June 2018

Or more precisely, the Friday presentation by Telstra and the Seniors Recreation Council Of Western Australia at the Loftus Centre. I was asked by Saul to take a trade stand from Camera Electronic to help out Martin and Dawn Yates and I am very glad I did - it was a lot of fun. The main tenor of the morning was Telstra explaining the new NBN and telephone services - Martin had a good segment on mobile phone use for photography - and it was aimed specifically at senior people. As I is one of them, I can appreciate the time taken and the style of presentation. I tried to do the same for the people who visited our table with photographic enquiries. We ran a free draw-for-a-camera box - and the resultant presentation of a Canon IXUS 185 should make the lady who won it very happy - it will be a good combination of automation and clear photos for her. You can do a very great deal with the modern compact camera that even the professional users of more complex...

Not that I am suspicious of every lighting accessory that I come across but it pays to be wary in the studio. A little time taken setting up means a lot less time sitting at the computer moving sliders. The Phottix Nuada panels were new in the store room so I bagged one and brought it home in the latest test batch. They are intended for portable video lighting but the temptation to turn one onto a model car was irresistable. Students of geometry on the tabletop will calculate that this panel is roughtly like having a giant softbox in a portrait studio.  It pumps out far more light than the standard IKEA planet lamps.                 The battery is the familiar Sony-style NP-F550 with a battery charger that plugs into a USB port. I only gave it about 10 minutes juice but had enough in it by then to go up to full power for the table shoot. The specs say that you could get 100 minutes on a full charge at 100% power, so that is pretty impressive. The panel has a...

Remember Victor Kiam? He was the chap we used to see on television advertisements in the 1970's selling shavers. His signature line was that he was Victor Kiam and he liked the Remington electric razor so much that he bought the company. As he was a successful entrepreneur in lots of fields, he may very well have been telling the truth. His confidence sold a lot of razors and I bought one of them. Had it ever actually shaved my face comfortably I would have probably kept it. However...

Nothing like a tortured pun to start the morning, eh? Well, read on - it gets worse. The Peak Design people have always had innovative ideas about slinging cameras. We saw them first in the era of the quick-draw holster camera rig - this was about five years ago - when the flavour of the month was finding some way to suspend a heavy camera from your belt or backpack strap instead of hanging it round your neck. Their offering was a two-part metal plate that sandwiched the belt and then accepted a dedicated plate attached to the camera. It actually worked, but like many such rigs, it was fiddly to set up and required a good degree of faith to hang expensive gear on while you clambered over rocks and bodies. And it didn't quite have the kewl factor of some of the other contenders. ( My favourite was the Mississippi Traffic Cop rig that one English firm put out. You got a Sam Browne Belt made with enough bulk to suspend a hawg laig pistol...

And who doesn't like large prospects? Well, if you've decided to be a bit more ambitious with your camera choice - and hoist medium-sized lenses - you'll want to advance  from yesterday - so today you get the Manfrotto Compact Advanced tripod. Bigger, longer legs - a heftier ball head - and the classic Manfrotto quick release mechanism for your camera. Still the same plastic leg clips and yoke, but bigger. One extra leg segment. A separate panning lock and action. And the Manfrotto quick mount plate - possibly the most common feature of many of their tripods. It has a positive locking mechanism to prevent inadvertent opening And enogh of a foot to cope with anything up to a medium DSLR. The tripod is still light enough to haul out on a hike or around a city centre. It is small enough to leave in the boot of your car in its bag all the time when you're motoring. If nothing else, you can enliven a long country trip by setting it up at a layby and pretending to be a Multinova. Just...

Students of photographic design may be a little puzzled at today's monopod. It is a custom design based upon a very old model. The " swine's feather " or " Swedish feather " was issued to troops during the Thirty Years War to allow them to support their heavy matchlocks. This was in the days before Hasselblad and IKEA...

The Manfrotto video monopod seen today - the MVMXPROA42W -  is a surprisingly stylish competitor for yesterday's Sirui. It has more, and less than the other one, and you'll have to decide if that's what you want. To start with, the leg is aluminium, and might be thought heavier than carbon fibre - except hefting the two boxes doesn't seem that much different and this one has a video head on top as well. You may debate the virtues of Alu and CF at the next camera club meeting when the Canon/Nikon debate falters. The leg locks are lever-click and adjustable for tension so you can cope with eventual wear. There are 4 sections to the pod but in the supplied form there is no carry bag. You have to buy that separately - Manfrotto make good bags. The bottom feet are much like the others but he locking mechanism is not as delicate. There is a press-button collar that bears down on the ball joint to keep things upright or to loosen them for swivelling. Note that this is not a tripod...

I was going to entitle this column, " Leg Art " but googled it and thought better of the idea. There are things on the image page that cannot be unseen. My weekly foray into the Camera Electronic storeroom sometimes takes me to shelves that are well beyond my ken. The drone nest where they are busily hatching for instance. Or the Leica vault. It's not that I don't understand Leica,...