Panasonic once paid for my good opinion*. I am not sure I ever delivered on that deal, but it is not too late to make up for it now. The subject is these humble electric components - their batteries. I don't know if you have ever gone into an electronics-parts store and looked over their battery rack. It can be the most frightening thing you'll ever see. In the case of one I frequent, there seem to be more varieties of battery sold than equipment to put them in. And I'm not talking about the lithium-ion batteries that power our digital cameras - that's a whole 'nother field of mines when it comes to standardisation...

Well, it took two or three goes, and several changes of cars and underwear, but I think I have finally been able to set the Fujifilm X-T series cameras in the ring against each other and compelled them to show their best. Remember that this was internal testing - no glorious landscapes or attractive girls to distract the scientist/writer/geek. Nothing but the sound of the air conditioning running and the old-time radio. The X-T10 is my camera. The X-T2 and X-T20 were shop stock. The lenses used - a Tokina 35mm f:2.8 macro in an adapter and the native Fujinon 35mm F1.4 - are my possessions. The 35mm Fujinon is being run without a filter on the front and the lens optimizer turned on. The Tokina and adapter are just whatever they are...

I do love a good boxing match - and look at how well the boxes that house the new Fujifilm X-T2 and X-T20 match! They have been smart enough to put them in a similar outer pack ( with the contents clearly marked so that the sales staff can find them in the dim recesses of the store-room , thank goodness, are you taking notice, Wetzlar? ) for brand unity, but imaginative enough to box the more expensive one in the black and the less expensive one in the white. Both packs are pierced to show the X logo of the marque.   Both packs feature an internal tray for the body and a separate case for all the accessories. They are easy to unpack and easy to pack up again...

The PocketWizard people are an ingenious lot - they produce quite a large range of accessories for the photographer who wants to use flash lighting. They have been the standard product of the industry for a long time with their various models, and have been wise enough to concentrate their efforts upon  professional gear - and specifically the professional gear of the two major manufacturers. The Flex system, for instance - whether it is the Mini or the TT version - works well with current and older flashes from the Canon stable - the Canon 600 EX-RT, The 580EX, the 580EXII, and the 430EX being amongst them. But I believe that there may have been a little problem using the Flex TT 5 receivers in conjunction with the 580 and 430 series in that these flashes may emit more radio frequency interference than the newer products. PocketWizard applied their design brains to this and came up with the AC7 - the product in the features image., It's a hollow casing with a dedicated Canon hot shoe at the bottom faced upon a dedicated...

When you are three weeks old? When you are 65 years old? Or when you take the kit lens off your DSLR and put on the one you have bought especially for your next photoshoot? Well, all three occasions, actually. The first one is when the world swims into focus, the second is when it swims out again, and the third is when you actually get down to business with your photography. Don't misunderstand what I am saying - the kit lens that was on the camera when you bought it was not a mistake. Indeed, if you are just now looking at it after 5 years of fabulous images and wondering whether you should replace it because someone at the camera club bragged about their new $ 4000 acquisition...

I am glad that I spent a childhood wrestling polar bears and rattlesnakes - it prepared me for the difficulties I face getting the staff at Camera Electronic to pose for advertising shots. It's not that they are fierce, or poisonous, or hairy, but they are getting awfully wary these days. I have had to change my approach from lighthearted fun to dire threats. But I did succeed in getting two of the sales staff to show off this holiday season's binoculars. That's them at the bridge of the ship. Camera Electronic has always had little binoculars for sale - our founder, Ron Frank, liked them and always said that they were a good seller. And he was always right. Over the years I worked behind the counter we always had some form of small binocular from one or other of the makers; Tasco, Bushnell, etc. for sale most of the time. We have always had the Leica binoculars as well, but they are in another optical league altogether - the subject of today's column is the minor players. These little Konus binoculars...