Friday, August 30, 2013

Trackside With Canon

Last year's Canon workshop day seems to have been a success. We all trooped out to Barbagallo Raceway in Wanneroo and Mark Horsburgh gave a show and lecture on the art and business of motor sport photography. The Canon company reps brought a metric tonne of fancy lenses and the latest Canon bodies for the participants to try and Saul organised a couple of fancy motorcycles and a very attractive model to provide a studio experience as well.

Of course it was all about the course - it was a motorcycle practise event and there were subjects circling the track all day at high speed. There were cautious riders and show-offs. Fortunateley no-one came sideways through the spectators, but had they done so the photographers would have known what to do* - thanks to Mark's talk.

In any event, the participants took as many lenses as they could carry off the glass buffet and stationed themselves around the track and got deafened and covered in rubber dust and had a glorious time of it.
They took home great images as well as a great deal of knowledge.

Same again this year - the 8th of September. Cost you $ 199, we feed you lunch in between the lecture and the races. Ring up the shop to book - go on the website to book - bring your own camera or borrow one of the bodies on-site. Remember to bring a coupla memory cards - I'd guess an SDHC and a CF - and test out EVERY BLESSED THING.

Saul will be doing specials. We promise not to let him talk too long...

* Scream and run. Followed by duck and cover.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Standard Of the Industry...Again

They are getting clever there at Pocket Wizard. They have long BEEN clever, and exercised it to the max with their Mini TT and Flex TT, but now they have improved their basic transmitter and receiver unit - by simplifying it.

It is a dumb transmitter - ie. it does not do a TTL signal - but it does fire in any direction so you can feed out to a flash or back to the camera as a camera trigger with equal ease. They have catered to photographers in a multiple-worker situation by putting a 10-position switch on the side above the firing button. No need to go into the guts of it to fiddle tiny switches into harmony - just turn the side control on transmitter and receiver and away you go.

Turn it over - the battery compartment has been made as a hinged unit - no more losing it in the heat of the moment. And it works on two plain old cooking-variety AA cells. Get them anywhere.

We have a box full of output leads so you can connect it to almost any flash and you can get dedicated cables for the camera end too.

Throw away your old Radio Slave and go with this new unit.

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Friday, August 23, 2013


" Ye canna beat the laws of physics, Cap'n. Ye canna mount a long telephoto lens on the average ball head or three-way head and move it about wi' ease. It'll fa over ever time. On yer heid. "

You can, however, mount the lens with the pivot point at or over the center-line of the lens and then lay it with ease - provided you have divided the weight fore and aft of the pivot. This is the principle of the wimberley-styled head.

One of the neatest we have seen recently in the shop is the Induro. Standard 3/8" hole on the bottom and 1/4" thread on the top but an infinity of up/down and fore/aft adjustment to balance the lens. Firm secure lock in final position if that is what you need - easy movement if you are following a target.

Perfect answer for wildlife, birds, and sports.

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New Restrictions Proposed For Photography

A Recent Affair on television has pointed out that the new restrictions on photography may impact users of digital cameras.

Of course up until now there have been general prohibitions about taking pictures of military bases, or inside courtrooms, or on nudist beaches This means that courts martial held on Swanbourne beach have apparently never been recorded. No-one seriously disputes the necessity to safeguard national security, legal process, and pubic order.

Likewise stalkers and pests that take pictures of women and children unbidden are also subject to the law. The law that if we catch them we get to beat them with iron rods. This seems eminently sensible.

Unfortunately recent events mean that photographing public buildings is also suspect, particularly if you are also measuring crosswind velocities and calculating trajectories on a yellow legal pad at the same time. Professional architectural photographers would be well advised to wear a high-vis vest with  " I'm Paid To Do This " on the front  and " " No, Really I Am." on the back. And use 8 x 10 monorail cameras on big tripods. And have a cute girl assistant. And carry a box of doughnuts for the cops. Even then they can expect to be moved along by the city council or ticketed by the ranger. Weave it into the cost of the shoot.

The real problem is going to be with the business of photographing sensitive government equipment. We all know that the big powers have spy satellites that see everything we do. For that matter, so does Google and, for all I know, Facebook. These devices are periodically heaved up from Novosibursk or Vandenburg or the central square in Beijing and regularly pass over us. Eventually they are dropped into the Indian or Pacific ocean, rather like people who fail to pay gambling debts. While they are up there, however, they are top secret, and any photographing of them is strictly forbidden. Of course they are very high up and hard to see but that does not stop the law from operating down here where it can get at the photographers.

What this means is that any satellites that you take pictures of, either invisibly in the middle of the day or as a moving speck of light after dark, can get you put in gaol for up to 25 years. So if you are doing star trails and your shutter is open for half an hour at least 5 or six of these pass over you and that means 150 years in the slammer. And not just here - when you finish your porridge in Canning Vale they send you to Leavenworth...

There is only one point in Western Australia that is not surveyed by these satellites and from which it is safe to take astronomical pictures. This is approximately 3000 yards off the beach just west of Busselton. Those photographers who can command an oil-rig platform may take pictures there
in safety.

For all the rest of us, remember not to point your lens up above the horizon in any shots you take.

Uncle Dick

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New Tripod Coming From Miller

Miller are an Australian company long famed for tripod and cinema accessory manufacture. i would be willing to bet that every television studio and film production unit in Australia - and a considerable number of users overseas - has some for of Miller equipment for its field operations.

Now the users of lighter DSLR video cameras will have to opportunity to have a proper fluid head and a tripod structure under it that will not break their backs. ( Or pocketbooks.)

Miller are set to release an AIR tripod system for DSLRs that will suit cameras up to 5Kg. Their preliminary literature mentions a 10-year lifespan and the ability to cope with rugged outdoor conditions. The image is a man shooting a DSLR on a frozen lake with a twin-engine airplane on skis behind him. He has a grim expression on his face and as the aircraft exhibits Norwegian registration, he might well have lost his way. It does not look like Meekatharra.

Apparently the tripod is due in late August. We'll report if one flies over.

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Bundle Of Joy - From Canon

The Canon EOS 1-DC certainly captured the imagination of DSLR users a few months ago when it was announced - after all it has video ability far in advance of many cinemas - and it is a real working tool for video makers...even in advance of other DSLR cameras. Now Canon have decided to sweeten the deal considerably with a bundle of goodies. Read on.

The promotional bundle will only be available at Authorised Cinema EOS Dealers and Professional Camera sores. That means us, I am happy to say. the deal is you buy the Canon EOS 1-DC and you receive over $ 3500 worth of fee equipment.

Yep. $ 3500 worth. Wow.

You get:

1 Miller Air Solo System Tripod

1 SanDisk SDFXP-128G-XQ4 Extreme Pro CF 128 GB 100MB/s memory card

1 Canon Pixma Pro10 Printer

You'll need to notice - this offer is limited to 20 bundles only and orders for this must be placed by close-of-business on 23rd of August -so you need to be zippy.

The Miller tripods are a new item that will ship at the end of August.

Lens not included in the bundle.  ( Note, we'll be happy to sell you one, though, or two, or fifteen...)

This is a heck of an opportunity to get the best DSLR video camera on the market with the sort of ancillary parts that make it a pleasure to use.

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We're So Proud - A Hasselblad Baby!

Here is the family picture of a new Zeiss Vario Sonnar 10,4mm-37,1mm f:1,8-4,9 lens ...with the proud parents standing beside it. Note that the markings have commas instead of periods as this is a European lens design and they do that in Europe.

It is the featured optic on the fabulous new Hasselblad Stellar camera. The cradle you see it in is possibly the most elegant packaging yet for any compact camera - it makes cardboard boxes look like cardboard boxes.

Notice the grip - this is the ready-for-action carbon fibre grip, but with a camera this exclusive you are not restricted to just one style. There are 9 choices, including exotic woods like mahogany, walnut, and
zebra. The grip is very comfortable and would hold the camera perfectly for photographing things.

I have not exposed the back screen -preferring to let the purchaser do this - as you can see the advertising mentions the 20.2 megapixels, full 1080 HD video,the f:1,8 lens, and the 3.6X optical zoom. Please note the H-marked rubber thumb rest at the upper right corner that allows the  front grip to function better. That is an H-marked pad, you understand.

The camera will be on display here in the shop - it is the perfect complement to the Hasselblad H4 medium format cameras and makes a bold brand statement for any photographer.

Good to see that Hasselblad and Zeiss are working togetner again.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Shinier Than A 1958 Cadillac...And Heavier Too

I am always amazed by what the manufacturers will do to catch a niche market. We have seen orange Leica MP cameras, green Voigtländer Bessa T's, and Pentax DSLRs in very colour of the rainbow. Now it is the turn for a lens design that harks back to Russian Chrome Days.

Or maybe they are channelling the Swiss - or a minor German manufacturer in 1954. Whatever started it, the end result is an M-mount lens for Leica and Voigtländer bodies that has more shiny bling than anything that has been seen since Konrad Adenauer was Chancellor.

It is a Nokton f:1.5 and focusses as close as .7 of a metre and can shoot in very dim circumstances. If course as soon as the first ray of light hits it, there will be no dim circumstances. This is a rare and exotic bird and wold suit the retro-camera scene to a tee. It is metal, heavy, and bright.

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The Steadier You Are, The Steadier You Are

Not all our jobs can be done in the studio with the big tripod or studio stand to secure the camera. Not all can be adequately lit. But we still need sharp results. Here's an old new tip to help with this.

I discovered it while taking pictures at the Doll House Exhibition. No, not that one...these are real doll houses. I was in Bogan Central under moderate halogen lighting and wanted to frame pictures accurately with my Fuji X-10 - so, like everyone there with iPhones or compacts, I was using the LCD screen on the back to sight with.

Some of the shots were at 1/15th of a second and were looking decidedly shaky. Rather than boost ISO and lose detail, I elected to have a cup of coffee and a sandwich. During the break I shortened the neck strap on the camera so that it sat mid-chest.

Then when I was standing in front of the subject I pushed forward on the camera until the strap was taut. I could still see the screen but there was at least one more usable stable shutter speed. Win.

If your compact camera does not have two strap lugs, you might have to attach something like a Steadepod to the tripod socket and pull up against your foot. Same gain - sharp pictures.

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On A Wing And A Half And A Prayer And A Half

I do not suppose that there will be very many occasions when you will be tasked with taking photographs from the cabin of a 1929 Buhl Sesquiplane, but if you are...or if you want to take aerial photographs from any other platform here are a few tips:

1. Use a 4 x 5 Graflex Aerial camera on 4 x 5 roll film and have an RAF film processing unit standing by in a van at the end of the runway to develop the results. Look carefully on the photos for things that look like ski ramps. If you find any ring us up and we'll deal with it.

2. Use a DSLR with a viewfinder. Mount a prime focal length lens - you choose wide, normal, or tele according to what you expect to see on the ground. Set the focus distance manually to infinity and use a bit of gaffer tape on the outside of the barrel to keep it there. All the things you will take pictures of will be over 30 feet away, whether they are on the ground or in the air. When they get closer than 30 feet pictures will not be needed, except by the FAA and the coroner.

3. Chose an airplane that interposes the least amount of perspex between you and the outside. If it is a light plane with a side window that folds ( and LOCKS ) up, so much the better. If you are to be in a commercial airliner that goes very high, expect double glazing - you can't do much about that, so choose the one that has the best menu and drinks tray.

4. If you can plan the flight with the pilots, ask for them to orbit your target several times. If this means stooging around a Cuban AA missile site, be content with one pass. If you get the choice, ask for the target to be front-lit. If it is the Cubans, use phosphorus.

5. If you get a pilot who is a smart ass and throws the aircraft around a lot to make you nauseous, try to hold in the vomit until you land. Then heave on his shoes.

6. EVERYTHING is blue from the air. The Mohave desert is blue. McDonald's is blue. Put on a UV filter or a light amber.

7. The client wants to see the obliques. The government wants to see the verticals. Your family doesn't want to see anything.

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Stool Sample

You'd think that the business of taking a portrait photograph would be easy, wouldn't you.

Pull out your $ 3500 camera with the $ 2200 lens and turn on the $ 3000 studio lights and press the button. Then feed the file into the $ 2500 computer and the $ 2000 printer and add a $ 2 sheet of paper.

$ 13,202 later and there you are - a lovely A4 picture to frame.

But wait - you have forgotten that your portrait sitter has nothing to sit on. It is discourteous to tell them to sit on the floor or an old apple crate - you need to provide some better way of supporting them. Enter the posing stool from Promaster - adjustable up and down and 5-legged so that they do not tip over if you ask them to lean to the side. Black so tat it does not intrude visually into the composition - padded so that it does not intrude anatomically into the customer.

A justifiable expense for the studio and a valuable piece of furniture. And chicken feed compared to the rest of the costs.

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Bad Box Bonanza - You Score Big Time

Yowza Yowza Yowza!

This advertisement is brought to you by the numbers 800 and 600 - and by Camera Electronic who have a goodly amount of them in stock. We're talking about the Nikon D600 and D800 in our winter Demo Sale.

What is a Demo Nikon camera, I hear you ask out there? A camera that has been unpacked, used in trade shows and sales demonstrations, and then scheduled for sale at a reduced price. The cameras are great - the gold boxes are beat-up.

If you can live with a manky box you can pocket a bonus of $ 647 on the normal price of a D800 body and $ 446 on the D600. You might have to find your own strap or video cable...big deal...but you get the FULL YEAR"S WARRANTY on these bodies. That's a full year's warranty right here in Australia - not floating around in New Yawk or Honk Konk...

For all the Nikon enthusiasts who have been whooping and gurgling that they missed out on a D700 when they were being made - well here is your chance to get the natural successor to that camera. For the wannageddits who are currently using DX cameras and look forward to an FX future...well the future is on the shelf right now here at Camera Electronic.

You can also score a D7100 or so but they are in limited numbers so be fast.

Remember - the D800 for $ 2613 and the D600 for $ 1776 right now. It isn't raining THAT hard outside but it is raining bargains in here!

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Move Boldly Forward To View Of Ultimate Victory

The Central Committee of Camera Electronic issues the directive that you will move boldly forward to view of ultimate victory. This directive will be followed by all right-thinking photographers.

The mass of collective artistic workers will purchase Lomo Holga and Diana cameras to implement the correct decision. Agents travelling to assignments overseas will be required to use the Canon G1x and G15 cameras.The intelligentsia will purchase the Fuji X series cameras according to their means and use them according to their needs. The Leica cameras will be reserved for the fearless leaders of the movement. Any deviation from this directive will be subject to correction.

Revanchist running dogs and imperialist oppressors of the masses will try to decry this decision, pointing out that many other cameras are not mentioned in the 5-year plan. This transparent lie of the agents of capitalist hegemony tries to disguise the fact that the the cameras do not have viewfinders. They require the masses of workers and peasants to stare at LCD screens in the bright sunlight and fail to see the glorious landscape of photographic future. We say boldly that this is not to be tolerated - view finding is a basic right of man according to the Directive of the Third Committee Congress.

We boldly urge the photographers of Perth to stand firm and uphold the banner of correct behaviour!

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Singing In The Rain

With an eye to the current atmosphere today in Perth...don't look up.

If you are determined to be out in it I would recommend that you put a cover over your camera and lens. Promaster, Aquatec, and Think Tank make sturdy custom covers for even long lenses and large cameras - if you just need an emergency wrap try the Op/tec ones. You get two in a bag and they can save a lifetime of trouble with a wet camera.

Remember as well, that if they keep water out, they can also keep it in. Once you are safely housed please remove the camera and make sure the inside of the cover gets a chance to air out.

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Hey Mum, Look At Me!

The business of the selfie has become big business for the digital age. Of course there have always been self-timers on cameras ever since shutters became mechanical rather than animal-powered*. But nowadays we can get many more options for self-recording than ever before.

Case in point is my own Fuji X-10 - the standard 10-second self timer coupled with the integrated flash means I can record myself in a number of restaurants whenever I go on holiday in glorious colour and good exposure.

But if I am determined to capture myself on a Gopro or Ion action camera - or a DSLR or mirrorless that has video recording - and I plan on bouncing about in front of the thing wrestling Schnauzers or whatever, I need someone to track my movements. No mate to watch me run into a wall, and no video to post on EweTube**.

The answer for the new photographer is the Soloshot. The orange box you see in the images is an electronic tracking system that mounts the camera on top. It is in turn set up on a dedicated tripod and the subject of the video is given a small padded transmitter to strap on the arm - about the size of a matchbox.

Set the device to talk to itself, go out about 50 feet away from the tripod, and let it lock on. Then as you
run back and forth it moves physically to track you and you appear in the middle of the video. It works - we've seen videos of water skiers using it and they look as good as a professional tracking them.

In store right now.

* Photographers fingers and the lens cap...

** New Zealand website...

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Go Away - Some Other Time

Some people go other places to take photographs. I go other times. Here is a chance for you to do it too.

The Balingup Medieval Festival is being held in Balingup  - in the state's southwest - on August 24th and 25th. It is a Saturday and Sunday event that attracts stallholders, players, fighters, dancers, faeries, and the local population. I was talking a few years ago to Cletus about this, and he said it was the high point of their Balingup year - I believe him.

The food is pretty good - there is a local winery that makes fruit wines from their own trees. The cherry wine is lovely, the peach wine is memorable, and the orange liquid will strip the chrome trim off an Oldsmobile bumper. There are a number of local producers of cheese, jams, and the sorts of unidentifiable sweets that are generally sold at CWA fetes. The German sausage stand is worth the price of admission - by the way they DO charge for admission....this is the high point of the year, remember...

But there is plenty more to eat - the coffee stalls, the French patisserie people, the churro and Mexican food. The stuffed potato man is the friend of mankind, particularly on cold mornings.

What about the entertainment? Apart from the stalls selling new-age trinkets and plastic swords, there are soap sellers, scent sellers, wine cellars, and Peter Sellars. No, apparently I am wrong there...

The Grey Company - those are Greyco people you see in the pictures - have real heavy metal fighting shows twice a day and the the other  costume societies are there to hit each other with plastic batons too. If you want to take pictures of the SCA or the DarkSun groups any small compact will do as it is not generally necessary to focus very quickly - they don't move much. If you want to get real medieval fighting photos try to get to the front of the crowd for the Grey Company shows

A DSLR or one of the new Fuji or Olympus mirrorless cameras is the go - they focus quickly and you can get a fast lens that let you have a shallow depth of field if you want to isolate faces. I would suggest 400-800 ISO even in daylight to boost the shutter speed - you will be amazed at the speed with which the swords and spears fly in a fight. I would also suggest a fill flash when the sun is out - the meters on the cameras see the highlights off the armour and shut down a little. Fire a flash into the shadows.

The best capture of the fight is the first clash - just before the combatants close completely in - and the finish when the final death blows are delivered. Expect dirt and sawdust to fly in all directions particularly in a melée and don't be surprised if you get pelted.

An 18-200 lens on an APSC camera is perfect and a 24-70 on a full-framer should get you what you want. The shows last about half an hour so put a good card in there to capture the action.

Please DO listen to the announcer, Paul. He will tell you to stay away from the protective ropes because the Grey Company swords and spears and billhooks and halberds are real steel. If you are too close and one hits you,  expect to get value from your health insurance contributions and a valuable life experience that you can ponder over for many years...

There is a daily parade of all the festival royalty and a speech by the King of Balingup. Don't miss that speech. It is the high point of the Balingup year...

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Opening The Ball

In Napoleonic terms this generally involves an artillery barrage followed by a blast of musketry.

Here in the shop it means that we have just switched on the new point-of-sale computer operating system and are standing well clear of it to see what happens. I for one would prefer the 12 pounders loaded with shrapnel shell but the noise abatement act makes this difficult in Stirling Street.

So far nothing has caught fire. The coffee machine still works. I am hopeful. The first enquiry about returning an item that was put on account from a lay by on a quote with a discount because the purchaser knows Saul will be greeted by canister and when they want to credit a rental that they made a year ago because they can get it cheaper from Digital Dumpbin in Sydney we will switch to double canister.

And don't ask about the langridge - it will be terrible...

Friday, August 9, 2013

Taming The Colour Dragon - Learning To Make Whole Colour Prints

I was lucky enough about three years ago to be sent on a course by my employers that taught me the basics of colour management and printing. It involved a weekend away and some pretty smart instruction from two master photographers. It was the best thing that could have happened to me at the time as it paved the way for my home printer use as well as my management of digital files.

You too can benefit from this course, and with the additional advantage of being able to do it here in Perth. Shoot Photography workshops are going to conduct a three-part course starting on the 19th of November here at their premises in Stirling Street. Actually, they will be doing this in August as well, but you can't get in because the course is fully booked - never mind - you can still get into the November sessions.

The teachers for this course will be Adam Monk and Simon Cowling - both award-winning professional with decades of experience between them in the art and science of both studio and field photography and the entire train of actions that make up a digital workflow. They will be using Epson printers, I believe.

The course will be run over two consecutive Tuesday nights - the 19th and 26th of November for theory and computer work, and a Sunday session on the 1st of December to draw it all together and do the printing. I believe they will encourage participants to bring their own images to work upon.

The best way to find out the complete details will be to go to the Shoot web address:

or give Dana a buzz at Shoot during the day.

This is the sort of course that is useful to simple printers as well as those people with more professional equipment. You should be able by the end of it to cope with any landscape or portrait that presents itself.

Copyright? Right? Wrong. Rats!

Reach for the aspirin.

No, don't reach for the aspirin - reach for the telephone and call Dana at Shoot Photography Workshops to book in on the 17th of September for a two-hour seminar on copyright.

Tony Wilson will be speaking from 10:00 Am until Noon about this subject - if you have been operating on a series of misconceptions or rumours, now is the time to get the real information.

You might find that your images are being used without your permission somewhere. You might find them being altered and misused. What can you do about it? What should you do? WHo can help. WHo monitors the situation?

These are all good questions and as keen photographers in a digital age we need to know. The cost of the seminar is only $ 49 so this could be a great good investment for you. try this computer address to see more about it

Apart from what Tony might tell you, which will be right and proper, I can personally recommend an approach in dealing with pirates that involves a cutlass and a bit of vigorous exercise...Arrrr...

Money Coming Back To You From Epson

New Epson cash back promotion for you today - If you need to print up to A2 on thin or thick stock - with the finest of inkjet ink - the Epson Stylus Pro 3880 model attracts a cashback payment from the Epson people of $ 250.

This promotion will run until the end of September 2013. You buy from us and claim your reward from Epson on-line.

If you don't quite need as large a size, but want all the benefits of the Epson ink set and their expertise in easy colour printing, may I suggest that you get an Epson Stylus Photo R3000 right now. This will print to A3+, do rolls and CD discs, and also open for thick stock. It will print through a wifi network if there is someone in your house young enough to know how to connect it, and from regular USB or ethernet if you are old enough to remember Nixon...

There is a cashback from Epson of $ 200 for purchase of a printer and if you choose to purchase a printer AND a set of replacement inks, you can increase that cashback to $ 400. But you have to get your skates on - this promotion finishes at the end of this current month.

My own experience with these printers has been very positive - as it has been with Epson papers, Epson scanners, etc. I use the R3000 regularly for the paper output from my Hot Rod Honey series and for wedding pictures. It really does do the business of translating what is on my computer screen to a print in hand with a minimum of fuss.

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Belaire - More Than Just A Chevrolet Coupe


I am so glad that the Russian camera industry has progressed past the days of stolen Contax factories and orphans producing bad Leica copies out of soft aluminium. I did enjoy the slightly guilty feeling of owning a Kiev or a Fed because it originated from the Evil Empire, but I quickly got over this when I tried to operate them. The sound of the aluminium gears rasping together and the ever-changing light leaks were too much in the end.

Of course, someone will point out that the Diana and the Holga are hardly any better in an operational sense. True, but as they are made of plastic they break much faster and can thus be disposed of earlier in the piece. It is like the unpleasant filling in a railway sandwich - the less of it and the faster swallowed the better.

The new Belaire X 6-12 seems to be a change for the better, however. It shows a degree of enthusiasm and innovation that has not been seen before. Granted that a great deal of it is plastic, the execution is very well done ( well, it is made in China and they are always good at execu...umm...moving right along...). There are two lenses with it, 58mm and 90mm. The camera shoots up to 6 x 9 so we are talking about a useful wide angle there. Of course like all 120 cameras you can choose to advance your frames so as to yield 6 x 6 images  - at this point I will leave you to work out your own mathematics about what the lenses do. Suffice it to say they have two apertures - f:8 and f:16. They focus down to a metre.

There is an in-built meter cell beside the lens and you can dial in most popular film ISO's. When you press down the shutter tab it will take an aperture-priority shot.

Cool thing on the top plate of the camera is a slot for one of two viewfinders - these are surprisingly clean and clear. Actually work.

Well, it won't replace the Leica MP, or the Linhof Master Technika, but someone will go out there and do something with it and for once it will probably be successful. I do dread the day when a student realises that they can advance the film in overlapping increments and will make one long transparency with the entire story of the battleship POTEMKIN on it mixed in with zombies and Grumpy Cat. Because they will bring it to us and ask us to print it for them...

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The Orange Cones On The Information Highway

Our clients who are of an observant nature may notice a small change in operational procedures next week here at Camera Electronic. Over the weekend we plan to make changes to the electronic system. Big ones. Provided the main frame of the computer does not detonate and you see fire engines blocking Stirling Street on Saturday afternoon, we should be starting the experiment on Monday.

Please be patient with us - the new system is good but a little complex - we have been training in the operation of it but remember that sometimes training involves tying someone up and laying them on he railway tracks until the train goes by...

Any change of systems involves discovery - we will have to do a stocktake and expect to discover any number of things - those of you with a retail or business background will know that simple number sequences can go awry and then start a whole chain of searches and readjustments. Rest assured that we won't actually come out to your studio and repossess the equipment you have bought, but we may want to carve new numbers on it with a Dremel tool to make the records match...we promise not to do this on the lens elements.

What I am saying is - please be patient with us in the next little while. If you see the staff red-eyed and desperate and looking like they have been peering down the hatch of hell, you will earn their gratitude by being patient.

Uncle Dick

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

So - It is Tomorrow With Olympus - The New Body

Did goe last night to the Olympus product launch and was greatley amused.

Quett and Burke brought the new Olympus Pen camera - the E-P5 - to Western Australia and entertained and informed a roomful of Olympus fans at the Shoot Photography premises next door to our shop. A miserable wet night out and a brilliant fun one indoors.

The E-P5 is the newest evocation of the digital Pen line and as Quett pointed out, has brought a number of the memorable features of the OM-D camera to the Pen range. It brings the 5-axis stabilisation of the bigger camera into the smaller size - a very valuable feature if you are using the back screen as your viewfinder. It has a reconfigured two-wheel control layout that seems more familiar to DSLR users. It fires off the files with a rapid recording rate and then can share them easily with a built-in wifi.

The top shutter speed has been increased to 1/8000 second and the AF has also been speeded up. You can get your focus point and release the shutter with the touch screen on the back.

The camera body is accompanied by a new accessory viewfinder - the VF-4. This has double the resolution dots of the previous one and a greater magnification- it is the biggest view that you can get. I can attest that for the eyeglass wearer, all the screen is visible without shifting your head from side to side. Yay!

The little fun things buried in the menu now include a way to make multi-image panel assemblages in-camera - rather like album pages. With the ability to send your images to other people over their wifi networks, this would be a wonderful thing to do at parties or weddings. Of course there are 18 other special effects in there as well.

For myself, I was very impressed with the focus peaking feature when you looked at close-up subjects. It shows an enhanced outline of the places in the image that are in focus when you are using a manual lens - it takes out a great deal of the wonder and eyestrain with these subjects. If you elect to use auto-focus for macro work there is provision to reduce the size of the AF point considerably to allow it to be placed on small subjects.

The use of long exposures with the Bulb setting is also helped by the fact that you can watch the screen at the back and see the actual exposure build up both as an image and a histogram. Great for landscapers and astronomical photographers. Of course it does interval timing as well and makes little videos of it so go chase those stars...

And one final thought - the new E-P5 is being marketed from Olympus as a complete kit with the new viewfinder and a black example of the 17mm f:1.8 lens. Indeed, you can only get this black professional combination from pro Olympus dealers - not at furniture stores. The deal is very good indeed - you can save over $300 getting the kit vs getting the bits separately.

Come and talk to us and see the new camera.

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

So Read The Blog Tomorrow

Not giving anything away, but as I am going to the launch party for the new Olympus E-P5 next door in the Shoot Photography premises with the two Olympus experts - Quett and Burke - and we have already been given a sneak preview here at the shop of the new goodies...well I'll have to see what topic I cover...

Hint: It will be smaller than a loaf of bread.


Latest Breakthrough In Lens Technology Delivers New Word To The Lexicon

Students of photography have always had to learn new words - the nature of the subject seems to generate them; bokeh, scheimpflug, and low-pass being examples. Lens makers have added their share, and have used the language shamefully in the effort to make a model name stick in the minds of potential buyers.

Would you know what a Distagon is? Or a Nokton? Or a Summarit? Are they small-vineyard wines? Diseases? Towns in Bohemia?

No - just maker's family names that describe either a lens formulation or an aperture that you can hopefully achieve. If you attach one lens to the front of another by means of a reversing ring or glue, you can get Summicro-Planars and Oresto-Heliars and I can assure you that someone, somewhere will try it. There will be no real purpose for this and no expectation of success and it will look manky and horrible but then so did the the 1979 Nissan...

One of the current rude blasts of the advertiser's trumpet is to alert us to the fact that a lens has an aspherical element in it - to improve the lens by reducing chromatic aberration most likely. A laudable thing, but it needs an explanation - most lenses have a simple curve on either side of their structure - it might be convex or concave as needed and the radius of the curve can vary but it is the same curve fro the entire surface.

Aspherical elements can have a combination of curves on that surface, and can bend light rays so as to plop the red, blue, and green rays at the same spot on the sensor. Of course the path of the light rays through the completed lens is complex and is altered each time it his another glass or air surface but aspherical element can mean a very high degree of resolution indeed.

But what if we are trying to be artistic and haven't a clue how to do it apart from wearing an earring and an exotic haircut? How can we get a lens that will make our career? The answer was surprisingly simple for a number of major lens makers.

The answer was to cut down on the amount of mounting resin that is used to put the raw glass elements onto the lens-grinding machine and to pour a bucket of hot water into the lubricating spray that keeps the grinders moving smoothly over the surfaces being ground. This is put in 4 minutes before the scheduled end of grind. The effect is to slightly soften the blank on the mandrel and let it slide out of position. The grinder therefore puts an series of odd shapes into the glass at the end of the process and as these elements are incorporated into the finished product, artistic effects are produced.

These artistic effects may be somewhat of a surprise to the artist but then surprise has always been a feature of great art. In the case of Edvard Munch I have always been surprised that he was not lynched...

So - what do you look for when you want one of the new lenses?  Look carefully on the box or in the instruction sheet for the words " unsymmetrical element". You will get what you want and what you deserve. Remember Munch...

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

We Say " Da " For To See The Camera Of Revolution! Here Is Now!

Comrades! Rise up in your thousands and stream into Camera Electronic today to see the newest recruit to the Film Revolution. Down with Boring Digital - Lomo has new cameras to lead proletariat  trend setters to fields of glory!

See first the Mighty Lubitel. Twin lenses of power - to view it is with the top one and to take picture it is with the bottom one and you may. Days of classic twin-lens reflex are not dead and is much film for this camera - we have black and white 120 and also colour negative and colour positive film 120. your creativity is not oppressed by forces of darkness!

Here too is the most unique camera in the Lomo range - and with Loma that is saying a very great deal. The new Belaire camera is 120 film for medium format 6 x6 and up to 6 x 9 format. TO pull it out you must and attach one of two lenses that are included. A 90mm lens and viewfinder for inconsiderable views and a 50mm lens and viewfinder to see the world. This is a camera of history as you will see it looking at older pictures of Plaubel Makina, but it is new and they have not stolen the Plaubel factory.

And lasting is the chance to be your own constructor with Konstructor - a kit to make an entire 35mm film camera SLR yourself. Every part is inside contained and instructions so that you can spend 1-2 hours producing the fine instrument. To decorate this are stickers also provided that your camera should be different from mine.

Now are these cameras here and you should be here as well to see them - we will show them gladly and as they are not of great expense you may take them home. No dacha should be without one.

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Jemima Is Waiting Here For You

Would the little person who forgot Jemima Puddleduck here in the shop - near the camera bag section - please return and take her home. She has seen all the cameras and lenses and bags and is getting rather bored by it all. She needs go home where she is loved.

Please ask your little person if Jemima is missing and give us a call.

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The DSLR And The UFO

Some little time ago we were shown photographs here at the shop of UFOs taken at a property here in Western Australia. The photographs were taken with a top-quality lens on a then-current DSLR - and it was a top-of-the-line model too. I was a little disappointed with the resolution of the alien craft - they seemed to be little more than fuzzy grey spots.

I can only surmise that the aliens were employing some form of force field to shield them from observation. Perhaps it was not working very well, hence the blur. One of the salespeople here suggested that this was just dust on the sensor but the photographer assured us this was not the case. I rang up the Air Force to confirm the sightings but they are a rude lot and rang off. And the language...

Just on the off chance that you are also seeing alien craft when you take pictures of a clear blue sky, make the experiment of also photographing a clean light grey piece of paper. If the spots are still there they are likely on your sensor. If the spots move it can be a sign that they are small movable particles that are shifting around on the sensor surface - perhaps moved by the sensor cleaning mechanism in your camera - or they are small bugs moving on the grey cardboard. Persist.

Just this week I sold a kit to a person for sensor cleaning that is made by Promaster. it consists of two wands with clear plastic gel pads on the ends - one is a large stamping block and one is a small pointy poking one. The soft plastic is meant to pick up particles from the surface of the sensor - you then transfer this to an even softer plastic pad to remove it from the wand. When the sensor is all clean, you wash the pads and wands in distilled water to get rid of the dust, put it away, and are good to go again.

I hope it works - we'll get a report from the customer in due time. I am not sure if the pads will remove real UFOs but at least they will go back to Betelgeuse looking a lot fresher and cleaner.

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Otto von Chriek - A Mentor For Our Time

As photographers we sometimes forget to honour our mentors. Particularly if they are in the same line of business as we are and we wish to pinch their clients. Wise members of the profession remain on cordial terms with everyone as this makes it easier to get a peek at their address and account books. Hint: learn the old detective trick of reading a document upside-down. You can pick up a lot of information by visiting your rival's studio and chatting to the receptionist.

Passing on from this, I wish to introduce Otto von Chreik to you. Followers of Mr. Terry Pratchett are ahead of me here, but for the rest, Otto is the staff photographer for the Anhk-Morpork Times. He is frequently asked to take pictures for the paper in the dim and flaring lamps of this bustling metropolis and as the imps inside his camera have limited eyesight, he has ben forced to use instantaneous light.

The method of this production is simple - he uses the open shutter method and has attached a small luxating salamander to a handle with a gun-lock mechanism that swings a hammer down on the unfortunate reptile. When this happens the salamander naturally emits a blast of light. The imp sees the subject clearly and paints it inside the camera. Simple.

Simple except for the fact that Otto von Chreik is a vampire and the intense blast of the salamander causes him to disintegrate into dust. Nothing left but a photographer's vest, a set of dark clothes and an abandoned camera. A severe career setback in anyone's terms - even the worst of the local newspapers hardly expect their staffers to vanish into fragments when taking social column pictures. Okay, they sometimes vanish into the pub or the toilet after taking a shot, but that isn't quite the same...

Back to Otto - as we all know from the literature vampires need a drop of blood to rise from the ashes. Contrary to some reports, it need not be virgin's blood - just as well, these days it is hard to find them. Oh you can find fake ones, but these are just the cover virgins...

So, Otto needs blood. To supply it, he wears a glass phial on a chain around his neck with 5 ml of fresh blood plus anticoagulant. When he disintegrates and falls to the floor, the glass phial breaks and he is reconstituted. A disturbing sight to see, but no more so than the average gallery opening party or promotional night for a new product. The Anhk-Morpork Times provides Otto with a box of phials so that he can cover several events per night.

Otto is a master of timing, as he only has one shot per picture. Science has yet to provide a reliable quick-action system of salamander-imp-phial so the concept of high speed motor drive is not really possible. And there is only so much reconstituting that Otto can take before he gets a headache.

Budding professionals would do well to emulate Otto. If there is one decisive photo for any particular occasion, it would be well to take...that one. Watch for the indicators of action and learn to recognise when you should release the hammer onto the salamander. Every camera has a time lag - even if you have turned off the autofocus and set the exposure manually. If the subject is moving fire off just before you see the peak of action and allow some time after this for the blood to seep into your ashes and you can get up and go away.

Funerary photographers have a little more leeway in this respect. And they generally need not use a camera that is fitted with live view.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Morning Has Broken

Those of you skilled in photo-interpretation may be interested in the image above. It was taken by a PRU Spitfire of 103 Sqdn this morning at 0850 hours at a height of 40 cm above the counter at 230 Stirlng Street, Perth.

The girls in the unit have identified the shrouded object  and feel that it might be one of the new Fuji X100s cameras. These are rare - they are generally only sighted in the hands of lucky enthusiasts and professionals who clutch them tightly and run away laughing.

We note that B&H in New York do not have them in stock...and if they did would extract something like 1500+ Australia dollars to get it to the customer here in Perth in a week. Makes the $ 1328 price here at Camera Electronic for something that you can take home this morning look pretty attractive...

The camera has won a number of awards and plaudits - as well it might with the dedicated new sensor and superb operation. The D P Review site has just published the complete report on it and given it an extremely high rating. This is not surprising considering the 70-some tweaks and improvements that have been incorporated into it. This is possibly the reason that the New York dealer is out of stock.

Still, here's one for sale fresh in its wrapping and ready to go right now. How long will it be here? We're open to 5:30 today....

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

First Customer Of The Day

If you are from China, you know the tradition of this in a shop. It is also a tradition in many other fields of endeavour - infantry assaults and photographic studios come to mind.

In the first instance - the shop - the traditional belief in many oriental societies is that a successful transaction with the first customer of the morning sets in train a series of events that will lead to successful transactions for the rest of that day. In many cases this may lead to a special price being offered to the first customer to secure the blessing.

A cynic might ask himself what a successful transaction consists of...profit for the shop or profit for the customer? Perhaps a bit of both is the best view - and remember that there can be several traditions in conflict in modern Australia. If I traditionally squeeze a nickel till the buffalo squeals it doesn't bode well for the first customer of the day.

Neither does it for the first customer in an infantry assault. When the first head pops up over the battlements it is generally greeted with a charge of canister, whereupon it is replaced with a different head. Remember this when you look in the door...

Photographic studios can also benefit from the first customer...but it is considerably less trouble than loading and sighting a 12 - pounder. If yo are going to set off a series of flashes to take portraits, the last thing that the sitter wants is for you to have to futz around with the strobes and light stands when they arrive. Do it beforehand so that your first shot is successful.

The most effective way to sight in is to use a model - but these cost money. You only have to pay this money once if you buy a life-size hatter's or hairdresser's dummy head and paint it in skin tone. Then you can position it and shoot away before the paying customer arribves. I inherited a child's hairstyling dummy - "Legless Lou " and she has served for years. if you get the eyes and the nose right on Legless it will be right for the sitter.

--> Camera Electronic: August 2013

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