Saturday, October 31, 2015

Yellow And Black And Money Back!


There is nothing quite as nice as getting money back...unless it is getting money back and a brand new camera and lens for the start of summer. The Nikon Australia people are keen exponents of the cash-back system and have come up with a list of goodies that will qualify for this deal.

Have a look at the cash-back offers here and come on down to Camera Electronic to see the goods in action. All of these cash-back offers go from the 1st of November 2015 until the 31st of January 2016 so you have plenty of time to get shooting and to contact Nikon Australia on the web for the money.

We start out with:

Nikon D3300 camera...............$ 100 cash back
Nikon D5200 camera...............$ 100 cash back
Nikon D5500 camera...............$ 100 cash back
Nikon D7200 camera...............$ 100 cash back
Nikon D610 camera.................$ 300 cash back

Now for the more compact Nikon cameras:

Nikon P610 camera..................$ 50 cash back
Nikon S9900 camera................$ 50 cash back
Nikon AW130 camera..............$ 50 cash back

And if you would like to step out with a complete new kit:

Nikon D750 camera and 24-120mm f:4 ED VR lens............$ 300 cash back
Nikon D810 camera and 24-120mm f:4 ED VR lens............$ 300 cash back
Nikon D610 camera and 24-120mm f:4 ED VR lens............$ 600 cash back

Please note these last three deals are only cash back if purchased as body and lens in one transaction.

Now is the time to jump into the quality of a Nikon camera and start to enjoy the benefits of the Nikon system. Your pictures have never looked so good.

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Friday, October 30, 2015

When Is A Soft Box?

When indeed. A question that might puzzle the ages - it certainly has received the attention of the manufacturers. Some of their answers are worth looking at.

We all know what a standard soft box looks like - we get the medium size square ones when we buy an Elinchrom D-Lite 4 or D-Lite 2 kit. Four metal rods, a funny-shaped ring, a black fabric pyramid , and a diffuser screen for the front. Clap it together and it does the soft-box look beautifully.

Big ones from this same manufacturer can come in octagonal, rectangular, or narrow strip configuration - the all have their own characteristics and they are all needed for certain classes of photography. You can even get generic ones from other makers that will fit the Elinchrom and some of them have umbrella-like self erection. Great for travelling with it.

Really huge ones are also made, but photographers contemplating putting these together need a will of iron, muscles of steel, and the language of a stoker on a bucket dredge. Once erected, they provide a buttery-soft light but when they are no longer needed they are better abandoned derelict rather than dismantled.

The subject of this column is the small versions that are intended to go on speed lights. Basically they are the same as the big ones only tiny in size...and to some extent that means they don't do what big soft boxes do. There just isn't enough light radiating surface to envelop the subject. If they do get that big, they are too big to handle. Catch 22.

All is not gloom - what they do is let out a blast from the speed light in a flat manner - no concentrating ridges on the front of the speed light lens and fewer hot spots. They are particularly good for catchlights in the eyes - not the sharp pinpoints of a bare flash and not the alien zombie look of a full-sized soft box. Now that you can get them from Metz in octagonal form you get much nicer eyes.

You fasten them on with elastic straps and velcro and they are sturdy enough to run at weddings or fashion show. There are rectangular styles as well as the octagonal and several sizes are made. Note the neat pack it all folds down into for transport. Try doing that with a 2mtr by 2.5mtr box...

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Stop The Screens!


News just to hand; Leica are releasing improvements for the Leica T camera ( Typ 701 ) via firmware update.

The Leica T camera system shares the same L bayonet as the upcoming Leica SL system camera - updating firmware will make it possible to operate the new SL lenses on the Leica T.

Customers wishing to bring the camera up to date can download the firmware version 1.4 from the Leica website at or come into a Leica Dealer and receive it as part of a complimentary service.

Note that you will shortly be tempted by a new Leica Summilux-TL 35mm f:1.4 ASPH lens in both black and silver.

A little further down the track you will also see the Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f:2.8-4 ASPH, the Leica APO-Vario_elmarit-SL 90-280mm f:2.8-4 and the Leica Summilux-SL 50mm f:1.4 ASPH.

Exciting times.

* Like STOP THE PRESSES! but updated for the digital era...

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Turn Off The TTL And Turn On The Light

Nearly all the flashes I own are TTL except for the ones that are not. And fortunately the ones that are can be switched back to manual control.

This may puzzle the newcomer to the sport - after all the Nikon, Pentax, Canon, Olympus, Fujifilm, Sony, and Leica people all make a great deal of telling us that their various flashes are TTL - indeed in most cases this mode is the default one when you switch the speed light on. There are lots of occasions upon which it is exactly the right thing to do and many people can rely upon it to give them what they want.

One of the joys, in fact, of demonstrating a modern Nikon or Canon flash to a first-time flash buyer is to put an SB700 or 430EXII onto their camera, glance at it to see that it is set to Auto or Program, TTL and AF, and then just point the thing at them and rip off half a dozen portraits right there. The TTL balances whatever the shop lights are doing and nearly everyone looks good. Done right, it is a sure seller.


Have a look at this picture taken at York on Sunday. I was in Brigg's York Motor Museum while the rest of the townspeople and tourists were out watching belly dancers and eating ice cream cones. No interfering crowds and plenty of time for experimentation. The car was a small Austin parked in front of a picture window with greenery outside.

It is nowhere near as good as the heading image - yet this darker view is taken with the flash on TTL and supposedly working in harmony with the camera. What I think it is doing is quenching itself too early based upon the backflash from the cowling of the Austin and thus not getting enough illumination out to the mid ground.

The heading picture was taken with the same shutter speed - this is dictated by the top synch speed of 1/180 sec on the Fuji X-T10 and whatever the outdoor illumination is going to yield for an f stop...and then the flash set to either full or half-power manual dump. The Fujifilm EF-42 is easy to control for this sort of selection - the Nikon SB 700 as well.

The top one is the picture I want. There are many of these sorts of situations - half-illumination with reflection - where the TTL mechanism does what the designers have told it to do but not what you would like it to do. Here's another pair - this time a Maybach-engined GP racer.

The top picture is the TTL version and the bottom the manual flash version. Note the plastic chain bears the same exposure in each but the manual setting has allowed more oomph to get further back.

Thanks to the York Motor Museum for the pictures and a fun afternoon's visit - rendered all the more enjoyable for being available on a senior's card discount.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

When You Don't Know The Right Thing To Do...

You are also in the happy position of not knowing the wrong thing to do. Provided you are not engaged in defusing sea mines you may have some leeway in experimentation. A lot of photography is like this.

Case in point: in the dear days of dinosaurs, Elvis, and Plus X film, 125 ASA was the giddy limit for sensitivity in photo emulsions - at least in the sort of films that they sold in the local drugstore and that I could afford. I was new to the sport and dutifully exposed the Plus X at exactly this meter setting ( and took a careful meter reading for each and every exposure - even when neither the light nor the subject ever changed...). I was rewarded with a set of ever-so-slightly underexposed negatives. Had I known to do it, I should have rated the stuff at 80 ASA and got more silver for my money.

Then again when I underexposed the Kodachrome II slides of the period I was a little disappointed with the dark colour but now that I can scan and subject them to PSE, I am more than happy to have the highlights.

This last weekend saw me running out with a new lens and camera and a new sense of adventure occasioned by retirement. I drank a beer in a country pub at 11:00 AM and spent the afternoon in a car museum. While I shot a number of the exhibits with the Fujifilm EF42 flash providing fill, I also threw caution to the winds and racked the Fujifilm X-T10 up to 3200 ISO and let 'er rip. I can report that the jpegs are imminently satisfactory and the freedom to just point and shoot is awesome.

Of course you all knew this before I did, and in the case of some of the bigger DSLR's you have been turning the ISO dial up to nosebleed numbers for years - but this is the handy dandy mirror-less game for me and I am starting to get excited. I suspect that if more people were to come into the shop and look at the Fujifilm X-series and some of the new lenses that have wide apertures, they would join the brigade.

Note: Heading image is the museum hall - this following one is of a new Morgan three-wheeler. The graphics are execrable but the vehicle is a delight.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hot Shoe - Cold Shoe - Flash Jack Again

Once upon a time there were glaciers covering the land and only cold shoes on cameras. Flash guns of various types were slotted onto these and the photographers then left to devise their own ways of synchronising the things - and there were any number of ingenious devices bolted onto the tops of Leicas, Niccas, Leotaxes, Contaxes, and Canons to do just that. Sometimes they worked.

Then a genius somewhere decided that spare dangling wires and delicate plug ends were unnecessary - the business of providing two contact points and a positive mate for a flash gun could be done at the base of the flash itself - as you slid the shoe on it made a connection for the electrical circuit. The flash might have been only on-camera but you could be pretty certain it would go off when you needed it.

Then the idea of firing a flash off-camera started up. First it was a length of insulated wire running from camera to flash - it was strong enough to trip you over in the dark and weak enough to break every other time. If you scored the trifecta you tripped, pulled the flash off its stand, and crashed the camera to the floor. Pretty soon people wanted wireless flash triggers - they got them with infra-red or radio signals and a bewildering variety of instructions on how to set them up.

For those of you who have an off-camera flash that needs only a stern command from the camera itself we can go no better than to suggest the Frio shoe. Simple, sturdy, and cheap. More pocketable than the flat base ones.

For those who need to mount a flash and somehow feed a wire to it - remember the trip and crash - there are a number of Promaster models - again simple and cheap.

For the adventurers who would like to slave one flash off another really cheaply there is a Promaster optical slave block.

And if you have gone and lost the accessory shoe that the Nikon or Canon people provided with their flashes - and we know you do lose them from time to time - there is a a Promaster replacement that does exactly the same thing. It is inexpensive enough that you can go and lose it too - we got more.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

In Praise Of Dull Days

Yesterday was a dull day. I am delighted to say. It was full of imperialist mayhem and murder but enjoyable withal.

You see, the bane of the outdoor event photographer - the sun - was veiled for the better part of the morning  by a cover of clouds. Not an unusual thing but the timing of this sort of meteorological assistance is never sure - you go to events prepared for battle.

Camera Electronic sells the goodies to fight the sun. Diffuser screens for portraitists, portable speed lights for fill flash, and battery-powered strobe sets for the more well-to-do. ( Who want to carry more break-the-back stuff on their treks...).  We deploy the light to fight the light and most times succeed - if not exactly overpowering the sun, at least mitigating the worst of the contrast.

Sort of a case of Saul vs Sol...

Well, yesterday had a high scrim of cloud that turned into a cover of cloud that turned into rain. There was little need for fill flash, though in some cases it made a nice gleam off the arms and armour. But there was one curious feature - the little cloud symbol for the WB that was meant to set the camera for cloudy conditions certainly worked but worked too well - the pictures made using it warmed up just that little bit too much. They had to be pulled back 800º k in the final computer work to render the scenes in a natural sense.

At the same time I noted that another friend using a different camera set to AUTO WB had little of this problem. I think I was trying to be too clever and Professional with a capital P.

Moral? Set the WB with ºK by all means but do a little investigation beforehand as to the best temperature. Now I know for my camera. What is best for yours?

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Worth Travelling To See - Steve Scalone And The Canon AIPP Awards

This is a column written in a fit of jealousy. The equivalent of an electronic tantrum. You see, one of our staff members got to do something and see something that I would have loved to experience....and I can only report it at secondhand*

The Digital Show has just finished in Melbourne. Our shop sent over a dedicated crew of sales people, stock controller, company directors, and the IT man - he's the one who is normally trying to figure out why the computer screen has gone all blue...It would have been a nice break for him to see other people's screens go blue. They showed Hoodman, Lens Coat, Cullmann, and lots of other goodies to the Victorian masses.

Aside from all this, the Canon company in conjunction with the AIPP holds annual awards for photographers upon a national scale. Camera Electronic was able to sponsor an award this year in the category of Australian Travel Photographer Of The Year - 2015.

This year the award has gone to Steve Scalone - a man based in Melbourne but who evidently travels world-wide for professional photography. Just how good he is can be judged by two investigations  - you can go to his website at:

or pursue the Canon AIPP web page that details this year's travel award. I googled both of them and am delighted I did. I'll pass over the commercial images from his site - though they are so good as to increase the fit of jealousy - and heap praise on the pictures presented in the travel section that garnered him the award.

They are imaginative - so far from the normal run of tourist shot as to leave reportage and enter art. They are colourful and powerful - even in the case of the snow shot that has no colour. They are perfectly timed -  look at the image of the brick towers. They are imminently rewarding.

Well, he got the award - Same Perejuan from our sales team was able to be present to see that - and he deserved it. And here is a picture taken by our Camera Electronic reporter of the actual hand over:

Yep. No picture. A shop full of cameras and people who know how to use them and...nada. Guys, next Digital Show take your blog columnist along with you. He has a camera and a memory card. And a case of jealousy.

* Well, we're licensed secondhand dealers...

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Stan Davies Is All Wet

Let me rephrase that.

Stan Davies frequently takes photographs whilst waterborne - he uses one of the most intriguing of the Nikon cameras to do this. During the course of these adventures he may become immersed. When he visits the shop he is dry - and dressed. All is well.

Now, Mr. Davies will be visiting the shop to tell people about the Nikon 1 AW-1 camera system and the explain about his upcoming workshop.

He'll be conducting the event over two days in the Margaret River region near the start of December. As it is to be on a weekend there will be an opportunity for a lot of people to travel to it. And it is to be somewhat unusual:

Attendees will be supplied a Nikon 1 AW-1 waterpoof camera for their use during the event.

It will be in and around water so attendees will need to bring their bathers - and i would suggest thongs as well.

Attendees will need to bring their own SD card and a small tripod  - and to arrange their own overnight accommodation in the area.

They'll meet at Russell Ord's studio on Saturday the 5th of December at 2:00 ( plenty of time to drive down from Perth on Saturday morning ) for a presentation by Stan on the Nikon1 AW-1 system. Then of for a sunset shoot with the information fresh in mind.

Next morning there's to be a practical class to put more of the watery knowledge to use and a hot wash-up conference after that - and still plenty of time to motor back to perth before he end of the day.

For $ 199 it's going to be a good photographic experience.

Anyway, come talk to Stan in the shop on Saturday the 31st of October and hear what he has to say about the camera and about the workshop.

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From Those Wonderful People...

Who brought you the M3 Leica.

They haven't stopped. Well, they haven't stopped making the M-series Leica cameras because there are a number of models of them in the shop right now, and an equally wonderful cabinet of lenses to go on them. Come down and buy a round dozen for the weekend...No, we're not talking about the M-series Leica rangefinder camera system.

We're talking about the new Typ 601 Leica SL camera - and the start of a new series of lenses for it. And also, surprisingly enough, the start of a lot of old series of lenses for it.

Okay - haven't seen one yet but here's a précis of 10 attractive points:

1. Its a mirror-less design with touch screen LCD and a very high-resolution eye-level finder built in.

2. Full frame sensor - 24 MP-CMOS.

3. No low-pass filter.

4. ISO 50-50,000.

5. Enough buffer to juggle 33 DNGs or 30 JPEGs and DNGs.

6. 4K video works inside plus smaller resolutions at a myriad for frame rates.

7. 2 card slots  for SD - one very fast indeed and one standard speed.

8. 4, 7, or 11 FPS on the continuos shooting mode.

9. Top LCD display with relevant shooting information.

10. Solid milled aluminium body.

As you are already at your computer reading this, you can rush over to D P Review and look at the images of the Typ 601 in their preview. There are also images of two of the lenses that will be made especially for this mount.

And here's the kicker. Leica realise that they have made a lot of other lenses in the past. Leica S, M, R, and T lenses come to mind, as well as the older screw-mounters. The T lenses will go onto the Leica SL straight away - Leica will make adapters to allow their other optics to be mounted on it. SO you are Leica all the way from early on to the future - you can participate in the current craze for a Hollywood movie series...

Leica have announced that the Typ 601 body will be on sale from the 19th of November 2015 together with the Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90 f:2.8-4 ASPH.

Looks as thought there will also be a big 'ol 90-280 lens and a 50 1.4 prime coming in 2016. - so save up your pop bottles and cans for the recycling works and make sure that you put a little away in the piggy bank in anticipation. This will be a hot camera.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Flash Jack From Gundagai No.1

Those of our readers who are puzzled by the heading are referred to any standard Australian folk song book. They will enjoy the Dog On the Tucker Box and Click Go the Shears and other such cultural achievements but would do well to keep in mind that folk songs are best sung out loud by earnest women in shawls and drunken men with beards. Anyone else risks being laughed at.

The flashes we are more familiar with are the on-camera pop-up variety and the speed lights that we slot into the top of the hot shoes. Studio flashes are referred to as ' strobes ' to make them sound more technical.

The humble speed light or portable flash is frequently used to  light portraits and events by separating it from the camera...and the photographer...and putting it on a light stand or tripod. Actual firing of the unit is accomplished with a cord, a wireless radio trigger, an infra red signal, or the power of the mind. The real secret of the portrait or event shot is holding the flash unit on the light stand and holding a photographic umbrella so that it catches and throws back the light.

Here's a Promaster unit to do just that. The thing will slot onto any standard half-inch spigot on a light stand and the clamp on the top grips the hot shoe foot of the flash. There is a hole down which you poke the umbrella shaft and all you need to do is draw out the umbrella until the flash fills it. Point the assembly at the victim and pull the trigger.

Here is the sort of result that you can expect from a small flash operating via the TTL method into a large umbrella. Eyes light up well, skin looks natural, and there is enough beauty modelling to make most faces look good.

The Promaster model is one of the better-made options for this and it is as cheap as. If you are doing group pics or photobooth shots you can avoid having to use a 42-light setup. You'll want a light stand and a TTL cord for your camera and flash but you'll be amazed at what the automation can do when you stand back and stop yourself from trying to channel  Ansel Adams.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Tide Has Not Yet Turned

Did goe to the Photomarkets this last Sundaye and was greatley entertained.

The day is always much the same - a crowd of sellers hanging off the door of the Leederville Town hall at 7:00 AM - and not getting to go in until 7:30. There is much vying for the front position but it is all folly - there are plenty of places to be had in the hall and no one corner has a better vantage point for selling than another. People may gravitate to a spot that they employed previously but the customers that flood in later in the morning will really scour every corner of the market place.

I had not participated for several sessions and looked to see if there were great changes in the goods being offered - a tidal replacement of old film goods with new digital items. For better or worse, I can say no - there were some digital goods of high quality on offer but the predominance was given to old film gear. Indeed there was a great deal of old cine gear there as well, with little prospect of any re-employment in the future.

I must not cavil - I was offering film equipment as well, and have to complement the passers-by for their courtesy and intelligence in examining it  - the questions asked were apposite and the enquirers seemed to know whereof they spoke. If it did not sell on the spot...well time may tell. At least people saw it.

And that may be really the only benefit for the Photomarkets in the future - unless someone is digging the roadside and strikes a main conduit of old Leicas and Rolleis, we are unlikely to see a flood of them on the Perth market. CE sees more of the good bits than the Photomarkets...and even CE doesn't take everything in.

Perhaps the markets can concentrate on more arcane bits. On previously unknown manufacturers or weird European and Oriental debris from the 50's and 60's. I don't think that people bringing in slightly aged digital software or clattering hardware from the 1990's have much of a chance of a sale - this isn't new enough to provoke desire or old enough to evoke nostalgia. Some manufacturers charged off in every direction but the right one at the time ( K....) and no-one wants to follow them. It will take a lot of time for the things that they made to gain the charm of old teacups or Matchbox toys.

One thing you can say for the Photomarkets - they have the best coffee and cake stand of any venue in Leederville. Choose your baked goods with care and you can eat very well indeed. You might not take off a photographic prize but you can get a better morning tea there than you can make at home.

Note to the custodians of the Leederville Town Hall: The next time you replace the light bulbs in the fixtures that illuminate the hall go for something that actually has a colour temperature. We don't mind which one but install something...the current globes hang over the tables like reminders of past sins.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

A ( Leica ) Walk In The Sun

Saturday afternoon in Perth used to be dead - the only life was in the cinema matinees and the pubs. How times have changed.

Disregarding the stores being open and trying to get more buyers - and the coffee shops and restaurants being open and trying to get more eaters - this last Saturday saw a dedicated band of photo enthusiasts following Dom and Dick on a Leica Photo Walk around Supreme Court Gardens.

The walk started at the Perth Town Hall with a volunteer guide - in case we got lost  - and  wended down to the gardens along  Barrack Street. For some reason it is fenced off but then it never was all that spectacular. Thank goodness they haven't moved old Forrest from the Terrace and even Ritter's Pole is still up - something for the visitors to picture.

A great deal of photography in this area is pointed up at various angles. Looking down is risky - you get to see the Elisabeth Quay development site in all its industrial glory. Perhaps it will be the subject of a Photo Walk when completed.

The gardens themselves are fascinating - who would have thought of fencing off a bamboo grove for the benefit of a raven. At least the enthusiasts who had smaller cameras had the benefit of macro shots and shady trees to give some punch to their pictures. And we cannot fault the work of the civic gardeners either - they had flowers at every corner of the area and no-one missed out on colour.

Note the picture of Dom using the M-series Leica. If you are going to stroll and bring home good images we cannot think of a more appropriate street  - or garden - camera.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Old Skool Rodz - And Old Skool Cameraz

Go to the magazine rack of any newsagency and look at the car magazines. Bypass the 4WD and luxury European sedans and look for the hot rod and street car magazines*.

Somewhere in there will be one that refers to Old Skool cars. The definition is a little fuzzy - they're talking about vehicles that are prior to 1966...mostly. And they are talking about American cars...mostly. And you can love 'em or leave 'em just as you wish - the point is that they are being loved by someone and used to their full capacity right now. If you see some of the full kustoms and low-riders they are being used to well over whatever the designers thought was capacity...

The rat rods are another feature of these publications. Not everyone has happened upon a car that can be re-built to factory specifications or prettied up into a show piece. Some old cars are just rusters and the best that can be done is to make them mechanically safe and turn a blind eye to the defects in the appearance. Some owners capitalise upon the look of horrible old steel.

Camera users might well take some guidance from this. If any of h clients of Camera Electronic fancy trips down Memory Lane with photo gear, the shop can provide the vehicles - in the form of secondhand cameras. For some buyers they might be re-living their youth with a camera that they had before. In other instances the buyers are re-living someone else's youth...taking a different Memory Lane than the one they have maps for. This can lead to problems.

If you fancy an older camera with the view that it will give you the experience of earlier times consider that some of those earlier times didn't yield very good pictures - particularly if the historic camera wasn't really a very good camera to start with. Cameras ain't wine - they don't mellow with age.

Also remember that the camera that functioned perfectly well in 1948 is now 67 years old. It may not work as well as it did. Hell, I was born in 1948 and I don't work nearly as good as I did...though I am still pretty to look at.

Finally - the support mechanisms that made the whole system work in the olden days ( Dragons, Elvis, and such...) is not there any more. You can't get your 620 Verichrome Pan developed at the chemist shop for 7/6. You can put modern emulsions through modern specialist labs at modern prices and get modern prints. You can search around for all the parts needed to develop and process and make your own little Rochester in your house - and God bless you for it - but if you need quick pics or lotsa pics it ain't gonna work. Trust me on this - I am typing this from a little Rochester that has been converted into a digital darkroom.

Old Skool is fun. Do it for fun. If you do it for profit expect your Memory Lane to be dark, unpaved, and dotted with potholes.

*FORGED is a WA publication and is well worth buying. Also anything from Koolhouse Publications.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Why Are Some K's OK And Some K's Are Not OK?

Because not all K's are created equal. OK?

You all know about the Kelvin scale of colour temperature measurement - named after Lord Kelvin - that measures the relative redness, orangeness, yellowness, blueness, and  eventual whiteness of light and strings it out on a numerical scale. The scale starts at 1, which is the colour and intensity of a mechanic's fingernails and goes to 10,000 which is he whiteness of sunlight as you come off a three-day bender and someone throws the window blinds open. I suspect Kelvin also had a scale for the screams as well.

Well, a lot of cameras skirt around this question by having automatic white balance programs in their software that measures the light, quantifies it on the Kelvin scale, and then gives you whatever the heck it wants to. If you include a dominant colour in your composition, it sometimes agrees with you and renders it accurately and sometimes argues the case by tipping the white balance over the other way to compensate for what it thinks is your error. If you are easily persuaded, you go along with it. Hey, it may not be science but it might be art...

If you are pedantic and scientific and people have started to get wise to your pictures of snowdrifts that look like a sort of a dirty peach colour*, you override the manufacturer's opinion and set the white balance following the manufacturer's preset WB options. Now you can get a light blue or green snow drift. If you snow drift is lit by a fluorescent tube you can get just anything...

Determination is the thing. Your camera probably has a custom setting for the white balance in graded steps of Kelvin degrees. Find it in the menu next to the pet smile option and dial in 5000ºK. If you are out in fictitious sunlight at 11:00 in the morning with the sun to your back and a chocolate-box landscape stretched out in front of you you will probably get a reasonable balance. Likewise if you are in a studio with a studio flash popping away at a X-Rite colour card held by someone who is a neutral colour'll get something recognisable.

But - modify that old sunlight with cloud, haze, chemtrails**, or advancing hours and it will get red or blue or orange or whatever - also if you are shooting in the studio you may discover that your beloved strobe units don't fire at 5000ºK.

I know - My studio lights fire at 5300ºK. Not a big difference, but enough to throw off some grey backdrops and some delicate colours. When I noted this happening I conducted a long test and look day and finally got the right number. I have it dialled in on a custom setting on the Fujifilm cameras and the whole thing now works a treat.

If you can't afford a big X-rite or an old McBeth chart get a Spyder ColorCheckr24 and make that do - you'll be glad you did in the end.

* Note peach coloured snow was common as winter wore on in Alberta. And there were worse colours as well...

** When I was a kid our chemtrails were maple syrup...

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Embargo Is Lifted

Start shipping the Cuban missiles to Russia and the Russian cigars to Cuba...No, wait...that can't be right...let me check the screen again...

Ah. I was reading the wrong screen. The embargo that has just been lifted was on the new Canon cameras and lens. Not too much detail yet, but here is a précis from the press release.

1. A new " M " series mirrorless camera is coming - the Canon EOS M10. Think of this one as a round-the-neck camera with LCD screen sighting and the EOS M series removable lenses. 18 megapixel APS-C sensor. DIGIC 6 processor And Hybrid CMOS  AF II sensor on board. 180º selfie screen, touch screen operation, and full WiFi operation makes for simple control. Shoots RAW ( Yay!) has a built-in pantograph flash, and any number of special assistant shooting mode to jazz up your pictures.

2. A new lens to accompany the Canon EOS M10. The lens has an unusually wide scope at the bottom of the range for a standard zoom - you start off at 15mm. As this is an APS-C camera thats 22.5mm in the old filmspeak and that means a really useful landscape lens. Most normal kit lenses start at 18mm ( 27 in filmspeak ) and the different angle of coverage is significant. If you are going to be a landscape shooter, seriously consider this.

The long end will give you 45mm - 67.5 in filmspeak - just about enough for a 3/4 portrait.
The lens has an f:3.5-5.6 maximum aperture and the STM motor means it is silent enough to make good videos on the Canon EOS m series cameras.

Image stabilisation is 3.5 stops. The diaphragm blades are arranged to give a circular aperture and therefore clean out of focus areas.

3. Don't care to change lenses? Pick up a new Canon Powershot G9X and go on holiday. this is an in-the-pocket camera with a20.2 megapixel sensor and a DIGIC  processor.

It has a front control ring to give you something to balance the hold and change aperture and shutter speed. Use the touch panel LCD to control a number of functions. Charge it with a separate charger or plug it into the USB port of your computer. Talk to the computer with the built-in WiFi.

3X optical zoom and a fast aperture mean you're shooting good things in bad light. And lotsa bells and whistles to make tourist shots fun.

4. Bigger? Like to have a round-the-neck camera with more zoom and a dedicated eyepiece? Canon Powershot G5X is coming. 4,2 X optical zoom with a wider wide point  and a larger aperture. Swivel LCD screen, full viewfinder, Manual control, and the same sort of easy operation with WiFi, touch panel and fun programs as the G9X.
A bit bigger hand hold, more external dials to access internal controls, and a super-convenient compensation dial for fine-tuning the exposure.

When they hit the shelves we'll let you know so that you can come down and play with them.

On an editorial note; looks like the Canon range of mirrorless cameras and dedicated lenses is taking off. But remember that adapters from Canon mean that you can clap all your other EOS lenses on the M cameras as well. You are not stuck for good glass.

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--> Camera Electronic: October 2015

Camera Electronic