Dick’s Rant

I have started speculating about the old working dogs in the Perth photo scene. I hasten to add I do not mean the people - I have too much respect for the photographers to pry into their ages. Plus I want them to like me enough to buy me coffee and cake on occasion. No, I mean the equipment. I don't know the answer to these questions but I'd welcome answers to the column or in person from the people concerned. Who is shooting professionally with: a. The oldest camera per se. What year was it purchased? b. The oldest analog camera. What work are they tackling with it? c. Ditto the oldest digital camera. Are there any of the original ground breakers still whirring? Where do you get batteries for it? d. Okay, now we go out past where the buses run. Who is using - professionally - the oldest and smallest memory card? Do they shoot with their fingers crossed? You can pursue this line of enquiry for the enthusiasts and amateur users as well. They don't have to earn a living with the...

We are accustomed to seeing television coverage of the Tour de France - at least in normal years. Also Grand Tours of Europe undertaken to gain culture rather than sore legs - also in normal times. Even lesser locations have conducted excursions - the Tour de Manangatang comes to mind - and people stream out of the pub to either see or be seen. We need to institute a Tour de Photo event to boost our art - or at least to whip up a little trade. Several ideas have been mooted: a. Hold a long distance car rally/travelling gourmet/photo opportunity event on a set course round either the south west, the wheatfields, or out past Meekatharra. Set stages, timed runs, required photos, and local cuisine. As you get to each stage you download your photos of the last stop to be judged. 5 days on the road should see the average photographer shot out, crapulous, and with a number of traffic fines. b. Do exactly the same for the wedding enthusiasts. Imagine the delight of a bride upon seeing 28 strange photographers...

" Vitamin C? Ascorbic acid? Prevents scurvy - staves off head colds - tastes like orange juice. Why not C? " No, why the " C " on the Fujinon GF 80mm f:1.7 lens? None of my Fujinon Xf lenses have a " C " on them and they work perfectly well. In fact I've given up off-brand lenses entirely in favour of the Fujifilm product. What gives? " Simple. Switched to " C ", the lens responds to camera controls for aperture settings. Just like the little brother lenses such as the 27mm f:2.8 pancake lens, this one can be controlled by the wheel under the right thumb. There is a report in the viewfinder as to which aperture is being selected. If you have your left hand on the focus ring at the time it need not be shifted to alter the aperture ring. But you can choose an automatic response by the aperture to camera metering with the " A " setting or preselect the aperture you want with the main ring. From f:22 to F; 1.7 there are positive...

As soon as I acquired my first camera with multiple settings - I think it was "I" and "T" for Instant and Time - I followed the practice of setting it wrong, and then changing my mind and correcting it, and then going through the cycle again several times. Increasing numbers of controls and possible settings multiplied the chances for folly, and I am proud to say I took advantage of every opportunity. I held little contests with myself, starting with a cold, dead camera and running against a time clock. I started it up and then made every possible adjustment in every possible combination until I either completed the exercise or the battery exploded. So far my best time was 14 minutes and if the manufacturer had not brought out the Mark II model just then and distracted me, I believe I could have broken the 13-minute mark.. Someone said you could also take pictures with cameras but I find it hard to believe - I mean, when would you find the time? All this to introduce my experience of fiddling...

Upon the few occasions when I manage to chew through the straps and escape, I generally take a camera to record sights of interest. In some cases this results in a thousand images on a memory card. It used to be ten rolls of 35 mm Kodachrome or two pro-packs of Portra 160 but times have changed. I have exchanged worrying about X radiation on the film to worrying about running out of battery charge. Don't worry - the hit rate for good shots is still 10%...

Like many other cameras on the market at present  - and I mean that in a complimentary way. This latest consumer offering from Fujifilm has been designed to incorporate a lot of things that people have learned that they want. You are cordially invited to agree. A disclaimer to start: I am a Fujifilm user and may well be thought of as a fan. So I am, but I am a fan with reservations - I do see some design decisions from the firm that make me go Hmmm. However, I still shoot their cameras and lenses. And also note that Fujifilm are big enough and mature enough that they can go off on design tangents occasionally. I think they have dedicated teams in their organisation that do this - dedicated to certain aspects of the business or certain markets. I'm willing to think that these designers and production developers support each other in a most harmonious fashion in the board meetings and then hunt each other through the office corridors with bows and arrow. Development money is development money...

Because the new Olympus Zuiko 100-400mm 1:5.0-6.3 lens is in the Stirling Street shop for sale - and none of your privacy is safe. Not that it has been in these last few years of digital development - the camera makers have all tried to add longer and longer lenses to their sales line-up and this urge has extended into the zoom range as well. No names of other makers in this Olympus column, but they've all been at it. And mostly they have been at it hard and heavy. Again no names, but consider the fact that in most cases the lenses made for the keen wildlife and bird photographers have been long, awkward, and massive. In most cases they've had to feed an image onto an APS-C -szed sensor or a 24 x 36 one. In the case of the medium format systems some truly memorable lenses have been produced - all with great aplomb and seriousness - but they have been beasts to carry. I know - I owned a 500mm Hasselblad lens once complete with shoulder stock and...