Dick’s Rant

I realise now that I made a mistake - I accept this. When the customer came into the shop all those years ago and asked: " Where can I stuff this stocking? " Well, I should have been slower to answer. Kinder. Gentler. More professional...

Summer in Western Australia is just starting and already we have had one or two warm days. More will come, and some will be quite hot. Prudent photographers will want to take precautions to prevent damage to their equipment or injury to themselves. As you can see from the heading image, it is already too late for this Nikon 24mm lens - someone left it on the window sill in full sunlight and it melted. Fortunately our repair department will be able to straighten it up again, but you may not be so lucky with your own gear. Protect it from sunlight - particularly if it is left in a closed car. You'll also want to check the condition of electrical equipment in the heat. As you know, batteries deliver less power in cold weather - photographers are urged to put their spare batteries into their pockets to keep theem warm if they are shooting in the snow. Well, what do you think happens then it gets hot outside...

It's a shop. We sell things. You bring money, you leave it here, you go home with something. Sometimes you go home with a camera, sometimes you go home with a lens. Sometimes you go home with the water cooler or one of the shop assistants wrapped up in brown paper. Those are special days...

If you ever want to know whether something is legit in an overall sense, you should look at the things about it that you know personally - and judge the remainder accordingly. Not saying that this is strictly scientific, but you stand a better chance of getting to the bottom of something if you work with tools you know. Case in point - have you ever seen something happen that was considered news-worthy, watched the news-gathering people at work, and then read the final report? Was the report as you saw the event? Was it true? Did something get added or taken away? Was there room for genuine error? If there was, will it ever be corrected? Okay - You'll have noticed that a big US-based mail order firm has just opened a website here in Australia to sell you everything from cosmetics to books to electronic gear. There was a big brouhaha on the news. Part of the fuss was the fear that it would destroy smaller Australian retailers. You'll also have noticed in the last few years that a large New...

If you are a keen amateur photographer you must have a thrill of jealousy when you see the professionals given the task of testing out new photographic equipment. The thought of them driving their vans up to the factory gate and loading new bodies and lenses in with a grain shovel must be maddening. Well, don't get too green-eyed - there are pitfalls to the thing as well. I know - I got to play with a wonderful camera and lenses a couple of months ago and I discovered that it was a nervous experience. To start with, the wholesale representatives are business-like and thorough. They check out everything that takes off and make sure that it lands again. In one piece, too. You sign for each test item. And then you have the problem of keeping that gear pristine while squeezing it through the professional wringer. I left with a box full of camera and lenses that was worth more than the car that bore it away. You have to think about how you can do the thing - about what sort...

I cannot conceal this from you - I adore silver lenses. Whether the finish is chrome, paint, anodised aluminium, or solid sterling silver, I think these optics are absolutely superb. It is prejudice - I acquired a Leica Elmar 2.8 lens with a chrome M2 in 1970 and the experience influenced me ever after. There were some horrible silvers - the collapsible Elmar of the 1950's had a chromed barrel but painted focusing ring and this soon looked sad. There were plain aluminium lenses from East Germany like the Meyer ones from Görlitz that quickly became tawdry. But there were also the Planar and Distagon lenses that fronted the 500-series Hasselblads and they looked magnificent. In my own chosen brand they are also supplying some of their small primes in a chrome finish - 23mm, 35mm, and 50mm so far. I have even seen on-line examples of the Fujifilm 27mm f:2.8 in silver, though whenever it is listed it is sold out. I'll bet it was an exclusively Japanese product. Leica have never given up on the aesthetics of the silver lens. You...

I realise that "triad" is a word with different evocations in different societies. In this blog post I am linking it more to military policy than to secret societies. Not that military organisations aren't secret - but what they do can be deliberately made very public. The triad that the US employs for strategic defence depends upon three things - the USAF bombers, the ICBM's, and the US Navy's submarine-launched missiles. Heaven forbid that they will ever be used, but the fact that there are three delivery agencies means that enemies know that they cannot get away with it. Unfortunately the policy means that three times as much money and effort must be spent in research, development, acquisition, training, deployment, maintenance, etc. Three times as much national effort. No-one does this sort of thing successfully unless they are major organisations. Leica is one of those organisations. Not in defence, but in photographic optics. They operate a triad system as well: a. The M-mount for cameras. Pioneered in the 1950's this must be one of the most recognised pieces of camera engineering there is...

No, not that Party. The Leica party. The launch night for the newest member of the Leica family here in Perth. The Flour Factory restaurant and bistro was the venue - it is a good display choice as it has such a large and open second floor. The ceiling takes a bit of getting used to, but that is the way of modern design when it uses older structures. At least the Flour Factory does not have burnt wooden beams and abandoned fireplaces jutting from the walls like some venues - the designers here had some restraint. I need to clear something up at the start. It has been bruited about that the only reason I go to these launch parties is for the beer. This is cruelly inaccurate - there is also the sausage and cheese...