Recently a member of my scale modelling club asked me for advice on tabletop photography and computer processing of artwork for kit building. He wants to make his own decals with a laser or inkjet printer. If you can get the specialised paper to do this, it's quite feasible. The results don't equal a good quality Italian or Czech decal sheet, but if no-one makes what you want, needs must. The photographic point of the exercise became interesting when he trotted out the various image-editing programs that have been loaded into his laptop. I provided some initial images of club models and we tried to manipulate them. It was a disaster - the old and assorted programs refused to do what we wanted. I explained that I use the Adobe products - LR, PS, and PSE - and recommended that he purchase the PSE. He did, but oddly enough, it is PSE 7. Rather an old version of the goods. His explanation was that it was the version that would run on the old software in the laptop. Umm...

My curiosity satisfied about the silver-coloured titanium body of the new Fujifilm X-Pro3 camera, I drifted up the stairs and through the hallway past the new storage cabinets - and was taken with the collection of old Leica bodies and lenses that have washed up on the self there. These were chrome finished and blackened before the modern digital era and i was curious to see how well they were made and whether they had lasted. Take note that these are collector's bodies and lenses - not intended for work any more...

This week I got to satisfy my curiosity about the light-titanium coloured Fujifilm X-Pro3 - there was one ready in the sales cabinet in Stirling Street. I popped it out and attached an XF 50mm f:2 R WR lens - one of the silver-finish models. I wanted to see how close the two light colours are. Well, not that close. The phenomenon of a silver-finish body having a different appearance from the lenses that are made to go on it is not just a Fujifilm thing. You can see it with Olympus and other cameras. My dear old Leica M2's chrome finish didn't exactly match the barrel on the 50mm collapsible Elmar back in the day either. The closest I ever saw were actually Kodak Retina Reflex cameras and some Contarex models. If you are afflicted with OCD - Obsessional Chromatic Disorder - you can always opt for plain black for both body and lens. Like Coco Chanel, you'll never be out of fashion. You decide whether the appearance is for you. Be aware that the toughened Duratect finishes are very tough indeed...

We had 'em then but we don't have 'em now - not unless we make 'em specially. Every camera my family owned, from Grandpa Sheedy's Kodak 3A to my Mom's Brownie 620 and the family Magazine 8 Kodak had a hand strap permanently attached to the top of it. There were no lugs at the side of the cameras and no thought of a neck strap. That was reserved for the leather cases that held the cameras and accessories. It was old-fashoned, but useful. Cameras in those days ( after dinosaurs but prior to Elvis ) were special-event things. They got hauled out of the case for the family or travel record and then put back carefully. Nothing dangled around the neck - it was all hand-held. And oddly enough the cameras were lighter than the current crop of mirror-less and DSLRs that are dangling around our necks. Our increasingly sore necks...

Is it the warm nights? The dog howling? The police cars chasing people in the street? Naw. This goes on all the time. Sleep like a log through it all. The real reason for the insomnia is the announcement in the electronic press that Fujifilm have released a new model of their X-100 series - the X-100V. I do not need a new camera. I have five Fujifilm cameras already, and 8 lenses for them. They all work well and do everything I need to do. But they are not doing it all in as compact a package, nor with such sophistication as the new X-100V. The thing has the sort of retro flair that I appreciate and the thought of taking it as the only recording instrument for a trip is very tempting. I'm no X-100 virgin. I owned an X-100 for years and grabbed it as a go-to camera on numerous occasions. The advent of the other 5 bodies gradually edged it out - particularly when I finally had to admit that the 23mm f:2 lens was brilliant at normal distances...

Particularly if it is one of the newer finishes. The camera shop these days is becoming somewhat of a prospecting ground for surface treatments - and the student of painting ( spray or powder coat ) or plating ( nickle, chrome, or armour ) will have a lot to see. The day of the wooden camera covered in Morocco leather has nearly finished. You can probably go to London and place an order for a bespoke 5" x 4" or 8" x 10" field camera and pay for it to be leather wrapped, but I'd phone it in a few years beforehand. Likewise the art deco camera with the speed lines is just the business of artists or collectors, more's the pity. Now we have a basic choice of black plastic, black paint, black chrome or black Duratect to go with a variety of faux or real leathers and vulcanites. Sometimes the black isn't all that dark, and we start to see vague shades of bronze or brown gleaming through. It is kindly to regard these variations as elegant and deliberate, but...

" Paint Your Wagon " with Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood. Great movie musical from the days before they wrote lyrics using bad language. We're not dealing with beans or wagons here - we're dealing with hands - and cameras. We're also dealing with batteries, but on a speculative level. Draw up your pad of lined paper and yellow pencil and lets design. This column has suggested that some digital camera maker take the step of making a left-handed camera in the manner of Ihagee in the old Exakta days. The southpaws of the world will buy it by the millions. The righties will avoid it like the plague. But what if you made a camera that had an attachment point on either side of the central body and that took either a right or left-hand grip. You could certainly incorporate a battery in that grip - as well as a shutter button, front and back control wheel, function button, etc. The communication with the body would be by locked sliding contact much like a hot shoe does now. Make right and left-handed modules...