Manfrotto Tag

Looking around at the tripod heads in the shop it occurred to me that only two of the manufacturers really get it - they are aiming themselves at the big end of the market - by the smallest means.Consider - when we put an image up on the computer screen in, say, Photoshop, we get the option to select something and move it in infinitesimal increments by using up down and sideways keys. We can't achieve the same degree of precision with trackpads, tablets, or mice and the computer people know it - so we get the electronic equivalent of a fine-tune control.We also can't achieve the fine control of cameras that we need on conventonal tripod heads - if we are working with a ball head it falls all over the place as soon as we loosen it - even the three-way heads are crude pivots when we need fine movement.Arca-Swiss and Manfrotto addressed this in their separate ways by putting mechanical creepers on their cube head and the 405 three-way head. In each case there is a crude...

We have a great deal of studio equipment here at the shop - lights, stands, backdrop materials, clamps, accessories, etc. Some are very well-known brands - Manfrotto, Profoto, Elinchrom, et al. Some are surprises - Kupo, JinBei, and Plain White Box.With the former you can get quite detailed catalogs, both in print and on-line. There are always new things coming out and catalogues need to change to reflect this - some are on the ball, like Manfrotto, and some are tardy. If in doubt, try to trace it on the web - despite the Chase-Me-Charlie nature of some internet research, there are good companies out there.If you are contemplating the big part of the studio - the lights - you need to think ahead. You might start with a small space and small ambitions but find that your scope widens and the space you need to light gets bigger. When you essay to go bigger, the power you need from your flashes grows exponentially. Plan ahead so that you have some reserve now - for later.Also plan what sort of...

 The strobists amongst us will always value lightness, versatility, and simplicity. Right up until we decide to buy a new camera system - at which time we will want the latest model with the hydraulic stabilisers and in-built steam bagel toaster. In all three colours. Pardon the cynicism but I have been there and still have the wrapping paper to prove it.Back to lightness and simplicity. Manfrotto have come out with a strobist stand that is aimed squarely at the field shooter. It is a combination of their back-folding nano-Pole stand with a dedicated flash and umbrella holder on top.Sure, you can assemble a similar rig from other components but at a greater price and with none of the sleek style - in particular the pared-down streamlining of the umbrella holder that has none of the protruding knobs and keys of other products. And the flash gripper is built right into the top of it.Another two features:a. The cast metal upper yoke has a hook on the side for cord control.b. There is an adjustable levelling end on one of...

I've just been asked whether it is better to buy things from the shop or make them yourself.  At the risk of giving the management asthma attacks, I have to say yes and no.Yes, it is better to buy your lenses and camera bodies from the shop rather than make your own out of wood. Artistry and skill only go so far when the material is white pine and the end result is a DSLR. We have seen a rather wonderful little wooden camera made by Leica but it is a toy rather than an working instrument.Likewise, knitting your own memory cards is fun but the failure rate is high - better to buy San Disk or Hoodman at the outset and save the needles for socks and gloves.The question gets a little closer when you consider accessories for a studio. A commercial light tent is still a good buy if you need to have a portable environment for product photography. You could make one yourself but you'd end up with a big monster that would not pack away when...

Manfrotto does some pretty marvellous thinking when it comes to the design of their products. As our regular readers will know they have been making heavy-duty camera and lighting stands, accessories, and all sorts of studio stuff for decades. They are always thinking out something else that can be done with cast aluminium or magnesium. Their really big pro stuff has a lot of steel in it - when it falls on you you stay underneath it...

There are a dozen camera quick-release mounting plates in use today - but fortunately the main manufacturers and their industrial copycats have settled upon a few as standards.One notable one is the Manrotto rectangular PL200 plate - most bigger Manfrotto consumer tripods use this as the connection and it is a very good one. Another form is the Arca-Swiss plate used by that company, 3LT, Cullmann, and any number of other copyists. Unfortunately the Manfrotto rarely goes to Arca-Swiss.Until now. This black casting with the bubble levels and large locking knob is the Manfrotto MSQ6 - it goes onto a Manfrotto ball head in place of the standard PL200 mount and allows you to use all the Arca-Swiss mounts. There is a safety pin to prevent untoward movement of the plate and you can twist it tight onto the receiver. It will hold immense weights....

Those of you who do landscape photography know the value of a good big tripod - you buy sturdy Manfrotto and Cullman outfits and valiantly haul them about the place looking for the view that no-one else has seen. You know it's out there because you've seen it in their photos...

I used to think that " singer-songwriter " were the most terrifying words in the language, but I have concluded that the invitation to set up a studio is. Beause you never can tell how much space you'll have or where it will be.This reflection is brought to you by an experience on Saturday, doing a small studio event shoot for my social club. I've been doing these costumed dinner shoots for what seems like decades...

This coming weekend one of the major hot rod shows in Western Australia will be taking place at the Claremont Showgrounds - probably in the Silver Jubilee Pavilion. There will be show cars, hot rods, custom cars, low riders, drag cars, drifters, and the occasional cute little stock car. Plus rock and roll shows, hamburgers, beer, auto parts dealers, custom paint pinstripers and no end of accessory, publication, and clothing sellers.The common feature of all the exhibits will be colour and pizazz. It will be a perfect opportunity for Perth photographers to make spectacular car pictures undercover...