Reviews

Of all the places in the world Africa is like a magnet for me, Kenya, Rwanda and Zanzibar are my favourite destinations. Africa has so much to offer the photographer, right from when your flight lands at Nairobi you are transported into another world, the women in their brightly coloured garments, the hustle as crowds move through immigration until you finally spill out onto the mayhem of the streets. Kenya in particular dominated by savannas offers enchanting landscapes and a refuge for the big five (lion,leopard,cape buffalo,elephant and rhinoceros) and with 1,500 species of birds is a Mecca for ornithologists. On my visits to Kenya I have tended to move away from the more traditional and commercial circuits and explore the mountainous Samburu National Reserve and move through the Great Rift Valley discovering the Lakes Nakuru (famous for it’s Pink Flamingo flocks), Bogoria and Baringo on the way to the gem of Kenya the Masai Mara National Reserve. A safari in the Mara is not to be missed, qualified guides will get you up close and personal to the wildlife....

If you were to visit one capital city in Australia to immerse yourself in photographically then Melbourne would be my first choice hands down. Much of the character of the city centre can be attributed to Robert Hoddle who in 1837 planned the layout of the streets in the original Melbourne City Centre and has become known as the Hoddle Grid. Today the City Centre is home to Melbourne’s famed alleyways and maze of arcades along with its distinct blend of contemporary and Victorian architecture all this is encompassed by beautifully maintained parks and gardens. The inner city has one of the best public transport systems in Australia incorporating the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop, trams run down all the main streets and out to St Kilda, ferries dock along the northbank of the Yarra at Federation Wharf and there is a water taxi service to Melbourne and Olympic Parks. All this makes for easy and cheap access to all the best locations for your photography. Staying in Melbourne is easy there is heaps of accommodation ranging from backpackers to quirky...

CANADIAN WILDERNESS If you want an Indiana Jones experience, then a trip to the north of the Hudson Bay in search of the elusive Musk Oxen will have you transported in time. Following the long flight to Montreal via Vancouver, the real adventure begins. From Montreal a 3 hour flight on First Air - an Inuit owned and operated airline - will have you alighting in the remote settlement of Kuujjuaq. Here your legendary guide Tundra Tom meets you and briefs you on the upcoming adventure. From here we head out to a tent campsite approximately 80 km north of Kuujjuaq that will be accessed by floatplane. Tommy May the bush pilot knows this region like the back of his hand and after an exciting take off from the lake we are soon over the tundra landscape spotted with hundreds of freshwater lakes. Several Musk Oxen herds are spotted on route to our campsite. The landing is sensational as Tommy descends onto the lake and taxis to our landing. The supplies and camera gear are unloaded and we move into our...

The bottom line in any sales consultation is the bottom line…* In this respect the new graphite Fujifilm X-Pro2 camera with the matching graphite 23mm f:2 lens have somewhat more of a bottom than the same model camera in black with a black lens. About $ 415 more. In both cases the combo is going to set you back over $ 3000. While these are the prices that have come straight off the regular CE catalogue - it is worthwhile doing a daily check of any specials that are going or promotions coming in the future. And when the Fujifilm people decide to have a little fit of the cashbacks you can benefit substantially…though it must be said that you cannot expect a hot selling item to hit the cash back list quickly. Can you spend that kind of money? Can you look at it spread over the next few years and see the benefit? I can see that benefit…because with Fujifilm the value of the devices continues long after other manufacturers have abandoned their products. You see, Fujifilm has perfected the art...

The X-Pro series of cameras from Fujifilm have been taking pictures long enough for people to have had time to decide whether they like them or not. Of course for the photographers bound to another system or another philosophy of shooting, they may only be of peripheral interest. Nevertheless the features they carry are enough to get debates started, and perhaps to suggest to others that THEIR manufacturer of choice might be lobbied to incorporate them. I don’t know how closely the other large Japanese or German manufacturers monitor feedback from their users, but I suspect Fujifilm do keep a close eye on what is written and an open ear for the photo-talk. Well, away from speculation, here are the things I most enjoy about this new X-Pro 2 camera - remember that I own the previous model of the line: a. Gosh, it looks wonderful. You’ve read the gush two columns back so I needn’t repeat it here. b. The card slots - slots, note - are accessible from the side of the camera. Hooray and up she rises! This is a vast improvement...

“ Just Glorious ” is not the sort of thing that you generally want to read in a photographic analysis column. Figures on sensor size and density, autofocus speeds and EVF refresh rates, MTF charts…all these are the meat and drink of the avid internet reader. “ Just Glorious “ is the sort of language that you expect from a travel writer or music reviewer. But you’re getting it here based upon several factors; the appearance and the function of this Fujifilm camera have called it forth. It’s not a fresh chassis - the Fujifilm X-Pro2 has been with us for several months now - long enough to garner the first of its Fujifilm ‘ kaizen ‘ firmware updates. I have no idea whether the camera that I got to use in the Little Studio is running on those updates or not, but I can report that it is running magnificently by all means. I’m not entirely unfamiliar with the brand, nor of the lineage - I own and use a Fujifilm X-Pro1 for lots of things. I can find my way around...

Does it ever seem as if your entire existence is played out in shades of black, grey, and white? And that you find it unsatisfactory? This is not a dig at the people who are restricted by various degrees of colour vision deficiency. They live cheerfully, and I wish them well. They may even have an advantage over me in certain circumstances. What I am decrying is increasing emphasis in design for the boring choices; black, white, and grey. I recognise the elegance of it in some cases, but long for a spike of some other colour to brighten things. In fact I think I need a boost right now...

Now I get to have my fun - I’ve got a Tamron macro lens and I’m not afraid to use it! I’ve also got a new model car and a fresh pot of coffee. The people who seek macro lenses for their Nikon and Canon bodies are well served by their respective  manufacturers. There is no denying that in each case there is a range of macro lenses and one standout lens that the shooter can purchase to go to for superb results. The standout macro lenses have focal lengths that hover around the 90-105mm mark - and for a good reason. You can get good distortion correction there and a useful stand-off distance from the subject - even when you are cranking the lens to a true 1:1 ratio. The performances and weights of these premium lenses are reflected in the prices, which are also weighty. There has always been another alternative - the Tamron 90mm macro lens. It has in the past had a much lighter mount but an extremely good optical performance. Many people who didn't want to pay the major...