Wildlife Tag

If you have a need or desire to spy on people or animals, come on down. We've got just the things for you. The trail camera concept is a one that a lot of people can share. Hunters, farmers, wildlife researchers, and security-minded individuals who may have valuable crops growing in inaccessible portions of state forests spring to mind. In all these cases the photographer cannot be on-site all day, every day - nor can they afford to keep the cameras rolling 100% of the time in hopes of seeing Big Foot, Yowies, or Judge Crater pass by the lens. A selective sentry is needed. This is where the Minox trail cameras come in. Minox has long been famed for tiny cameras and excellent binoculars. Now they have unattended photo stations that you can place in bushland and forests to monitor and record activities for you. The reason they work is better battery performance these days, micro recording media, and circuitry that can monitor activity over a specified area and start recording when movement is detected. A number of these cameras have black-LED...

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...

People who read this column regularly are getting pretty used to the flights of fancy that sometimes occur. And they are more critical than you might think. So I don't think I will have any luck telling them that the lens in the heading image is the Paul Hamlyn part-work Built-Your-Own-Lens in 204 parts and that we have been faithfully buying the magazines every week for over a year now...

We've been selling Wimberley heads for years in various forms. When I started working for the shop a decade ago there was a stack of Indian-made castings in the store-room that were intended for use as long-lens gimbals. The quality was on the high agricultural level - the castings were big and sturdy, and any reasonable use would see the things good for decades. But the things were bulky and insensitive to the locking mechanism That was then and this is now. In the interim we have seen genuine Wimberleys come through occasionally, and have also noted similar devices in the Really Right website as well. The prices were really right too, if you looked at them from the perspective of the accountant for the wholesaler. Now we have a good alternative right in-store - the Sirui carbon fibre head. The level of sophistication and finish is everything that any could be desired - look at the clever design that lets one portion of the casting act as a clamp on another one with the no need for gouging serrations. The finish on...

How many of us get a tool kit with our new digital cameras these days? In the old film days it was common for the box containing the SLR or rangefinder camera to have a complete tool pouch including a stilson wrench, set of spanners, lens brace, film jack, and a bottle of optical antiseptic. In the case of some Kodak cameras you got a 8-round clip of .30-06 ball ammunition and a toothbrush.I think we are being done - nowadays you're lucky to get a battery charger and a squidgy little lens cloth with some. Even the instruction manuals are on a CD...

If you read most of the photographic press that deals with interchangeable lenses for DSLR and mirror-less cameras you'll see much the same recommendations about choices. It's not conspiracy - it's sensible agreement. Being photographers we are free to be neither sensible nor agreeable - and sometimes it pays off big-time.The books all talk about long lenses being the sensible choice for motor sports, surfing, field sports, wildlife, and aircraft photography. I've not gone in for a great deal of these subjects, but when I have the advice was good. You need long focal lengths to bring in lions and Tiger Moths - you also need bright light. Anything less is going to be a failure.Oh yes? Well what if you get an assignment to take pictures at a Halloween dance show in Fremantle -at the Fly By Night hall on High street. That's a picture from the mezzanine balcony at the head of the column. Great place to prop up during a performance as you are in no-one's way, but a long way from the stage...

Sirui? Are you serious? Sure we are.The larger of the Sirui tripods that appeared in the Little Studio turns out to be a compact design - the company recognizes that people are travelling more these days and need to travel lighter. We also know that they may be travelling with the DSLR rather than the mirror-less systems - hence the need to hold heavier loads.The Sirui T 2204X and the Sirui K30 X are partners - albeit partners that you have to purchase separately and mate together. They are designed for supporting the larger system cameras while still retaining lightness and compact size themselves. These are components for people who are going to stand at the airline counter and look over the excess-baggage price list with nervousness.The tripod starts out as a carbon fibre design with screw-lock legs. The yoke is a lightweight forged casting - more weight saved. It folds back 180º into itself for space saving. it packs into a nylon case with the K-30 X head still attached.You might just get away with it in the cabin...