June 2019

Photographers who may find themselves confined to their home for some time due to various reasons - illness, financial straits, or a court order, for instance - can still have a lot of fun and learn many new facts by resorting to their computer and the resources of the internet. We'll leave aside the visual temptations of Icker, Monstagram, or any of the other purely presentational sites and direct you to technical ones. I mean, beautiful images are all very well for the professionals, but when you come right down to it, the amateur photographer wants specifications and technical comparisons, eh? So today's site is Dofmaster. Go to dofmaster.com and look at the variety of products you can get for your information devices. They do a number of electronic programs for the different forms of mobile phone or tablet and for the fixed computers. You can pop right into the depth of field calculator and experiment with the idea before you commit to anything. I use the free bit all the time to compare and contrast different lenses. The idea is you...

Ever see a Speed Graphic or Crown Graphic press camera - or any of the other US or British cameras of the 40's and 50's? Note that every one of them seems to have two things in common - a big silver handle flash on one side of the camera and Jimmy Olsen behind it. Golly Superman! The big silver handle contained as many " D " cells as they could cram in as a way of providing enough electricity to fire the big press flash bulbs. It could also provide synchronising ports for cables and a button to trigger a solenoid on the shutter. Whatever you were doing with the other hand - focusing the camera, pulling a dark slide, or fighting crime, the handle gave you a massive grip on the massive camera. The users decided which side they wanted to hang on to about evenly - the handles could be slung either left or right. Even when the smaller Leica-style rangefinders moved in for some press work, there were big handle flashes to let you keep it all in...

And you're darned lucky at that. It's a piece of junk. The legs are thin-wall aluminium tubing with a profile pressed into them - so far so normal. They ride in white plastic bushes that are held in place by cutouts in the tubes - again pretty much what you might see in better tripods, albeit a bit flimsy here. But the whole edifice falls into a heap with the leg clamps - they are cheap plastic clipovers that compress a rubber block onto the next smaller tube. I do not decry clipovers - Manfrotto have used them on some of their new tripods and they are a model of good design. Their clips are metal and they have adjustment bolts to let you take up slack as they wear in. But these flimsy clips are just disasters waiting to happen. One's broken - and has been replaced by the only sensible alternative - a car hose clamp. The other two at the same level of the tripod are showing the same cracks that broke the first one, so it's off to Supercheap...

There is no doubt that two camera makers in the current market have been most successful in embracing the concept of retro style - I should have said three, but if I used the term Lomo in the same breath as Leica and Fujifilm, I would be chased from the place. And I haven't been chaste for years...

You can run, hide, or make them a great experience for the kids. Your choice. The great experience part might well involve some time spent with Fire Tech - the company at 232 Stirling Street Perth that organises innovative workshops for young photographers. Their literature says they help shift kids from being passive consumers of technology to developers of digital tech with real-life application. That sounds like robotics, electronics, programming, and our own favourite subject - photography. And this may have real benefits for their parents and grandparents - tech-savvy kids can program home computers, TV remotes, and retic system controllers. Finally - your house might actually work...

" So I want one too - but his had a 50 milly meter lens so none of the pictures came out good. I want a 50 milly meter camera so mine will be better. And I want a 50 milly meter zoom. " You can only hold your breath so long before sparkly lights flash and the world sort of greys out. Then you have to breathe and come back to consciousness, and if you're a salesperson in a camera store you've got to start unravelling the knotted ball of informational string. It's no good fainting and falling to the floor as someone will just revive you and you'll have to start over again. I blame the manufacturers. If they had not decided to turn 35mm motion picture film sideaways and start to make still pictures none of this would have been a problem. Even then, they could have used Imperial or Russian or Andaman Island units of measurement for the focal length of the lens and it would have made it easier. When the film makers started to refer to the 35mm...

Okay, that's a predictable headline given that we were at the Western Star Mercedes showroom in Osborne Park last night and that we were clustered around  a grasshopper green Mercedes AMG 4.0 V8 BiTurbo sports saloon. No-one who came into the showroom missed seeing the car.  It would be an enormous hit wherever it went - Subiaco, Dalkeith, Applecross, Winthrop. Parking it might be easy but the anxiety involved in leaving it to the tender mercies of the other shoppers would be killing. All those doors opening...

It has been one of the constant themes in photography that the camera can see more than the operator. Even when that vision took twenty minutes and a cup of boiling mercury, there were details of vision the glass lenses recorded that were not seen by the human eye. It has gotten better/worse than that over the last 175+ years and there are lots of times when we humans stand at the back of the line to receive the word from the lenses. The digital era has accentuated this. The heading image is from the recent Vivid show in Sydney - though Luna Park has been an attraction for decades. The platform from which t was shot was a bobbing one - a ferry from Pyrmont to Circular Quay in a choppy harbour - and the lighting was the dead end of sundown when the light show projectors could start to make an impact on the buildings that had been chosen as screens. The metadata says that it was taken at 6400 ISO, f:2.8, and 1/60 of a second - all...

I mean, is it: a. Big enough? Are you still using the small size when the clients and judges expect the quality that you get from the big size? Ask carefully - but don't give them any hints. If they are perfectly satisfied with what you produce, with what you've got, don't poke the bear. If they are not, start poking, and begin with your wallet. You may have to spend actual money for actual goods, and it is just about  to be actually the end of the financial year. Poke fast, if you are going to poke at all. If you need to spend to earn, spend now. b. Small enough? If you are going to do a holiday trip riding in anything smaller than a tank transporter, you'll need to think about size and weight. The heading image from Sydney Vivid was taken last week on my little Fujifilm X-T10 with a 27mm f:2.8 Fujinon pancake lens and the results as well as the experience were all I could have wished for. The freedom from zooming provided by taking one lens only meant...

I well remember a tripod that was offered for sale with a ball head on the top and a very stylish set of control knobs on the side - locking for the tilt and also for the panning. The style adopted was minimalist and the maker thought that if they put a plain rubber cylinder there it would be  a world-winner. Possibly, in a world where there was no air, water, or grease to foul the fingers. Here on Earth the thing was a monumental nuisance when people tried to tighten it only to find their fingers sliding around and nothing really happening. Anyone who still owns one of these designs has either developed a grip like a gorilla or carries a pipe spanner in their back pocket. Thank goodness the designers at Manfrotto looked at real life and real requirements. They've issued new ball heads for their BeFree and larger tripods that incorporate very positive cast knobs. They are somewhat reminiscent of the knobs on a bathroom tap, but set sideways. This is no bad thing - remember that bathroom fittings...