Friday, January 29, 2016

Reading Between The Lines - Looking Between The Cracks

Making up weblog posts from press releases is like making dinner from bread that has already been baked; it can be stale or fresh but is still has the structure of breadcrumbs.

Not that I am complaining- I like breadcrumbs provided they are coating a Wiener Schnitzel or fried Fraser River Smelt. Now before you go poking off to see what is in the refrigerator, consider a little snippet that was in DP Review on the 15th.

Fujifilm announced the new X-Pro2 camera and detailed the wonders thereupon. I want one...I want one badly...but I can't have one because I don't have enough spare Fujifilm money at present. So I am going to console myself with one of the other products that was announced...but might have been missed.

Fujifilm have finally released news of a real professional flash for their X-System. It's in the DP Review page now. They've needed one for ever so long - and while we X-Flash shooters can make do with the EF-42 in TTL mode and various old Metz CL-1 flashes in manual or automatic - we really have not had as good a run as the available light shooters. I know - I've got 2 of the EF 42 in operation.

The new flash is bigger and sturdier - and more capable by a long way. Indeed, users of Nikon or Canon flashes will recognise some of the features that it offers and agree that they are essential - they've been using them in their respective systems for a long time.

The Fujifilm EF-X500 flash will have two tubes - main and fill - and a guide number at 100 ISO of 50/164...which means more power out the tube and we can finally retire the old Metz. it has a metal shoe and lever lock as the N and C flashes do, and a simple set of buttons and a rotary dial at the back to to the power settings. TTL, Manual, and repeating flash. It will synch to 1/8000 with the X-pro2 .

4 AA cells, of course, and Fujifilm mention a battery supplement pack as well. It will fire as master or slave and in manual will dim down as far as 1/512 power. You guess is as good as mine what that will do but someone will think it is wonderful. You can dial 5 stops of flash power so it really will replace the Metz. And it will do up to 3 flash groups.

At last a professional unit. I am hoping it will have a tougher swivelling mechanism for the head than the present EF-42 has. he use of a Gary Fong Lightsphere is great but the weight of it causes the EF-42 head to fall over - you are constantly propping it up. If the new one has the same lock as N or C we'll be sweet.

I don't expect to see it before March at the earliest so I'll get some more use of the EF -42's. But when the new one hits us...Oh Boy!

Heading Photo: Yamina. Small size - big show!

Pre-orders available at $200 deposit, final price of the camera $2549 and we will also throw in a free spare genuine Fuji battery.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Clarendon - Not Just A Hotel...

Boy, was that a surprise. I Googled up Clarendon thinking there was just one. They're everywhere!

Well the one on the top of this page is the one that Camera Electronic favour - because we have them for sale. They are a leather organiser pouch for travel necessities and photographic accessories.
And what quality grained hide with no raw edges.

Lined and compartmentalised for memory cards, batteries, business cards, notepad or mobile phone, pens,and travel documents. If you were travelling very light, this and one camera would be your hand luggage on the plane. You could enjoy yourself immensely watching others struggling down the aisle sideways to their seats and then trying to hoist shopping bags full of Wright-Cyclone aero engines and scrapped battleships into the overhead locker. If you elect to do this practise your sneer in the bathroom mirror for a week to get it right.

This is heavy leather - this thing will not wear out. It won't escape either, if you loop on the wrist strap before carrying it. You'll be using it for decades. Explore the Ona range online.

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Okay, now listen up....

The funny aspect of the products we sell at the shop rarely jumps out at you quite as readily as you might think. Oh sure, we've all giggled at a telephoto lens or had a silent smirk at a tripod, but rarely does the actual product make a deliberate joke - photo equipment manufacturers are a dour lot.

Not so Think Tank, apparently. I was first alerted to their pixie sense of humour when I looked at a sales tag that they attached to a large backpack. It showed showed someone getting a dink on the back of a moped up some godforsaken pit of a road in the back of nowhere. A scene of desolation and horror, but they are good back packs.

I think they have a theme going on - they sell shoulder bags with some chap in a red target jumper in front of a line of riot police. Whackoh...

The guy tapping out War And Peace on a laptop next to a cow skull is particularly intriguing. I mean, who wouldn't?

But my new favourite is the little label inside the Urban Approach 5 that I picked up today. the bit that sits over the flap near the velcro holders. The one that stops the velcro from working so that you do not get that Skkkriiiitch sound when you open the bag. A very useful feature on a very useful bag - just the thing for the mirror-less system traveller.

The label says " Sound Silencer " and it works well...but when you think about it there are only two things that can be silenced...witnesses and sound...

Hear, hear. Or not-hear, not-hear, as the case may be.

Now to stop laughing at them - for they are very sensible designers with their Velcro - they sew it on a flap that can be accessed easily. Velcro does not Vel for ever - it wears out. When it goes, you can get another bit from Spotlight or Textile Traders and sew it back over the spot. Fixable, not binable.

West Australia's largest stockict of Think Tank! Take a look on the online shop

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Is There Anything Quite So Awkward...?

I took my Fujifilm X-T10 camera along to Christmas lunch at the Pan Pacific Hotel - as part of my new policy of taking it everywhere.

I was not disappointed as it captured the fun of a good day out beautifully. I just set the ISO to Auto 2 ( ISO from 200-1600 ) and pressed the button. The self timer yielded the heading image. AUTO was also a good choice when other family members took it for their shooting.

But what a contrast for the rest of the luncheon crowd. Santa was in attendance and several families wanted to record his visit - nearly all of them had opted to bring their mobile phones with the tiny little lenses and sensors in them or the equally awkward tablets. Every time they used them it was two hands and a napkin needed and about a half a minute of trying to position the screen in front of both themselves and the target before they could get the things to shoot.

Just as well Santa was a patient visitor.

I think the fumbling ergonomics of using a mobile phone instead of a camera completely negates any benefit they might have seen in taking only one item. And the idea of using the otherwise useful tablet as a camera? It has the handling of a baking tray.

Folks, small cameras are small Cameras. Compacts can be really tiny and mirror-less are compact enough for any sensible person to carry - and their sensors do far more than the phones. Don't believe all the mobile retailers try to tell you about photography. Panasonic, Olympus, Fujifilm and Sony know better.

PS: Christmas buffet lunch in the grown-ups room of the Pan Pacific Hotel is glorious. Eat till you bust and drink till you leak. Elegantly.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

$ 140 Or So Getsya

It gets ya either :

a. 12 months prepaid Lightroom and Photoshop on the Creative Cloud system. Good deal when you have internet access and want to do the more extensive image editing that PS is known for. You'll need to do a little more study and practise with PS than with PSE but the results acan be more controllable for some people. Of course Lightroom may be all you need for 95% of the images that you take - if you don't need to get out the electronic scissors and paste pot them LR is the go.

b. One-time for always purchase of Photoshop Elements 14. A slightly less complex version of Photoshop with enough processing power for most amateur and enthusiast users. capable of exhibition or self-publishing standards, though. This blog and many others depends upon PSE processing.

These products, like so many others these days, are available via internet downloading with the appropriate licensing numbers. We sell the cards for this, and for a number of other Adobe products, at the front counter. Some of the other things are quite extensive - ask our experts for advice about your level of processing.

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Ah, Now I Cee - With Nikon

Was puzzled there for a few days at a press release from the Nikon company - makers of digital cameras, lenses, binoculars, and microscopes for those who may not have encountered them before. Well-established company...

Well the press release touted new standard kit zoom lenses for the Nikon DX camera range. It mentioned 18-55 mm f:3.5-5.6 G lens types both with and without a VR mechanism included and it used the prefix AF-P.

Prior to this the prefix for seemingly similar lenses was AF-S...and this is a term that appears a lot in their lens range. It is always worthwhile noting the letters and numbers in Nikon's coding system because none of them are put there indiscriminately - they all mean something. So what did this change mean?

As I mentioned, the lenses in the promo picture looked like their predecessors - Nikon fitting ( naturally...) polycarbonate mount, large zoom ring, collapsible barrel, etc. Quite nice looking aesthetics. And the press release showed results from them - again just what we would expect from a top-quality kit zoom*. Where's the beef?

The change is on the inside. The motor that operates the focussing mechanism is now of the new "stepper" variety. Like the STM motor from their long-time rivals, this new motor will do the focussing faster and more quietly. This will be good to (not) hear for still photographers but be particularly pleasing for the video shooters - one less intrusion into the sound track.

I expect these new lenses will slot right into the Nikon line for the DX camera range - you may see them in the lighter bodies. I believe Nikon will have another new kit zoom for their new D500 but that will be another press release.

* Kit zoom is the best value for money for soooo many shooters if they would only realise it. Almost suggests that there ought to be an annual contest in one of the big photo societies for pictures taken with a kit zoom to show people how good they are. Hint. Hint.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

The Tough Camera

Sorry about the header photo slipping into the body of the column. Typing this on an iPad, folks, and it doesn't behave like the iMac...

The Olympus people will be happy with me for putting the word 'tough' in the title of this blog post because one of the ranges of camera that they make also bears that name. And as they have just introduced a new model of that range - the TG 870 - they get a double boost for the device.

But remember that 'tough' is also an adjective as well as a nominative and it can be applied to many things. People, cameras, and in the case of some cheap hotels...the steak dinners. Chew on that, but ask for the Diane sauce first...

The Olympus people have armoured their Tough cameras with metal bodies, waterproof seals, and complex locking mechanisms for the various access doors. As they have included a fashionable 180º flipping LCD screen on the camera for the underwater selfie, some of the ruggedness is reduced when the screen is swivelled off the body - but then that same caveat applies to every other maker who has a moving screen. If you is clumsy you can tear off anything, as I can atttest by personal experience.

Olympus have gone several steps further in their armouring - you can add a silicon jacket to the camera to cushion shocks and preserve the swish aesthetics of the stylish body. You can encase it in a further dive housing and go further down in the ocean - down deep enough so that you have to know precisely what you are doing and do it well if you are to hope to come up again...

But here I leave them and dodge off to another brand - the Fujifilm system I use myself. They have underwater cameras too, though I have not used them - I am thinking of land-based shooting. Here I have also seen the need for toughness and have taken the step of encasing my X-Pro1, X-E2, and X-100 in cast aluminium cages.

The cages have an augmented handgrip on the right side, Arca-Swiss sized rails on the bottom and the left hand side, and lots of 1/4" attachment holes on the bottom. They block the camera body from physical harm on 4 of the 6 faces and I reckon a little inspired shop work could extend that to all sides. They are not a regular item in shops - you seek them on eBay but they are cheap for what they do and of very good quality. Of course the toughness is only one aspect of it - the augmented grip and the Arca mounting into a standard tripod is equally as useful.

I can thoroughly recommend the concept for users of other systems and as the Chinese
makers do nearly everything on CAM machines nearly everything fits.

One idea that we saw years ago does not seem to have been as good - the rubber armour for the DSLR. I suspect the propensity of these sort of sheathes to retain dust and moisture spelled more danger to the cameras than they prevented.

Available for Pre-Order online 

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

I Mean...What's The Point?[search][text]=eizo&catalog[sort][on]=relevance&x=0&y=0


 What's the point of taking a picture of these two EIZO screens on the rack at the back of the shop?[search][text]=eizo&catalog[sort][on]=relevance&x=0&y=0

They just sit there day after day. They both look the same. They never change. All you see is the same colours on each one of them and they just keep coming up the same every time...the images cycle through and they look just alike. Day after day after day. I mean, what IS the point?

That's the point.

 Explore Eizo range and their Cashback selections at cameraelectronic

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Mirror-less Strap According To Peak[name]=Peak-Design-Slide-Sling-Strap-%23SL-1-peak-design&catalog[product_guids][0]=1167655

Mirror-less cameras are becoming a way of art for a lot of us. Some choose them because they want a lighter package to carry - some choose them for the quick handling - some for their unobtrusiveness. I love mine for the vibrant jpeg images that shoot straight onto the web page.

Every manufacturer of a camera gives the buyer a camera strap in the package. But many buyers shy away from these and look for aftermarket ones with special features - thus the Peak Design" Leash ".

Is this a good one for you to take your mirror-less camera for a walk? Well look at the details:[name]=Peak-Design-Anchor-Links-%23AL-1-peak-design&catalog[product_guids][0]=1167785

The snap-on camera connector that can be detached from the main strap for packing or studio use. Those Kevlar cords are internally coded so that if you ever do wear the tough little things out they give you a yellow and then a red signal for replacement.

The strap is slick premium-quality webbing with an adjustable buckle in the middle.[name]=Peak-Design-Anchor-Links-%23AL-1-peak-design&catalog[product_guids][0]=1167785

The camera can be attached by its integral lugs as per the regular maker's strap or you can opt for the Peak quick release plate on the bottom surface of the body. This in turn can mate with Peak belt docks or Manfrotto tripod quick release shoes. If you need to carry the camera body at an odd angle this strap will mate to it.

And it is narrower than the full-size DSLR strap.

In store & available on our online shop now with the other fine Peak products in our bag and strap section.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Out On The ( Bolton ) Street With Ona[search][text]=ona+bolton&catalog[sort][on]=relevance&x=0&y=0

The ONA company seems determined to rewrite a number of the designs for camera and equipment bags with a stylish pen - the Bolton Street back pack is one example.[search][text]=ona+bolton&catalog[sort][on]=relevance&x=0&y=0

The pack you see here is in tan waxed canvas though there are examples available in smoke grey or black. The basic design does not vary - side access for camera gear and internal space for a 13" laptop. The whole is sewn with fierce water shedding seams and flaps and a a padded and vented back piece.[search][text]=ona+bolton&catalog[sort][on]=relevance&x=0&y=0

As with other ONA products there is good quality leather used in areas prone to wear. Good quality strapping and padding material too - this is not a bag that will be wearing out in a year. It is designed to go into poor environments while keeping your camera gear safe.[search][text]=ona+bolton&catalog[sort][on]=relevance&x=0&y=0

Now you pay for it, of course, in weight and dollars, but the fact that it is such a customisable design means that even if you change your mind about major equipment and run off to another system, you can adapt the compartments to fit.

You also get some personal space as well as the DSLR room. Full range available at

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Come And Fiddle With The Sony Cameras - Make A Little Photographic Music!

Rental Man and Rental Girl - aka Thomas and Evelyn - have activated the Rent-Signal for the photographers of Perth. Flashing above the skyline, it has signalled the availability of some of the most sought-after Sony full frame gear.  Now you can try the new mirror-less system and see if it will be your future!

The stocks avaiable for rental include the following:

Sony A7s Mk II body
Sony A7r Mk II body
35mm Zeiss lens.
70-200mm lens
28-135mm lens
90mm macro lens
16-35mm lens
24-70mm lens
55mm Zeiss lens
Metabones adapter for Canon mount

Come on down to the RentCave ( the back counter at 230 Stirling Street ) and bring your credit card and identification - let Rental Man and Rental Girl put you out on the street with Sony's finest.

Nananananananana. Nananananananana. Rental Man!

Email - 

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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Yallingup Without The Surf

If you fancy a trip down south to talk photography with the AIPP people, it looks as though the 22nd and 23rd of February are the dates to aim for. They are calling it the South West Summer Sessions and organising it at Caves House, Yallingup.

Those of you who have been there know it for a rather magnificent resort of the 20's and 30's associated with the Yallingup caves and beaches and boasting a pretty magnificent period decor. They are turning on a number of high-poewered speakers for the two days as well as trade displays and professional workshops.

This is an eat, greet, listen, learn, schmooze, and develop Monday and Tuesday with David Dare Parker and Martine Perret. You'll be challenged by talks on photojournalism. business development, and creative thinking.

They'll feed you well - all day at various times - thought their flyer does note that the prices do not include accommodation - you book that separately with Caves House or other hostelries in the area. There is always sleeping on the beach but the bugs can get a bit much in summer.

They are running Earlybird prices for people booking between now and January 31st - don't neglect these as you can save yourself $ 100 by doing so. The price structure is:

Earlybird - AIPP Member $ 400,  Non Member $ 600, Student $ 180

After February 1st - Member $ 500, Non Member $ 700

Book Now - Summer Sessions - AIPP

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Here's Very Big News From Fujifilm

But the very big news is not in a very big package - in fact it is more compact than you'd think.

The Fujifilm company has just released their Fujifilm X-Pro2 camera - the newest component of their award-winning mirror-less camera system. It joins the other fine cameras and derives from the original Fujifilm X-Pro1.

People familiar with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 know that it has a unique X-Trans sensor that delivers extreme sharpness and very rich colours. The New Fujifilm X-Pro2 continues this performance and improves upon it with 24 Megapixels resolution. The new sensor is referred to in the literature as the Trans CMOS III. It is paired with the X-Processor Pro digital engine to put out even better images.

Looks as though the designers at Fujifilm have looked into the past of camera design to see what features people really need and appreciate, and they have placed some of the controls of the new camera right where we always wanted them to be.

For example: The ISO setting for many film cameras was found as a small window dial in the shutter speed control. Fujifilm (and I...) think this was a great idea to eliminate one more menu control. Here it is back in the right spot with great precision. Yay!

Fujifilm (and I...) thought that photographers needed more of a grip on the right hand side of the camera. They put on a bigger grip. Yay!

Then they thought whether the Fujifilm users would like a small front control wheel just under the right forefinger - and we would. Yay, again!

The shape of the X-Pro1 is there - perhaps a tad sleeker - but the functionality hasn't been compromised a bit. Full TTL hot shoe operation? PC socket on the side for studio flash? Thumb button to steer the AF points about? Don't mind if I do! And I'm guessing the battery will be the W 126 so we don't have to swap things over. Yay, indeed!

Now we'll be having a lecture/demonstration/hands-on by a very famous press and journal photographer to let us see what this new camera can do. Adam Ferguson has had numerous covers and editorial pictures accepted for Time,The National Geographic, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and many others. He's exhibited his work in Houston, Los Angeles, Sydney and numerous other places. He's been shooting the shooting where the shooting is going on and knows how to do the photo business. When he comes to talk to us it will be well worth looking and listening.

Our Facebook and email contacts will be able to tell you when thus will be - the small press release doesn't nail it down yet. Suffice it to say this will be red-letter day for street shooters, portrait shooters, press shooters, and one old hot rod shooter.

And the wonderful thing about the Fujifilm X-System...? We don't have to get rid of any of our old gear! It all fits together seamlessly! But come in and buy a new Fujifilm X-Pro2 anyway - because Camera Electronic can do that! Yay!

* Heading Image: Delightful profile of new body and new lens.
* Tailing Image: Does the X- Trans sensor deliver the colour? Have a look. Pontiac LeMans.

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There's Always Time For Cube...Lume Cube

Okay, This is a fun product. If you are authorised to have fun you may continue reading. If you have received a cease and desist order from the fun police please continue on with another blog post. We'll be running one on responsible behaviour later in the month.

The Lume Cube is a sealed light that can be used to take pictures with whatever action camera or smart mobile device you might have. When we say sealed we really mean sealed - the manufacturer cautions you not to open the back since if you do the warranty will leak away. Otherwise you are free to take the thing diving to 100 ft.

Inside the case is an LED light - an extremely bright one - a battery, and enough electronics to control it through 10 steps of  steady illumination and a flash mode as well. You can pump the thing up and down manually with two control buttons on the top or use a Bluetooth - equipped device and an App to fiddle with it remotely.

This latter option will also give you the facility to check on the USB charging, battery status, and to control a series of the little things.

For the non-cool still photographer who doesn't want to App it, there is an on-board optical sensor that will slave off other on-camera flashes. The dark forest macro mushroom photographer who has to backpack for their fungi will love this thing. I've just taken a good shot of the cat's pre-packed dinners at 800 ISO for f 5.6 and 1/340 of a second and it almost makes me hungry for tuna chunks...

It has a 1/4" tripod socket at the bottom and I note that there are a number of mounts available for it. there's a dual - bar rig with a GoPro mount on the bottom to give you dangerous ideas.

A well-made product and a chance to do a lot more with light than you thought.

Mmmmmm. Tuna.....

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Are There Too Many Bags?

One of our staff members asked this the other day as we were pulling him from under the display pile that had collapsed. It was a good thing that he made a noise under there or we would have left him for another night...

Apart from this, the question has been raised in a retail and a photographic sense - and I think we can say a definite "No" to both cases. If it looks as though there are too many on the sales floor the answer is simply to sell them to customers...or get a larger sales floor. In the case of the working and enthusiast photographers, they can never have too many bags.[name]=Bags-and-Cases&catalog[decision_model_guids][0]=b12f1359-703e-47ea-9238-da43bce0c98d

To prove this point we have hauled out the purple Superior backdrop paper to pay tribute to one of the little heros of the Vanguard range - The Oslo single-strap sling pack. This one is the perfect choice for an active mirror-less fan.

It is small as packs go but very well built. Note the padded sling, the stabilising strap, and the accessory loop for a tiny tripod. It is a side-opener, and you swivel it around to your front when you want to dive into the camera compartment. Figure one body and three lenses in there - or ditch one lens and pack a flash gun.

The camera you see in the illustration is a Fujifilm X-Pro1 with additional cage grip - it slides in easily. The woman on the LCD screen is an Amazon firing a French fusil. As you do, as you do.

The top compartment is designed for a small tablet -my iPad Air Retina 2 is a little wide for it - and a couple of Eccles cakes and a bottle of Tizer. The zips are sturdy and duplicated on this compartment.

It is an inexpensive and lovable answer for your smaller outfit.

Take a look at our online bag section.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Play Your cards RIght At The Rental Counter

If you would like to exercise your mind beyond the normal boundaries of time and space you can do several things; read the history of the Byzantine Empire and its succession of rulers, play 8-dimensional chess with Stephen Hawking, or try to understand the Adobe system of products and charges.

Okay, that was all exaggeration, but photographers over the last little bit might be forgiven for a bit of cynicism in regards to the variety and permutations of Adobe software.

Once upon a time you could buy a simple disc to load into your computer that had more things on them than you would ever need, use, or understand. You would then take courses to help you try to make it do something. If you stuck to it like sitting on a vinyl car seat in hot weather you eventually were able to select images and stick them to other images and then desaturate the thing. It was all some wedding shooters needed...

If you had no patience with this sort of thing you could opt for the trimmed version of the program and do pretty much the same things but with simplified instructions - as a bonus you got a cache of trite images to scatter about to liven up printed matter.

It was almost enough to make you relax and enjoy yourself...until the writers of software discovered that they could make new additions and you would pay them the same amount of money...or more...again each year to get that disc...again. I think they took their marketing strategy from the American car makers in the 1950's. Computer programs with tailfins and two-tone paint jobs...

And then...and then...and then they discovered that they could keep the main bits of the computer doin's on their own machines in Mumbai, Minneapolis, and Minsk. And charge you by the month or year to use them. You could enter into plans...

All the above is to sell you two products from the Rental counter - Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 and Adobe Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC. CC means creative cloud and that means that they let you do something if you pay them. It is a good something for many people, but you must remember that you are buying a contract to use the goods - you don't own the goods.

Still, no bad thing if the goods do what you want and the annual price is reasonable. The PE14 IS something that you own and can keep on using for jolly ever. I use PE10 and it does just fine for my old computer...and my old computer does just fine for me. Please do not be content with your old camera equipment - this is a shop and we want you to buy new camera equipment.

It won't cost you an arm and a leg to try the PS and LR on a CC basis for one year. If your needs for photoshopping surpass what PE14 can do, this is the way to go. Certainly if your needs are for LR it will be developed far more in the future than its rival Aperture 3 which was abandoned on the doorstep with a tear-stained note.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Go Well - Go Shell

And all older Australians will have had a brief flash of nostalgia there...

The Shell referred to in this posting is a new camera housing made by the Peak Design people. It is intended to shelter your camera while it is attached to some of the other Peak Design holsters or docking stations - in their turn on backpacks or belts.

The literature on the packet says that it is available in small, medium and large to suit mirror-less, regular DSLR and flagship DSLR cameras. The example you see in the images is the small version holding a Fujifilm X-E2 and a Fujinon 18-135mm lens.

It is a good fit - the neoprene material stretches at any binding point and the length of the lens portion is perfect for this Fujinon. It is a little deceiving as this particular camera body is encased in a metal cradle - a bare camera would slip in more easily. There are peculiar little attachments that I never quite figured out to make it cling to camera straps but the bottom opening is free to allow the signature Peak Design dock to work.

For an out-of-the-packet item it is one of the best fits I have seen.

Perhaps not needed in Perth in the summertime, but remember that winter will eventually come and you will want to go where rain and snow are common. Be prepared.

Peak Design product range available online.

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Monday, January 11, 2016

The Kit Of The Century

We're already 16 years into the 21st century and so far we do not have personal helicopters or jet packs. These were promised in 1948. I am becoming disillusioned.

To ease my sense of disappointment I intend to take up plastic model making and the first one I build will be my own 35mm camera. The kit for it is the " Last Camera" available here in the shop.

It is the photographic equivalent of an Airfix Avro Wellington kit - large, black, and complex. Unlike the Wimpy, it works -  it is equipped with actual lenses for the optical system and will expose 35mm film like any other camera.

You'll be working at it, however, and you'll need to acknowledge that the designers know what they are doing. You'll need to follow their painstaking directions to make sure that the parts fit and move as they should. You'll get extra parts like a special back casting that can be set to let light leak into the film for special effects. There are two taking lenses in addition to the ones needed for the viewfinder and you can set the camera to see two different fields of view. Not, it must be noted, with film in the camera - you need to do the changing between rolls.

The outside of the thing is plain enough - black on black - but there are stickers to put on it and you could wrap it with contact adhesive paper or paint it any number of ways. If you are nostalgic about the Wellington you can get AF roundels from Stanbridges and stick them on... The price is low enough at   $ 39.95 to allow you to experiment a great deal. And the feeling of accomplishment in building your own camera is priceless.

And we've got oodles of 35mm film to experiment with.

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Friday, January 8, 2016

The Cleverer Speed Light Kit - Nissin's Air + Di700A - Tempted?[search][text]=nissin+di&catalog[sort][on]=relevance&x=0&y=0

Progress for the Strobist - power for the Pro.

Nissin has just supplied a very good idea that will please Sony, Nikon, and Canon shooters:

Their new Di700A flash is packaged with a dedicated Air 1 wireless transmitter that does TTL as well as full manual control.

For dedicated speed-light users the two turning points are the TTL and the radio transmission mode. These make it possible to have a truly portable studio flash system that is not in a studio...for times when you are not in a studio.

The Nissin Di700A may seem to be fairly similar to medium-power flashes from other manufacturers - GN of 48-54 at ISO 100 for various focal lengths. The flash zooms for 24mm to 200mm coverage. It has full auto, TTL and manual setting.

The Air 1 command panel on the transmitter shows three groups that can be controlled and the ability to fire off -2 to +2 stops in any of them. If you employ three flashes as a main, fill, and hair light you can change them from the camera position very easily. And the fact that the signal is being borne by radio waves instead of IR pulses means you are going to be able to control more surely in bright conditions or in areas around corners.[search][text]=nissin+di&catalog[sort][on]=relevance&x=0&y=0

The body of the flash has two other important little features hidden under rubber flaps at either side - on one side a PC socket for wired control in difficult transmission areas, and on the other an input socket for external power. This is a flash that can fasten upon a light stand and take power from an external adapter just like a studio monoblock. Tempting?[search][text]=nissin+di&catalog[sort][on]=relevance&x=0&y=0

The really tempting thing about this is the price - the box in front of me says $399 for the Nikon version with the flash and the transmitter in the packet. Click here to purchase one from our online shop.
I daresay you can also get the flash on its own, letting you build further on that strobist studio set.

Tempting? Nissin make some great flashes for DSLR and for the mirror-less systems as well. If this air idea goes ahead we might see the transmitters for those as well.

Well....I'm tempted

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Nikkkkon Enters The 360º world

Gracious Heavens. What now? Nikon have launched a small cube-shaped camera that will do 4K video in 360º. Virtuous reality, here we come...

About the size of other small action cameras, you wear it and then show the rest of the world what you saw in a 360º fisheye view via YouTube. Presumably they will garner as much pleasure out of you seeing you plunge down Niagara Falls on a bicycle as you will doing it.

This is the camera for adventurers who leave their fears at home. Presumably along with a small envelope to be opened...

We wish them well and will be delighted to see the cameras and their results when they appear on the open market. They will probably be attached to bicycles, surf skis, dune buggies, and skateboards all over the metro area and, while we do not have Niagara Falls available to transport you to the next life, there are many suitable forms of activity open to us here. If we cannot break the sound barrier on a billy cart or 99 on the golf course, we can at least break a small bone or two...

Addendum: That is virtual, not virtuous. Freudian typo.

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7 in 1 - Either A Grimm Fairy Tale Or A Photographic Marketing Ploy

We used to have reflectors for photography that had only one side. Mathematicians may see a flaw in this as topographically the disc reflector had a front and a back. And an edge, we hasten to add, for the literal-minded. But for a long time they only put a white surface on one side and left the other as a nondescript cloth that did nothing. Not no more.

Starting with a well-known English manufacturer of lighting accessories, and followed-on by a number of budget copyists from other continents, the trade has made increasingly complex reflector sets  for studio and outdoor use. Today we review a 7 -in-1 from Promaster.

These kits come in several sizes - I picked the 22 -inch set from the shop racks and unfolded all the possibilities.

The basic structure is the familiar steel band loop stretching out a translucent fabric. Then a 3-part cover is sewn up that provides 6 more types of reflecting surface. The choices of fabric take it from merely a light modifier to an actual backdrop accessory. What it lacks in surface area it makes up in versatility.

Here's the thing out of the pod. Looks like a Sandpoint hamburger, doesn't it?

Ah, but here is what was lurking - a small green screen just perfect for close-ups with one of the small GS programs. Green Screen Wizard is also available from Promaster in kits and does a decent little job.

If you are a blue screen worker this is also available on one surface. Sort of glows, doesn't it?

Silver is always a strong reflector  though it can cause hot spots if the main light source is strong.

White is flatter and a little more controllable.

Silver/gold warms an image a little.

And pure gold warms an image a lot.

That's 6. All good for photography. But the package promises 7. Here is where Promaster have exercised their ingenuity. Seizing upon the popularity of the movies " Jurassic Park " and " Jurassic World " they have introduced the dinosaur surface.

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