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This week I finally come to grips with the new Canon EOS R camera system - or at least with one example of it. Enough stock has arrived to allow me to take one back to the Little Studio and give it my own workout. The camera is packed well. Don't laugh at me for praising the box - there have been other things in other boxes in the past that have caused serious grief. This one sets out the goods in three trays on three levels and adds additional packing for the most delicate parts. The most interesting bits are often the smallest. Note the computer harness block. The Canon EOS R will be capable of tethering to computers - and note that Camera Electronic has a full range of Tether Tools cables to assist with this. It is a measure of the determination that Canon is showing to make their new mirror-less system a fully professional one. It's a sleek and handsome camera, reminiscent of the shape of the DSLR but without the depth of the mirror box. The...

Let's start the day off right - peering at people from a long distance away and then pressing buttons. When I got the message from Saul that the new Nikon Coolpix P1000 was on the storeroom shelf I beetled into Stirling Street and checked it out. I was impressed with the feel of the box when I lugged it away - figuring that it was probably packed with accessories and extras. It was the sort of weight that you associate with truck batteries or artillery shells. Imagine my surprise when I turned up one small EN-EL20A, a charging cord, a strap, and a giant lens/camera. Coolpix cameras are not generally massive, being Nikon's answer to the compact-sensor consumer camera class - but when they are attached to a lens that goes from 4.3 mm to 539mm focal length you have something very special indeed. In mathematical terms, that is 125X zoom...

Okay, let's cut to the punchline straight away. I want one of these. If you are a photographer who shoots weddings, shows, portraits, fashion, or editorial, you want one - or two - as well. Stefan Gosatti does all these things and he's just had a chance to test out the new Profoto B10 over the last few days. He's rapt with them, his pictures prove that they work like a locomotive, and he's spending some of his own money to buy some. He showed us how it all works last night at the Northbridge Hotel - courtesy of Camera Electronic and CR Kennedy. The unit has the classic Profoto mount and controls in a body the size of a large soup can. The style has the sort of Scandinavian slickness that we used to see with B&O and Sonab.  There's a classic Profoto glass diffuser on the front and the large illuminated LCD panel at the back. The lump on the side's the lithium-ion battery. The light stand mount on the bottom is detachable - there is provision to swing any of...

Natural skeptics like myself generally hold that something is real only if you can touch it. This holds for most things - you can confirm stuff for yourself with a few sensible exceptions; nuclear warhead cores, rabid dogs, and the Canadian prime minister. We don't want to carry skepticism too far...

I have just been watching some of the live streaming video from the Nikon company regarding their newest camera system - the Z -mount mirrorless cameras. The presenter is quite precise in his speech if a little general in his words - this is to be expected on a professional level. Ever since the inception of the mirror-less concept - making a digital camera with a decent-sized sensor and interchangeable lens system - there have been increases in specification by other makers. You might liken it to the campaigns of the mid forties in the Pacific. First small gains, then major advances, then a stranglehold on the photo market. Then someone drops something big - full-frame big - on the market and eventually the heads of formerly-imminent photographic companies have to admit that the commercial war has not necessarily gone to their advantage...

I've kept my promise to the WA Nikon Sales Manager. I have not rung him up every hour asking for secret details about new Nikon products without mirrors. I have not burgled his office nor gone through his emails. I have not sat in the bushes opposite his house and glared at him through the leaves. Not that I haven't been tempted, mind. But I've realised that the best way to find out what is coming out is to wait until an official launch. That, and haunting the rumour sites and YouTube clips. You can do a great deal of good, and even a greater degree of bad, with internet speculation. But it doesn't help to frazzle the rep. The photographic world changes constantly - I did not realise how much until I entered the trade again in 2008. Quite apart from the catch-up needed to go from sheet film to second-generation digital, there was an almost weekly addition of new equipment and rising specification in the major brands. The designation of " major brand " also shifted perceptively while I watched,...

Leica users have had a rough time of it in the past - they have always had access to the best of optical performance in most fields - but they may not have known it was available. The traditional Leica presentation of street photography in Germany or field photography in Africa has mostly revolved around the use of rangefinder cameras used with stand-off lenses. Unless one was using the 35mm SLR cameras, one was going to have to do a lot of hard work to get macro and close-up shots. Well, not any more. The digital revolution and the availability of live view and the LCD screen has changed all that. The Leica shooter can go in as close as people using other systems. It just needs the lenses and determination. The Leica Macro Elmar M 90mm f:4 is one way to go. 1:2 close-up ratio and incredible resolution. You need to stack the Macro Adapter M in between the lens and the body to do it...

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...