I mentioned the strange little symbol on the control dial of the new Olympus TG 5 yesterday. The one under the blue arrow: At first I though it was something in Klingon, but after I rotated it to the index mark to start the function I discovered that it is the macro function command...

That's a pretty bold statement. Not the what you see bit - the why you need it part. We don't set out to be dictatorial very often because it generally doesn't work. Photographers have their own ideas and will insist on thinking them. But read on - This is the new Olympus  Tough TG-5 that has just popped onto the display shelf in the Stirling Street shop. And it is a camera that I am delighted to have for a test run. Like all the waterproof and rugged Olympus cameras, it has a one-hand configuration - they realise that if you are going to be swimming or rock climbing you are only going to be giving one flipper to photography - you will be using the other one to save your life. Same as a sailor on a sailing ship or a man bathing a cat. Note the big strap attachement bar - and the fact that both the name plate and the box illustration show the camera in a vertical mode. Olympus are not trying to make you into portrait photographers...

I always treasure my visits to the Camera Electronic store as I think that otherwise my week would be lacking in the bizarre. When I feel my supply running low I drive on in to either Stirling Street or Murray Street and top up again. This time it was the Swing Master. Apparently this thing that looks like a bleach bottle on a stick is intended to train golfers how to swing their clubs. They put water in the bottle to the level indicated - see the legend on the side - and then stand out on the lawn whizzing it about them as they would a golf driver. If they do the correct ritual the Swingmaster does not make a gurgling sound throughout the stroke. And presumably it trains the muscles and mind to do the same thing with a real golf bat out on the field. Then the player can get their puck into the basket or whatever they are supposed to do with it. One can only hope that the Swing Master does not fly in two as they play with it...

Armed with my trusty Fujifilm X-Pro 1 and equally trusty 18-135mm f:3.5-5.6 zoom lens, I visited the hot rod show again on their second day of operation. It was in the spirit of scientific enquiry, as well as the spirit of having another day out looking at cars and avoiding having to fold the laundry. Science by itself is all very well, but there are certain social sweeteners too...

I do not intend to rule the world, or bother going to see any more of the Tolkein movies for that matter, but the idea of one lens to take all my pictures is a rather attractive one - particularly when it means keeping it on one camera and not having to open the hatch to let dust in. I will excuse studio illustration work as I have a dedicated camera, lens, adapter combination that does that right now. I feed batteries and cards into it and extract images and as long as it churns the pixels I am going to pronounce myself satisfied - but there are more shots than just upon a product table. I go out to dance shows, car shows, and general affairs. The dream of one focusing ring to cover all is tempting. Did I use a full-frame DSLR or mirror-less body, I would opt for a 24-70 f:2.8 from whichever manufacturer I fancied and be satisfied with that. If I were using a small-frame DSLR I would ask for a 17mm or an 18mm to 55mm...

I'm really doing the Royal Show people a disservice with that title. The Silver Pavilion and the Robinson Pavilion are far nicer than barns - even if they do sometimes have animals on display there. Or hot rods and custom cars, as was the case this last weekend. Apart from the one time they fired up a methanol-powered sprint car inside the main space, there were no bad smells, either. But I drift...

I have never used this lens before - any experiences I have with it are going to be new. Whether they will be rewarding or not depends on a number of factors: The job in hand. The degree of skill I can bring to it. The expectations I have beforehand. The lens is the Fujinon XF 16-55mm f:2.8 R LM WR and I have attached it to the Fujifilm X-Pro1. The reason I have chosen this camera body instead of the X-Pro2 or the X-T2 is because I own the X-Pro 1 and it has not failed yet. I do not expect it to fail now. Recent experience has shown that the ISO rating on this camera need not hover at the 200-400 mark as previously thought. It can readily be set to 800, 1600, or 2400 ISO for reportage and the images do not suffer. In addition to this capability, I have a new Fujifilm EF-X500 flash gun and it pumps out plenty of light. Previous trials with slower lenses than the 16-55 have had mixed success - particularly when there was...

Otherwise known as The Menu Blues. Every digital camera has a menu. It is generally accessed with a button on the back of the camera, although on the Flapoflex Digital Royale Special you wake the camera up by swearing at it. You can choose which language you do this in: Teenager, Longshoreman, or Streetwalker. Flapoflex have always staggered to the beat of a different drummer...

And yet we should. Everyone who uses a digital camera should feel free to talk about the battery and charger. The new Nikon D7500 is in hand right now - you can come down tom the shop and take one home with a new Nikon lens right now. Just let us swipe the credit card and away you go. When you get home, however, you are going to have about an hour's impatient wait until you can take pictures - that is about how long it will take a fully discharged Nikon EN - EL15a battery to come up to speed in a Nikon MH25a battery charger. You can try your luck with a bit of the Japanese or Thai electricity that is left as a residual charge in the battery from the factory, but you will run through this quickly - better to exercise patience and fill the thing properly the first time. Charging batteries up from partial discharge is not as fraught with trouble as it was in the nickel cadmium days, but it is still good to fill it up and then start from fresh. The Nikon company is one of the smarter firms - they have produced a camera with enough internal space to take a decent-sized battery, and have taken advantage of that space well. The En - El15a will hold enough charge for an entire day of average shooting. Some of the literature mentions 800+ shots, though it does not specify whether the more power-hungry features of the camera are used taking those shots. Not all makers do this - I have cameras that are good for only about 180 shots before they go flat. I have to carry batteries slung on a bandolier like a Mexican bandit carries rifle cartridges. In some cases the batteries are made in batches - and we don't need no esteenkin' batches... Okay, that pun was unfair, but good battery power is essential if you are going to shoot in a profligate manner. And charging the things should be as easy as possible. I am not going to be telling tales out of school and mention the chargers that used to be made with clip-on Australian-standard adapters that saddled over US-standard prongs. They were a complete nuisance to mount and demount and used up an inordinate amount of tourist luggage space. This MH-25a has the standard kettle cord socket and is much more space-friendly. It also has an unmistakable form factor* that means it can only accept the one battery, and only in one way. This means no false starts. Also the LED charge light is either flashing or steady - no complex code to indicate partial charge. But should you buy a second...or third... battery? Unless you only intend to take a dozen shots a day...yes. You can never shoot if you don't have it, and you can charge it up while you are using the first one. If you are in freezing cold weather you can keep a warm battery in your pocket and interchange it as the thing gets colder and the voltage falls off. If it gets too cold, other things fall off, but that is beyond the scope of this column. *  " Form factor " is the way of saying " shape " if you only speak Berlitz English.