January 2019

I do not often get a chance to test Sigma lenses here in the column - I don't own a Canon, Nikon, or Sony body to which they might be attached. But this week I got the opportunity to grab a demo-body Canon from the shelves to exercise a Sigma macro lens - and I am delighted that I could.  I've had a good morning in the studio. The Canon body was the 75oD - a very capable small-frame body with a number of modern features - not the least of which is a modern and efficient processor. I cannot pretend to be a Canon expert, but the operation was simple enough to let me use it as I would my normal mirror-less. I did not figure out the live view in the small time I had it but I'm sure it was there somewhere. The body functioned flawlessly. The lens was the Sigma 70mm F2.8 DG Macro. I know that means that it could also function on a full-frame body, but I am used to APS-C sensors for my tabletop work...

It should be no secret to the readers of this column that I base many of my stories around the things I find in the Camera Electronic storeroom. A weekly walk-through lets me see if anything new and interesting has arrived and made it through the receiving and cataloging procedures. Some weeks are replete with goods - some are bare. And some are puzzling. I find things. Single examples of odd equipment that need study - to see exactly what it might be good for. And large amounts of other things - nests of equipment, if you will. Bought in batches and sitting there ready for the shelves. This is an example of a nest of Canon superzooms. Before you squawk about how big a zoom needs to be before it is considered super, just reflect that a few years ago a 3 X zoom was considered daring. And people could go out and go wild with it. How much wilder can they go with the modern digital - in this case 65 X. I know there's bigger, but this is a...

I like visiting Camera Electronics - having worked in the shop for eight years it is still a familiar spot to go to - there is a free coffee, and I get to see new things. Note: I do pay for parking at the council meter machine out the front for my time, and I advise you to do so too. The meter maids in the area are not dressed in gold bikinis nor inclined to mercy...

Relax. I'm not advocating doing bad things to four-footed animals. This is all about practical science and inveterate curiosity. The photographic test shot is the most basic of Australian images - even more common than the one of the three children in the back yard under the Hills hoist, squinting into the sun. We have all taken them, and some of us have taken a lot of them. But few of us make the best use of the equipment, time, and materials. It is all a matter of doubt. It is the same with scale model building. Anyone who has an airbrush has also had doubts - doubts about air pressure, dilution of paint, humidity, dust, air movement, thinners, retarders, undercoats, overcoats, matt, gloss, satin...

You don't have to be surreptitious in Camera Electronic when it comes to looking for camera bags - we've had them on the south wall since before the turn of the century - actually it might have been before the turn of several centuries. They've been piled, shelved, hooked, and binned in various combinations and the manufacturers have gone through any number of fads and designs. It is a dangerous section of the shop as you start to think of things that you could do and pretty soon you are buying something to do them with...

I suspect that Peak Design made this bag before they decided what it was going to be used for. That's alright - many of the models I make and the images I take are halfway done before I know what they are going to do. Some sit on the shelf or in the hard drive for years before inspirations strikes...

You are not really a keen enthusiast photographer until you have done three things; stood at a seashore for 3 hours waiting for the sun to come up or go down to take an image that looks like a postcard - sneaked a box full of new equipment into the house unseen - and dropped a lens onto a concrete surface while changing it. Those of you who would like to see the exact spot on North Wharf where I dropped an F:4 collapsible Elmar in 1973 are welcome to attend the annual commemoration service. Expect weeping and wailing. We all do it - we all juggle two lenses and a camera body while on the move. We try to quickly replace one with the other on the camera ( and aren't we grateful that all modern digital lenses are on bayonet mounts...

The heading image is a box of film. To be more specific, it is a box containing a plastic canister with a pop-off lid. Inside the canister is a metal cartridge with a plastic spool in the centre. Around the plastic spool is wound a perforated roll of plastic film, 35mm wide. it's about a yard long give or take a few inches. On one side of the plastic strip is a tough emulsion with a number of layers of light-sensitive  material - three colours that react differently to light that falls upon them - however briefly. The cartridge is shaped to go inside a " 35mm " film camera. his might be made by Leica, Canon, Nikokn, Zeiss Ikon, Kodak, Mercury, Argus, or any number of makers. strip of plastic film inside the cartridge is engaged by a set of sprockets and rollers in the camera and drawn past an aperture 24mm x 36mm in the dark. At the appropriate time, a shutter exposes this aperture to light with an upside-down image focused upon it. If you are very good and...