If you aren't prepared to do it, rest assured that your Golden Labrador or Beagle are. Also most of your kids under 4. You'll know when they've done it because your lens will be either cleaner or dirtier than it was before...

We go Luigi Savadamoney one better. We got the fancy as well as the cheap - and in the case of the Phottix Varos PRO BG bracket we are approaching the sort of thing that you see on building sites to hold up concrete panels. As you'll no doubt recognise, it's a bracket/adapter that goes onto studio light stands to allow them to hold an umbrella and a speedlight flash. This, in many cases, will give you a surprisingly soft and workable portrait or illustration light. The fact that you can set up, shoot, then pack up and scoot off without having to have been concerned with finding mains AC power is a real boon for some. Leave aside the need for good batteries in your speed lights - some modern lights have lithium ion ones that are as good as the mains. What you need for the classic brolly flash rig is a good stand - and here we cannot say fairer than Manfrotto at any stage of the game - and a good coupling. There's been quite a spate of...

Disregard the fact that we are selling it. If we had any sense we would keep it ourselves. Buy this Fujifilm Instax Mini 9. Take it home and put it on a trophy shelf - because no matter if you are the operator of a gecko farm or a cucumber ranch, you are never going to have anything in your life as green and cool as this camera. And something of that cool style is bound to rub off on you. This is actually a thing. And not just with Fujifilm. Remember the Leica Urban Jungle mirrorless camera of a few weeks ago - that's another milestone of cool. You'll pay more for it and it won't take instant pictures, but consider buying that one too. And while you're at it turn over in your own mind some of the milestones ( kilometre stones? ) of the photographic design world in the past few decades. There may still be time to go out and find one for your own Museum Of Modern Art ( ifacts...

We live in a era of desperate bagging. Everywhere we turn we are urged to abjure them - or at least to bring our own to save the supermarket from having to give them away. We have the awful decision whether to buy a plastic bag from the checkout person or juggle 18 oranges and a litre of milk out to the car. And then we have to open the boot...

Every week or so the WEST AUSTRALIAN newspaper runs a section called Market Place that takes a Camera Electronic ad. We vary it throughout the year and it does pretty well. The brief that's given to the writer is to pick a product that fits into a price bracket - it's never too dear - and set it out for the average punter in the paper. This is fun to do. I've completed the latest one for a Joby product, and it'll be fine, but I was a little torn in my work when I realised that we had several good candidates for the page. As it turned out the Manfrotto PIXI Smart lost out on only one point - the packaging. It's a sealed packet, and I hesitated to rip it apart for the illustration shot. The pack shot through heavy plastic was done on the floor of the main sales area and showed too many reflections - that yellow hot spot is the edge of the Nikon cabinet. If it had been in the Little Studio I could have lit...

The one with the Olympus Voice Recorder in it, please. I want to remember your every word. To be honest, I want to remember every word I've spoken as well, and I can't. This makes it very awkward later in front of the partner, kids, and in-laws. They cross-check my stories and you only have to get it wrong once to never hear the end...

Okay, it's time to be honest with ourselves. There are things that we desire, but can neither justify nor afford. And I'm not just talking about the kick line in the Zeigfield Follies - I mean the stuff that raises the real lust; photographic equipment. There. I've said it. The cat is out of the bag and yowling to be let out the front door. In five minutes it'll be yowling to be let in. Anyone want a cat? They're cheaper than camera accessories. The heading image is the thing I want, but cannot afford. The desire is purely visceral - there is no actual need for the device. Yet...

At least cheaper than it used to be - and can be done at a greater distance. There've been wireless microphone systems for a long time in the cinema and video industry, as well as in the public speaking world. It's a no-brainer that some way of letting a speaker move and turn without a wire connection to the voice recorder makes for greater contact with the audience. Up until now, however, it has been a costly and bulky exercise. No more. Enter the Røde company here in Australia - famed for professional-quality microphones at affordable prices. They produce the Røde Wireless GO system for simple interviewing purposes. You can clip the transmitter to your clothing and it'll act as a microphone itself - or you can opt to use it as a beltpack for a Røde lavalier mic. The two will synch in 3 seconds and the output from the receiver can be fed into your camera with the standard 3.5mm plug. You get a choice of three output levels so your camera will not be overwhelmed. Weight? 31 g. each - you...

I met a professional photographer in the shop one week doing a very sensible thing - renting a piece of equipment that was needed for a paying shoot. He didn't own it and would have no need of it the rest of the year - but this one occasion it would let him exercise his considerable lighting and shooting skills. And he didn't need to whack out a bundle to get it and then look at it on the shelf for another year - he could return it to CE and pocket the savings. Wise. Well, we chewed the rag a while and I asked him to explain something I had seen some years ago associated with his studio. I had come across a startling sight - wheelie garbage bins full of negatives and transparencies that were apparently from his studio. Wheelie as in ready for the council to take them away...