Say what? Oh, no, we're not going to roast that old chestnut again. Climb the barricades, wave the HCB banner, and throw Leica rangefinders at the police. Would throwing Argus C-3's be more appropriate? They've got sharper corners. The age old debate about artificial versus natural light probably started when the first photographer put his cigar out in a pot of magnesium powder. It would have continued unabated through the tungsten and fluorescent tube era on to flashes - trays, sheets, bulbs, tubes etc. Purity, authenticity, sanctity, and artistry would have been invoked by one side to deny the chance for others to see in the dark and equally so by those who wanted to illuminate the world. In the last decade the fight has been taken out of the ring by the development of powerful amplifying circuits and noise-rinsers that let the nominative sensitivity of a sensor rise to fantastic heights. Starting with the Nikon D3 and continuing with their products - and those of other major makers  - the ability to photograph in places too dim to see in has become...

Sorry about the tortured English of the title - late night and too much coffee. What I really meant to say is " Here is a tracking gimbal mount for a very large telephoto lens that is not made with the Wimberley uni-pivot design. It's from the old masters of aluminium - Manfrotto. The design is double-pivot over a central training point with friction locks for the horizontal axis. It has a very simple but very sturdy construction - there has been no over-styling with it. The lower section of the support bracket has also been clad in a neoprene or rubber material - i suspect this is to assist photographers in cold weather conditions to avoid freezing to the metal. The mount is the standard large Manfrotto 577 sliding mount adapter that will couple to very large cameras and lenses. There is no more to this than what you see, but what it is is imminently usable and durable. I do note one bit of swank; they've included a plate that attributes the design to Graziano Ferrari. He turns out to be a...

Most of us have gotten used to using cameras that are pretty well automatic - even the Leica M users with their manual focus drop into the automatic slot as soon as they press the shutter release - the camera has measured the light to a precise degree and will do all the mathematics and electronic wizardry from that point on. Unless we are using the M1 to M4 cameras and then we have more tasks - and the users of the O-produkt are right back in the era of the starter handle and the mechanical brake. And loving it. Still, we need to learn how to use a Clutch...

Okay. I have to admit it. The deck looks magnificent. Even for a stills-only shooter it has that techno-appeal that makes me want one. I just have no idea what to do with it. There are a number of these Blackmagic design decks in the Stirling Street Shop. This one unboxed and available at a good price. It's a video studio in one with 8 full channels of blending for production work. It's also got a 10-channel audio mixer so this can do live broadcast work to full professional standard. I own vintage HiFi equipment that is far less complex than this and it is interesting to see just how well equipped the back panel is: Also how well designed the portable grips are - that's venting ports under there. It probably has cooling fans as well. I must admit to a flashback when I see the complexity of the symbols on the video section - Nephew Harold on the Red Green Show who had control of the visual effects and constantly swiped, dissolved and whirlpooled the scenes while Red tried to cope with keeping...

No, you cannot. But I suspect there are a number of the more technically intelligent people in the readership who will welcome the chance. Ricky Packham pointed out the new Blackmagic equipment in the shop and I set about photographing it. Most of the new equipment is still in the boxes - and there's plenty of supply for all the different devices. My problem presenting them to you is that I, Captain Ludd, know little of the subject. But I can observe, and if you are a videographer, your knowledge will sell the goods far better to yourself. One bit was available outside the box for inspection - and I was impressed by the quality of construction. See? I didn't even get the back of it right-side up. But the printed chart allows the user to program a switch panel on the top of the box to convert a bewildering number of signal options to output in other forms. A lot of the other boxes promised other conversions and activities: Now that is more black boxes than the airlines keep in their Boeings and as...

Some years ago, when they were new on the scene, I reported on the Nikon Df camera. It was an unusual offering from Nikon at the time, and has not become any more mainstream in the interim. Finding an example on the CE shelf this week spurred me onto another consideration of it. Nikon cannot be accused of being sticks in the mud...