Thursday, March 31, 2016

Motorcycle Mike On His Souped Up Bike

Well, not really - but that was the title of a track by Dave "Diddle" Day in 1957 and the chance to use it may never come again...

Wednesday night at Camera Electronic and we saw what happens when a hot rod guy gets a hot rod camera - in this case Stefan Gosatti and the new Nikon D5. It was a perfect combination.
Stefan was given a chance to try out this brand-new top-of-the-line sports and action camera by Nikon - their high-speed flagship - on the road and on the football field. It was a quick trial but he was just the man who could give an accurate report.

Stefan has used Nikon professional cameras for years with fashion, sports, automotive and product illustration. The bran-new Nikon D5 is the latest evocation of their big full frame DSLR and he got a chance to wring a lot of it out. Not all - by his own admission, there were a lot of new features he did not have time to fully explore...but with the items that pertain to his professional specialties, he was able to go to town.

The prints you see in the small snapshots are from that camera - they are mere reportage representations of what are large, excellent images. Sharp, fast, and with very good colour and dynamic range. And at ISO points that are normally accessed only with oxygen and a nose bleed. While he shot his fast lady on the bike at ISO 6400, the device will go to over 3 million ISO! It's nearly impossible to think of a situation that would not be possible with that sort of camera sensor.

Of course it is never only the sensor - it is the new processor as well.

This also accounts for the rapidity with which the AF system works and the sophisticated nature of the tracking that allows the user to select what he wants to follow and then delivers sharp focus on that in spite of movement and visual interruptions.

It is also the reason that the screen on the new camera can be made to be so convenient for the photographer when it comes time to examine a sequence of shots. The high-speed nature of the shutter and associated buffer and writing circuits mean that a lot of images are going to be stored rapidly - and the photographer needs to be able to access these equally rapidly. Stefan demonstrated a scrolling bar on the LCD screen that runs rapidly through the files, allows you to stop as soon as you see a good one and then zooms, widens and searches throughout the image with the same sort of finger gestures that control smart phones.

The cameras are equipped with twin card slots - and these can be ordered with either two CF card slots or two XQD slots. Readers will be aware that the XQD cards are faster than the CF cards by a fair margin, but are more costly. Of course, a lot of people will have lots of CF cards already, so these can be utilised straight away. Camera Electronic can supply CF-ready D5 cameras right now - either in sales or rental form. XQD can be ordered but may take a little while to arrive. People who get one type and change their mind about it can have the camera converted here in Australia to the other sort for a fee.

Speaking of two different items - apparently the D5 will also produce 2 different forms of JPEG files as well as the NEF file type.

Well, they are not cheap. You can see the price on our on-line store or ring up the staff and discuss it. Think in terms of about $ 8900. If you are in the business of doing the sort of photography that these cameras do, that money is a business investment. If you are dabbling but have that sort of figure available to play with you can be assured that you will have an instrument that cannot be bettered for high-speed action photography. You'll need to put good Nikon lenses out the front and they will also cost money.

PS; No motorcyclists were injured and no laws were broken in the making of the pictures, but apparently half the dress blew off. Makes your afternoon photographing Canal Rocks sorta slow, doesn't it?

For all orders on the Nikon D5 please call in or follow the links on-line.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Unscrewing It All Up In The Dark

Did goe to the BP service station at Baldivis South Saturday even and was greatley amused.
It was the site of an unofficial organised impromptu motor car show. A meeting of minds at the McDonalds. A pouring of passion at the petrol pumps. Sort of a cross between Saturday Night Fever and American Graffiti, but nobody looked like Harrison Ford  or John Travolta. There were a couple of contenders, mind, but they were both mature women so I was respectful.

Well, the cars were wonderful and if you want to see more go to but the interesting thing proved to be the way the post-sundown twilight made the cars easier to photograph, and the artefacts that started appearing as soon as the sun was completely gone. Both observations will serve me well in the future.

Note these two pictures of '57 Chevys. Top one is the first taken, and the bottom is the second.

Note the flare and light spots of the first one. That's a clean B+W UV filter on the lens - I keep them on as a matter of course for protection. The second shot has the filter screwed off. Both are tripod jobs. You can decide for yourselves which has most atmosphere, but for me, I think I may be leaving the filter off in still air in the future.

Note as well - every bit of gear for this sort of shooting is right off the shop floor. No special bits - visit the shop or go onto our on-line store to look at Fujifilm cameras, B+W filters, flashes, and Cullmann tripods. Special recommendation for mirror-less - the Cullmann 622T.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

300 More And It makes A Difference

Sony made a cracker of a mirror-less camera with an APS-C -sized sensor in it - the A6000. Whether coupled with a short zoom or with one of Sony or Zeiss' prime lenses it was just the camera that many travellers and enthusiasts wanted. It also gained somewhat of a following when people wanted to have a portable video shooter - the camera was able to follow action better than many rival mirror-less systems.

Well, they've revamped it with more resolution, more AF capability, and a better viewfinder. There's far more AF points in the sensor and the viewfinder used in continuous shooting/continuous focusing is said to be the best in any mirror-less. This, and the 4K video capability, mean that this may be the best choice for sports and action photographers tending to get away from the larger DSLR cameras.

It wouldn't affect me as my shooting in most cases is done of static subjects in careful set-ups...but there are always dance performances where the ability to track something that is rapidly moving and changing direction would be a real comfort. Currently I get to use an optical viewfinder for the pointing but as my camera is slower in focusing, I need to have preset MF zones rather than exact instant AF. Sometimes it works well and sometimes it is a guessing game.

I would also like the tilting screen of this camera, though one reviewer makes the complaint that it does not tilt enough and does not have touch control.

One odd feature about the A6000 has been continued in the A6300 - the business of charging the camera battery in the body of the camera rather than in an external charger. This has lead to the sale of quite a few external charger blocks for the A6000. Well, the A 6300 is similarly set up. You can top up the battery charge in between major sessions by fining the nearest computer or USB port. But there are times when you might be down and out for this luxury and could do with a good old-fashioned dose of the AC. This is definitely one camera where I would recommend that extra charger and two spare batteries. Fortunately the battery is the standard Sony FP 50 and is not too big.

The business of the 8 FPS continuous shooting with a live frame interposed in the EVF in between each recorded file would seem to give a considerably improved sighting experience. You would not always be seeing what just happened and trying to compensate for subject movement on dated information. The 24 Megapixel sensor is also going to be a help - this level of division is going to become the standard for everything eventually.

Are they here, now? Yes they are - that's the Camera Electronic Sony cabinet in the pictures - hence the Uncle Dick Tick. The lens sitting on this example is pretty well the perfect-choice prime for the camera...certainly we can confidently recommend it as a one and only lens for light tourists and heavy purists. And ever since the Sony company slightly angled the shutter button on the front plate they have been ever so much easier to shoot.

If you'd like to get another person's review of the camera try:

Look one out in the shop or pop over to the on-line shop and grab one:

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Monday, March 28, 2016

" Go Out And Go Mad "

That's a famous phrase from a former CE employee - uttered when the deal had been done and the customer was going out of the shop with the precious new camera held gingerly in both hands. It was an injunction to go have fun - to explore - to shoot a thousand shots and discover what the equipment was capable of.

Occasionally you would discover that the equipment could go mad by itself.

Case in point is the adventure at the Hyde Park Community fair on Labour Day. I attended and had a good time. I scored an old-fashioned* lemonade from the Girl Guides,  avoided the attention of the worst of the political pressure groups, and photographed the veteran and vintage cars.

Hyde Park is a full-sun and dappled shade venue and you need a fill flash and your tongue stuck in the corner of your mouth sometimes to get acceptable exposure. In some cases you get science and in some you get art. In the case of the FIAT sports car I seem to have gotten a little of both, mixed with madness.

The car is a simple red colour - well it would be, being an Italian sports car. I mean, let's be realistic about these hings. And an Italian motoring enthusiast restored it and displayed it. Red.

There it is front and back, and the rather simple interior as well. Sweet little thing. Good lines  and a tiny little motor. I always try to give my car blog readers a look at the engine bay as well as the outside.

But look at what the Fujifilm X-T10 does when there is massive overexposure of red. The camera was operating on Programmed mode at the time and there was a spritz of .5 flash from the EF42...but look at what has become of the external red paint colour. Yellow!

My theory is the sensor just spat the dummy with the over exposure. I am not sure if it would do the same with any other colour, but that will be the subject of a separate series of experiments. I'd call it funky but I'm afraid of inadvertent typographical errors...

* I was a bit disappointed that they used the phrase "Old-Fashioned" as it suggested something with whisky. It turned out to be lemonade...

To check out the Fujifilm X-T10, flash and lenses feel free to come in store and have a play. Or order several on line. They come in silver and black.

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Friday, March 25, 2016

" Q " ing Up To Be First In Line

Do you " Q "? I didn't for a long time but now I do - and my photographic experience has been vastly improved.

I'm not referring to the somewhat magical Leica Q camera - the Typ 116 fixed-lens camera. It is in a class all its own as far as elegant engineering, but as I only have counterfeit printing plates for $ 7.00 and $ 8.00 bills I probably can't afford one. It takes me all my time just to pass enough to buy petrol and tins of sardines. Perhaps if I can forge Lotto tickets I might get one...

Until then I will stick with my faithful Fujifilm cameras and make use of the " Q " systems built into them. The Fujifilm Q buttons provide an instant summary on the LCD screen of the current settings of the camera and allow me to make spot changes without having to dodge into the menu pages.

Thankfully as well, The Fujifilm designers have made the symbols for the various settings in that menu easy to understand - I do not need a graphics textbook to figure out what the stick figure of a little man holding up a burning Russian submarine means in photographic terms. ( In real life it means they are no smarter in Archangelsk than ever they were, but that is another story...).

I am also helped by the fact that the Fujifilm ' Q " menu is instantly editable - I can select the things that I really need to be there and leave the lesser-used ones further down in the system. I've made several changes from the factory defaults based on my preferences; I have access to the photometry and the flash compensation in the cameras that have built-in flashes and I've ordered in a quick adjustment for the LCD brightness when I need to work out in the sun.

It's not that menus are anathema - it is just that the more things you can set to your own preference and then leave alone, the faster you can work. The same goes for the function keys. I sat there for an hour figuring out which finger I wanted to do which thing and when I had tested out the configuration, dialled it into all the camera bodies. Now when I put one down and pick up another I can slip the safety off in the dark, as it were, and shoot away instantly.

For all Fujifilm cameras please visit our online store, For all tech talk and demo's come in and see our staff.

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Coupla Years Ago...

Coupla years ago this month I was treated to a treat  - the Panasonic company took me for a week's visit to Japan. Tokyo, Mt Fuji, was all fun and educational and quite liberating for me. The Panasonic people were even so generous as to give me a Panasonic Lumix GX7 camera with a 20mm f:1.7 lens. It was a superb tourist camera for that week, and I still treasure the shots I took with it .

The reason I remember this is the fact that Panasonic have a wonderful successor to the GX7...the GX8. It's not much of a change in the nomenclature, but quite a lot more has been done with the camera.

The GX7 sat superbly in the hand, and the GX8 has even improved on this a little. It feels a little heavier, but that might have been the lens combination I tested. Certainly the pancake 20 is the slickest tourist lens going for this micro 4/3 system. Just a bit wider than  normal focal length and very compact and sharp.

The unique feature for me of this Panasonic design is the tilting eye-level viewfinder. Of course a lot of cameras have tilting and swivelling screens these days, and these are great in the studio to give the effect of the older waist-level finders. For those of us who find it increasingly creaky getting down to the floor or tabletop to take pictures they are a godsend - particularly for the legs next day. the eye-level tilt finder lest us have that lower viewpoint out in the bright conditions of the field. For landscape and architecture shooters there will be straighter verticals and less computer work later.

I was also taken when using the GX 7 with the "Helper", "Special" and "Art" filter settings built into the camera. They actually did help, they were special, and I reckon there is art somewhere there. Certainly no outdoor or landscape shooter should ever be stumped by too broad a dynamic range - it deals with it very well.

In retrospect, it might have been more useful for some to have asked for the 12-42mm lens to get the benefit of a wider angle of view and a bit of zoom, but I found the extra two stops gained in the f:1.7 far greater a help when it came to recording the Tokyo nightlife.

All told, I can thoroughly recommend the brand, the model, and the focal length and record my admiration for the Panasonic firm for their hospitality and generosity.

Please go to our on-line store to see the range of Panasonic lenses and the GX8. Also right there in the panasonic cabinet in the store.

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Flash News - Day Four Of the Madness

If you are studio flashing it or speed-lighting it it out at an Easter party, drop by the shop today for bargains up to 78% off of selected lighting sets and accessories.

Theres some quirky bits on offer, as well as some standard flash units. Heavy-duty professional stuff, light shapers, portable continuous lighting, speed lights, etc. Even the video people are catered for.

In store goods, one sale one's the day.

Never mind the chocolate eggs - stock up on lighting now. Surprise the bunny.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The FInger Bits

This may seem like a repeat of a previous post on the new Olympus Pen F camera but bear with me - it's the first time I've gotten the thing off the shelf and into the hand undisturbed - and the first time that I've gotten a clear studio light into some of the bits.

I've used all sorts of cameras and lenses with all sorts of controls - all the way from a Russian wooden plate camera with brass helical track for focusing and wooden plate holders through the range of roll-film and 35mm cameras to the plastic button land of digital cameras. I've poked, prodded, twisted, slid, revolved, and flapped to control focus and exposure and done far worse to change the film. Some cameras were a symphony of elegant ease and some were songs of pain. I can say that I have never flung a camera into the fire but I have put some down and never picked them up again.

The controls on the Pen F are as cleverly worked-out as those on a modern jetliner. The reason is the same - a human has to operate them with some ease to make the thing work. And in the case of the Pen F camera that human also has to buy the thing in the first place - that means the Olympus company have to entice them rather than compel them.

Well, it is enticing to see black leather and chrome plating. Brushed aluminium and paint also play some apart in the visual aesthetic but the designers have to be a bit careful with them - there have been some awful cameras in the past that depended upon these two finishes too extensively and suffered some shabby results when they aged.

I doubt that this will affect the Olympus Pen F. The construction is excellent and the places where your pokey finger goes or your twirling thumb runs over the thing are pure metal and unlikely to wear out. They have been wise in providing a way to turn the LCD screen into itself to stop scratching - if you are the sort of shooter who checks it only infrequently this is a good way of preserving the finish. As the LCD also acts as a control surface with the touch-screen, it is also nice to be able to keep this away from inadvertent use.

The brilliance of the on-off switch and the positioning of the colour control wheel have already been mentioned.

Note as well the attention to detail in the viewfinder area - of course there is a small sensor screen that sees when your face is pressed to the eyepiece and cuts off the LCD image. But note the addition of the rubber guard for the eyepiece - a welcome thing in these days of plastic spectacle lenses - and the calibration dial for the diopter adjustment. other makers just put an small plastic dot for this - Olympus make it look good.

I will admit to a certain reserve about the manner in which Olympus have positioned the four control wheels, two release buttons, and a toggle switch so close together there on the right. I has somewhat the air of a French Ironclad - a mass of superstructure. But at least the different functions are well-defined and are at different levels - the digits get used to the positions.

Time will tell whether this becomes as great a classic as the original Pen F...but it certainly has the potential to do so.
The Olympus Pen F is available now to order through our website.

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Step On The Gas And Get That Glass

Day 3.

You've got the filter and the memory card and the tripod and the bag and the camera body. Now at last you can get the lens and take some darned pictures!

March Madness moves amongst the lenses today. It's Wednesday the 23rd and all day they'll be selling selected lenses for all sorts of camera mounts at discounts ranging from 13% off to 45% off.
You don't get that sort of thing haggling in the vegetable markets...

Lenses from Leica, Nikon, Fujifilm, Canon, Mitakon, and Olympus are on offer.

In-store, in stock only. Bring your card and get the optic that you have been hanging out for.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

When Every Ounce Counts...With Manfrotto

When every ounce counts...pounce...

Pounce on a Manfrotto pocket series camera support. Here's the medium size for DSLR and mirror-less cameras.

If you are going to travel by air this year you'll undoubtedly look at the weight restrictions that the airlines put on baggage. The quest for lightweight tripods is never-ending and of course Manfrotto make those too...but the pocket series takes weightlessness seriously - and depending upon where you go and what sort of pictures you take, it might be the money-saver you need.

It bolts in under the camera body using the standard 1/4" tripod socket. There are three slots under the support so you can place it under the centre of the lens or body no matter where the camera maker has located it. The tough little metal legs with the soft padding fold up under the body when not in use.

When needed, out the come. there is enough spring tension in the legs to let them be adjusted for various heights and angles- you can straighten the camera out if the surface under it is slightly slanted. Of course the legs suggest a table top but remember that car bonnets and roofs are always available, as are rocks, fenceposts, and stone walls. Note that it supports the Fujifilm X-E2 even with the weight of the latest firmware update...

You can easily do the old newspaper trick of pushing the camera up against the door frame or wall and hold it steady yourself.

This is ideal for selfies. If you must.

Now lots of people go off on photo vacations with the adventurous image in mind of someone with a tripod attached to the back of their pack like an entrenching tool. Looks cool, but is an absolute royal nuisance 99% of the time as you try to stand in line of sling the pack off of baggage carousels. Play it smart and keep one of the Manfrotto pocket supports bolted onto the bottom and save the space in your luggage for the duty free.

For all you travel needs and space requiremnents come in and talk with our helpful staff :)

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Clean Out The Sofa Cushions! March Madness Day Two

And today it is cameras. The big time is here. And you get a chance to save some big money on big names.

Same terms and conditions as yesterday - in-store, in stock only and ya gotta pay for it.

The deal is... you pay considerably less - there are bargain discounts ranging from 10% to 45% on selected camera stock items today - Tuesday the 22nd of March, 2016 only.

You may have gotten the electronic flyer at the same time as this post - there are camera bodies from Nikon, Canon, Fujifilm, Leica, GoPro, Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony on offer. If you need one camera now is the time and if you need a second body for professional safety...well this is where you make a profit.

The shop opens at 8:30 and goes to 5:30. Go through the pockets of all your trousers, vacuum out the back of the sofa, and empty the coin tray in the car. Seize the day.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Turn The Saturation Up To 11

Impelled by a sense of curiosity, I grabbed a half a dozen or so sample magazines that had been dumped on the lunch table at Camera Electronic and took them home. There were two free sample DVDs included with them so I got to play them as well.

It is a delicate matter for one writer to write about the writings of another writer. It can take on the flavour of undiscriminating fandom...or bitchy jealousy. I tried to look at the mags with an open eye.

It was an eye that watered. Not because of bad journalism or ugly photography - indeed most of the images printed in these magazines were really well done.The main problem was the overpowering intensity of the colour. The saturation, vibrancy, and detail were slid  way over to the right...and that was just in the advertisements. The actual editorial stuff was vibrating sideways off the page. It's hard to do that with a shot of a shingle beach in Yorkshire, but they managed to do it...

Okay. This is in contrast to the Australian Would-Be Professional Photographers Magazine Printed In Singapore. The AWBPPMPIS, as it is known in the trade, has an editorial policy - indeed it has an automatic program - that desaturates every image shown. This is to give an extra sense of drama, professionalism, and retro hip, and to save on the more expensive printing inks. These can be kept in reserve for the advertisements. It's a necessary economy these days. Fortunately web-based publication can still give full rein to the entire sRGB spectrum and the advertisers count on you having the screen set to laser-intensity anyway.

I did enjoy the DVDs - they were bright, simple, and gave a useful bit of information in each section. The fact that the information was aimed at the dumb end of the market is neither here nor there - that is my neighbourhood. Besides, even if you found that they were telling you something that you should have known but didn't, the fact that you could view it unbeknownst to your professional rivals means that you never need to admit to ignorance. Like voting in a federal election - as you are all alone there in the cardboard booth no-one need to know that that you endorse the local wacko party candidate.

Are they as good as the dear old publications of the analog era? Are they, as British magazines, as good as their American or Australia rivals? Yes and no. If they seem heavy on trick photography and computer manipulation, take comfort that you can emulate what they do with the images without the need for plumbing or organic solvent developers. You might fall prey to the occasional blue screen but you won't break out in eczema while doing it.

But they are a signpost to another thought about photographic knowledge - and we'll explore that in the next post.

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March Madness

Well, it's started again - the business of spot sales per day in the shop.

Monday  today - 21st of March.

30% off of all bags, tripods, monopods, memory cards, and screw-in filters.

In store goods only. Purchase today only.

 Spot deal, do the deal, get the deal.

Good deal.


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Friday, March 18, 2016

Waiting For The Buffer To Empty

Here are ten useful things a photographer can do to fill in time while waiting for the files to crowd off the buffer of the camera onto the card:

1. Calculate how much money was saved by purchasing a 15 MB per second card over a 95 MB per second card. And how that money has been put to wonderful use saving the planet...

2. Time a boiled egg from the flashes of the little light as the files are transferred. Rather have soft-boiled eggs? Buy a faster card.

3. Hold the camera with the right side down and gently shake it. That lets the pixels run into the card faster.*

4. Watch the rest of the football game as it goes on. Wow! Did you see that winning goal? Just as well...your camera didn't.

5. Look all Ansel Adamsy and face ruggedly into the driving sleet. Okay, you're inside at a christening, but you can still be rugged....

6. Sing a Wiggles song to the timing of that damned little flashing light. A happy Wiggles song. Sing it through gritted teeth.

7. Watch the guys with with the 1DX Mk II's and the D5's as they flash through the high speed zillion frames per second exposures. Pray that one of their cameras catches fire from the friction of the air.

8. Practise saying " I like to contemplate the steady rhythm of Nature by slowing down my camera's metabolism. " Try not to giggle or wince as you do.

9. Shield the LCD screen from observation so that people can't see the little hour-glass turning over. pretend that you are editing the images for ultimate quality. Occasionally shout out  " 5 Stars! ".

10. Make a list of things you would like to do to the designer of the camera.

Let us lift your morale, if not your morals. Buy a new card - a fast card. They cost a bit more but they give the modern camera a chance to process the raw files fast enough to let you do a sensible series of shots. Camera Electronic has Hoodman, Lexar, San Disk, and other fine memory cards - some of them are blazingly fast. You can get 'em on-line as well - they ship through the post easily if you cut air holes in the crate.

* I read it on a Facebook side advertisement so it MUST be true...

For more information on the best card for your camera please come visit our sales staff for a speed test!

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Attention All Artists And Artisans - Your Straps Have Arrived

Three more flexible delights in at the receiving desk this week: Artist and Artisan straps. These will be the final touch for careful camera owners.

The first style is the romantically-named ACAM 301.

It is a woven neck strap in black with a round profile - roughly 9 mm diameter - featuring black leather ends. These are sewn in as well as glued onto the round cord and will take the strain of the heaviest portable camera. Round SS attachment rings.

The second strap is the ACAM 295. It is a wrist-fit rather than neck strap

Here the profile is a flat strap in red material - 22mm wide. There is the standard SS spilt ring held in a black leather end piece with a camera protector flap as well.

The third newcomer is also a wrist strap - the ACAM290.

Black leather, 9mm wide and 3mm thick, it is formed from two pieces double-stitched together.Again there is a SS ring, leather end piece, and camera protector flap. It is packaged in a bright orange box.

I'm not sure if art is better served by the use of these straps, but they are certainly a better looking alternative to slinging your Leica round your neck with a piece of baling twine. Perhaps they just make you look better.

Remember to always search for these and other fine A&A products in our on-line store.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Decline Of The Self Portrait Number Two

Remember the problem of the selfie shooter we mentioned in a previous post? The ten seconds to eternity that the self-timing circuit takes before it fires the camera - when you try to look like Roger Moore when he was 007 and end up looking like Roger Moore now...*

Well the problem compounds when you consider the support you need for a good self portrait - and we don't just mean the family not laughing at you - we mean the mechanical support for the camera.

The artist who painted themselves saw themselves in a mirror, and either had to make the difficult mental switch from left to right that a mirror image depiction involves - or arrange two mirrors to bounce the image back and then run with that. The camera shooter might also pose themselves in front of a mirror but unless they capture the image by shooting in that mirror, they get to see the real them when the file is displayed on a screen. If that sounds confusing go into the bathroom and try it yourself.

The artist set up a mirror that reflected themselves in whatever light they chose and then had to set their canvas in a light that would reflect wherever they chose to show on it. Not as simple a deal as you might think. But they had the advantage that we mentioned before of being able to edit the backdrop as they painted. The average selfie shooter who shoots a mirror shot in the toilets at a nightclub gets what they deserve. A more careful worker might take a bigger file into a computer and then Photoshop the backdrop, but that is a complex task.

Back to the support - most selfies are taken from unflattering angles - or at least angles that are bound to distort the faces and bodies they depict. Up looking down and down looking up with wide-angle lenses plays hell with verticals and makes pinheads or monsters of the subject. If the poser would consider themselves in the light of an architectural shot and attend to the verticals they would be so much happier. This doesn't mean a bellows camera or a tilt/shift lens...though Camera Electronic would be delighted to sell these items to everyone - but it does mean some form of tripod.

Doesn't have to be a big tripod, and for a lot of cameras it does not even have to be a sturdy tripod, but it does have to get the center of the lens looking at the center of the main subject with the camera back vertical. You can do it with a Gitzo 6" naval gun mounting, or Manfrotto 190, or little Cullmann 622 - or even with a Cullmann Copter tabletop tripod if you have a handy tabletop.

Do that, get your mouth and eyebrows under control, stand fairly upright and try not to show the wrinkles at the knees of your trousers ( or the wrinkles at the knees of your legs...) and do it all in ten seconds and you too can be an artist. Or at least an objet d'art...

* Don't google it. It'll just ruin your memories...

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Magic Photo Trick - Making People Disappear With A Wave Of the Hand

Well, it's not all that magic. All you need is a backpack sprayer of liquid manure and a hand nozzle. Crowds will melt away, as will some automotive paint finishes. The really difficult thing is trying to sell the images later when the client smells them...that and avoiding dog packs.

Leaving aside this intriguing mental picture ( though I hope it will disturb you for days...) we come to the bit of photographic history that had extremely insensitive recording materials and extremely dim lenses. And big sturdy wooden tripods. Using a plate camera on one of these with the lens stopped right down and a silver or glass plate with an ISO of 0.3 meant that the correct exposure of a Parisian street might be as long as 45 minutes. Long enough for the crowds that swirled through the street to pass by and not record on the plate - while the stationary buildings and other features did. We've all seen the ghostly picture of the street with just one leg on a shoe-black's box. it was the only living thing that was in one place long enough to record.

My bugaboo is people at car shows in front of the vehicles. I find the view I want but it is frequently blocked by the gawkers. They work in tag teams - as one finishes another steps in. I'm sure it is all a function of fluid dynamics and personal living space and bloody mindedness...I am debarred by foolish local laws from carrying a .44 and clearing the way myself - I must wait until they tire of the game and move off. Sometimes it is ten minutes wait until you can get 1/125th of a second for a clear shot.

I think it is time to think outside the square. And to think inside the square - the square of a 10 to 15-stop neutral density filter. Lee make 'em and they have a couple of sizes that would be suitable for use on a DSLR or mirror-less system.

Not cheap - Lee are never cheap - but the facility to increase an exposure in daylight from 1/125 of a second to 40 seconds or longer means that as long as the camera is on a tripod and no-one bumps it, the car will be recorded and the crowds passing in front of it won't. It may sound a bit drastic but then so is the .44 or bursting into tears or yelling " Fire!" to clear away the obstructions.

Note: Camera Electronic sell Lee systems in the shop and on-line. The standard 100mm holders, adapter rings, and Big Stoppers are a very popular sales item - every time there is a landscape photographer running a course in town the stock sells out. The Seven5 size...that's 75mm when they are not being the one for the mirror-less systems. There is a reduced-size holder and suitable Big and Little Stoppers. Look them up through the on-line store and follow along with the experiment.

I won't have the system in place for the Hyde Park Vintage Car Show but I might make it for the WA Hot Rod Spectacular.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

The Big Unwrapping - New Pentax Full-Frame Lens

You've all probably seen one of those YouTube videos that show an enthusiast opening something. And I don't mean an Egyptologist chiseling open a pyramid - I'm talking about  a camera fan unboxing his latest, online, with the Ride Of The Valkyries playing in the background and the sound of helicopters. I love the smell of bubble wrap in the morning...

Well, I tried my hand at it in the Little Studio. The new HD Pentax-D FA 24-70mm f:2.8 ED SDM WR lenses have arrived on the goods -inwards desk at Camera Electronic and I snaffled one for illustration. It was strangely exciting - particularly seeing as how I don't own a Pentax camera.

Oh this one is Pentax alright - the mount is absolutely classic AF Pentax. And the style of the barrel and the knurling are also Pentax. The entire shape is a refinement of what the company has been doing for decades - and is a clear advance in organised design.

It's heavy, but not as heavy as some of its competitors. It is designed for the new full frame Pentax body when it arrives but can be used cheerfully on the current small-frame Pentaxes. You'll note it carries extensive multi coating and the orange band on the mount is a weather seal.

F 2.8 in a 24-70 lens is no surprise for photographers who use other brands of camera. It is one of the classic go-to choices for both small and full frame and can be used in low light situations. The increasing advance of ISO speeds in modern cameras together with the improvements in AF systems mean that this now extends into really low light work. The fact that it is not a bigger front element must be a comfort for the available light workers who don't want to haul an arm-breaker of a lens.

The barrel seems very well built - and as you can see it does not extend too far with the zoom. There's a barrel lock in case you are worried about it creeping out but it wouldn't creep far anyway.

I expect the Pentaxians...or is that Ricohvians these days...will be queuing up for this one soon when the big body arrives. It might be worth while putting your name down for one or starting a lay-by in anticipation. Also available through the on-line store.

Note: You do get to find some odd things if you look carefully at the packaging these days. We appear to have a love letter from Ricoh...or they might be stalking us.

The HD Pentax-D FA 24-70mm f:2.8 ED SDM is available for order in store and on our website.

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