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That sounds vaguely like a Dashiell Hammett detective novel title, but it's really just the best way to introduce the big macro lens for my favourite camera maker - Fujifilm. The lens, the Fujinon XF80mm f 1:2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro, is the newest macro from the firm - their 60mm macro has been in the range of lenses since the introduction of the X-system. It's been a stand-by for close work and very sharp in it's favoured range, but somewhat of an acquired taste. To put it bluntly, the 60mm is a slow-working lens. Like the well-known divine mills, it grinds slowly but exceeding fine. If you've got a set of subjects that can stand a close approach and immobility, it is a wonderful choice - but I was delighted to be able to see whether the new 80mm macro was going to beat it. Of course there is the question of depth of field - you'll have little enough of it with the 60mm focal length when you close in and less with the 80mm - the DOFmaster tables show...

If you are a keen amateur photographer you must have a thrill of jealousy when you see the professionals given the task of testing out new photographic equipment. The thought of them driving their vans up to the factory gate and loading new bodies and lenses in with a grain shovel must be maddening. Well, don't get too green-eyed - there are pitfalls to the thing as well. I know - I got to play with a wonderful camera and lenses a couple of months ago and I discovered that it was a nervous experience. To start with, the wholesale representatives are business-like and thorough. They check out everything that takes off and make sure that it lands again. In one piece, too. You sign for each test item. And then you have the problem of keeping that gear pristine while squeezing it through the professional wringer. I left with a box full of camera and lenses that was worth more than the car that bore it away. You have to think about how you can do the thing - about what sort...

No, not that Party. The Leica party. The launch night for the newest member of the Leica family here in Perth. The Flour Factory restaurant and bistro was the venue - it is a good display choice as it has such a large and open second floor. The ceiling takes a bit of getting used to, but that is the way of modern design when it uses older structures. At least the Flour Factory does not have burnt wooden beams and abandoned fireplaces jutting from the walls like some venues - the designers here had some restraint. I need to clear something up at the start. It has been bruited about that the only reason I go to these launch parties is for the beer. This is cruelly inaccurate - there is also the sausage and cheese...

Shocked, I tell you. But there is good news  - Manfrotto has come up with a cure for shock. I was intrigued to see this big rectangular messenger bag in the storeroom. In the Manfrotto section as well, were you only expect to find light stands, tripods, and other hardware. And even more intrigued with two things - it had a sign on it promising anti-shock...

Thank you for coming along to the Little Studio and being such a good photographic model. And thank you to all the people at Fujifilm Australia for letting me have time to try out the new GFX50s camera and lenses in the studio environment. It is my preferred milieu because it has controlled lighting and a coffee pot. And once I let the new medium format camera have its head - doing the thing that it does best - it proved to me how good it can be. The tabletop trial was not the thing - this camera needs more space between itself and the subject. It needs to be photographing fabulous detail in faces. And you need to be careful when you let it go - the detail it captures can be marvellous and terrifying at the same time. Dare I say too detailed for some occasions? If your purpose is to flatter your portrait sitters, and you are addicted to f:16 and smaller apertures, be prepared to be surprised. Also be prepared to have the sitters mad at you. You see,...

Today starts a week of investigation into a camera system that has flashed upon the world for what is a relatively short period of time - the Fujifilm GFX 50S. Those of you who read this column regularly and know that I am a Fujifilm user may have been wondering why it has taken this long to appear. The answer's simple; there have been numerous other reports of the camera and lenses already in the technical, fan-boy, and forum-fighter press. People can get accurate information, biased information, and outright bad manners from other sources - frequently better written than here - and there was no point in just re-transmitting it. I needed to wait until I could investigate the devices myself in my own facilities. The opportunity for this was provided by the Fujifilm people this last week...