Dick’s Rant

Well, it wasn't quite as lively as a food riot, but it wasn't far off. The morning session at the Stirling Street premises of Camera Electronic had all the right ingredients for a good time - if you were prepared to take no prisoners., I checked in about 10:00 and the place was packed. Some of the packing turned out to be the staff , but a lot of it was customers...

Today they're having celebrations at the Stirling Street and Murray Street stores for the 50th anniversary of the company. I'm heading down  to see what's going on. The advert that popped into my email feed promised store special discounts, new CE merchandise, and industry reps in-store to discuss their products with the customers. I'm a little concerned that it only hit the computer the day before the event, but I trust that people will get a chance to participate in the celebrations and deals all through the coming week. 50 years is a long time in the photographic business - it's a heck of a long time in politics or other professions as well. Think for yourselves of the regimes and public figures who have lasted less than a tenth of that time. Camera Electronic, the family who own it, and the staff who operate it, must have been doing something right to be here all that time. If that sounds like back-patting...

They may see a stranger across a crowded room - and somehow they'll know, even then, that they'll be photographing them again and again. But there's a problem - Sam has been welding pipelines for years while Janet has been the usher at the local Roxy - as a result of their jobs Sam can't see any colours duller than 90 on the saturation slider and Janet can practically see in the dark. They are continually fighting with each other over who left the seat up on the Photoshop program last. It gets worse. Sam has a big old DSLR that is practically glued to the factory program settings - he's managed to reset the colour and the rendering to ultra-vivid but other than that he just takes what it writes. It seems natural to him. Janet, on the other hand, has fine-tuned her mirrorless compact camera to see just above the threshold of vision - with a fine nuance of what might be red, blue, or green. No-one else is sure as the pictures look like barely tinted monochromes - we just...

Today I am off to the WAMED ( Western Australian Middle Eastern Dance ) Grand Bazaar show at Victoria Hall in Fremantle. I've been asked to take pictures of the stage show for this last day of their big dance weekend. The hall is a great old Victorian theatre with a big balcony at the rear - it's hardly used for this sort of market and show so I can perch up there with a tripod and one of the Fujifilms ( also with a sandwich and a bottle of beer ) and record the acts pretty well undisturbed. This benefits the audience as well - I don't have to do my regular trick of balancing on a big Pelican case halfway down the aisle of the hall and get in everyone's line of sight. This year I did some comparison tests between the output of the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and the X-T2 and have decided that the optical viewfinder of the former makes it a better dance camera than the EVF of the latter. You can see the peak action of a...

Sounds like a 1930's race car, doesn't it? Nearly as good - this is a Panasonic full-frame race car of a camera - slotting into their lineup as a more compact version of their big S1. Hard sometimes to equate the outside sizes of some photo equipment with the contents - we've seen very large bodies and lenses feeding into quite small sensors and vice versa - this camera is tending toward the latter design. It still doesn't make the sensor larger than the actual camera body, but I'll bet there is someone in a design bureau that is doodling with that. Remember that designers have given us the Goggomobile Dart before and they can do it again. Okay - 24mm x 36mm sensor - 24megapixel. Compact body. L mount. Very fast autofocus, extensively concentrating on head, face, and eye detection. Full video suite - dual card slot. Extended number of shots per charge. A real all-rounder that can do professional-quality video work as well as stills. I found it in the cabinet paired with a Sigma 45mm f:2.8 lens of remarkably compact...

If you were able to buy a 2017 motor car from a dealer right now - a car that had been introduced that year but was sitting - unused- on the dealer's floor today - would you do it? WHAT IF IT WAS A GREAT CAR? That's not as foolish a question as I could ask ( Stick with me - I've got sillier ones. ), but it does come to mind looking at today's featured camera. Like it or not, a new model of the Panasonic Lumix GH5 - a Mark II - is shortly due. It's been announced by CE management complete with the opportunity to pre-order. Which leaves the GH5 in an invidious position; who is it going to appeal to? The same people to whom it appealed these last five years. All-round photographers. I'm the last person to be writing for them - I'm not well-rounded. I slump to one side and veer off whenever they loosen the shackles. But I recognise that there are people who wish to be equally proficient with video work as with still shots,...

How many fingers and toes do you have? Which ones are your favourites? Or are you one of these people who just uses whatever is there on the end of a limb at the time? It's sort of like that in the camera business as well. I was brought to this conclusion when I asked a CE staff member what was new in the joint - He found a few things but said that there were a lot of people who overlooked what was good in the things that were there already. When I asked for more details he pointed to a very neatly set-out Panasonic cabinet. A lot of superb cameras and lenses, but in some ways it reminded me of the '57 Chevy advertisements. GM made a lot of Chevies and we bought one. it was a big, robust black car and served better than many others of the same year. Yet Chevy had so many options and different models that you could be forgiven for giving up on them  - from over-choice. Here's two charts from the net: If...

I am not being rude to either you or Gitzo. When you give them money and they hand you a product it may be the last time you see each other. The things they supply are so well made that you would be hard pressed to break them in a lifetime. Their best bet for repeat business is to keep designing unique camera supports - you may never woear out the last thing you bought but you might be so pleased with it that you'll come back with more money. Thus the studio three-way head you see in the top image. The GHF 3W. Under a kilo weight. Supports 13 Kg. Arca/Swiss plate included. Three way fluid damped. Foldable levers. Horizontal/vertical option when tilted. Locking lever to keep camera on head even when you lose yours. Rotatable levelling bubble. The price is serious folding money but if you want a rock-solid head for your rock-solid Gitzo tripod here it is. I can't have one because I haven't finished my Gitzo Studex 5 and large format head yet. It's been holding studio cameras since 1990 and I still haven't chewed it up....