October 2017

Today starts a week of investigation into a camera system that has flashed upon the world for what is a relatively short period of time - the Fujifilm GFX 50S. Those of you who read this column regularly and know that I am a Fujifilm user may have been wondering why it has taken this long to appear. The answer's simple; there have been numerous other reports of the camera and lenses already in the technical, fan-boy, and forum-fighter press. People can get accurate information, biased information, and outright bad manners from other sources - frequently better written than here - and there was no point in just re-transmitting it. I needed to wait until I could investigate the devices myself in my own facilities. The opportunity for this was provided by the Fujifilm people this last week...

This may come as a shock to some readers, but technology has advanced in the last little while, and it is no longer necessary to go home and use the telephone on the hall stand to ring through to Central. You need not have two pennies or a sixpence to go to the telephone box at the end of the street. And it is possible to infuriate most of population of the country from the comfort of your desk or the convenience of your motor car. Tweets and memes are available 24/7 to do this*. Voila - the mobile phone. You can dial up anyone without using a dial and send them pictures of yourself in the local sports hall toilets for a mere thousand dollars a year. You can yell at people across the country while you are inching forward on the Mitchell Freeway in peak hour. You can send mis-spelled messages to people at any hour of the day and night. No-one need be at peace ever again...

In Melbourne you can get a cocktail at a moderately fancy bar. If you look moderately fancy as well, you might not even have to pay for it. If you look like the writer of this column you have to pay for it. If you go into Camera Electronic in Perth you can pick up a Joby Micro Hybrid Tripod. It's the same amount of money but it contains far better value - there is no water in it...

No, not you - I meant the Sirui K-30X ball head that just came into the stores. The one that convinces me that the mantle of studio equipment manufacture may be passing from Europe to a point further east. This is no small thing to say. Just as the high-quality camera manufacturing business went from Europe and America to the far east, so now the accessory business may also be taking its turn. I can only depend upon the evidence of what I see...

I was idly standing around in the Camera Electronic Murray Street Shop when my eye beheld a very old sight. No, it was not Domenic. He is actually quite young, despite his appearance. Nor was it a glimpse of myself in the mirror. It was the oldest product in the place - Rodinal developer. Oh, it isn't called Rodinal any more - after Agfa went bust they sold off a lot of their patents and formulae and the Adox people got this prize - the right to make Rodinal. They have renamed it Adonal, but the colouration and shape of the container, plus the chemical information on the label assure us that it's the good old stuff. It was first made in 1891, and is a compound of 4-aminophenol. It's not a fine-grain developer - best used with Pan For FP4 on medium and large-format films. It makes for very sharp silver grains and a very high edge sharpness. See the neg that I've scanned from my Linhof days. You dilute it dramatically  - 1+25, 1+50, or 1+1-00 are common dilutions and some have even...

And no-body gets hurt. Because it's mine. Mine, you hear? All mine! But I'll let you look at it. The Sirui people are starting to become more and more interesting as they explore new things that they can do with geometry and their CNC machines. They're starting to think up new uses for standard parts that other people have not done before. This table-top tripod is an example. Oh, TT tripods aren't new - we've been flogging them for decades - all the way from the mega-expensive hammer-tone German types to the cheap and cheerful purple ones. Nearly every major tripod maker has tried their hand with this genre, and frequently they have given their design teams something that approaches carte blanche when it comes to the shape. Carte blanche is a French phrase for a lot of wine at lunch time...