May 2019

We cannot talk analog cameras without involving the Leica company - they are one of the very few makers of new film cameras. They are certainly the only manufacturer who has a new offering of absolutely professional  quality. You get a choice of two fresh ones - the M-A or the MP. They shoot the same lenses but with the M-A you'll be on your own as far as judging exposure. Cheer up - many film packets have an exposure chart...

I can remember a world without chargers. It also had nickel chocolate bars, Howdy Doody, and John Diefenbaker, so you can see how long ago it was. Since then we have, all of us, accumulated more devices and chargers than we can well use - and the only real solution to the way they have built up is to lose them. That is why we take holiday trips to foreign countries or to Melbourne. We can lose them deliberately - a sack of old chargers worn under a loose jacket can be scattered from the top of an open doubledecker sightseeing bus. Or we can lose them inadvertently, as in a hurried checkout the morning after the night before. But lose them we will, and this is why Camera Electronic sells an inexpensive Korjo universal power adapter. It is cheap enough that you can afford to abandon it when you do a runner from the hotel. If things are not as dire as that, consider the fact that so much of today's equipment needs a USB port to charge up from. I...

If you've ever looked at a gun sight in a modern fighter aircraft you'll probably have seen some form of HUD - Heads Up Display. It is a design that allows the pilot to aim  his guns or missiles without having to bend forward to look into an eyepiece or squint at crosshairs or into iron sights. Most HUD's are projected images or lights onto an internal screen in the cockpit that is linked to where the weapons are going to impact. The best ones have computer tracking and prediction for lay-off. Well, we're not generally shooting down MiG's at Camera Electronic, and you may not be doing so out at your house*, but there are a number of times  when we are trying to get a long lens to see a distant subject but we have no idea how to bring the lens to bear upon it. Air shows, wildlife, birds, and sport shots come to mind. We may have a great long lens that delivers crisp shots but we find ourselves waving all round the heavens while trying to...

If you are a person who has no friends you may be very sad. You cannot get anyone to go out to dinner or the movies with you and when it comes time to show off how great you are on a skateboard, windsurfing kite, or drag racer theres nobody to take your picture. We can't help with dinner but we've got the sports activities covered. There are any number of action cameras out there - and indeed thousands of regular digital cameras - that record great video footage. Just the sort of thing you want to capture. Good if you are going to be sitting in front of he lens demonstrating how to tear paper, but bad if you are going to be tracking from right to left screaming for someone to save you. If you haven't got any mates to follow you with the camera all you'll see is one quick flash. Step in the dear old Soloshot. I say dear old, because it has been on offer in the shop ever since I started working...

Or how to go viral without going bacterial. When I pulled the Joby Gorillapod Mobile RIG off the Murray Street rack this week I thought of it as just another trendy apparatus to do interviews with. It wasn't until I looked more closely at the illustration on the front of the packet that the true nature hit me - this is a rig designed for the inveterate vloger and selfist. And it's made to go out in the field to capture the full horror. Actually it's rather an engaging little fellow - like a small mannequin holding up a camera, light, microphone, and mobile phone as monitor screen. I would suppose that the phone is simultaneously streaming whatever is being recorded of the speaker to the social media and/or external storage. Well, if you're going to do it, this is a good a way of getting a steady image and watching yourself as you do it. The Gorilla Pods have always been effective as mini tripods or wrapped around solid structures. Not so sure about the footage taken if you're going to hold...

Even for a dedicated analog photographer there are times when they wish for some of the advantages of digital work. There might be an image that has come out particularly well but has an unfortunate colour cast; perhaps a light source has been redder or bluer than anticipated and the effect has become exaggerated in the final image. If it's a picture of a stage pantomime this might be unnoticed - if it's a good portrait it might make the whole thing unpleasant. What to do? Well, come down off your high analog horse and put the negative or transparency into a scanner, and enter it into the digital world. Epson made the V 700, then the V800, and now probably a V900 flat-bed scanner specifically to deal with analog sources. The kit you get with any of these can run from 35mm to 4" x 5"  negative or transparency, as well as dealing wih larger magazine and illustration material. Heck, I've even got my V700 to scan 8" x 10" negatives in the past and it does a superb job. With the...

Whenever I see some of the new photographic accessories that have hit the market since the advent of the action camera and the mobile phone camera I am tempted to ask myself the question in our title. Am I seeing a good new thing or the start of the apocalypse? The rather well-built accessory that you see in the heading image is made by NiSi - who manufacture world-class filters for landscape photographers. You can buy their ND, graduated ND, and other fine filters together with universal or dedicated filter holders for nearly every camera or lens. If its film, digital, APS-C, full frame, medium or large format...

I have used a Datacolor Spyder calibrator on my desktop and laptop computer screens since I got them - the advantage of working in Camera Electronic was the fact that the goods I needed were right there on sale in front of me. And I was encouraged to clean up my act by the other staff members who knew what they were doing and could calibrate not only the consumer cooking-quality screens like my iMac but could also do the right thing on the EIZO and BenQ monitors. I attended several lectures and workshops by company representatives, expert commercial photographers, and local printers who explained colour management, calibration, and accurate, consistent printing. The portions of their lectures and seminars that I can now remember centred around the lunches and drinks tray...