Friday, November 28, 2014

There - That Bit Right There - That's The Bit....With Leica

Up the top. On the hot shoe. The flash.

That's the star bit on the new Leica D-Lux.

Okay, it has all the stuff that the previous post said and the lens is extremely impressive as it powers out - very steady. Never mind some of the optical conjuring tricks that you see on other brands - when this Leica lens comes out it is all business.

Note also that Leica have firmed up the detent stops on the aspect-contol slider on the top of the lens. No longer will you inadvertently slip off to 9:16 and end up with funny pictures....

But it is that little flash that gets the juices circulating. Those of us who use fill flash for nearly everything from Plymouths to post-mortems appreciate the extra distance from the lens axis that the flash tube assumes with this flash. It means less red eye and the light goes out easily past any lens filters or hood you may employ.

The flash derives power from the Li-ion battery in the camera so you don't need to keep hunting up AAA's all the time. It powers up fast - 4 seconds from cold camera to ready to go - and ever after it is ready as fast as you intend to shoot.

Slip it off if you want to slim the profile of the camera. There is a positive button latch to keep it on when it is mounted.

A sweetie of a flash. Leica probably want me to be all elegant and upmarket and exclusive when I describe it but it IS a sweetie of a flash.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

New Leica Model Just Arrived

The new Leica D-Lux - the typ 109 camera - has just arrived and is on display in the compact Leica cabinet.

You'll recognise the ancestry from the shape and the lens - this is the class of camera designated for travel and enthusiast compact work. You can feed computer, printer, or television with the output and the lens definition is superb.

The construction of the body is also superb - there is a fair weight to it as it is metal with precise controls set in comfortable positions. Very D-Lux like.

What is really new is the inclusion of a high-definition electronic viewfinder and a 4/3" sensor. Plus demountable flash, 4K video and WiFi.

You'll get Adobe Lightroom to help with your editing and a 3-year warranty to help with your confidence.

Come on down and see them.

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Contest Draws To A Close - Please Note The Time

Folks, we are sponsoring a contest for the best Western Australian photo in conjunction with the West Australian newspaper. There have been lots of entries but unfortunately a little confusion has arisen as to the final date to submit the pictures.

Some people though it was the end of the month but it turns out that it is really to be at the close of business today - November the 27th.

If you're fast you still have time to send in your best WA picture. it needs to be minimum 500Kb and in jpeg form. You need to caption it with your name and details and the place that it was taken.

All the photos will be judged by a professional and the winner will get a new Olympus camera with a triple lens kit - a very nice prize valued at $1000.

We're sorry for any inconvenience caused by this but we hope to see your picture.

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Spray And Pray With Hahnehuhle

Those of you who print out your images on inkjet paper for inclusion in physical albums are probably acutely aware of the need to select those albums with care. We all remember the toxic photo albums of the 70's and 80's that engulfed and digested our postcard colour prints. Sticky pages...if they were not sticky then, they are sticky now...the kind of precious family memories that you like to look through on a quiet Sunday when you are dressed in a HAZMAT suit. Talk about bombing out!

Well, before you fly to the closet and drag them out with iron hooks, consider that your current album may be better, but you are still subject to whatever he paper is going to do to the paper. And if you print large-size images for wall mounting you are exposing the surface of the inked paper to all the atmosphere can send - acids, smokes, cooking oils emulsified in the air, etc. Those prints need protection.

Well for years we have been selling cans of spray protection to very prestigious fine art printers here in Perth. They select the Hahnemuhle Protective Spray in standard cans. We don't keep the cans locked up because you can't really graffiti anything with them...

The spray will make an inkjet print highly water resistant, scratch resistant, and greatly enhance the UV resistance.

In stock all the time. Start spraying.

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Doing The Twist - With Hoya and Chubby Checker

Okay, we don't actually have Chubby Checker but we do have Hoya.

And if you don't know who Chubby Checker, the Peppermint Lounge, or the Twist were, there are classes in retro conducted at TAFE - we suggest you enrol yourself...

Any rate, this post is as a result of seeing advertisements on the net that miss out on one of the basic fundamentals of the business - when you need to show the pack you need to show the pack. Many times the lighting on the packs has been arranged to illuminate it but obscure the surface detail - the product isn't seen effectively.

The glare of reflected light off the surface is what is doing it - and the answer to the problem is as simple as buying a good polarising filter and keeping it one the front of the lens.

We sell lots of polarisers to landscape photographers who wish to darken skies, see through water surfaces, or correct colours outside under a blue sky. They use up a stop of light but clean up the scene remarkably. What the studio shooters may not realise is that these same filters can do a good job inside under artificial illumination.

The pack shots of a portion of my lunch are a case in point. The illumination box being used is a simple Optex Studio-in-a-Box rig. We sell them for $ 249 and they are magic for small,quick advertising illustration. There are two curly fluorescent tubes sitting either side of the box that shine though adiffusers. They generate enough polarised light themselves as to obscure details on shiny surfaces. Look at the side and front views.

Then look and see what happened when I put a good Hoya HD polariser on the front of the Fujinon lens ( X-E2 and an 18-55 ). Cleaner colour and clearer detail. As it is a studio setup with a tripod the extra exposure time makes no difference.

In a studio? Try a polariser.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Welcome To 1928, Comrade

Now is the time to make your five-year plan to advance the cause of proletarian photography. The Central Committee of Lomo have authorised the release of the Belaire X 6-12 to selected loyal party members...specifically the ones who have some money to spend. Camera Electronics have stocks of this.

The camera features provision for operation with 120 film and will deliver 6 x 6 pictures, 6 x 9 pictures, and 6 x 12 pictures. There are masks for these three formats as well as two view finders. Two lenses are included - a 90 mm and a 58mm.

A hot shoe has been provided on the top for flash shooting.

A light meter has ben incorporated for automatic exposure in the range 50-1600 ISO. You can shoot at Bulb exposure for long shots.

The camera folds conveniently into itself on a scissors movement.

Historical enthusiasts may wish to look at Plaubel Makina cameras of the 1920's and draw their own conclusions. New photographers will never have a better opportunity to experience the thrill of medium format film shooting than now - this Lomo is affordable and new.

It also has serious kewl value in student fraternities, though not as much as duelling scars...

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New GoPro In ShOp

We have just opened a carton of GoPro Her0 4 Silver cameras and put them out for sale. The box advertisement says that the usual mounts are included; standard housing, rechargeable battery, curved and flat mounts,three-way pivot arm, quick release buckles, USB cable, and Skeleton and touch back doors.

Of course you'll need to remember to purchase a Class 10 UHS-1 micro SD card to record on this.

It has a built-in touch display with speaker, a HiLight tag feature that lets you mark key moments while recording so that you can find them easily later, and ultra-wide glass lens, and 12 Mp capture. Thy've boosted the dynamic range of the audio recording and made arrangements for a WiFi and Bluetooth support when you have the GoPro App and a Smart Remote.

It's 4k resolution plus all the stations further back the line - 1080, 960, 720, etc. Heckuva long sequence capability with long exposures for night-time time-lapse work. Seriously, you can leave this thing working for ages and then play back whole days - rapidly. ( SOme of my days do that automatically...)

This is the latest of a long line of marvellous action cameras that have tempted Australians to do something dangerous and then replay it for their mates.

Kind of ironic when you consider the fact that they took away fireworks and Cracker Night for exactly the same reason. And they'll confiscate your EX SS FE KJ 100 Sports Luxury Gran Turismo if you drive doughnuts on the school oval. And the RAAF will shoot down your Dick Smith drone when you try to do touch-and-goes on the main strip at PEARCE...

Good to see there is still a bit of hoonfun available at an affordable price.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Rolls Royce Of Cadillacs - The Leica Lens

Home is the place where when you have to go there, they have to let you in.

Leica is the camera brand that when you finally have all the money you desire, they have something you'll want to buy. In this case it is the biggest brightest lens for the M series cameras - the Noctilux M 1:0.95/50mm ASPH. Even the name is superlative.

It is the lens for prowling dark nights. The 0.95 aperture has a depth of field of next to nothing at all but that next to nothing can be seen in a coal-hole at midnight. It is Otto focus if your name is Otto...otherwise you need to use the Leica M series rangefinder to zero in on the subject.

Be prepared for considerable weight - about the same heft as two diamond tiaras and a water bucket full of gold Patek Phillipe watches. Alsoe prepared to put a good filter on the front.

Your friends in the camera club will be envious of you. You will be able to ace the Street Photography Competition Night. You will be out so often at night that your family will assume you have become a cat burglar. Or a vampire.

And the best part is that somewhere there is a dedicated Leica team of designers and stylists who are probably working on an even bigger and heavier lens with an even fancier name. And their accountants are adding another zero to the price tag...

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Security Checks For Photographers

Having just been through Perth International on a flight to Singapore recently - and having been compelled to visit every stall in the fair as far as security checks went - I am conscious now of  safety and security of photo gear while in transit.

It is no longer sufficient to just wrap Neville the live python around  your camera bag and tell everyone to stand back. You need to lock it. To that end the Pelican people have incorporated a set of metal re-inforcements for their waterproof cases and you can order brass combination locks that have a long steel loop to slide into the holes.

The zippers on Lowepro bags are closed with runners that have matching metal loops - butt them together and put a little padlock in there. Or a nut and bolt, if you want to be cheap.

Finally, you might as well I.D. your bag with something that they can't tear off - the Think Tank ID tag has a metal cable attachment and metal tag. Engrave it yourself badly or get someone else to do it neatly  and it will save you arguing with someone at the luggage carousel.

Nothing will save you, however from the moment when the load finally exceeds the limits of the bag and it bursts like a bombshell. Even Neville has his limits.

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Cash Back On Lenses Starts Today From Olympus

This has been kept secret until now - they made us swear on a lighted candle while holding  a hedgehog in the right hand. But now it can be told.

Starting today and going until midnight on the 31st of January, 2015, you can get cash back on the purchase of new Olympus lenses.

There are a lot of lenses on the list for cashback - all the way from the 9-18 zoom to the 75-300 zoom - with the primes and short zooms and macro and all-in-one lens as well.

There are varying amounts of cash on offer - from $ 50 to $100 depending upon the lens. The redemption is done on-line and you'll need to supply the serial number and the number of your receipt. The money comes back to you from Olympus via your BSB number.

A few exceptions: lenses that are purchased as part of a kit with an Olympus PEN or OM-D camera won't qualify for the cashback.

Other than that, this is a great opportunity to add some glass and get back some dosh.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Studio Organiser Tree From Tamrac

Whenever I read the phrase " Organise the studio" I smile. I own a studio. I know the truth.

Nevertheless, for those who wish to clean some of the clutter up off the floor and hang it conveniently on a light stand, please consider this discovery from the trove of old stock.

We have two of them - they cost $ 20 each. They slot over a regular stand and hold 21 accessories or whatever on the side loops. Probably be heavy if you are hanging clamps and things off it, but a clever idea nevertheless.

If you have a studio cat, expect to find it half-way up the thing when your back is turned.

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Three - Layer Sandwich From Voightländer

This device has three layers.

The front layer is Leica M-series mount.

The middle layer is Voigtländer.

The back layer is Sony E-series mount.

The side ring says it is a VM-E Close focus adapter but when I combined a Leica 50mm Elmar lens and a Sony A 6000 camera I got infinity focus looking east towards Bulwer Street. I initially thought that this was just the effect of Bulwer Street...

But then I noticed a small red tab on the side of the adapter - once triggered, it allows the ring to screw open to provide the effect of a small extension tube. VERY useful for the Leica lens user who dos not want to haul boxes of gear to capture flowers and insects.

Well-made in Japan.

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Speed Up - Fine Focus - Mighty Macro - The New Fujifilm

Did goe to a lecture laste night at Shoot Photography and was greatley entertained*.

The exposition was of the new Fujifilm X 100t camera and a gentleman who has been using it as a street-coverage camera in New York recently. While he has used other cameras in the past to do photojournalistic coverage and advertising work, he used this new little compact to make a series of images about a young skateboarder. Significantly, he used the Classic Chrome setting in the camera to give a richness to the colours.

Well, it worked. The reds in particular were really slide film reds. And the output in large fine jpeg was so detailed that it could be run straight out of the camera onto a large wall print. I suspect that Fujifilm are the jpeg kings in photography right now.

Playing with the camera after the show, I was using it as a fast-capture shooter at 3200 ISO. That's the image heading this report. Literally point and shoot and a snap focus that left no time for the wildlife to become alarmed and scatter. The colours are exact. Jpeg. Just as fast as that. Faster than my X 100 by far.

The other experiment is putting something under the macro this morning. Logic tells me that the lens is the same as my X 100 and the macro should be the same but the new configuration seems to be faster focusing and closer. Perhaps it is my imagination, but this sort of performance should be seriously considered by all those people who go out to take orchid pictures in the gloom of the forests. That is seriously good shooting at 3200 ISO and might well obviate the need for strange flash set-ups in the field.

The cameras, in black and silver versions, are in-store now.

*While the guests watched the slide show the staff made inroads into the beer and sandwiches. No-0ne said we had to be stupid...

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

New Fujifilm Camera Tonight

Tonight we are running one of our show-and tell evenings to do with the new Fujifilm X 100t camera. This is the latest evocation of the X-100 - one of the niftiest travel and street cameras to come out from any on in the last 3 years.

I am a fan of the X 100 series as I own one that I paid for with my own money and have upgraded the software regularly. The recent holiday to Singapore proved its worth...and I suspect that the new X 100t will be even better.

Come along and see - there is a film maker and photographer visiting us to explain how well he does with the Fujifilm system.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Step On This - Samigon And Fujifilm

In the dear old film days I used to take selfies. It was hard to do and took a lot of time to process and there was no internet. But you could nail them onto telephone poles and annoy the neighbours so it all worked out in the end.

The 35mm cameras were easy - nearly all the better consumer types had mechanical self timers built into the bodies. You flicked a switch or wound a lever, pressed the shutter button, and ran around to the front of the lens and looked distinguished and elegant. In 10 seconds.

It was a bit harder to do with the studio monorail camera or the wooden field camera because the commercial shutters on the lenses had no "V" setting. ( V was the universal code letter for self-timer. Don't ask...). The best solution was one of the air releases similar to the one in the heading image. You attached it to the cable release socket, paid it out over the studio floor to the selected position, commenced looking distinguished and elegant, then stomped on it.

The air bulb shot pressure through the line to the piston and it pushed a rod down into the cable release socket. With a bit of luck you only had to look good for one second - not 10.

You can still do the same thing with cameras like the Fujifilm X-E2 and X-100t - they feature a good old fashioned cable release socket as well as electronic sockets at the side for switched releases. Selfie heaven.

Actually, if you think about it, I'll bet there would be a market for an electrical switched release that you could put on the floor for stomping...but until then, the Samigon Stomper is here.

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Eye Candy From Olympus

There is no excuse for this post save the pictures. The camera shown is the Olympus E-M1 - a mirror-less system camera of superb quality - in this case fitted with a prime 25mm lens.

The mathematics of the micro 4/3 system mean that this lens has the equivalent field of view of a 50mm lens on standard 35mm camera - what we used to refer to as "normal".

As I have gotten older I have realised that the land of "normal" is getting smaller - the borders shrink each year. They have taken down the barriers and shut the customs house. You can freely cross into it and out of it without showing a passport or bribing the guards...

Nevertheless, if this focal length corresponds to the angle of view with which you regard the world, then this is a very, very good optic to do it with and an equally good camera to record those observations. There is a school of thought that says you should put it on to the camera when you buy it and never take it off. Here at the shop we would prefer it if you would buy about half a dozen different lenses and change them frequently...but then we are a commercial enterprise...

The camera looks like a film camera, which it is not. The digital programs inside it are of the latest and the results are all you can ask for - photo-quality prints to A3+ size. The body and lens form such an attractive visual whole that you might well be stimulated to take it out and use it at every possible opportunity...just to see it.

Eye candy.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Grey, Glossy, And Great - The New Graphite Silver Fujifilm

I knew something was different from the outside of the package - Fujifilm boxes for the X system are normally all black with white lettering. This one was grey-silver gloss.

Turns out, so was the camera inside. It is the new Fujifilm X-T1 in graphite silver finish. Same great X-T1 performance but a new style note.

This should resonate with Perth's SUV and 4WD drivers - they favour silver and dark grey as well. Mind you, the Fujifilm camera does not have a roo bar or fishing rod holders on the front or a tow ball on the back...but these cannot be far away.

I shall look forward to having one loom up in the rear-view mirror one day on the way to work.

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Classic Chrome Comes Back - With The New Fujifilm Camera

I have been cautioned to be careful how I write about the Classic Chrome setting in the new Fujifilm X 100t camera. Something about not mentioning a company that used to make a colour transparency film with a name that ended in "chrome" but have ceased making it...while still employing a number of patent lawyers who might be looking out for something to occupy the winter months...

Okay. I won't mention them. I'll mention a firm that STILL makes colour slide film with a name that ends in "chrome" - Fujifilm. You can get fresh, cold rolls of Velvia and Provia any time you want from our film fridge. And I can assure you that they are indeed "classics".

Back to the new camera. This post has two pictures taken with the new camera set to "Velvia" and "Classic Chrome". The CC is obviously less saturated than the V but then one would expect that. There are deeper tones in the shadows. It does indeed look a lot like something I have been warned not to talk about from a company that may still have the lawyers on speed dial - I know because I have a large collection of colour transparencies that may or may not have been made by this mystery company in the 1950's and 1960's...allegedly...and I know what it looks like.

Apart from all this chromatic mystery, I must commend the Fujifilm company  for making the new X 100t so easy to use in the macro mode. I am used to firing my X 100 at close-up subjects but this new version is much faster focusing and a lot easier to set up. I would thoroughly recommend it for the wildflowerists amongst us - a perfect fill flash answer for belting around the bush bothering the begonias and beetles.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Flying To See The Locals With Fujifilm

There have been no posts from this blog for the last two weeks - the writer was on holiday.
He flew to Singapore with his daughter to find out what the city/island/nation is like.

It is very nice. Very, very nice. And it proved an eye-opener as far as travel photography goes.

To start with, I asked about the layout of the place - whether I would need long lenses or wide angles. As it is an urban environment, the wides won out. Then I asked whether there was electricity there( !...). That was not just to be silly - I needed to know if my chargers would work, and whether there was a lot of external lighting at night that would obviate the need for an external flash. In the end I chose my Fujifilm X-100 camera with a spare battery and my Cullmann 622t tripod - as basic an outfit as you could want. Even with the additional WCL-100 wide angle adapter I carry the whole thing made a very light pack.

Okay, I walked around. I marvelled at the Art Deco buildings. I visited the Peranakan Museum. I shot on RAW + small jpeg. I used the Cullmann for selfies and panoramas.

And I went to the Jurong Bird Park nocturnal house. Turning the flash and AF assist light off, I was able to wander through the darkness and find the sharp edges of the railings with my shins. But by turning the ISO up to 6400 and the aperture to f:2.0, I was able to capture the owls in their stygian gloom. I literally could not see the birds - but the Fujifilm X-100 did.

So - with the advent of an even better Fujifilm X-100 camera...the X-100t...I think travellers would be well advised to consider it as their camera of choice. We'll be having a Fujifilm X-100t show here on Thursday after work, so pop along and see it in action.

Uncle Dick

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