February 2019

Well, cheaper than it was before. And you can't blame the internet for this one - because actually it's not a case of blame, but of good luck. Saramonic may be a new name to you, but they are not new in the audio-for-video field. They have the advantage in this of a good price point for their professional-quality gear. The piece today is the Saramonic UwMic9 AU package - a two piece transmitter and receiver kit with dual-channel transmission and a lavalier microphone. There is full connectivity with the DSLR or mirror-less camera - or even a dedicated video rig. And the size is perfect for most interview and commentary work. The boxes are surprisingly heavy - indicative of a good build quality inside the casing. The price point that was mentioned before is something that you'll want to come down to discuss with the staff here at the shop but the floor manager mentioned that it was about 1/3 that of other similar professional brands. That's a real working advantage for any crew. The specs indicate a range of 100 metres if it's...

When you buy a tripod, do you select the legs and then consider shopping for the head as a separate item? Or do you just accept whatever package the manufacturer decides to box up? Both approaches are valid, but this time we'll consider someone making a deliberate judgement. That someone is Carlos - and I showed you his pick of a Leofoto tabletop tripod that can unfold for extra leg length a few weeks ago. He's not just selecting on an idle basis - he paid out his own spending money for the rig. Now he has picked a particular ball head to go with it. The Leofoto LH25 is still a small head - in keeping with the size and form of the legs. But it has a massive ball for the size of the head and a very sturdy cage around it. Best of all, it is Arca Swiss compatible with a small grip and a large clamping knob - you can put sufficient pressure on the A/S rail to hold a decent-sized camera body. You also get something that many ball head...

Stap Me Vitals! I nearly forgot to post the pictures. A few posts ago I showed you a Leofoto folding tripod for tabletop use - the one Carlos has chosen for his portable rig with the extra attachment sockets on each leg. That should have been the sequel to today's post about the little sister tripod from Leofoto. the pictures of it got lost in the image morgue. Well, we shall resurrect them. The Leofoto MT-02 is just one leg length - it doesn't fold out like the video one. And the MTB-19 head that is attached to it is slightly smaller than the ones that go on the larger tripod - but the rig is charming nevertheless, and particularly so for the travelling panoramicist. Recognise the configuration? It's got the ball on the bottom and a turntable head on top - like a tiny version of the Arca Swiss P head. When you level the top with the camera attached, it is only a matter of loosening the turntable lock and the rig can swivel accurately. Perfect stitching later or pretty good dynamic...

It takes no more time to physically walk round a medium format camera than it does a smaller 24 x 36 or APS-DC one, but the mechanical designers of many different brands would have you pause, puzzle, and backtrack to try to figure out exactly what they want you to do so that you can make their camera do what you want to do. The wise ones - and I'll whisper the names Canon, Nikon, and Fujifilm - make their new instructions very much like their old ones. And if they resist the temptation to go down the hall to the graphic design office and demand a new set of icons for the screen, they have the blessings of all working shooters. As an aside - on the subject of shooting - anyone who has ever shot a repeating rifle and worked the mechanism to get a cartridge into the receiver will know that generally they have to pull something up or back somehow. It varies with different arms but you can puzzle it out pretty smartly. Try that with a Swedish...

I formed a very good opinion of the Fujifilm GFX 50S camera when I tried it out in my studio a year or so ago. The test shots done with a pin-up model in the style of a magazine cover pointed out the extreme detail available with the medium format sensor. The richness of the colour that the CMOS sensor produced told me that this would be s perfect studio camera - if the subject matter required a degree of enlargement and the price of the job would justify the extra outlay that medium format requires. I regretted that I didn't have that sort of business to justify owning the camera. I have now had a very brief chance to play with the alternate version of this camera - the Fujifilm GFX 50R - in an almost-studio situation. And as it was the sort of studio I dabble in, there was some point in me comparing that last experience to this one. The new Fujifilm has much the same sensor as its stablemate, but takes a different form - this one is...

That's me. Might as well be candid about it. I will spend money when I need to but I put a great deal of effort into finding it unnecessary. Sometimes that means a great deal of expense but I'm happy to say that's not the case today. Today cheap succeeds. The task in hand was getting a closer focus on the model aircraft - and upon shop stock - while using the Fujifilm 18 -55mm f:2.8-4 R OIS lens. Here's an example of the closest focus achievable - 55mm and f:22. Good - sharp and well-exposed - but just a little far away for many studio purposes. The lens itself is an unrecognised hero for regular photography. So much so, that I am using it in the experiment of mounting it and not changing it for a year - an effort to avoid the dust menace on the sensor. But back to the day's shooting. I located one of the simplest and cheapest solutions to this - the plain old supplemental lens. The accessory we all clapped onto our film cameras in the old days....

I am a fan of the softboxes that I own, but I only own two - and they are strip lights with grids. They do rim lighting a treat but I do not ask more of them. I've owned other softboxes before - a big octagon and an absolutely enormous rectangular one. They functioned well, but ultimately were supplanted for my studio purposes by umbrellas and beauty dishes. Personal preference and prejudice, if you will. The use of a softbox with a portable flash is a little more unusual - people who opt for this have a need to take the soft lighting out into the field. They'll have to deal with how to fire the flash and how to support the rig, but these are simple basics - a folding stand and a radio trigger. The benefit will be a far softer and more workable light than available with a bare speedlight. Worth having for portraiture and fashion shooting - nearly essential for wedding work. Is it going to make a difference whether you get a 40 cm or a 50 cm...

Or neat and sweet. This is a post praising the makers of Leica cameras and the Leica system. I sometimes don't do that - of course it is generally just jealousy on my part over equipment that I can't afford to own. Sometimes over a design decision that owes more to the stylistas than the engineers. But today I have to say that I recognise a real winner of a product - this flash bracket that's on special in the Leica cabinet. I asked Sam which Leica it was for - it turned out to be the Type 240 - an M-series body. I was instantly smitten and saw the whole puropse of it in a second. You see, I cobbled up a similar rig for my own purposes using components that I found in here in CE and overseas in Bic Camera in Tokyo. It couples a Fujifilm flash to my Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera with more or less TTL . I use it whenever I want to get the flash off the top bracket for more directional light. Also, there are times when I want...

You gotta give it to 'em for showmanship. Cheryl and Maureen from Canon Australia set up their mystery display at Camera Electronic's Stirling Street premises a half hour before noon yesterday - but they insisted that no-one got a look at it until the 12:00 o'clock embargo was lifted. Apparently there were two other Canon Australia representatives down at the Murray Street Store. They were all mysterious but good at their word - dead on 12:00 we got to see the new Canon mirror-less camera - the Canon EOS RP. They got a crowd. They also got media coverage - Jennifer Villa-Lobos was doing a two-handed live Facebook feed for the shop. Saul was there to let people know about a special offer in respect of the new camera - there are special accessory grips available for the camera. People got to handle the cameras and operate them. The camera seems to be a lighter and smaller model of their current new EOS R mirror-less line - perhaps aimed at the travelling photographer. As you can see it loses none of the functionality of...