Four Good Things

Four Good Things

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…

But this visit was a particularly good one as I found four good things – three products and one idea.

a. The Ona Bowery – this time in cognac leather.

It looks good, it feels good, it’ll age well, and it treats your expensive camera carefully. Those side and bottom walls have a good half-inch of padding and all the surfaces that will contact your Leica or Sony or Fujifilm are soft plush. You won’t wear off the paintwork or chrome putting the thing in and out. And you won’t snag as you do it – the edges are folded leather.

I won’t lie – this is not as light a bag as some of the nylon ones – the leather is real and top quality and that means a little more weight. The leather strap is pretty well saddle quality. There are enough pockets about it to support a modest social media presence and the bottom is reinforced so that you have some bump and water protection.

Note to potential users. For urban use, you can just take it out and run around as is – if you were to go into poor weather conditions or rough usage I should Dubbin the outside. You’ll darken it somewhat and have to spend some time rubbing the dressing well into the thing, but the extra durability is worth it.

b. The Ona Bond Street – this one in black leather.

If you are looking for a slightly more compact carry for your mirror-less or rangefinder camera – also a slightly smaller slot for an extra lens – then Bond Street is the answer. Same lining, same padding thickness, same leather edging. A little bit lighter overall and a slightly lighter leather strap – call this one belt quality.

You can decide yourself what colour suits you – but choose carefully. These bags will not wear out any decade soon. They will be hosting a variety of cameras as you change and grow in the future.

c. The bag shots are what I got when I used the portable light studio that was set up in an upstairs office. We sell them and one of the staff needed a good space to shoot advertising pictures for the net – so they unboxed one and set it up. It has integral LED’s to light it and a drop-down paper or cloth background inside it.

The light balance was made using the custom function on my Fujifilm X-E2 – the carry-around camera for the Little Studio. To fill in the front a little I popped up the flash and set the thing at 1/60 second and f:5.6. It managed its own ISO.

I have not fiddled in ACR with any of the settings – just cropped to my satisfaction and whacked it on the screen. That’s how good the portable studio is.

d. And what a good idea. When I illustrate small items for this column I take them home to the Little Studio and set things up and shoot away. Then pack the gear up and return it to Stirling Street. It takes four car trips in Perth traffic – admittedly in the middle of the day when there is no rush hour. But it still takes petrol, oil, and aggravation.

If the portable studio remains set up at the shop – and I sincerely hope it does – then I can come down with a camera and flash in a bag and do a whole slew of small products there on-site. No complex paperwork checking things out and in again and no fear of loss from my car whilst in transit. Two journeys saved. A win-win situation. *

And if you are an illustrator who also deals with small objects, think about getting one of the portable studios yourself. You can take it to your client’s place, do your work on a kitchen table, and get the same operational benefit I got.

*  Only sad thing is that there are no model aeroplanes at Stirling Street. I could fly a few in, if they would just clear enough space off the tabletops…

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