Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Camera Apertures


The CREAM of Canon could convert a Nikon nut, perhaps........ This new camera announced last week seems to offer a great package, but, at a tremendous price - £3,050.01. What a ridiculous penny why not £2,999.99, it looks better.
* An entirely new 10.1 megapixel CMOS sensor — which also features the EOS Integrated Cleaning System
* 10 frames per second shooting with a burst rate up to 110 full-resolution JPEG images or 30 RAW
* 19 user-selectable AF points and 26 additional “assist points”
* Lighter body with enhanced weather resistance
* Dual DIGIC III image processors working in parallel to provide up to 50% less shadow noise and superb image quality
* Large 3-inch LCD monitor with Live View
Plus for me, two neat solutions, not mentioned high up in the specs, which might prove really useful - "Live View Mode" - Live image from sensor can be used via back LCD and Wifi (via WFT-E2). Anyone who has read this blog will know that having just spent more than three grand on a device like this, being able to send pics for free from a wi-fi hotspot would start to put a smile back on my lips.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Laurel Bank Tearooms Broughton Scotland

Tearoom trade is tricky especially on wet winter weekends. When I am well (not now!)Laurel Bank at Broughton on the road from Moffat to Edinburgh is a great stop. On a summer's day it's a nice run out on the bike without going crazy. Now my fellow time-triallists know how I keep my svelte figure. Don't worry there's a photography lesson in the pictures!
Laurel Bank's proprietor is keen on quality: "How can you make a better cup of tea?" he asks, "By buying tea bags that you would be happy to use at home." They cost him three or four times more than bulk catering packs but means that standards are maintained.
Christopher Lambton, the proprietor, must have had a run in with his accountant. He writes : "If you ask an accountant the chances are that he will advise you not to open a tearoom. How can you charge £1.20 for putting a tea bag in a pot?" The answer is above.
But that means ignoring opportunities for increasing margins - a bit like a shop which only sells video cameras above £750 in value. Or does not stock flimsy tripods but only Manfrottos and top range Sliks.
Weirdly though, the shop, that stocks the flimsy tripods, is beginning to cut back on the high margin film (film is only used by 2% of the market says their top man). Leaving the shop that stocks the high value, low margin, digital Hasselblad, to also keep going with film.
If you have read this far identify the two shops through my guestbook (new feature top of the page) to win a roll of film!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Anyone with a stunning landscape image should check out:

"Into landscape photography? If so, consider submitting to Take-A-View’s annual Landscape Photographer of the Year contest. Choose from four categories: Classic view, Living the view, Your view and Phone view (yes, for photos taken with your phone!). Entries must have been taken in the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands since 1 January, 2000 to be eligible. Grand prize is £10,000! For more information, official rules and submission guidelines check out the Take-A-View website."

Again thanks to Calumet for the info........oh dear it is becoming a commercial.

Calumet says: "Film is Not Dead" in Enews

Apologies for repeating the image right but clearly someone at Calumet agrees with me.
Their latest e-newsletter states:

"Magazines and media are quick to sing the praises of every new digital tick and tweak — they seem to have shelved the analog process, chalked it up to old news. Not here. Calumet knows the value of photography’s roots in film. We also know film isn’t dead and that many excellent images are being produced with it everyday. That’s why we’re committed to serving analog shooters by providing them with the highest quality film and accessories available.
When you need film, count on Calumet."

This is contrary to what I was told today by someone senior from my company. He told (that narrows it down by 50%) a group of us that less than 2% of pro-photographers still use film. When questioned as to the availability of film he said that it would be stocked for the forseeable future. This is despite the fact, which you will have read here previously, that the most popular Fuji emulsions in five packs are no longer in store.

Calumet Enews

Calumet Enews

Monday, February 12, 2007

Ultrazooms (A Bridge to Yesterday)

BRIDGE cameras crossed a chasm between compacts and top-level slrs.
Cameras such as Fuji's Finepix 602 offered Slr features four years ago at the cost of a current Nikon D80.
Why has Olympus just announced its 18 times (35-504mm) zoom bridge camera? Because Olympus designers have never heard of Capa's mantra: "If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough," mind, he was killed by a land-mine.
The SP-550 Ultrazoom must sport all a bridge camera's problems such as shutter lag, electronic zoom, poor or non-existent manual focus before battery life is even a consideration. These limitations render it just about useless for one potential application - sport photography. Its only justification must be that it avoids dust on the sensor as the lens is not detachable.
Yippee! it has a 7.1 megapixel sensor, a feature in these cameras which one well known retailer calls "high performance". This sensor is probably one sixth the size of that in a typical six million pixel slr.
Even at a competitive price of say £250 it will be very expensive. Just witness all the Panasonic FZ30s, FZ7s and Fuji Finepix S6500s littering up shop shelves.
In a day when slightly more than £350 will buy a Nikon D40 and £499 a Canon Eos 400D, it might be a bridge too far.........

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

£50 is still Fifty Pounds

"I'd like £50s worth of gift vouchers," a customer today asked my colleague Paul.
"No problem, I'll get them for you," he replied.
"How much will that be then????" asked the witless customer.

Perhaps they think we might do a special discount on vouchers now thank god no internet site offers vouchers to spend in our shop. We'd have customer's asking for a price match!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Personal Services & Patience

"Now, I don't know much about these digital cameras but it must be one with stitch assist," said a rather awkward customer at the shop today.
Two salesmen recommended Canons, either the Ixus 60 or Powershot A630. I was already about to serve another customer.
"Do you mind if I give you the camera to hold," I said, as I went to the aid of a colleague struggling with the stitch assist lady (Mrs SA).
My first customer said she would come back when we were less busy. Mrs SA said: "Now I've got your undivided attention." Rather than settle on one of the Canons she decided an in-depth description of how stitch assist works might help the selection.
"I suppose, I could do without that, what would you recommend?" she asked coyly. I plunged in with both feet: "The Fuji F30 at £169.99 is a good buy it's an excellent camera, a big lithium battery with charger is included, for a camera at that price it's a nice build."
"Right, could you write down details of all the ones we've looked at?" "I have an urgent hospital appointment," she said.
As I wrote them down I noticed another colleague begin to demonstrate the F30 to a customer.
"Actually before I go could you just get the F30 off that man," she asked, "I'd like to feel it again."
"Sorry Madam I think he wants the salesman's undivided attention, if your appointment is not that urgent perhaps you could wait," I explained tartly, praying that she was not this month's mystery shopper.
Needless to say she did not wait.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Full Moon

Full Moon: With this title the blog might get some different hits from its
usual! I was asked about technical details, so here goes:

Nikon D100, White Balance: auto, Iso: 400, Shot on Tiff then converted to
Jpeg in Picasa and saved at 100 dpi, Lens 180mm (270mm on APS digital
sensor) + 2x TC 200 converter (540mm). Manfrotto tripod and cable
I digitally zoomed on screen before cropping to 6 x 6 inches, converted to greyscale and applied unsharp mask.

Again the image is for Max's Art project on the moon. I should have taken it earlier in the evening when the moon appeared lower and larger in the sky. It is a miracle to have seen the moon in Peebles nearly every night this week, for once we have been spared the rain and clouds.
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