October 2018

Milkbars, Monaros, middies, and motoring down Hay Street on Saturday night. Welcome to 1966. Wander down one of the arcades in town and look into the camera shop - the one with the lights and enough space to move in. No names, no pack drill. This writer’s there behind a counter dressed in his short-sleeved white shirt and tie, looking for all the world like a refugee from “ Revenge Of The Nerds “. If you passed by the dubious attractions of the Kodak Instamatic or Agfa Clack kits and wanted to get a real 35mm SLR camera, you had several choices - two of the best being the Pentax Spotmatic or the Nikon F. They both did the business from different positions  on the photographic spectrum, but they both sold pretty much like hot cakes. Admittedly there was a greater takeup for the Spotmatic amongst amateurs and for the Nikon F amongst the professionals but that was concerned with whose money was being spent. The Pentax with a standard prime lens ran out at about $ 125. The Nikon went for $...

Here’s a go - the writer for a major camera shop telling people to go to secondhand camera fairs and marketplaces instead of coming into the shop. Is he crazy, or what? Well, that should have been evident a long time ago, but in this case there is more method than madness. I will declare that I do go to secondhand camera markets equally as a buyer and a seller. In both instances it was entirely divorced from my former position as a staff member or my present one as a contributing writer. I go to the fair as a private individual - a rube or a carney  depending which side of the table I am leaning upon. I have sold and bought items of great value that have proven to be perfect for their purpose. I have done the same with some useless dreck. The point of honour with me is that I bought it before I sold it...

I asked myself this question as I shot a few reportage pictures for the recent Boxing Special at the Photo Live 2018. There were plenty of photographers around the ring with plenty of cameras but few of them besides me seemed to have flash guns in operation. As I am a relic, I wondered if the flash had become a relic too. It all started when the Nikon D3 cameras came into the shop in the 2008-2009 period. it seemed that you could boost the speed of the sensor to impossible heights and that no—one ever need use a flash any more. A couple of staff members and customers with the cameras were taking them into dimly-lit night clubs and returning with fabulously bright pictures. My cameras could not do these high ISOs without terrible colour noise so I settled for lower speed and speedlight flash. And worked my way through various combinations of good old flash, bad old flash, good new flash, and bad new flash. I'm about evenly balanced between the light and dark right now, but I have no...

The wingman. The second who accompanies a fighter plane pilot on a sortie - who alternately sticks close or dodges away to watch out for the safety of his mate. Who shots down whoever gets on the tail of his partner. Who can switch roles instantly if need be. Well, you don't have to be in combat to need a wingman...

A small apology to the readers  - you have been forced to read the back of the cornflakes box at breakfast instead of this column for the last four days. I'm lying in a hospital bed with my leg propped up and have just now got my hands on an iPad to start broadcasting again. I hope that next week is better, but keep reading as we have a number of columns in storage. Now on we go...

The open and shut case for the digital camera. Look up the history of the Leica cameras - it is one of the most documented devices in all of photography. It came along to give a new way of working, just at a time when there were more and more ways of writing about it and publishing the results. Leica themselves did ( and does...