though the Fuji people have upped the operational and focus speed of the X-100 - given it a new sensor, removed a filter, and generally turbo-tuned what was a brilliant camera to start with. If you Google over to the official Fuji page they have a promotional video that is interesting to watch.

All this may be contained within the box illustrated. Equally, the boxes may contain noodles, sauce, and a plastic fork - I won't know until the next batch arrive next week and I can have one to open.

If you are curious, join me. If you'd like to secure one for yourself, for heaven's sake ring us and lay one by - or we may be waiting another week.

Uncle Dick


Monday, March 18, 2013

Yay - Back In the Saddle With Pentax

Yippee - Tie-Yoh Pentax have got their mojo back.

After years of stylistic bouncing about, Pentax have wisely looked into their past and come out with a design that remembers how good things were.

I mean the new Pentax MX-1 camera. If you remember the Pentax MX cameras in the 35 mm film days, the features that stick in the mind were the solid build, compact size, and great feel of the top and bottom metal body panels. Pentax were wise and chamfered them to allow your hands to feel comfortable. Someone in their design department in the 70's knew their ergonomics - or more to the point, knew ours...

The new MX-1 has continued this tradition - so much so that the top and bottom plates are not just chamfered, but are actual brass pressings with proper chrome. As a result, the camera body has a solidity that is missing in some other brands.

The usual access controls have a solid feel to them as well - three dial wheels as well as the multi-selector. The screen is the horizontal tilt type so macro and low-level shots are easy. There is a 4 x zoom range and a macro facility that is bitingly sharp. There is a built-in flash for dark and an HDR program for lots of other conditions. 12 megapixels.

In all, a really well-thought-out travelling camera - this is the the one for the European vacation.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

A Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Actually I think we should look upon it more as a bridge over troubled customers.

So many people come to see us after getting themselves into a real turmoil about which camera to get - and about 90% of them have done so by reading forums on the internet and getting mates to advise them. Lucky ones have a dial-up connection and only one mate - at least the level of static is lower...

It is pretty simple in the end. Everything does actually work - all cameras will take pictures. Scratch off the nonsense stuff and the ones that might be dead out of the box - good sense should keep you from the former and Australian warranties save you from the latter. What you are left with is a variety of sizes and shapes and a price that increases with the sophistication of the gear. Start low and go high.

What's your best compromise? if you don't need to conceal it in your change purse, or want to haul the equivalent of an artillery transfer case everywhere you go, you might well consider the bridge camera.

These are made by all the major player - Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Leica, and Panasonic. They comprise a camera with a bigger lens than a compact - and a bigger body to house it - with a greater optical reach. Sometimes there is a really useful flash on board and sometimes a really useful optical viewfinder. You can score a tilting LCD screen or a touch screen on some but be prepared to pay a bit more. At the top end of the bridge camera range the results really DO rival the kind of thing you can get from a DSLR.

And all in one piece. No lens changing, no clouds of dust falling inside. A neater, lighter package, and well able these days to produce the sort of tourist or art work that the average punter really wants.

See enclosed examples. Not great art but nearly there...just a little further over the bridge.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Visionary Camera - Visionary Minds

It's a dull day outside and the rain is drifting by - perfect weather for a pair of Camera Electronic salesmen to venture onto Stirling Street and start new careers as award-winning video makers.

They've got the new Cambo shoulder rig for stability - the one with the smooth focus wheel on the left.

The camera mounted is the NEW Canon 1Dc with the NEW Canon 50mm T: 1.3 video lens. The camera has all the capability of the renowned 1Dx with the added capability of 4K video recording.

The Canon presentation for this last week was so detailed that I cannot remember half of it but looks as if this camera has better video capability than many cinemas can even show - it really is the cutting edge of he art right now. Looks as though you can film ( err....) like mad now and pull out single frames from it at will - good enough single frames to make finished still prints to a professional wedding standard.

The lens is T-stopped rather than f-stopped for a consistent line of exposure - the output from this camera can integrate with other cameras like the classic 35mm cinema ones. They have made this even easier by providing special cropping in the 35mm frame as well.

It is not cheap. Not even if you know Saul. It is not for everyone - but it is for the videographer and wedding pro who knows that they will need to be ready for the best image on the market.

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Please Release Me - Let Me Go....

'Cause I don't lurve yew anymooore...

Well, actually I lurve yew a lot - in this case I lurve the Stroboframe quick release plates and holders that we sell. I decided to ry them on my field and studio system and have never been happier.

First off, let me apologise for the dreadful heading picture and product shot. The editorial office and studio here at the shop is in tatters - they are chasing mice out of it and experimenting with a new shelving system and your faithful writer is camping out elsewhere in the store. Thus the agitated backdrop to the pictures. Patience - the studio will come back once the carpenters leave.

The plates are brilliant in that they are wide and narrow and slim - they can go on the bottom of most DSLRS and never be noticed. They are slim enough to go on the bottom of battery grips as well and still allow the hand to use the grip as it was intended to. The fact that they are wide means they provide superb side support when the camera is tilted into portrait.

The receiver - the bit that goes onto the tripod - is equally slim and has a powerful internal spring to grip the plate once you press it in place. I use one on the studio Gitzo and one on the field Tiltall and when I need to clap the camera on it fast at a wedding it just grips instantly. There is a similar-sized plate bit that is machined onto the Stroboframe Press-T that does the same trick.

Best news for you right now is they have put a 50% sale on all Stroboframe gear. I am currently trying to think if I need any more for myself, but I can thoroughly recommend the brand to you.

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Pestering The Wildlife For Fun

The call of the wild echoes through Camera Electronics all the time - and I don't just mean at stocktake time when we are hunting for errant lenses. I mean when the customers come in to get equipment for wild-animal shooting. They have booked wonderful safaris in Kenya, or Namibia, or South Africa. Or wonderful cruises up the Inside Passage to Alaska. Or wet, tiring, weeks toiling through Tasmania.

The common thread for this is the animals they hope to see and shoot. Holland and Holland .475 doubles and 45-70-500 Remingtons have fallen into general disfavour with tourists these days, particularly the women. It is becoming difficult to get through customs these days with a full set of elephant tusks and a mounted bear head ( Even if you did get them into the overhead locker on Qantas...). The answer is to take pictures instead - most times the digital images on a memory card will be well under the baggage weight limit.

So - you've got an entry-level DSLR and you don't know which lens to take. What to do?

First point is do not take 25 separate lenses and a ice cream freezer in a backpack with you everywhere you go. Pick one or two lenses to go with your body and stick to that. If you are going to see big animals and vast landscapes, use a wide-ranging lens that goes between about 18mm to about 200-300 mm. If you imagine that you are going to be taking pictures in the heart of darkness ( Vancouver comes to mind...) take a 50mm or 35mm lens that opens up to f:1.8. Take a spare battery and spare cards. Drink bottled water.

If you are going to see birds, you'll need more lens. You'll need something that goes out to 500mm - and you can get this with zoom from 50mm or 150. You'll be hauling more weight and you might like to have a monopod to help support it.  Don't expect to use it at night. Consider a camouflage sleeve for it to make it look inconspicuous.

Who makes these lenses? Pentax, Nikon, Canon, Tamron, Sigma. Olympus and Panasonic too, for their micro 4/3 cameras.

But, but, but, I see the professionals using big white and black telephoto lenses that are the size of hog legs and they are on big tripods and isn't that what you are supposed to do? Yes, if you are rich, or know someone who is rich, and need to do it for a living, and are prepared to haul something about the size and weight of a six-inch artillery shell. Go to. Come and see us and we'll sell you one. We gottem.

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Whoa Dude - Where Did You Get This Stuff?

Got it right here at Camera Electronic.

Just went in and asked for the funky filter and they fixed me right up. I put it on an old 35-70 Nikon lens and attached it to a Nikon D1x. Couldn't see a thing through the finder. Forgot to focus it beforehand and then move the ring a little more. But I put the camera on Program and as high an ISO as I could remember and just blazed away. Way cool!

Would an infra-red filter work on your camera? Who knows? All camera sensors are different and the only way you'll know is if you try. Some of the older cameras work fantastically and some of the new ones hardly seem to react at all.

Good thing is it also applies if you shift the thing into monochrome. If it is going to work at all, you get the classic white foliage and black skies. The fuzziness is a bugger, of course, and you have to remember that IR focusses at a different point than visible light. Older lenses had IR offset points on their focussing scales so that might be a good thing to look for.

At the end of the day - which we fondly hope will be 5:30 round here - it is all experimentation. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spot The Difference

Professionals please pass further down the car. Amateurs and enthusiasts and first-time point and shooters please take note.

When you bring your camera in for cleaning, there can be several levels of cleaning needed - you might be able to recognise which ones you need by looking into the viewfinder and at the images on your computer screen.

1. If you have black spots and hairs and insect legs showing up when you look through the viewfinder they are most likely to be on the focusing screen inside the head of he camera. If they do not show up on " live view " at the back screen you can be sure they are up in the head. Here's hoping they are not too far into the pentaprism or porroprism as this needs dismantling to get to.

2. If you see vague grey-ish balloons on your images as they come up in the computer - and they are always at the same spot in each image - these are dust motes on your sensor. Needs professional cleaning here at the workshop. If the spots are not just grey balloons but have a definite shape they might be actual dirt fragments on the sensor. If they look like KFC spoons or rifle bullets you are well overdue for a clean.

3. If the rest of the camera looks like a pig's opinion, you need to consider having it cleaned before they open up to clean the inside. This means lenses as well as the outer body. If they get to the point up in the workshop where they are hosing out the card slot with a Kärcher you might consider giving the motocross a miss for the rest of the season.

Not to make too coarse a point of it, if you carry your gear in a filthy old camera bag that is leftover from the 70's, you can expect to do a lot of cleaning. Invest in a new one, and look for one that can be kept clean itself. The KATA range are lovely bright yellow inside and this shows up any dirt that falls in. They are spongeable so you can keep ahead of the game.

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GoPro By The Bucketload

Yay. GoPro cameras and accessories are back in a big way.

We've got all three variants - white, silver, and black. And a rack full of fresh accessory packs including the little grenade handles for hand-holding the camera. New surfboard mounts in time for the Autumn storms and big swell.

Chest mounts as well for you bike riders. And lumberjacks.


The Leica Eh? Model

This post has been prompted by an email message this morning - a client has asked whether we have any rangefinder film cameras in stock. I was happy to be able to tell him that we had a good selection in the secondhand cabinet - as of this morning there are 4 of the Leica M models in:

1. A black M6 of the regular persuasion.
2. A black TTL M6.
3. A gloriously indulgent titanium M6 with matching lens.
4. A silver M7.
5. A black M8. Okay, this is digital but what the heck.

For lenses I counted 5 Leica lenses in s/h and a water bucket full of new ones in the new cabinet as well as 6 Zeiss M lenses and 5 Voigtländer lenses - so the prospective film shooter can view the world through good glass no matter what their preference. Many of these lenses are manual focus...

There are a couple of detail shots included in this post - the right hand end of the M7 with the convenient thumb rest. Good to see real chrome again.

Also the  Eh? model lens. This is a 35mm that was made in Windsor, Ontario and as it is a really small and light lens it is perfect for a street photographer, even in Ontario. Eh?

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wie Gehts Dir?

Something startling has just appeared in the film fridge - fresh AGFA film.

For those of us who remember the giant of European photographic chemistry - Agfa - Gevaert - and who remember that it folded up a few years back, this comes as rather charming news. We remember fondly the CT and CN series of films, the Agfa and Gevaert papers, the chemical mixtures and kits...and were saddened to see it go.

I still use Rodinal as a large-format developer and have a secret stash of it. Fortunately it lasts forever.

This newcomer wears the red and white livery of Agfa's later years - the original orange and blue changed a decade or so ago to this poppier combination. So too did the older codes - the CT 18 that we knew has become CT Precisa 100. I would be interested to learn if any of the new crop of students know what a DIN number is - or for that matter an ISO, Weston, or Scheine number. Save these for your next club quiz night and irk the youngsters...

Any road, this new box has a number of interesting features - the company seems to be called Agfa Photo. Fair enough - perhaps it is to differentiate it from a medical imaging division - I remember Agfa Gevaert used to supply X-ray films in large sheets from their facility on Great eastern Highway. Perhaps they still have a base for chemical production in Leverkusen.

Leverkusen is a city south of Dusseldorf and north of Köln on the Rhine. About 300 miles as the Halifax flies from the east of England...I looked this up as I was curious to read another part of the new film box. Apparently it has been produced for Lupus Imaging of Langenfeld - a smaller town north of Leverkusen. But there is no danger of chemical spill in the rhine with this film - another part of the box says that it is made in Japan.

By whom is anyone's guess. I am privately betting on Sakura or Fuji.

Whoever is spooling it, at least it is easy to develop - AP44 or CR-56 or good old E-6 does the trick. It is perfectly fresh and we keep it cold so you can shoot it with confidence in your 35mm camera. Buy a couple of rolls today and we'll get to ordering more. it can only be good to see this resource come back into our market.

Art For The Masses - With Comrade Camera

Ignore propaganda from camera industry. Will tell you truth.

Is easy. No matter how hard they make it sound, is easy. Ignore specification sheet and forum on internet. Stop over-thinking photography.

Look at picture at top of blog. Simple picture - arch in front of Scented Garden in South Perth. Warm day, few minutes to spare,  quick frame of the arch and press button.

Open in Photoshop Elements. Press Alien Skin button. Select abstract and press button.


Turn round and look at Perth skyline. Repeat.


Any camera, any card, any computer. Set on automatic and press button.

Comrade Camera

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