January 2018

People who read this column regularly are getting pretty used to the flights of fancy that sometimes occur. And they are more critical than you might think. So I don't think I will have any luck telling them that the lens in the heading image is the Paul Hamlyn part-work Built-Your-Own-Lens in 204 parts and that we have been faithfully buying the magazines every week for over a year now...

The great thing about the photographic trade is that it is so diverse and inventive - if a need is identified - or just created - there are a number of manufacturers who will leap up and offer a product. Some of the products may turn out to be frank commercial copies of other designs - but some of them are rather special and unique. I think we can assign the Manfrotto Twistgrip to this exclusive group. The need was for a device to hold a mobile phone steady for video work. That's steady in a flat orientation with the long side of the phone horizontal. Then the shots that come from it will go through the conventional editing processes and be displayed on a wide screen. Anything else may be art, or science, but it does not please the eye of the audience. A mobile phone is a slippery fish - just ask the innumerable people who have had them drop out of their hands and hit the ground - Goodbye Mr. Screen. Hello Mr. Repairman or Hello Apple Shop. I've...

It seems that everything we see these days on the computer screen is taken with a mobile phone. This was not the case in the 1950's. Many people in Australia were still connected to land lines and it was awkward ringing up Central and trying to arrange for a YouTube of kittens in under an hour. Plus if you were out in the street you needed to use the red phone box and frequently you didn't have the small change ready when they told you to drop it in. I used to call in to Midland Police Station and ask if anyone had a couple of coppers. Police are not as patient as you might think...

As I was formerly a shop assistant in Camera Electronic, you might think it would be the last place that I'd ever go after retirement. Not a bit of it - I'm in there every blessed week, and for good reasons: a. I get to see what the latest real goods really look like - as opposed to just cruising the internet for the kickstarter images. If I am going to be taken in by shallow appearances and foolish desires, I want to do it for myself. b. I get to see what the local professional trade is using. Of course I secretly know that most of the pros have a gadget bag filled with things that they have made themselves out of matt board and gaffer tape...

They may be famous for it, but I assure you - the city is in Saxony. And it was the home of the Ihagee camera factory - makers of the little gem you see in the heading image. I first encountered the Exakta cameras through advertisements in Popular Photography in 1965. Oldens in New York were selling them for about $ 79.00 US at the time and it has always rankled with me that I did not send off my money and get a brand new one. To give you a comparison, a new Asahi Pentax Sv camera with a CdS meter was selling for $ 99 US at the time. It was a time of Elvis, dinosaurs, and the 70¢ malted milk in every drug store. The Exakta was the first really successful SLR, and despite the factory being bombed flat and the Soviets stealing everything that was not nailed down, the company did come back for a number of years after WW2 to make these cameras. They are fine machines, if somewhat quirky. I was never able to get my head...

Most people know that Ireland for a long time had no snakes - having had them all removed by St. Patrick. I'm not sure if anyone has seen fit to smuggle more back in the meantime, but the Hähnel company has played with the legend a little by naming one of their products " the Viper ". * You can regard that as wry humour if you like, but the fact remains that it is a good product - a control system for TTL flash from external speedlights. I found two versions on the Camera Electronic accessory wall - for Nikon and for Canon. I shouldn't wonder if they might not think up versions for other flash systems, now that the mirror-less movement is rolling on. j Briefly, the transmitter and control box allow the coupling of the maker's flash units wirelessly and with TTL control over a 100 metre range. You can send out signals to three different groups of flashes and control what they are going to do from the transmitter itself - no need to go out to the flashguns. You...

Like everyone else who reads this column every morning*, I read other columns every morning - Fuji Rumours, Fuji Love, and DP Review almost every day. The Fujifilm Cameras Australia Facebook column every few days. Ken Rockwell whenever I am feeling liverish. You can vary the menu to suit your own brand - Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Sony, Olympus, Flapoflex...