Cameracraft March/April 2021

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�mer �cr �ƒt C MARCH/APRIL 2021 • EDITION #39

PHOTO BY PETER WOODS • ISSN 2514-0167 • £8.50

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C�mer�Crew Meet our

CAMERACRAFT No. 39 – MARCH/APRIL 2021 Icon Publications Ltd, Maxwell Place, Maxwell Lane, Kelso, Scottish Borders TD5 7BB Tel. +44(0)1573 226032 https://www.cameracraft.online

helping you navigate your craft David Kilpatrick

Gary Friedman

Publisher and Editor

Associate Editor USA

david@iconpublications.com

PAPERS: PERMAJET DS LUSTRE 295

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Associate Editor England richard@rtkmedia.com

Paul Waller

Kenneth Martin

PHOTO BY PETER WOODS • ISSN 2514-0167 • £8.50

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

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COVER

By Peter Woods – see page 32.

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NEWS

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DEALER’S DIGEST Moving on with Paul Waller.

Dealer’s Digest behind the counter

People Places Products

commercialcameras.com

Danny Clifford

dannyclifford.com

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SCREENS: BENQ SW240 PHOTO

Cameracraft’s columnists

From reportage to rock and roll

Jayne Bond

A walk on the wild side studiomlino.co.uk Ian Knaggs

Rob Gray

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THE SHOWS MUST GO ON David Kilpatrick argues for an end to big annual photo fairs in favour of a more agile regional programme.

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DANNY CLIFFORD Danny meets a crew braving all weathers to save lives from the sea.

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JAYNE BOND Spring starts with small shoots – and Jayne shoots them.

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THE QUESTION OF SCALE It’s a keyword we used to gather content for this issue.

16 News, sports and more robgrayphotographer.co.uk Iain Poole

Our man in the studio ianknaggs.com

KENNETH MARTIN Why a small business might be good for you even if big is your goal.

Tim Goldsmith

iainpoole.com

From analog to digital monarkcameras.com

PORTFOLIO: BORNE IN BEAUTY The winning maternity photography of Natasha Ince.

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SMALL LIVES MATTER Pete Woods talks to Diane E. Redpath about his world of invertebrates and birdlife.

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FLIGHTS OF FANCY Weddings take to air in the drone bridal set-pieces of David Conway.

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LENS REVIEW: SIGMA i 65mm ƒ2 Our first glimpse of the new i-Series with its impressive metal barrel.

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LENS TRY-OUT HIRE You can try shooting with a Zeiss lens like the Batis 40mm ƒ2 – gratis! We test the scheme and look at the lens we chose.

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LENS REVIEW: TAMRON 17-70mm Stabilised, ƒ2.8, E-mount APS-C option tested by David and Diane.

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ROB GRAY Freedom of the skies with the DJI Mavic Mini II sub-250g drone.

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IAIN POOLE Shooting a scale model world.

TIM GOLDSMITH It was the top lens for a minor SLR contender, but the 55mm ƒ1.2 Yashinon now sells for four figures.

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GARY FRIEDMAN Quarantine beards rule!

Characters in the landscape

IAN KNAGGS Resizing the subject in packshots and e-commerce. PASSING IT ON Rob Halliburton wants you to dig out that old kit to help students.

Richard Kilpatrick

Assistant Editor & Contributor Co-ordinator

kennethmartinphotography.com

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gary@friedmanarchives.com

Diane E. Redpath

diane@iconpublications.com

Cmercrƒt MARCH/APRIL 2021 • EDITION #39

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LIGHTING THE BRADBURY WAY A new book which covers all bases.

GUILD OF PHOTOGRAPHERS Information, benefits and Trade Partner directory.

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REARVIEW GALLERY

This issue comes to you with the valued support of The Guild of Photographers and our advertisers. Please support them in turn and be sure to mention Cameracraft!

Commercial Cameras

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NEWS Sony A1 aims higher – including the price UNDER increasing pressure from improvements made to both the Nikon Z and Canon R series mirrorless cameras, Sony has decided to introduce the most expensive full frame mirrorless to date. The Leica SL2 introduced one year ago at £5,300 offers 47MP and the shared L-mount (though Sigma and Panasonic lenses may limit its performance which is optimal only with Leica’s own glass – again at a price). The Sony A1 with 50MP and many other high-specification features costs £6,500 at a time when many photographers have been unable to work, worldwide. It’s a huge gamble. One most compelling reason to buy will the extremely high resolution, fast refresh EVF. It uses a 0.64” OLED (most EVFs use 0.5” or smaller) offering 9.44 million dots with a refresh rate of 240fps. The A7RIV has 5.76m dots, which is already more than double the 2.35m found in the A7, A7II, and (amazingly) A7III and visibly better than the 3.7m of the A7RIII. The 1 achieves Quad-XG, double the linear resolution of the first A7-series finders (four times the pixels) and shows a finder view at 0.90X (A7III, A7RIII and A7RIV are 0.78X - original A7 0.71X). The older

The Sony A1 is a slightly bigger and heavier camera with many changes to the interface and performance. Note the concentric Drive and AF mode controls on the left end of the top. Even the HDMI connection, below, is a full size not mini – or micro as on the A7RIV.

models also have best refresh rates of 100-120fps. The 50 megapixel sensor allows 30fps sequence shooting, flicker free electronic or mechanical shutter with flash sync up to 1/400s, 8K video and 196MP using 16-shot pixel shift. Silent shutter flash sync up to 1/200s allows more practical creation of these large files in the studio. A 5GHz wireless link, 10Gbps USB or 1000BASE-T Ethernet can transfer the huge files directly, with twin UHS-II SD card slots under a new latched cover. The A1 body is 200g heavier than the A7RIV, taking the same battery, with improved sealing and ergonomics. The menu system is completely revised and all main functions from AF to stabilisation are upgrade. https://www.sony.co.uk

Virtual awards all round

Nikon Z7II, Z6II firmware & movie kit

PHOTO organisations everywhere have been changing real events into on-line presentations, and the Guild of Photographers replaced what should have been a hotelbased two days of workshops and annual awards with a live streaming Facebook event on February 6th. All of the winners can be seen at: photoguild.co.uk/2020-awards The Image of the Year winners in each category were: Avant-Garde and Contemporary Portraiture, Andy Robinson; Baby & Toddler, Anneka Harden; Birds, Claire Norman; Children's Portraiture, Rachel Stewart; Classical Portraiture, Lisa Sumner; Commercial, Andrew Ford; Creative & Digital Art, Peter Rooney; Equine, Emma Campbell; Event, Sport & Action, Sue Dudley; Flora & Insect, Molly Hollman; Maternity,

NIKON has rolled out support for Z6II and Z7II owners with a firmware update improving the performance of Eye-Detection AF, and enabling additional recording formats and video workflows when shooting with the Z6II. The new Z6II Essential Movie Kit gives filmmakers all the core tools needed to take video content to the next level. Following the firmware 1.10 update, the Z6II and Z7II cameras will be able to detect the eyes of human subjects even when the subject’s face size within the frame is small. Improvements will be seen when shooting in auto-area AF (people) and wide-area AF (L-people). This firmware update will also add support for 4K UHD/60p1 to the Z6II video recording options, and enable RAW video output2,3 to Blackmagic Design external recorders4 6 for both the Z7II and Z6II. Following the update, movie shooters will be able to record in Blackmagic RAW format as well as ProRes RAW format. Blackmagic RAW is an easy-to-use codec with new advanced de-mosaic algorithm. It gives visually lossless images ideal for high resolution, high frame rate, and high dynamic range workflows.

Natasha Ince; Nature and Wildlife, Laura Galbraith; Newborn, Sharon Wallis; Pets, Jessica McGovern; Rural & Landscape, Neil Pitchford; Urban, Helen Trust; Wedding, Chris Chambers. Overall Image of the Year: Members' Choice, Mark Harris; Judges’ Choice, Emma Campbell. Out of Camera Competition – three tie winners, Ann Aveyard, Tim Wilde and Cameron Scott. Founder’s Cup, Sharon Bolt. Photographers of the Year: Maternity, Newborn & Baby, Lisa Sumner; Open, Nick Brown; People, Debbie Longmore; Pets, Karen Riches; Natural World, Claire Norman; Wedding; Chris Chambers. The Guild’s All-Round Photographer of the Year 2020 is Debbie Longmore.

Changes for Fujifilm and Olympus THE NEW Fujifilm Imaging Solutions - UK business division will be in place as of 1 April 2021. It will combine the teams behind instax, X Series, GFX, FUJINON and other photo operations. The general manager of the new combined company will be Theo Georghiades.

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A NEW identity has been created for the camera division of Olympus Optical – it is called OM Digital Solutions Corporation, European HQ is Hamburg. All UK staff will be permanently remote working, with Mark Thackara as Content & Community Senior Manager.

The new Z6II Essential Movie Kit (below) includes the Nikon Z6II fullframe mirrorless camera with the RAW video output function already enabled. It also includes the Atomos Ninja V, the Nikon FTZ Mount Adapter, a SmallRig quick-release camera cage, and key accessories such as batteries. https://www.nikon.co.uk


Dealer’s S

Digest

cale is a word often used as shorthand for Scaling up – to grow or expand in a proportional and usually profitable way. To scale your business. Proportional growth and/or “a large market position”. This got me thinking… I fear nothing could be further from reality when related to the sales figures for cameras. The camera and imaging products association ( CIPA ) have released the details for 2020 and they are shocking. Of course the effects of the pandemic have a lot to answer for but don’t forget the market was shrinking way before that, with double digit decline most years. 2019 showed a decline of of approx 21.7% by volume and 19.5% in value. In 2020 total digital still camera shipments reduced by 41.6% volume and 29.4% by value. DLSR shipments were 47.3% lower by volume and 44.6%by value. Mirrorless camera shipments for the first time were higher than conventional DSLR but still showed a 25.9% decrease in volume with a 12.5% decrease in value from 2019. How this translates to trends myself and other dealers are seeing is that first the digital compact market was decimated by the use of mobile phones, then the decline in sales spread to the lower end of the DSLR market and now it’s now creeping into the middle sector. To be fair we are also seeing customers switching from DSLRs to ranges like the excellent Fujifilm X rangefinder-style bodies, their compact nature being a great advantage. The most stable end of the market is what you could term “high end”, the customer being either a professional photographer or a passionate fully-committed enthusiast. No mobile phone even the latest with 108million pixels will challenge this. The big change here is from the 35mm and medium format style DSLRs to full frame and medium format mirrorless – and it is driving sales. Nikon were late to the game, but the Z series has I feel been well received and is doing well. You can see the older style APS-C DSLRs being slowly ignored, and in fact Nikon are ceasing production at two of the factories that make interchangeable lenses in Japan leaving only one left. All Nikon camera production has

The entry level and mid-spec market is scaling down – but the top end could be scaling up. Paul Waller of Commercial Cameras is moving with the times…

already, or is in the process of being, moved to Thailand. In a shrinking market Nikon has changed the scale of its operations to match and to be in line with current predictions. They are able to produce the latest cameras at a lower cost yet they are sold at a premium price and this is slowly showing as an improvement to the bottom line in their profit and loss account. The other big players are following similar paths although Ricoh/Pentax have stated they are staying with conventional prism viewfinders and mirrors bodies and as for Olympus – well, who knows? I find our trade fascinating. The statistics quoted are really interesting but I think about the other factors that influence the customer into parting with their cash. Apart from certain exceptions I wonder if the latest whiz bang model which replaced last month’s model is perceived as a bit boring – fantastic technology that can now lock focus on a bird’s eye in flight but with menu screens which could fit ‘War and Peace’! I think kodak had it right for the masses when they said “You press the button, we do the rest”. I have customers waiting patiently for me to find them a minty Leica M series camera or a Hasselblad 500CM. Maybe the waiting increases the desirability. They long to own one, to revel in how it feels and sounds… the action of the wind-on lever, the feel of the click stops on a beautifully engineered lens. So much of this is missing with our latest electronic marvels. Moving on…. (at last, I hear you say) Technological overkill is of course prevalent in so many areas of our life and I thought I would regale

you with a recent part of mine. I am moving house… One reason is back to our old friend scale! My son seems to be growing at an alarming rate and is making both his mother and I look like were from Lilliput. To maintain sanity and distance from his tantrums and music a bigger residence was called for. A house was located and a visit was undertaken. The nice man selling the house at first spoke to both of

us as equals, revelling in showing the technology encased within the front door. Never having given much time to studying this gateway to the house I was amazed at the fingerprint recognition system in case you mislaid your key ,and the motorised locks that clicked and buzzed, let alone the warning lights if you had dared to not close it properly! Me, being me, seemed to burst his euphoric bubble when I asked why there was no letter box within this state of the art door. Seeing me as trouble and giving me a look that is familiar to me, I was left on my own to contemplate life and the door while the nice man transported the other half to the open-plan kitchen to impress her with cupboard space . It seems that my son has already bagged the best room upstairs while I work out how to place a shed on a garden that has a gradient so steep Eddy the Eagle could have trained there. Till next time, stay safe.

Á

www.commercialcameras.co.uk

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The shows must go on! W

ill big photographic shows ever return? We’ve got to have doubts, and also say that many will be happy to see the back of them. Even photokina, which has been loved by British photographers and trade alike as the world’s biggest biennial photo fair, was a weak shadow of its former self by 2016. Diversity destroyed it. At one time there was a Kodak hall, a Fujfilm hall, a British hall, a Japanese camera makers’ hall or three. Those devoted to single manufacturers could be truly diverse with film, cameras, lighting, printing and video from one brand. Then the organisers started to lose the giants and their spending power, splitting down into smaller halls often devoted to one theme such as studio or software. More niche markets became identifiable and corralled. Much of the relaxed feel of making your way from Polaroid to Bowens past new names you’d never heard of, or surprises from old friends, disappeared. In Britain, Focus on Imaging had grown out of the ashes of Photography at Work which was a purely professional show started by the magazine Industrial and Commercial Photographer. Though it had changed to more of a marketplace once retail sales were allowed in, it retained the pro aspect. Its owner Mary Walker was courted regularly by investors who wanted her to start a magazine and she consistently refused, not wanting to compete with the broad range of media supporting the show. The successor to Focus, The Photography Show, was already owned by a magazine publisher and the retail aspect became dominant. Superficially the professional veneer was retained but the real appeal was to the high end consumer market. T.P.S. was far removed from P.A.W. (now there’s a remembered acronym!) because no-one knew, without pro or amateur name badging, who they were dealing with. Both pros and amateurs could feel like outsiders

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at base, such is the demand on staff time. Smaller exhibitors have to rely on friends, agency staff or a superhuman ability to do without the loo. But… photographers need to see, handle and discuss the products and services they buy. In our part of Scotland you can drive 180 miles coast to coast and not encounter a single professional dealer or lab. It’s an extreme example, but all round the UK many towns and some cities don’t have any remaining serious photo dealer, trade counter or print lab.

The middle way

The NEC car park walk on a sunny day was fine! Shows are all about meeting and seeing: Trevor and Faye Yerbury doing a iive studio demo, or Diane chatting to a reader on our own stand, left.

rather than feeling like part of a privileged community. Becoming a virtual, on-line show doesn’t really do much better as every individual manufacturer, distributor, retailer or organisation can now create a far more direct and personal involvement on-line. Anyone taking part in the Guild’s webinars or the MPA’s Aperture Café, seeing John Read’s curated feed of Facebook posts (Marrutt Limited, the ink and paper specialists), or just getting involved with local camera club Zoom sessions has already been getting a far more focused experience.

As for the National Exhibition Centre, its aversion therapy has been effective. Tedious treks from distant expensive car parks, inadequate catering and rest room facilities, terrible mobile communications, high costs and the guarantee of going home with ‘NEC flu’ are things we can all hope never to experience again. Such large scale shows call for big investment from exhibitors or acceptance of a small space. Even the biggest companies have to call in their field reps, ambassadors and freelance consultants while leaving only a skeleton crew back

Until recently, Andy Swaine’s enterprising PhotoVision Roadshow series took much smaller trade shows with a good professional attendance to venues all round Britain and Ireland. These shows worked particularly well for regional or local networking but the cost of the best venues (always comfortable, usually with free close parking and great budget catering) meant they were one-day events. The scale of them, and the provision of table space without the need for elaborate stand construction, meant companies could exhibit with just one or two staff, a van or even a couple of carloads. With the vagaries of weather to contend with, there is always a risk that any one-day show will take an attendance hit. A weekday timing was essential as so many working photographers have weekend wedding work (this is also why Saturday and Sunday were ‘amateur days’ for the N.E.C. and the main professional attendance was Monday, a.k.a. the photographer’s Sunday). But so many photographers now have portfolio jobs, with other contract or even P.A.Y.E. weekday hours. The only way to be reasonably sure of catching the maximum attendance at a regional mid-size show is to do at least two days, preferably three. This changes exhibitor costs by adding hotel nights and time away from the office or shop. Something like photokina


in Cologne took up ten working days for British exhibitors, with six open days (including the press and preview day) and two days before and after for the setup and knockdown. Very efficient exhibitors could do it with one day only for setup and knock down in the evening after the close. The N.E.C. annual shows had five opening days, two days for setup and one day for knockdown. With lightweight, rapidly erected exhibition modules smaller scale hotel or hospitality suite based events can be set up on the opening day and dismantled after close. A two-day show at Rheged off the M6 near Penrith, for example, need only involve one hotel night even if the Lake District persuades exhibitors and visitors to do three. The same would apply to similar smaller scale venues all round the UK, including sports stadium and entertainment centres. Events like this – with demonstrations, workshops and social time as well as photo industry and retail presence – may be the future. The successes of past ventures such as PhotoHubs and the Digital Splash show run by Wilkinson Cameras, or the annual extended awards nights or weekends of the main photo organisations, show it’s possible. By today’s standards, the original Photography at Work held in Harrogate was a parochial exhibition and its timing in the first quarter of the year invited some of the most daunting driving conditions – but it succeeded, as did conferences held in York, Bath, London, Liverpool and Manchester. Their scale was around that of London’s ExCel Centre (recently used as a Nightingale Hospital and then as a Covid recovery ward). More recently, The Newborn Photography Show has proved that concentrating on a specialist sector works well. Small group conventions like GraphiStudio’s Castle Ceconi weeks or Digitalab’s Residency of the North are no substitute for trade shows, but GraphiStudio themselves pulled out of the big N.E.C. halls and took their products all round the country to dedicated and immersed audiences of a few dozen professionals at a time. That was a successful and economical alternative.

Crowd outsourcing

photokina, top, let visitors see and try new products before they hit retailers. The PhotoVision roadshows offered highly focused expert talks, and T.P.S. was a good stage for brands like Elinchrom. Stands such as Colorworld, right, can work in small venues – but Loxley Colour’s big display below demanded a major event and big investment which may be a thing of the past.

Perhaps the ultimate solution is to create a series of mid-scale photo shows, run jointly with organisations like the Guild, BIPP, MPA, SWPP, AoP and RPS on a planned diary which puts them into different locations at seasonal intervals. If those organisations also happened to be able to stagger their respective awards or exhibitions, and hold them with an open photo show, it would create a good flow of publicity without clashes. There have in the past been joint councils (like P.I.C.) which could have maintained a co-ordinated national diary. It happens in other fields. We may have reasons to co-operate in the coming months and years, and it’s already been happening more between the many photographic bodies in order to lobby on behalf of professionals who have often slipped through the Covid support nets. Small events don’t attract enough people. On-line media may attract more. There’s no reason to rule out for live Facebook coverage with portable 4G hubs. Any one stand at a show could be live. Without going as far as using Zoom or similar video spaces to allow remote visitors to speak face to face, Facebook comment threads allow a good deal of interaction with a Facebook Live Event. The combination of regular events round the country with national on-line live coverage could be compelling. Recorded for replaying, the event would be extended beyond the couple of days of physical opening. These are just ideas thrown up at a time when many people are going to be cautious about any space where many hundreds (or thousands) of people gather. We may all be Covid risk averse – not keen to be kept 2m apart or made to wait in queues, but equally not wanting to get into the kind of crowded ante-room which filled up in the hour before the halls opened at The Photography Show. It was fine then, but it may not be now. We may want our space, and to gather in smaller numbers. See you there! – David Kilpatrick Á

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DANNY

CLIFFORD Saving life on the ocean wave: my glimpse of the RNLI

To donate to RNLI, visit: https://www.rnli.org You can buy RNLI goods at: https://www.shop.rnli.org

Danny Clifford has a lifetime of music photography under his belt and is now a popular speaker inspiring new generations. See: https://www.dannyclifford.com

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ver the years I have photographed many things. It’s not all just sweaty musicians. I just love photography! So, before the Covid 19 nightmare arrived, I discovered that one of my friends was a senior volunteer with the RNLI. Under the guise of a professional photographer and journalist I was able to arrange an observer’s trip on one of the Orange ‘Life Savers’. A week or so later I was up early and drove a couple of hours down to South coast of England to a lifeboat station equipped with a Tamar Class Lifeboat, capable of all weather operations. I was given a safety briefing and kitted out with a lifejacket. I was warned that if there were any emergencies along the way, I would have to just sit tight and observe. We walked out of the main meeting room and boarded the beautiful orange lifeboat. We were very high up in the boat house. I was ordered to be strapped into my seat with a proper harness. Then, once all of the crew of seven were aboard, there was a loud siren, and we were off.

Like a fairground ride, the giant orange boat flew down the long chute and with a big splash and spray. I was immediately taking photos from my harnessed position of everything that was around me. People checking screens, radar, visual observations and everything. We were very quickly up to quite a speed. The engines were roaring like a jet engine, no wonder they all have headphones for their communications internally. Large engines are required to propel this incredible machine at speed through a choppy English Channel.

One by one, the crew, who were truly wonderful, kept asking if I was okay. I guess this comes with the job. I say job, almost everyone at the RNLI are volunteers. So, when you hear that they are on call 24/7 in all weathers, you realise that these volunteers are very, very special people. The boat we were on, the Tamar Class, must cost millions of pounds to build and fit. No wonder the RNLI need every penny they can get to operate. I don’t live anywhere near the coast – the RNLI only come into my consciousness when I am at the coast on day trips or in London where I frequently see one of their busiest stations, on the River Thames. Seeing little orange lifeboats on shop counters looking for change is often the only reminder I get of

the vital lifesaving work they do. During Covid lockdowns, those orange charity boats won’t get much put in them at all. I would guess now, more than ever, the RNLI needs help. How ecstatic would you be to see the RNLI’s orange boat speeding towards you out at sea in an emergency? Aboard this Tamar Class, we arrived at a harbour with several lifeboats from different stations as part of a waterfront festival. We moored up alongside thousands of people at the harbour, it was very busy. The general public now had the chance to come aboard and look around the RNLI boats. They formed a very long orderly queue along the quay. After an hour or so, we left and headed back along the coast, back to base through very rough water.


All day I had been shooting with my Nikon DSLR cameras. All the camera bodies have a neoprene cover that protects them from bumps! I had two camera bodies with me with 24-70 ƒ2.8 and 80-200 ƒ2.8. It was a thrilling day and I was very happy with the shots. I have enormous respect for the RNLI and volunteers all around the UK and Ireland. I would love to do this again and if I did, I would take my Nikon mirrorless Z7IIs. They would be much lighter and the image size much bigger. I could also easily tweet and Instagram from camera wi-fi to my phone and shoot some high quality video. The RNLI is an incredible charity and its volunteers are truly exceptional people. If you get the chance to support them financially, please do. Á

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JAYNE

BOND

Spanish Bluebell bud, 1/500s at ƒ2.8. Below, snowdrop with rain, 1/320s at ƒ5.6.

Put a spring in your step with Spring on your doorstep

Canon EOS 1Dx MkII, 70-200mm IS II USM at ƒ2.8, 1/1000s at ISO 250

Bluebell wood, wide open on the 180mm, 1/800s at ISO 400. Snowdrop clump also at ƒ2.8, 1/2000s at ISO 800.

All photographs on Canon 5DMkIII with Sigma 180mm ƒ2.8 Apo Macro DG HSM. Below, sunlit leaves at ƒ2.8, ISO 400, 1/2500s.

After 35 years working in education Jayne now enjoys spending time outdoors, photographing wildlife and nature as an amateur enthusiast, constantly learning and striving to achieve better. Jayne has achieved Craftsman status with the Guild of Photographers. https://www.studiomlino.co.uk Facebook – studiomlino Instagram – studiomlino

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o you have a favourite photography season? The warm golden colours of Autumn are long gone and beautiful, cold, crisp snow provided so many amazing photographic opportunities!

Just around the corner, we have the joys of Spring. Snowdrops have emerged along the roadside, always a welcoming sight and the first sign that warmer weather will soon be with us. Now the crocus start to show their colour and soon after the woodlands will be covered with a carpet of blue. Whether photographing snowdrops or bluebells the temptation is often to capture them en masse,

but I generally prefer to single out a small clump of flowers or an individual flower. I like to take time to look around and find an area that’s free from clutter, always shoot at ground level and often with the aperture wide open to soften the background. With any aspect of nature photography it’s so important not to be put off by the weather. Not everyone likes to be out during a rain shower, but rainfall provides some wonderful photographic opportunities. Consider picking out one individual flower and concentrating on the tiny detail of the water droplets. Mid April is when the gorgeous bluebells start to flower, but before rushing out with your camera there are a couple of things to consider. Did you know many of the flowers we see on roadside verges are Spanish bluebells? These are paler in colour and stand upright, with flowers all around the stem. Native bluebells are richer in colour and generally have flowers on one side of the stem which gives them a distinctive drooping quality. It’s also important to understand that many wildflowers, including native bluebells, are

protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981. I do get upset when I see these beautiful flowers being destroyed by careless trampling – it’s so important to respect them so that we can all continue to enjoy their beauty. With that in mind there is something very ethereal about a carpet of bluebells. Getting low to the ground will always give the best results photographically. Looking at the mass of flowers from a height will show all the gaps but as you get lower the density of the flowers appears to increase. As with all woodland scenes fallen twigs can cause irritating distractions, so it’s important to look around for the best composition. Find fern leaves popping up between the flowers, or perhaps ivy and other plants growing around the trees catching the sunlight – or again think about a single flower as new life emerges. Whether we have more freedom to travel or we’re still confined to our local area, take time to enjoy the beauty that Spring brings, but remember, don’t just capture the big picture, think also about the tiny detail. Á


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scale the question of scale

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ou may have been used to flying to Africa to photograph big game, then found yourself restricted to back yard birdlife. Perhaps your portfolio centred on monumental architecture, but there’s nothing over two stories within permitted walking range of your village. The limits set on life may soon be lifted, but for any wedding photographer whether full-time pro or locally respected part-timer the switch from dozens of guests to a handful has been critical. The studios which used to see four generation family gatherings and the event photography specialists who have relied on busy parties and shows have seen a move to ‘bubble’ size groups and headshots. People have seen the scope of their lives contract and photographers have been restricted in geographical range. Where I’m based near the border between Scotland and England, we’ve had periods where amateur photographers were not allowed to cross either way to visit familiar scenes. This hasn’t affected business-to-business professionals and there have been some interesting discussions in pro groups about whether a landscape photographer genuinely earning a living from print sales could travel. One example was whether or not a photographer in Bournemouth was allowed to visit the Lake District in snow during lockdown, because for their business it was critical seasonal work making sure they had new views for 2022 calendars as well as immediate on-line orders. We’ve all had to work, and live, on a different scale. Instead of city centres and retail units and offices, we’ve had our spare rooms and garages – or with investment, new garden room workspaces. Even established commercial

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by David Kilpatrick

Size matters! From the dimensions of your sensor to the size of a studio, the scale of the subject and the size of a print.

square feet or 150m2. That would allow a total work space 15 x 10ft, which is just enough for a small social and commercial studio with a computer desk and printer for admin. Over the last 40 years I’ve chosen old, rambling houses with far too much square footage and also used far more than 10% for business, and paid business rates on the studio and office area. Now one room of about the size above is enough for a small product studio, some storage and my printing system. My daily office work and post-production occupies a former bathroom just 7 x 10ft. After much experience I would say that if you can afford to upscale when property prices and conditions are right, do so. And if you need to downsize make it a positive move.

Scale and perspective Home studios do not have to be small – John and Sandra Parris were able to host a lighting demonstration, above, with Elinchrom’s Simon Burfoot, in their purpose-fitted home studio. Right, my own small product set-up fits in a smaller space.

photographers have relinquished studio premises or dropped out of sharing. Those who have downsized to a home-based studio will not be looking for large product commissions, room sets or live model fashion shoots when normal work resumes. This will create opportunities ranging from new studio share openings for young photographers in cities, to investment in opening larger studios using vacant retail or commercial units. Many vacant premises will be High Street, with the usual limits on access and parking. Councils may now approve non-retail uses despite

past policies, to avoid their town centres becoming nothing but For Sale and To Let boards. At the time of writing we don’t know whether there will be changes to non-domestic rates to help recovery from Covid (Theo Paphitis has been lobbying for reform). When it comes to business rates, size does matter (and you can’t predict the qualifications needed for any future Covid grants). You’re allowed to use 10% of your home for business without paying non-domestic rates. The average size of a 4-bed detached house in the UK is just over 1500

The human eye has a focal length of around 25mm and a wide angle of view. W H Fox Talbot’s original mousetrap camera, used to take his first photograph of the lattice window at Lacock Abbey, used a one-inch microscope eyepiece lens to expose on to his paper negative which measured not much larger than a 35mm frame. The lattice window itself is about 3m square. When visiting Lacock in the 1980s I was able to position a 35mm camera on the same mantelpiece facing the window (it’s in a passageway rather than a room) and found that a 24mm lens closely matched the framing. The original image is not the only one. A horizontal composition on 8.5 x 11.6cm paper exists from around the same 1835 date, and is held by the Metropolitan Museum of New York’s Rubel Collection. It indicates a very different lens, more like a four-inch, on one of Fox Talbot’s larger cameras – but


‘standard’ view because the image sensor is so small. The iPhone 12 wide-angle lens (a very wide view, like having a 13mm lens on your full-frame camera) is only 1.54mm which is hard to visualise – like eye of a tiny vole or shrew. If you photograph the egg with the phone using a 5mm lens, instead of needing to be imaged half life size it need only be 1/20th of life size. The phone will be around 10cm away. The eggs behind it will reduce in scale noticeably. But in fact you may not be able to achieve the shot. Plenty of larger camera

W H Fox Talbot’s first image was almost a 35mm contact print size at 28 x 36mm, but he also took larger examples (right, NY Met negative processed as a positive). The lens on the original ‘mousetrap’ was surprisingly wide angle at 25.6mm.

it’s not a very good result compared to his first small one. Small formats generally give more contrast and definition. Though with more noise, the FourThirds format used by Olympus and Panasonic has always produced very bright clean files. With its standard lens around 25mm it also gives relationships within the perspective of a picture about the same look as we get by eye. This matters more for closeups and shots with a foreground than it does for any picture without much depth. If you take a group line-up like a team shot, it does not matter too much whether you use Olympus or Phase One; if you move in to photograph a flower with a garden beyond, it does. It’s all to do with scale – the scale of the camera relative to the subject. Using a full frame 35mm format, a photograph of an egg 60mm high will fit comfortably in at 1:2 scale, half life-size. If you use a 50mm lens, this means being around 75mm from the egg, and the focusing extension will change the angle of view to around 30° (much like a 75mm lens). If you want the egg to fill the same proportion of a 5 x 4" sheet film frame, it will need to be around 108mm on the film – or taken focused to produce 1.8X magnification. Keeping it simple, let’s assume 2X. Using a 180mm standard lens (not the 150mm normally treated as standard in the past – that is more like a 40mm for 35mm film) that’s a 720mm bellows extension and an angle of view of around 12° – like using a 200mm telephoto on 35mm. If you had a carton of eggs and focused on the front one with

The Sony RX100 is only 8.8mm at the wide end of its zoom. Combined with close focusing and tilting rear screen making a ground level view easy, the lens can be at mouse eye level…

The giant world of grass and toadstools as seen by a 12mm lens on APS-C.

this rig, eggs behind it would look almost the same size (compression of perspective). At one time, a 5 x 4" or similar camera was the standard format for much serious amateur and most professional work. Any close-up like that was a serious

undertaking, as a 2X magnification also involved losing four ƒ-stops compared to the marked set aperture. You’d stop down to ƒ16 but calculate or measure the exposure as ƒ45. Today a typical smartphone has a lens around 5mm for a

lenses (for example the Tamron ƒ2.8 prime series for mirrorless, including the 35mm) focus to 1:2 but your phone may well not be able to make an egg fill more than half the picture height. What something like the 1.54mm lens on the iPhone can do is create the giant world effect known to generations as Honey I’ve Shrunk The Kids. This Disney film series uses an endoscope to film from the viewpoint of a children reduced to the height of a mouse, battling through a jungle of garden plants with monster wildlife and pets. In effect, small things look ten as if they are ten times the size and ten times as far away. Using this, figurines and scale models in the studio can be given a perspective which can be montaged into real life views. It’s familiar in the movie world and also for architectural simulations. Using an iPhone or similar very

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small sensor with a sub-2mm lens, you can enter the world of an architect’s scale model in a way which no amount of effort with wide-angles, close-up lenses and a full-frame camera can match. It’s all to do with the relative scale of the camera format and the three-dimensional scene. The model of Hogwarts used for the Harry Potter films is 1/24th, many model kits are 1/16th or 1/12th. The closer your sensor size and lens match the scale, the more lifesize the scene will look. You should place the lens as close to the base or ground of your subject as possible, to make it resembled an eye-level view in scale. Ultrawide small sensor shots from even waist or knee height don’t give the same effect. Ideally the phone or camera should be angled upwards to create converging verticals and make small subjects appear monumental. There are a few excellent oneinch sensor cameras like the Sony RX100 and even smaller sensor models with wide view and raw file ability like the Olympus TG series. These can be placed with the lens very close to the ground.

An actual miniature scene, above, photographed from the viewpoint of one of the figures using a Canon G16 camera with its zoom lens at just 6mm.

Miniature world In contrast to this, the illusion of a small scale can be imposed on reality using little more than zonal defocus, strongly blurring the foreground and background of a scene. What’s interesting about this is that it is look which has only become possible in the photozoic era – the hundred years or so during which photographic images have become embedded in human interpretation of the world. Differential focus, with the background slightly softer than the subject, was used from the early days of portraiture with the ƒ3.6 Petzval Portrait lens. For most other subjects, sharpness was expected from foreground to horizon and the humble box camera with its ƒ11 or ƒ16 aperture choice delivered this in a 6 x 9cm contact print. When fast lenses came into their own before WWII they were rarely used wide open, or great care was taken to keep critical subjects in the plane of focus. Dr Erich Salomon photographed the political meetings of interwar 14

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A ‘miniature world’ model railway is actually the full size one at Whipsnade Zoo. Taken at 120mm focal length on full frame, and processed using Photoshop Blur ‘Tilt Shift’ filter.

Europe using the Ermanox 16on-120 camera equipped with a 100mm ƒ1.8 or 75mmƒ1.4 Ernostar lens and usually it’s only some foreground details which are blurred. However, with wider exposure to camera use, we’ve all become used to seeing shallow depth of field in close up views and now associate this look with small subjects. This is a change in learned interpretation of images by most people in developed society

– it would be hard to find which decade the shift occurred, but it’s happened, just the same way that most people learned to see perspective and scale in paintings around 500 years ago after a long period of seeing larger figures as more important rather than closer. There are two ways to achieve the ‘miniature world’ effect. The purest is to use a tilt lens (like the LensBaby Composer) or adaptor. A good example which I have is the Russian 50mm ƒ2 Zenitar

supplied with a tilt mount. On a distant scene, it needs to be used with maximum tilt at full aperture to get the effect, and when tilted the centre of the view is close to infinity with the lens focused at 3m. And ƒ1.4 or even wider lens will produce a better effect. A tilt-shift adaptor, as opposed to a simple tilt, lets you move the zone of sharp focus off (or back to) centre. The post-processing fix is to create a feather-off selection


covering the zone intended to be sharp, invert, then apply a large radius Gaussian (or Lens) Blur. This can be a stronger effect but lacks the optical realism. You can also add more digital blur to a tilt lens blur. Photoshop has a fully controllable Tilt-Shift option in the Blur filter menu. You need to find a viewpoint which resembles looking down on a model village, perhaps from an upper floor or roof. A normal eye level view won’t give the same illusion of a miniature world. Subjects which are often encountered in miniature, like railway scenes, can also be more convincing but it’s best to avoid too many people in sharp focus as clearly real figures can destroy the illusion.

Print and screen scale Today most digital images are seen on screens ranging from a few centimetres to large televisions. The common tablet or laptop range is much the same as print enlargements have been over the years, with sizes from between postcard and A4. The effects I’ve just discussed should perhaps be previews on something like a 13 inch laptop screen. For Instagram images and anything normally seen on a smartphone, you may want to use a stronger and more obvious effect. As for printing for exhibitions or competitions, you just need to make sure you view the print from the distance others will see it. There’s a lovely episode of Shitt’s Creek where the Rose family are sent a huge family group photograph which used to hang in their mansion and it occupies an entire wall of their motel room – satirising those huge wall prints which some families do indeed buy of professional groups. A 60 x 40" print (small by comparison!) should really be viewed from a safe social distance of 2m. The Honey I’ve Shrunk The Kids films worked well because they were seen in cinemas. The giant world from a tiny lens viewpoint was projected to giant scale for the audience. For opposite reasons the miniature world look probably works best small. The degrees of blur used don’t view well at wall size.

Two images from past photokina exhibitions – the show which they say has now ended for ever. A scan from a 5 x 4" negative can produce a huge print, above, which bears close inspection. From this seated distance, a 24 megapixel image would be sharp enough. Below, hundreds of small prints make big display.

As for the size of the image and the size of the final print, there’s no need to worry much provided your file is 12 megapixels or larger and the viewing distance is greater than the diagonal of the print or screen. The standard of 300dpi equates to viewing an image slightly less than our full page size held in your hands at a normal reading distance. Once cameras reached 12MP image resolution, that standard was achieved. It’s why pictures that ‘small’ can be used on billboard posters without appearing pixellated. For this magazine, the printing system flags up a warning up an

image is less than 200dpi. From experience, we know that if the report says 150dpi it’s still going to look exactly the same. At 100dpi close examination is needed to tell. Again from experience the inkjet printers I’ve used over the last few years like Epson P3800, Canon Pixma Pro1, HP Z3200 and smaller office HP or Canon desktops need much the same pixel density (240dpi is optimal). When making exhibition prints such as an A2 or 20 x 16" which may be examined close up a 24 megapixel file is enough, anything bigger a bonus. Today’s sensors offering much larger files – even phone cameras

approaching Samsung’s 108MP benchmark – will enable huge enlargements. If you don’t own a 44" printer, never worry. Any roll feed 17" printer can use self adhesive YouTac wallpaper fabric, though for Permajet’s pasteable Wall-Art Matt you need at least a 24" machine. Many mural printing rolls come in odd widths like 30". It’s always possible to print on A2 sheets and mount or paste them up – and some of the most impressive photo displays have been those created by Lomography (above) using prints around this size, each a grid of smaller images. Á

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KENNETH

MARTIN Small is beautiful but big can be better…

Origins: a studio on the ground floor of a terraced house in Innerleithen. Destination: this is just the reception area of the Edinburgh studio, seen after the £140,000 refit.

If anyone would like to find out more about Kenny’s TCMP program please pop an email to info@ kennethmartinphotography.com to arrange a no obligation totally confidential chat! Kenny is currently one of the most successful One 2 One Business Consultants and has lectured on both photography and business matters in over 16 countries. Photography Website: kennethmartinphotography.com Training Website: thestudiodoctor.co.uk

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hen I was contacted by the guys at Cameracraft and told that the inspiration for this issue was Scale, it threw me for a while. I don’t really shoot majestic landscapes, miniature toy people, vegetables made into scenes, macro insects or – well anything like that. Then it hit me. Why not talk about scale in the business of photography? Specifically portraiture, but it could also apply to wedding businesses or commercial photographers. I have always had an interest in the business side of photography, and I’ve devised a sound formula and concept to make any photographer financially successful. So what’s this got to do with Scale you ask? As I reached the ‘just over the hill’ stage of my career, I knew by the pain that my body was telling me to slow down in the shooting

I believe a work/life balance is incredibly important and every studio I work with has a dedicated plan to suit their circumstances, most of which centre around the ‘small is beautiful’ concept. Less work, high average sales, lots of profit, and time off. However when you are younger your ambition and the hunt for success takes over and the sky is the limit. Not to put any young ambitious entrepreneurs off running a mega business, as it does suit some people, I must say that if I had my time again I would probably have stuck to my ‘small is beautiful’ business model. From 1985 to 2000, my wife Nina and I ran what could be described as a small rural boutique studio in the Scottish Borders. Two staff on board, we managed a very respectable £200,000 turnover with high average sales and a lower session count (around eight

department. I started to realise that photographing seven families on a Saturday and seven on a Sunday was not really what I wanted to do at that stage in my life. So the past seven or eight years of my business life has been solely dedicated to my TCMP (Total Commitment Mentoring Program) helping other photographers achieve their business goals with their portrait businesses. These sessions are all held at the photographer’s own studio, face to face every month for 12 consecutive months and almost all the studios have kept me on for subsequent years with one of my studios now into their fifth continuous year. It’s a long program, it’s 100% One 2 One, it’s difficult but it’s pretty much guaranteed to work.

a week at £500 each) which in the late 90s was very respectable. There was excellent profit in the business due to incredibly low overheads – we worked from the bottom half of our house. We turned fully digital in 1997 so massive cost savings were made in film processing and transproofing. We had a lovely lifestyle, we drove nice cars, went on great holidays and didn’t work overly too hard. So what would lead us to move from a beautiful rural business premises with little rent and rates to a 4,000sq ft studio in the centre of Edinburgh with a combined rent and rates bill of £70,000? Why would we move from a staff of two to initially a staff of 10 and eventually a staff of 26 with a combined wage bill of £370,000? Why would we spend £140,000

on an incredible shop fit when our previous place was beautifully presented? Ambition! We knew that if we could achieve £200,000 in our boutique studio we could do ten times that in a mega studio. It’s all about Scale! We were right, it’s actually very simple, the marketing is just the same except the marketing budget is correspondingly scaled up. The methods of customer acquisition were exactly the same, it was just the ramping up of everything we did. Full time dedicated tele-marketing staff, full time customer care people, full time exhibition staff, a slew of receptionists, six photographers (seven including myself), dedicated sales staff and a business development manager. Like any business of this size it takes a different approach to make it successful, a real grasp of figures and a finger on the pulse of every single aspect of the business. This is where I go back to my work/ life balance – running a business of this size is not for everyone. We did achieve all we set out to do, and one year hit a whopping £1.6m turnover with corresponding profits. But to achieve this success you need to be willing to work seven days a week, ten hours a day in the studio. You then think about the business every waking hour. You must be strong enough to deal with staffing issues, which can be a challenge. The financial worries are also increased dramatically as any failure is amplified and so many people are reliant on your success. I have worked with some big studios with my TCMP program and I can honestly say that some of the owners are earning less than some staff members. All it takes is a bad couple of weeks at that level to put the company in difficulty and the staff NEED to be paid. We had a fantastic 20 years at the studio in Edinburgh, which we sold in July 2020. We learned a huge amount about management, finances, marketing, dealing with staff and everything it takes to run a huge studio but we can live easily and happily on a much lower turnover. Just the two of us with a quality of life, time off and so much less stress. As we have now scaled down we are enjoying life


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photo of writer

IAIN POOLE It’s time to tip the scales – join me in my small world!

LumeCube lighting creates a studio in miniature. You can take scale model figures into the outside world as well – in the snow or on the beach.

Iain K Poole is a semi-professional photographer specialising in cosplay and landscape, and has won many awards over the last few years and is a Master Craftsman of the Guild of Photographers. Iain is based in the seaside town of Hornsea in rural East Yorkshire. https://www.iainpoole.com

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unning short on models, creativity needing a boost… maybe it is time to tip the scales and start looking at something completely different? Let us enter the fun yet rather tiny world of scale photography. Firstly, what do I mean by scale? Scale refers to the size ratio to a normal sized object – if have a model of a six-foot person but the height is now three foot it’s a ratio of 1:2. When you see ratios such as 1:6 (one foot high), 1:12 (quite small, only six inches) and so on this will give you an idea of what you are buying. Trust me, I have made a few mistakes over the years … ask me about the sub-zero model when you see me next. The world of scale photography has blown up just recently with numerous genres exploding onto the scene. Scale photography is nothing new, model railway hobbyists have been using cameras to capture images of their amazing work. What we have seen over the last few years is the rise of the scale photographer using social media to promote their style. Instagram is full of amazing creatives who share the skills they have mastered, allowing you to also get involved in an up-andcoming genre limited only by your creativity. I would recommend checking out sgtbananas and AVANAUT on Instagram, both are a constant source of inspiration to me, yet their photography is so unique. Over the years scale models and toys have both grown in such detail and articulation its now possible to recreate scenes from movies, comics or graphic models. That being said finding a figure you are happy with is always going to be fun. One affordable model supplier is Mezco, found on Amazon. So you have your figure so what do you do next ? Well time to break out your tripod, using a tripod is essential for this type of work. Settings – first use live view not a DSLR finder, as it makes the setup much easier. Try not to get so wrapped up in technique you lose focus on what you are trying to create. As a rule keep at ISO 100, ƒ8 and adjust your shutter speed to suit. A remote trigger is essential especially if you want to capture

amazing details as you will need to focus stack, taking multiple images covering a range of focus settings to give you a large depth of field. As for lighting I always go for continuous light and not flash – often my LumeCubes as I can get them close and they give amazing light. I have four with many modifiers which allow me to create amazing scenes with relative ease, as each LumeCube is controlled via Bluetooth. Don’t be deterred if you don’t have LumeCubes. Any light panel will do, you don’t have to spend crazy, and because you can see

the results using live view you can easily adjust the light. Try using paper or cloth to diffuse your light if you want to make it softer. Right now… enough of my babbling, time to get snapping so raid the kids’ toy boxes and get creative! I would love to see what your imagination can come up with, as an added bonus be sure to share to the Guild Facebook page and use the hashtag #cameracraftscale. The best image will win a scaleable prize, and be announced in the next magazine.

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If the cap fits… share it! Gary Friedman’s quarantine beard has been wearing many hats.

In a cavern, in a canyon, excavating for a mine… and an Amish farmer, and an Orthodox Rabbi. It’s all done with beard and hats…

LIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE, the pandemic left me with little work and a lot of spare time. After making a couple of Xaphoon promotional videos (like this one: https://bit.ly/36Ozcfj), I decided to try growing my beard out. Not only that, but see if I could use it as a prop to impersonate characters and celebrities. Almost all of these pictures were taken with either one or two Godox flashes, Sony A7R IV, and a simple backdrop. I controlled the camera with a smartphone so I could frame myself properly. Getting the smoke in the Fidel Castro shot was a challenge since I don’t smoke (and that isn’t a real cigar); I extinguished a burining candle and photographed the resulting smoke using the same lighting, then merged the two in Photoshop. The only image that required a lot of post-processing was the Santa Claus one. The hat was lifted from an Amazon product page and Photoshopped on, and I over-sharpened it and used Photoshop’s Filter Gallery>Texture>Patchwork filter to give it that Norman Rockwell vibe. My wife doesn’t care for the beard all that much, but the grandkids want me to grow it longer so I can dress up as Dumbledore next Halloween. Stay tuned… …or is it done with smoke and mirrors? Fidel Castro, Orson Welles, and a politically incorrect stereotype. Not to mention a Norman Rockwell Santa.

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Lighting The BRADBURY Way

hen Richard Bradbury left art college at 19 to learn his way into professional photography, I was lucky enough to be in the right place to give him that chance. It only took a year of 24-7 immersion for him to be ready to run a city centre advertising and commercial studio under his own steam. In the meantime, I had written a book on photographic lighting for Focal Press which included examples of his work He even sat for a set of male portrait lighting shots which he’d probably not want to be seen again! Almost forty years on, he’s written his own book for Ammonite Press with the benefit of decades developing his unique style which has hinged around his use of lighting, notably electronic flash combined with daylight or ambient indoor light. He’s also been President of MPA and won many awards in the UK and worldwide, and written three self-published books of great value to anyone setting out in the world of freelance and professional cameracraft. Like my book which he helped with in the 1980s, Mastering Lighting & Flash Photography uses a good few spreads of lighting set-up examples to help in the studio. New ideas and terminology are reflected in the images and text, and like most Ammonite books this includes a few profiles of selected photographers. I managed to get in it for not using lighting, but using light – it was something we discussed all the time on location and my book was called Light and Lighting as so much of it was about landscape, street, reportage and other genres where the photographer doesn’t add light but identifies and controls it. The dramatic style which Richard has created actually borrows much from earlier periods, like pre-WWII Hollywood when so much light was needed the film sets could be surrounded by a galaxy of suns. He shows how to use colour both in the subject and the light sources, and

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You can find the book with ISBN 9-781781-454190, published by Ammonite Press in March 2021 at £19.99. Below: the opening image from the book, taken with a 17mm and powerful location flash in bright sunshine.

how to use contrast of light and shade, highlights and shadows for maximum effect. Most subjects or ideas are handled within a single spread and very clearly explained, making it possible to flip through the 176 pages and spot techniques to use in your current work. His real strengths are in HS/HSS flash for outdoor action shots whether in rain or sun, and the creation of elaborately lit roomsets echoing 1950s advertising. He also photographs people and has another Ammonite book, Mastering Child Portrait Photography, a field where completely different lighting is used. He manages to cover all bases, though there is probably more for the commercial, editorial and advertising photographer in the lighting book. It’s not surprising given his career. Many of the illustrations are well-known as they have been seen in books, magazines, and awards and you may have wondered ‘how did he get that?’ – well the answers are in this book. He has never claimed to be a technical photographer, more an art director who discovered his strength behind the lens instead of getting stuck behind the drawing-board or Mac screen for life. Despite this the technical material in the book is carefully researched and authoritative. You’d never know this was the 19-year-old who said he didn’t know which number was the shutter speed and which was the aperture – he just wanted to set up the subject, set up the lighting and compose the shot. The flash meter provided the settings. That strength, of devising and lighting the subject by eye and only considering the camera after staging the shot, has meant he visualised results which were almost impossible to achieve. He then had to find ways to get there. These were selfset goals, not a client demanding something. He has never taken the ‘just good enough’ way out and as a result his book has so much to offer to other photographers. – David Kilpatrick Á


Above: from the section on Sets and Interiors, a ‘cartoon-like’ set from an avdertisement for the postal services. Below: high-speed sync outdoors, 24mm lens at ƒ16 and a shutter speed of 1/800s at ISO 400.

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IAN

KNAGGS Scaling the heights of packshot images and e-commerce presentation

Above: detail and whole product for an advertising layout. Top: concept using scale to catch the eye. Right: representing product size by scaling and repeating one isolated on white shot. Ian Knaggs, a UK based advertising and product photographer specialising in studio product photography, is a popular instructor in studio set-ups and lighting, digital processing and Photoshop. https://www.ianknaggs.com

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ur brains really are very clever things. They take in information around them, in this case from our eyes, and they process it at lightning fast speeds and create a picture of the world around us. Part of this processing

its usual processing and forces it to reassess the unexpectedly scaled objects in front of it. The result is that the viewer is forced to pause and view the image for longer so that the brain can determine what it’s actually viewing. It’s down to this extended period of viewing that the image is much more likely to be remembered. Whilst it’s always great fun to play with the viewers perception of products by using unexpected scaling of objects, there is another

However, one scale-related problem with isolating products on a white background is that there is no other object in the scene to give the viewer any reference as to the size of the product. In some cases we have been requested to add an image of a ruler along side the product to give a reference. Alternatively, if different sizes of product are available then we add them next to each other to show the relative scale. The one final option we use is

relies on the correct interpretation of the scale of objects relative to each other. The beauty of this process, is that it all happens without us realising that it’s even happening! As an advertising photographer, I regularly take advantage of this subliminal processing by deliberately adjusting the scale of products relative to their surroundings. This technique forces the brain to pause

side to commercial photography in which the accurate portrayal of scale is absolutely essential. This is in the world of packshots. These are the images that you see of products online on e-commerce shop websites and images show products are isolated on a plain, generally pure white, background. The purpose of a packshot is to provide potential buyers with a high quality depiction of a product that entices them to buy.

a mix of advertising and packshot style images in which we include the same product at two different sizes in the same image. This technique is great for highlighting detail areas on a product whilst still showing the complete product. So, the next time you stop and view an advertising image for longer than expected, it may well have been down to the unexpected use of scale and proportion.

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Passing it on to the next generation I t’s rare that we are so self-aware that we can accurately describe who we are. And so, when I was recently described, as an ‘influencer and enabler’, I had terrifying images of teenagers strutting their stuff on YouTube or TikTok! After my initial surprise I thought about it rationally and realised that, fundamentally, they were correct. After all, spending 30 years as a police officer engenders those character traits, whether by helping the public stay safe, or training and assessing colleagues. My introduction to photography was the gift of a 120 box camera from my parents in 1970, to document the parade and inauguration of my grandmother as mayor of Wallsend, the town where I was born and brought up. It was thrilling to be let loose with my own camera, taking pictures of whatever I wanted, only magnified by the wait for the prints to come back from our local chemist! Fifty years on, I still have that camera and still use it. I’m rarely without a camera, making photographs any time, any place, anywhere. My collection is extensive, from 16mm spy cameras to 10 x 8" handmade pinhole cameras. I’m a bit of a camera whisperer – show me a camera I haven’t used and I’ll try to tame it! After retirement in 2013, I immersed myself in all things photographic. I joined the local photographic society, and another non-competitive photography group, and quickly found myself helping run both. I also became involved in projects aimed at using photography to help others. With Crisis Newcastle, as a means to help the homeless; and with Amber Film and Photography Collective and children from schools in North East England, a photography and video heritage project documenting the Fish Quay and the Shipyards. This involvement gives me far more satisfaction than making my own work, and led to talks and presentations in two local high schools which run A-Level photography courses. I quickly became aware that both schools had a desperate

Growing up through great changes in the North East’s shipbuilding community, Rob Halliburton was given a box camera in 1970 at the age of 7. Now he’s returning the favour by starting up a camera donation project for local schools.

Car boot sales are a good hunting ground for candids as well as cameras – one of Rob’s shots documenting local projects, activities and events.

need for cameras, especially film cameras. Both schools require parents of A-Level students to supply digital cameras, but asking them to also buy a film camera was a hard ask. So, I decided to help.

I knew I had at least half a dozen cameras to donate, but more were needed. I put out the call to friends, family and residents in the area to consider donating their unused equipment, so students

Visit Rob’s Facebook page ‘Camera Donation Project – N.E.’ or see https://www.halliburton.photos/school-donation-project

could get the same thrilling experience I had with photography. I knew some would take up the gauntlet, but I wasn’t prepared for how many. In December 2020, I was able to take over 20 assorted 35mm, and 120 film cameras, lenses, tripods, monopods, and developing equipment to one very grateful school with 38 students on their combined A-Level Photography course. Getting cameras for them all is my goal. Most I have already donated are from the Canon EOS film range. The 300, 300v, and the 1000f offer the ability to use the cameras in auto and manual modes. I have a further 20 EOS bodies that all work, but getting lenses for them is more difficult. Other classic 35mm film cameras, the likes of Olympus OM10 and 20, Pentax ME, and Minolta X-300 or X-700 are ideal for the type of work the students do. I’d love to include more medium format cameras – even working box cameras have value giving the students experience using different formats. When it comes to digital, early Canon and Nikon DSLRs are great for students who don’t have the finances to do the course otherwise; I have seen great work done with the likes of Canon 450D and Nikon D3100 cameras, but any working DSLR would be gratefully received. Compact digital cameras with good optical zooms can also be put to good use. At the moment, the project aims to help schools local to me, but it doesn’t need to stop there. I would love to expand the project, and maybe encourage you to do the same in your area. We all have cameras squirrelled away, sometimes for sentimental if not monetary reasons. In reality, they become relegated to mechanical hibernation which often results in their demise. These cameras are crucial to encourage photographers of the future, so get them out of hibernation, dust them off, and get in touch with me. I’ll test them and find them a good home, where they will be used and appreciated. – Rob Halliburton Á

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PAPERS

PermaJet Double Sided Lustre 295

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any office printers now have a duplex function, to print on both sides of the paper from multi page documents. Some photo printers offer it but don’t be taken in by brief specs – the fine print will say ‘manual’ duplex with photo papers, automatic only with plain paper. Most inkjet papers can only be printed on one side, and for a long time double-sided printing was limited to matt stock. To make photobooks or albums, sheets of gloss or lustre were mounted back to back. Using an adhesive carrier between them, this is still an excellent way to produce albums with almost rigid leaves. A while back DS lustre paper was introduced and one of the pioneers was PermaJet with a 285gsm material. They also offer DS Matt, Oyster and Portfolio. Now there’s a second generation double-sided lustre 295gsm – it’s tiny increase in the weight of the paper but significant. We obtained a pack of A4 and still had a couple of PermaJet Snapshut photo book covers in the test room. In November, the editor’s mother-in-law had a fall resulting in a broken hip and hospital stay after being operated on. Living on her own at 93, she was lucky to be able to return home with relatives living close by. Covid demanded sheltering and she depended on NHS care at home. When the paper came to test rather than making a portfolio album, David located digital copies of family album photos covering 70 years from her wedding to 2019. They made a family life story for her. This was an ideal use for a

The Snapshut folio cover spine held open against its spring pressure

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Permajet A4 DS Lustre 295 and Snapshut Folio leather cover binding make it easy and quick to create photo books for family, friends or clients. For further information see: https://www.permajet.com

self-printed photo book using the double sided paper. Pictures to fill 24 A4 landscape pages were laid out using Affinity Publisher, which integrates with Affinity Photo and Design. The interface is a little different to InDesign or any of the on-line album building software, but soon became intuitive and very fast to use. Unlike InDesign, Affinity Publisher provides adjustment of placed photographs. Just select the image on the page, and you have control of many things including brightness, contrast and colour. With such a mixed source of pictures this really helped. To avoid ink offset with stacked pages, we used a 5% brightness reduction and a touch extra drying time. Sheets had to be fed singly in the Epson 3800, as two lustre surfaces (or more) pressed into contact by the feeding mechanism result in multiple sheets being drawn down. Careful stacking was needed to make sure both sides were the right way up and no ink marked the facing sheets. The lustre paper surfaces helped secure the 12 sheets when inserted into the Snapshut cover. It’s possible to add up to 20 sheets of 250gsm thickness in a 15mm spine (much more of plain paper) and the cover comes with front and back flyleaf papers in a single sheet with a creased spine. No glue or stapling is needed. A 25mm spine version will fit more sheets. The cream album cover has a black lining paper, the black cover chosen has cream. A title for the album was easy to write on the heavy black paper with a gold pen. PermaJet DS Lustre 295 costs about £17 for a pack of 25, and an A4 15mm spine Snapshut leather covered folio costs £27. It took about an hour to print 24 A4 sides on 12 sheets. When received, this lifetime memory album couldn’t really have had a price put on it, and it was produced and posted within a day of the paper arriving – that’s what in-house printing can enable.

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SCREENS

BenQ SW240

Running Affinity Publisher with a photobook layout on the BenQ .

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n June last year we tested the BenQ SW321C Photographer monitor, an impressively large certified calibration screen. The IPS technology gave such a natural paper-like quality to the white and the clarity of the detail for retouching further reduced eye strain. The calibration when profiled revealed shadows and darker colours in a way which our regular iMac 27 inch screens were unable to achieve with any calibrator. The Mac Pro tower used is our studio and printing system also used for paper tests. Colour accuracy matters greatly and there was no need for a 32 inch display. With the BenQ SW240 PhotoVue Photographer Professional model sold by Colour Confidence for only £399 including a viewing hood (£79.95 option if bought elsewhere) offering a similar IPS screen type, we ordered one. Is it really the same? Well, it’s 99% AdobeRGB and claims 100% sRGB, though reviews have said it is only 99%. It has the same quality of being very bright but not causing discomfort, possibly because the contrast (1000:1) and brightness (250 lux) combine with a natural gamma which doesn’t crush the shadows. The viewing angle of 178° all round is identical. The resolution of the 24 inch 1920 x 1200 screen is 94ppi, a fairly

chunky pixel size. Unlike Mac Retina screens at 240ppi it does not demand software which doubles the scale of text and images to appear 100% size. It’s easier to see pixel level detail when retouching at 100% than on a non-Retina iMac 120ppi display, or the 137ppi of the SW321C. Zooming to 200% may not be needed. The photographic image pixels are seen 20-45% larger than on most screens and text is not reduced in size. A 24 inch 1920 pixel wide screen is native for 1080p (HD) video and 4K movie makers need the larger 27 or 32 inch model. But photographers may find the 24 more than adequate. It has rotation for portrait view images and A4 page design (two A4 pages side by side can only be full size without menus and application frames). The SW240 has a row of control buttons which eliminate the need to use the computer for most set-up and adjustment functions, including calibration. Its height and angle are effortlessly adjustable. Value for money, this monitor is hard to beat, It provides a very accurate lab-quality view of images and enables optimum matching to printed output. The auto selected built-in monitor profile may be all you need as it’s so close to anything you can achieve with a calibration device. https://www.colourconfidence.com

Free to read online – Creative Light bi-monthly e-magazine – https://tinyurl.com/guildCL

Commercial Cameras 7 High Street, Church Stretton, Shropshire SY6 6BU Tel: 01694 722 202

We buy and sell quality pre-owned and still-loved equipment: Leica Hasselblad Nikon Linhof Large Format Vintage Classics & Collectable Studio Lighting Accessories To see our latest selection, please visit our website:

www.commercialcameras.co.uk or email

sales@commercialcameras.co.uk

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Borne in Beauty Prenatal Portraits by Natasha Ince

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What is the difference between born and borne? When you carry something, it is borne. So is a boat on the waves or a bird on the wings of the wind. And so is a baby within a mother. When you enter the world from that safe place, you are born. And before you are born, you are borne for nine months in the changing body of a woman who can see herself, and be seen, as perfect and beautiful from the discovery of pregnancy to the day of delivery. Natasha Ince has won many accolades for her maternity portraiture, from world-leading judges of Wedding and Portrait Photographers International and most recently as Maternity Photographer of the Year 2020 in the Guild of Photographers’ annual awards. Natasha is young mother herself, a talented performer and singer who left a future in recording and touring to become an equally professional and creative photographer in her home town of Dudley in the West Midlands. She wanted to make her maternity subjects stars of her studio stage and in doing so created a new style of photography. This is her own statement: “My mission is to find the Goddess in every woman, to create timeless portraiture of families and be forever grateful for doing what I love.” See: https://www.photographybynatasha.co.uk/ 28

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atasha Ince delighted the on-line audience for the Guild of Photographers’ awards at the beginning of February. During the live streaming she sang Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ (Revised Version) and her own song ‘Hear Us’ written about 15 years ago with Chris Eaton, who played piano. She also 30

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collected the award for the best Maternity photography, exemplified by the portrait which opened this portfolio. She first set out her stall as a photographer eight years ago, working from a room in her parents’ home, and found her diary filled quickly with bump, baby, and art portraits. Even now, with her own studio, her technique

is disarmingly simple – a single Elinchrom D-Lite 1 flash, the entry level to the system loved by newborn and beauty photographers for its ability to go down to very low power, in a 135cm Octa softbox. She uses Nikon full frame DSLRs with 50mm ƒ1.8 and 85mm ƒ1.4 lenses, aiming for out-of-the-camera perfect images

at low ISO settings. Her prints are made by The Print Foundry, who specialise in very large wall art. She does minimal skin retouching but works extensively on hair and fabric styling. Her studio is not as large as the double page image would suggest and she shoots on a regular 2.72m backdrop. “I like to extend the flow fabrics in


Photoshop and make everything look more dramatic so it follows my theatrical style of imagery”, she says. “I have just started a podcast – aimed at the females – trying to inspire, motivate and educate them by interviewing incredible well known photographers in the industry. They share their opinions

and views on things people aren’t usually asked in interviews, as I try to delve more into their personal lives trying to figure out why they

do what they do, how they continue to be successful and how they empower themselves as well as their clients and students.” Á

All photographs © Natasha Ince Reproduced from her original entries to the Guild of Photographers Image of the Month

The link to the podcasts can be found here for iTunes: https://apple.co/3aegC2k or here for Spotify: https://www.photographybynatasha.co.uk/podcast-finding-the-goddess

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Small lives matter

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here has been a shift towards environmental awareness – even with a big push from government for farmers to reduce their meat production and set aside land, woods and marshland to help protect wildlife and birds in particular. It’s something which Peter Woods was keen to get over as soon as we started talking about his photography. “There is a big benefit to wildlife”, he enthused, “and to those who wish to view or photograph wildlife. Hedgerows, trees and open spaces are always at risk from developers – look at HS2 – so anybody giving space to wildlife is a good thing. We need to invest in our green spaces and remember we share this planet with amazing creatures whether big or small. “For me to photograph these amazing creatures is an honour and one I cherish. Maybe I have not been fortunate enough to travel to other countries to photograph more exotic creatures, but we have such an amazing variety of wildlife in this country that I will never run out of wildlife to photograph. I will probably – no, definitely! – never get around to photographing all species in this country.” I asked Pete if there was money to be made selling images of wildlife. He’s not a professional

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Peter Woods knows how important the natural world is to our own survival and well-being. Diane E. Redpath interviewed him.

Insects, arthropods, arachnids… small things to be found in their thousands if you know where to look. Pete finds many subjects by doing exactly that, but the most dramatic one here, the Regal Jumping Spider, was bought as a lockdown photo subject companion.

but most photographers at his level like to fund their activity that way. “The million-dollar question”, replies Pete. “For me no: for an established wildlife photographer yes, but not sure it’s enough to live on. Everyone has a camera these days so the availability of images is massive, not just in wildlife. I think you will find most established wildlife photographers make most of there income from workshops, one-to-ones and tours. However, not at the moment: as with all photography genres Covid has absolutely paralysed the industry. “I have sold a few images but for me it is a hobby, a passion, first. Most of my images go to friends and family. I have been fortunate to have had pictures published in daily and local papers, no monies involved though. Not sure how they saw my images! I presume via social media. “I think anyone thinking of making a career out of wildlife photography is in for a tough journey – it can be and is done, there are a few young guns out there that are making names for themselves, but it is the few not the many. As to whether they make a comfortable income from it is another matter.”

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Perhaps, then, Pete found there was a therapeutic value in getting so close to nature? “Now what a great question! This is a massive YES. I am fortunate that during this lockdown my local river has a couple of resident Kingfishers so I can get out and photograph them (weather permitting) and this has been a godsend. Being out in nature is indeed therapeutic. It gives you time to relax, unclutter your mind. It has been my saviour in these troubling times. Without being able to get out locally with my camera and walk along the river I would have had a nervous breakdown stuck in my two-bed flat. Even in normal times for me being out with nature is calming and therapeutic – we all need a release and there is no better way than being outdoors, listening to the birdsong and sounds of nature, being in the fresh air away from the busy day to day life we all lead. “For me not having to travel great distances to get with nature is a massive bonus. Local nature reserves and open spaces are where I take most of my images. Last year between lockdowns a local park had three Short-Eared Owls present (probably still there) and it was only fifteen minutes from me. This was the first time I have had the opportunity to photograph them locally. “I visit two places close to me regularly when we are allowed, both within fifteen minutes. Yes, it’s nice to travel to other places around the country but that needs planning and more often than not overnight accommodation. Staying local means you can just go at the drop of a hat have a great time, and hopefully get some rewarding images. Nature reserves are where we all start and are a great place to go for a relaxed time photographing – mainly birds, usually from the comfort of a hide. “Birds are most of my photography – why birds? Well, they are everywhere, the variety is enormous and I just love to photograph them whether in flight or on a stick. There is just something about birds that just makes them a pleasure to photograph. I really love Kingfishers but then I think we all do. I also love Grey Herons, they remind me of Pterodactyls the 34

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Life in a flat has given Pete a keen appreciation of park and garden life. Birds – even those less dramatic than the Kingfisher on our cover – form his second major field of interest.

way they behave and fly… not that I personally remember dinosaurs, I’m old but not that old! I could list loads of other species of bird that I love but we would be here all day. I asked Pete about the effect an interest like natural history photography could have on mental well-being. It turns out that during the first lockdown, he found the isolation a big challenge and stopped taking photographs completely. His solution to it was surprising – to learn how to look after as well as photograph the smallest of subjects. “I saw a YouTube video about photographing and owning a jumping spider”, he explains. “It was not expensive or difficult. So off I went to eBay and ten days later Otis arrived! My Regal Jumping Spider. To say he was a lifesaver may be pushing it, but my mojo was back I had my own little model! “What a great little star he was. I learnt a lot about jumping spiders – and he was very friendly. Unfortunately, last November he passed away. Would I get another?

No. Would I get something else? Maybe – a praying mantis would be interesting and a great subject to photograph. However, I think borrowing one would be a better choice for me. “Another thing that happened whilst in these lockdowns is that I have discovered the wildlife outside my window. There is no garden to speak of around the flats I live in, but we do have a few trees and they now have feeders on them. Getting feeders on a tree from a first-floor window is a challenge! Naturally, we wanted to find out from Pete what equipment he uses. “Last March I changed systems. I had always been a Canonite using the latest pro bodies and big 600mm lens and so on. However, I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis in 2002 and over the years it has taken its toll. I was struggling to carry the heavy Canon equipment around, so I made the decision over about a year to change to Olympus after trying the gear for a month in 2019 thanks to Olympus’s try before you buy offer

via there website. So, I bought into Olympus and said goodbye to Canon. “I have got to say, wish I had done it sooner. I now use two OMD E-M1x bodies and an OMD E-M1 MkIII. I also have most glass and I still had money in the bank from the sale of my Canon gear. The beauty of the Olympus Micro Four Thirds system is the size and weight of it compared to the full frame equivalent. “If I go back to when I started in photography, my first camera was a Zenit SLR at the age of 14. My dad was into photography and bought it for me. I just played around with it. I really started getting into wildlife photography when I was in my forties with the purchase of a Canon 300D – a few film SLRs had gone before, this would have been around 2004. It really coincided with moving from outer London to Sawbridgeworth and discovering nature as I lived by the river Stort. From there the rest is history as they say. Yes, I was a late bloomer – story of my life!’ So I asked Pete what his real life was – not the life in photography, the life before he retired. “I was a lifer on British Telecom, joining them in 1979 when it was part of the Post Office”, he said. “I took early retirement in November 2019 after 40 years with them. Yes, it was a great career. Been married twice, divorced twice, have two grown up sons Daniel and Harrison and have two beautiful granddaughters Darcie aged seven and Jorgie who is five.” After learning about Pete’s friendly relationship with Otis, I had to learn more about his approach to insects and spiders. “I love Dragonflies but all insects are fascinating”, he told us. “You can really get close to most insects and the detail and intricacies of them is amazing. A dragonfly in flight is a real challenge. Like a lot of other insects they have survived since prehistoric times and will probably be around long after humans unless we totally destroy this planet – which let’s be honest is the most likely outcome, unfortunately. “I find to photograph insects you have to tune in to them, after


first finding them. It is a different frame of mind from photographing birds. I’m probably not explaining it well but just to go out to photograph insects you need to move very slowly scouring the undergrowth, rather than looking upwards. “It is so easy to miss things but after a while you tune in and see so much more and the more you look the more you see. The variety is amazing – butterflies, spiders, flies the list just goes on and on. Then there is identifying them, that can be a task in itself and usually done at home with the help of books. Pete has hopes for the future after Covid. Many of his friends are working professional photographers, and he’s aware that his own circumstances have been very different. “I really feel for those of you that are self-employed during this Covid outbreak”, he says, “and can not imaging the hardships some of you are going through – not being able to plan a recovery as we are still uncertain how this year will unfold. “I really hope the vaccine will allow us to return to some sort of normality very soon.” As a regular competitor in the Guild of Photographers Image of the Month, he has that to think about and a possible goal of gaining a Craftsman distinction. He signed off by wishing all our readers the best as we emerge from our changed lives – and we wish him the same. Á See: https://uknaturephotography.co.uk

Short-Eared Owls in a local park provided Pete with a fine subject for his Olympus E-M1x and 100-400mm lens.

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Flights of T fancy he risk of going full-time is always reduced if you have flexible work which can be reined back to allow more days behind the camera. David Conway, as a locum optometrist for opticians in his area, started his business transtion five years ago. By 2020 he had such a good reputation and wedding diary that he was down to a single day each month conducting eye tests,

If you think keeping your wedding diary active in 2020 was impossible, David Conway proved otherwise. His mix of exclusive venues, bridal fantasy and taking to the air proved a winning formula.

See: https://www.davidconway.photography

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keeping his professional knowledge and connections active. It was a wise decision, as from 42 weddings booked in 2020 only 13 survived. “I was lucky to keep that many”, he admits comparing his experience with others. “A lot have moved to 2021 and now there’s a drift to 2022. It would have been 58 weddings this year. “Fortunately my work, which gave me the flexibility to move into


photography and bridge the financial gap, has allowed me to return to optometry four days a week. “I am definitely a hobbyist who turned photography into a career, and when I am not working professionally I’m still out there taking photos – doing more landscape and wildlife, branching out. But I’ve always liked photographing people most, I started as a teenager making videos. That’s why I went into wedding photography – the people!” David says that his Facebook advertising and social reach is the greatest driver of bookings, helped by making connections with a few premium venues hosting high end weddings. He would prefer to cap his bookings at 40 a year, as his wife has her own career in educational HR and with a nine year old son and seven year old daughter, family time really matters. He is someone who is used to working weekends with the optometry, but with weddings it’s not just a 9-5 job, and the days can be long. The family now strive to keep Sundays free, meaning when David gets in from a Saturday wedding at night, other than backing up all

his images from with dual memory cards of the camera and single slot memory from his drone, he refrains from going in to edit images despite this being a strong temptation, leaving it all until Monday to start the selection and processing. He’s based in Holmfirth, which is ideally placed for Manchester and the affluent North West as well as West, North and South Yorkshire and the red rose county north up the M6. Like many of his contemporaries, he has trained with Chris Chambers, and at one of the workshops drone photographer Luke Granger got many in the group started with wedding aerials. At wedding fairs, he has found the drone offering gets grooms and brides’ dads enthusiastic instead of trying to hide obvious boredom! “It’s a unique selling point, and also helps to spark some male interest in the wedding photography planning too”. However, with the new drone rules and the ability for others to use drones more readily at weddings David accepts this USP may become less so with time, “But at least I have a little head start with portfolio images and

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knowledge on how best to make use of the drones’ capabilities. I started with a DJI Mavic Mini as it’s so easy to carry, but moved up to the Pro 2 for the larger sensors and resolution. It means I can do a large group, and everybody’s face is visible. As the photographer, I can control the guests – you can not do this without being in control of the people. For smaller groups, there is no need to use a drone – they are better from eye level. But to get the venue in it’s been ideal, and now with the change in regulations, we can use a drone in the city. I did a wedding at Salford Quays, and there could have been a perfect bride and groom drone shot using a balcony of The Lowry. Though it was not permitted it could be now, if using the correct drone.” David’s aerial wedding shots are normally bride and groom, with the venue, landscape or local landmark featuring as the setting. He has had success in competitions with these and also with his other genres of often personal work. Many shots are effectively in camera, but the opening shot with the bride’s dress train merging into the tide shows that retouching skills can be valuable – along

with pre-planning and visualisation of the intended result. As for gear, David has used a pair of Canon 5D MkIII bodies for five years and has just decided to

invest in two mirrorless R5s. He finds that a change like this can revitalise photography, especially when the coming season looks so quiet compared to the year

he was prepared for. It turns out he did need to go – back! – to Specsavers… but his vision is perfectly clear for his future. Á

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LENS REVIEW

Sigma i-Series 65mm © ƒ2 DG DN

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e really needed a heavy metal gig. Or just metal. That would have suited the Sigma i-Series 65mm perfectly. It’s built in an old tradition of precision engineering in metal updated to perform superbly in an autofocus era dominated by plastics. Back in 1974 Canon said the future of lens design lay with polycarbonates and lightweight materials, and since then a blend of metal skins and machine parts with plastic barrels has taken over. This Sigma returns us to the feel of classic lenses from Leica, Voigtländer, Zeiss, or Kern. Even the lens hood is pure metal and the lens feels totally solid in the hand. It has the smooth feel of a precision manual lens when the softly click stopped aperture ring (with A position for camera body control) is turned or the focus by wire MF ring used. Plastic components are used internally but this is not just a lens with a thin metallic skin, it’s primarily metal with brass lens mount and a scuffresistant black finish. Like all Sigma lenses, this is a Japanese product, which surprisingly few lenses and cameras are now. Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia are all production centres and this is nothing new – consider Rollei and production in Singapore over 40 years ago. Recently we have seen Chinese ‘artisan shop’ prime lenses achieve very high standards partly through engineering in metal and hand assembly. Sigma’s current Art

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It’s an unexpected focal length forming part of the new Contemporary ‘i’ line of prime lenses from the Japanese maker. The metal barrelled 65mm is well balanced on the A7II here, and will be even better on the heavier A1.

and Contemporary designs using a typical mix of metal and plastics have demonstrated that rigorous quality control pays off. Their lenses are now amongst the best performing and most consistent from any maker, camera brand lines included. The i-Series primes combine the best that we’ve seen in recent manual lens design from the Japanese production lines of Zeiss and Voigtländer, and bring state of the art autofocus into play. The 65mm is almost silent and very fast. There were always hints of this in the DC DN prime series (16mm, 30mm and 56mm ƒ1.4). This full frame fast ‘long standard’ lens is even better. To match the metal barrel with its unusual partial collar that makes lens changing swift and sure, there’s a magnetic metal lens cap. With a black matt velour mating surface, it snaps on to the flat bezel round the front element firmly, and removes with one fingertip. A normal pinch-fit plastic cap for the 62mm filter thread is also provided. The overall design and fit of the lens series is similar between the 24mm ƒ3.5, 35mm ƒ2, and the earliest model 45mm ƒ2.8. Filter threads are not matched, with 55mm for the 45mm and 24mm, 58mm for the 35mm, and 62mm for the 65mm. The philosophy of the lenses differs too – the 24mm

focuses closest down to 1:2, the 65mm furthest at 1:6.8 scale and 55cm distance, with the 45mm managing 1:4 and the 35mm 1:5.7. You might expect a 65mm to be a semi-macro but this one is not. It actually is well suited to things like concert and theatre photography, but will prove even better for portraits (which we’re unable to test). Checking out the close focus, it was immediately obvious it’s been designed for portrait to landscape range. At the closest setting the focus field is curved; it loses some definition wide open centrally, with visible blur to the edges. It’s very similar to a vintage ƒ2, and the foreground bokeh has a slight

swirl which resembles a Biotar. The centre is extremely sharp at ƒ2 at portrait to landscape range and this extends corner to corner without compromise by ƒ2.8. There is slight vignetting wide open which disappears rapidly. The rendering is lovely. There’s no hint of fringes or longitudinal CA which can make defocused foregrounds and backgrounds show odd magenta/green colour shifts. The bokeh is up there with the best vintage lenses despite having a mere 9-blade iris, but the 65mm has none of their flaws. The way it focuses manually will please movie makers, with minimal focus breathing. The stepper motor AF can only be heard if you use internal mics. This lens is well weather-sealed and the deep hood protects the relative small concave front element well. The multicoating eliminates flare and colour tint. AF is spot-on. When tested on continuous AF and Hi sequence shooting, it kept up well with cars approaching close at 40mph in very poor light wide open on the Sony A7RIII. The lens activated all the AF functions of the camera from object tracking to animal eye AF. The resolution of the lens is exceptional, and though a builtin lens profile corrects strong pincushion distortion it seems to

Magnetic flock-surfaced lens cap and plastic spring-clip cap. Above: the magnetic cap in place. The box includes both, and the rear cap and deep metal lens hood.


have little effect on this. It’s only at close range, where an A4 page or smaller fills the frame, that this distortion and field curvature limit performance.

Closest focus, at ƒ2, two flash heads at 1/32 power in square and small octa softboxes

The secret of 65mm Given all this, why a 65mm? Try it if you can – especially if you own one of the full frame Sony cameras with 0.78X EVF (A7RII, III and IV, A7SII, A9 and A9II). The view in the EVF is the same actual size as the view with the naked eye. It’s great to view with both eyes open (for portraits usually, as the camera body gets in the way in landscape orientation). You need a 70mm lens to do the same with the A7, A7R, A7S and A7II, an 85mm lens on the smaller EVF of the A7C, or a 55mm

At ƒ2, Animal Eye AF worked well. ISO 4000, hand-held 1/60s, room lighting. Inset at 300dpi.

The 65mm shows no tendency to flare. Shots with sun over the water showed neat diaphragm stars. Example at ƒ5.6, 300dpi with full frame inset.

At close quarters and moving fast – focus spot-in at ƒ5

The MF/AF switch, left, and A plus third-stop soft clicked aperture scale. Below, a top quality mount.

lens on the A1 or A7SIII. You can of course adjust a zoom to suit any viewfinder scale. 65mm is a natural field of vision at 36.8°. It’s a good companion lens for the 35mm ƒ2. This lens should appeal for fashion, portrait, child and newborn work and also for landscape, animals and sports. It also turns out to be a good

‘walkaround’ lens. At around £650, it’s a match and more for Sony’s 55mm ƒ1.8 Zeiss and is also made in L-mount for Sigma, Panasonic and Leica. Our first look at a new Sigma generation bodes well for the whole i-Series now on the market and yet to come. – DK

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https://www.sigma-imaging-uk.com

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LENS TRY-OUT HIRE

tryZeiss and the Batis 40mm ƒ2 CF

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his was not supposed to be a lens test. For some time, if we wanted to borrow a Zeiss lens the logistics have been handled by Hireacamera.com, Guy Thatcher’s startup of a few years back which has become the leading on-line order equipment rental service in the UK. When Zeiss announced a special free trial plan fulfilled by Hireacamera we had to check it out. You can hire Batis, Loxia ranges in Sony FE mount, Milvus and Otus in Nikon F and Canon EF DSLR fit. The free trial is just one or two days to use a lens, plus the delivery day and pre-arranged collection. You must pay a deposit using a card – less than you would commit to the cheating method of buying an item and returning it for a refund. This damages retailers and genuine buyers alike. Amazon buying is a risk for higher end gear as the returns system has sent

The transit case and (inset) its contents.

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We check out the new tryZeiss.com lens trial rental service from Zeiss by looking at the one Batis we’ve not yet used. The Batis 40mm is a large lens but not heavy. It has an OLED display for manual focusing and a soft rubber focus ring. The Pelican shipping case used by tryZeiss kept water out (above right) in transit. Inside, the lens with caps and hood was also fitted with a Tiffen 67mm digital protector clear filter. Right, roses in art glass vase at ƒ11 (but needed to be ƒ22 to be sharp all through with the relatively close viewpoint) and below at ƒ2, closest focus, with a beautiful defocused rendering.


used or damaged kit out again as new (not to mention stories of a box with a random object in it). Retailers like WEX and Park Cameras sell ‘OB’ open box as well as refurbished and ex-demo stock, always a good buy for VAT registered photographers as these have fully deductible VAT unlike 9+ grade used kit. The lens we chose to try requires a £585 deposit, 1-2 days free, with options for £37.20 threeday and £62.40 seven-day hire (inc VAT). These costs include delivery packed in a rugged watertight Pelican flight case with cable tie sealing and an inventory sheet to help you return everything, prepaid and collected from your door, using the bag and label provided. We spent half a day hunting for a missing rear lens cap until we checked the inventory and found a non-Zeiss cap had been on it when sent! Verdict: a great idea and it worked well.

The Batis 40mm CF As for the lens chosen, for the first time of using the 40mm, it was just superb. The close focus of 24cm (9.4") is aided by a threeposition range limiter with a clever overlap in the 40-50cm zone, and the illuminated OLED distance and depth of field display. AF is instant and silent, it feels lovely in the hand, and performance at ƒ2 is equal to the best many prime lenses achieve at any aperture. The Distagon design is usually found in retrofocus wide-angles, and it seems to be used here to ensure almost zero distortion and sharpness from corner to corner wide open. While the use of a Distagon formula in a 40mm ƒ2 is surprising, one of the best lenses made is the 55mm ƒ1.4 Zeiss Otus Apo-Distagon for Canon and Nikon DSLRs, and that’s even less of a wide-angle. You can hire that too – with a deposit of £1,500 as it’s a £3,200 lens. If you photograph groups or couples, weddings, fashion or landscape primes of this quality can be a big difference. And a sure way to discover the finesse images have from the Batis 40mm Distagon design is to… https://tryZeiss.com!

Above: 40mm view cropped down and given classic b/w treatment. Full frame, and details at 300dpi. Right, the Batis has a built-in profile but uses a separate one in Lightroom/ACR. This reveals it has no distortion, but vignetting of about 1.5 stops to the corners. There’s a case for both uncorrected and corrected processing – many portraits, and landscapes with blue sky, benefit from not applying the profile. Below: aimed at the striking difference between decaying leaves and fresh growth, the Batis caught micro-fine detail wide open at ƒ2. Full frame, lens profile used.

No lens profile applied

Lens profile corrects vignetting

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LENS REVIEW Tamron 17-70mm ƒ2.8 Di-III A VC RXD

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he kit lens for Sony’s APS-C models in the 6000 series is a pocketable, collapsing power zoom 16-50mm ƒ3.5-5.6 OSS. It’s not a bad lens at all, but at the long end the aperture is limited. The high end alternatives are the Carl Zeiss 16-70mm ƒ4 OSS or a Sony 16-55mm ƒ2.8 G which costs £1,200 and lacks the longer reach and the OSS (lens stabilisation). Tamron’s new 17-70mm ƒ2.8 is designed to compete more on specification than cost, as it’s only £100-150 less than the Sony at street prices despite being over £400 less RRP. The biggest difference is that the Tamron has stabilisation in their VC system with new Artificial Intelligence programming for smoother video shooting and interaction with stabilised bodies. It is therefore a good match for bodies like the original A6000, the A6300 and A6400 and also all of the previous A5000 series and NEX models. With the A6500 and A6600 the lens VC works with sensor stabilisation, just as Sony’s own OSS lenses do. We tried it on both the A6500 and A6300. Assistant Editor Diane uses the 6300, and has both the original 18-55mm OSS lens from previous models and the compact 16-50mm OSS. Snowed in at over 700ft above sea level in County Durham during lockdown, the lens ended up with flowers and small creatures as the most appropriate subjects. This was not a bad test as its strength lies in how well the fast hybrid AF from the RXD drive teams up with good close focusing and the ƒ2.8 constant maximum aperture. The Sony’s continuous eye-detect AF lacks a special animal mode on this model, but works independently of face detection and shows a white box which will track most eyes well. Diane was able to get AF-C and single shot focus on fledgling hen chicks moving around erratically and fast (as they do) indoors, and even on goldfish through

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The metal bayonet mount has a weather seal and a firm fit when mounting.

Below: attractive bokeh at 25mm and ƒ4.5, upper, and ƒ3.5 at 70mm, bottom. Close focusing is a strong point of this lens.

The Tamron ƒ2.8 is larger than the Sony CZ ƒ4 covering much the same range. At 117mm long and 525g it’s also heavier than the Sony G 16-55mm by 30g and longer by 17mm – both take 67mm filters.

Photographs by Diane E. Redpath

tank glass. Given the failure rate normally encountered with very close aquarium shots, the accuracy of the ƒ2.8 or ƒ4 focus on moving fish was a real surprise. The lens will focus down to just 19cm (7.5") at17mm giving a scale of 1:4.8 (equivalent to 1:3.2 on full frame) with a gradual shift to 39cm

(15.4") at 70mm with a slightly smaller scale of 1:5.2 (equal to 1:3.47). Its equivalent focal length range is 25.5-105mm making the combination far more versatile than, for example, a full frame mirrorless or DSLR fitted with a 24-70mm ƒ4. Despite the spurious claims made by many web pundits

that ƒ2.8 on APS-C is only equal to ƒ4 on full frame, it’s actually still ƒ2.8 and the size of the sensor has no relevance on light gathering power only on depth of field and differential focus effects for the same angle of view. With a body like the A6300 offering a truly usable ISO 6400, and the lens providing an unstated but effective degree of stabilisation almost all hand-held shots in most conditions were sharp at the point of focus. This was not always where it should have been with moving targets, wide open, in low light but assessing overall results it’s excellent. The AF is internal, with minimal focus breathing so focus shifts during video don’t appear to zoom as well. The lens has a new sensor which detects the focus position, meaning it refocuses without hunting – the phase detection AF on the camera tells it which direction the AF drive needs to move. When you add up all the small features in this lens, it begins to look perfect for anyone using the APS-C format for portraits, children, pets, wedding, or indoor events and entertainment.


Left: the closest focus at 17mm, left, and 70mm, right shows how an almost constant scale close to 0.2X is maintained across the range. Below: the fishing boat and wire-sculpture figure at 17mm and 70mm without changing the camera position. The 4.1X zoom is a useful range. Photographs by David Kilpatrick. The usual criticism of the smaller sensor (despite so many professionals happily using them in DSLRs for years) is not being able to get shallow focus and attractive bokeh. Actually, at 70mm and ƒ2.8 you’ll see an even stronger differential focus than using a full frame 24-70mm at 70mm and ƒ2.8 and a closer viewpoint. You get much the same at 105mm at ƒ4 and that’s just about perfect for portraits or full length bridal couples. As for the bokeh, it’s not the ultimate as this lens uses two moulded aspherical and one hybrid (glass/plastic) aspherical elements. These give some texture

Photographs by Diane E. Redpath

Above: candles at 70mm and ƒ5, full image inset, 300dpi clip 100% size.

and moulding rings in fully out of focus point light sources. The hybrid element is probably responsible for what into-the-light flare there is – it’s technology which first appeared in the Minolta AF 35-70mm ƒ4 of 1985, boosting resolution at the expense of contrast. Chromatic aberration is well controlled and like the fairly strong distortion is handled by the lens profile in-camera or during raw conversion. The stated 17mm wide end takes into account the use of profile correction. Detail sharpness wide open across the entire zoom range, and at all focusing distances, extends

Above: ƒ4, 58mm, uncropped. Below: ƒ4, 45mm, 5 megapixel crop. LED light above water surface.

Right: no problems with Covid hairstyling for DEFRA quarantined chick. Eye focus, wide open, low light indoors. almost into the extreme corners and these are pulled in completely by ƒ5.6. It is, in short, a state of the art zoom. Some will miss a VC on/ off or MF/AF switch (body controls must be used) but this helps make the barrel with zoom and focus-bywire rings proof against rain – and snow… essential when Tamron give a five-year warranty!

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See: https://www.tamron.eu

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ROB

GRAY Flying under the radar – DJI’s Mavic Mini II brings you the freedom of the skies

The Pelican case is not included with the kit but was an optional extra flagged up when it was ordered on line

With a thirty-five year history in photography, from a schoolboy freelance for local newspapers all the way to covering international sports for media and picture agencies. His photographic areas of expertise focus on news, sports and events. robgrayphotographer.co.uk

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he change of regulations in the UK on December 31st 2020 in respect of drone flights and the new A2CofC and GVC courses has opened up the skies to many more pilots, but looking ahead and awaiting the new “C rated” drones could be a minefield that currently requires a crystal ball. Enter the DJI Mini 2, the successor to the already popular DJI Mavic Mini. The aircraft has had a few upgrades. Think small, think very small, not a toy but sUAV – Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. The sub 250g DJI Mini 2 brings a compact package with some impressive features for anyone looking to capture aerial images and video. Weighing in at under 249g, it literally comes in under the restrictions. Since it is below 250g in weight, you do not need to take either the A2CofC or GVC CAA training or examinations before getting aloft. Registering the Mini 2 with the CAA, or your local Aviation Authority, or other regulatory agencies with a similar 250g cut-off isn't required, But please note, the 249g weight doesn’t exempt anyone from the rules and regulations for operating unmanned aircraft. It just means registering a DJI Mini 2 isn't required. After a recent set of flights, I popped into our local Post Office, a readily accessible weighbridge for drones! Not officially, but providing calibrated scales. Placing my Mini 2 drone, including its battery and microSD card, as well as sporting its new high-vis vinyl wrap and a high intensity strobe, I was shocked but pleasantly surprised to find its total weight to be 248g, so not only is this little drone capable, but it obviously is well under the limit of 250g A small but mighty package of technology, able to cope with wind speeds up to 24mph, with its own flight speed of 36mph and a flight time of up to 31 minutes, having still to reach this magic figure as its cold and windy at the moment, I am guessing this is in perfect conditions, but flight time will give most users all they require. Technical features: The DJI Mini 2 sports a video facility of 4K 30fps, not to shabby for most

requirements, this is provided by a 1/2.3" CMOS Sensor, 12 MP with an ƒ2.8 lens covering 83° (24 mm equivlaent). Understandably it’s not a patch on its bigger brother, the Hasselblad-endowed Mavic 2 Pro sporting a 1" CMOS 20MP sensor. On the upside this Mini 2 can achieve some very sharp images and enable the photographer to capture very usable aerial footage. The camera on the Mini 2 fits into an impressively small but effective three-axis gimbal for such a tiny machine that easily fits in the palm of your hand. The footage captured is typically smooth and stable. DJI also claims this particular drone can withstand greater wind speeds, thanks in part to upgraded motors. The Mini 2 allows you to record video in resolutions up to 4K/30p, 2.7K/30p, and 1080p/60p at 100 Mbps. You can also zoom in on subjects while recording. Both 4K and 2.7K allow up to 2X zooming, and 1080p resolution allows you to zoom in on a subject up to 4X, though the quality is not as impressive. The Mini 2 features five different options for ‘QuickShots’ versus the original Mini’s four. As before there’s the ‘Dronie’, which flies up to 120 feet above

its target, the ‘Helix’ which spirals at a distance up to 120 feet as well, the ‘Rocket’, and the ‘Circle’. The latest addition, ‘Boomerang’, flies away from and back to the subject in an oval path. There aren’t any Intelligent Flight modes, like ActiveTrack or Point of Interest, available. Finally, there are three different options for creating a panorama. ‘Sphere’, which resembles a tiny planet, captures twenty-six images. ‘180º’ captures seven images for a landscape perspective while wide captures a 3x3 tile consisting of nine images. The addition of DJI’s OcuSync 2.0 transmission technology the Mini 2 doesn't rely on Wi-Fi communication. With OcuSync 2.0, dual-frequency transmission automatically alternates between channels to prevent signal interference between the remote and drone. DJI claims connectivity up to 6km (CE specification). While impressive, it is important to keep the drone within your visual line of sight at all times and follow the Drone Code. Flying, I was impressed the upgrades that the Mini 2 boasts. The updated motors really make all the difference as far as general noise and acceleration are concerned. Lately, it’s been windy where I live, and the drone handled


gusts quite well, delivering smooth footage and crisp images. What I enjoy most about this entry-level drone is how compact it is. I purchased the ‘Fly More Combo’ (£549), which also includes three batteries, a charging hub and a case. Everything, including the three-battery charger, fits neatly into the case and all components weigh a little over a 600gm in total. I found myself taking off unexpectedly in places, on impromptu shoots, where I may have hesitated with larger drones that needed the propellers to be fitted and meant carrying more overall bulk. It feels effortless to launch and fly, and either transported in a case or stashed in a small space taking up less room in a camera bag than a 70-200mm ƒ2.8 lens, it offers many users an avenue to accessible drone work.

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See: https://www.dji.com Examples from 12 megapixel still shots, top and bottom, and a threeshot panorama centre. Inset of The Haining, Selkirk, house at 225dpi.

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TIM

GOLDSMITH Can a 50 year old standard lens ever be worth more than the price of a new midrange DSLR?

The 55mm ƒ1.2 Yashinon – similar to one selling for four figures on eBay at the time of going to press

Tim Goldsmith has spent much of his working life in the photographic industry. From working in a central London studio straight from school, to marketing manager at Paterson and full time camera dealer. He is currently a selfemployed photographic auction consultant. Tim is a long-time member of the Photographic Collectors Club of Great Britain (PCCGB) and the Stereoscopic Society and is a trustee of The Disabled Photographers Society. You can reach him at info@cameravalues.com or on Facebook as Monark Cameras https://www.monarkcameras.com

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ne of the best things about running photographic auctions is that I get to handle items I would otherwise only ever see in books or on-line. In the past six years I have learnt such a lot and, unlike any other auction consultant, whenever I get an interesting item I try to actually shoot with it. If this is practical (and obviously with the owner's permission) I can add the results to the auction catalogue description. Serious buyers seem to appreciate this, especially in the current climate where the viewing of items is strictly limited. Recently an early 1970s Yashica TL Electro X ITS camera came in for sale and it was fitted with what was then the top of the range Auto Yashinon 55mm ƒ1.2 lens. Made in Yashica’s Tomioka factory, and ownbranded for Chinon, Cosina and Revue, this lens has now reached cult status and the prices have gone ballistic. I just had to try it out. Being a M42 screw mount lens I knew that even with an adapter my Nikon DSLR would not be able to focus to infinity, but in fact I couldn't even get farther away than a meter from my subject. I switched to a Canon DSLR with an adapter, but it was only slightly better. Off to my trusty Olympus OM-D as I have a bag full of mount converters and the M42 mount adapter always works well, but surprisingly it was still not much of an improvement. The rear element of the

The cutaway rear element allowing space for the FAD pin, and the TL Electro X with lens fitted. Above, two examples of the unique ƒ1.2 image look. Tomioka lens is so wide the designers had to cut away part of the glass just to make room for the aperture actuating linkage, but my main problem seemed to be this element hitting the adapter and not allowing the lens to be screwed fully home. At the back of a cupboard I found my old Pentax K110D and finally, after trying each of the three different makes of PK-M42 adapters, I finally had one that seemed to work, the official Pentax product. The thread on this adapter being just that tiny bit shorter than the others, the lens now seated correctly. In use the lens turned out to be really difficult to operate. Its large aperture meant critical focusing was tricky, even with the electronic confirmation indication in the viewfinder. Depth of field at ƒ1.2 was practically non-existent and shooting wide open proved to be a problem as even on a dullish day the fastest shutter speed of 1/4000s at ISO 200 (the lowest setting available on this camera) was often still not fast enough. The lack of a connection to the auto diaphragm when using an adapter also meant that I had to stop

the lens down manually before taking each shot, compounding the difficulties as the slightest movement meant the focus could change. I did manage to get the odd good shot at ƒ1.2 but found the image really soft and lacking in contrast and with considerable colour fringing. Stopping down to ƒ2.8 improved things a little but it wasn't until I was down to ƒ8 that it was acceptable. By the time I was shooting at ƒ11 the quality was really good, dropping off a little at ƒ16 – but I think this somewhat defeats the object of using such a fast lens. Although I did have some fun shooting with this lens, I can see it really coming into its own in low light, or for critical macro work where manual aperture operation is not so much of a problem. However, if some enterprising camera manufacturer ever decides to market a full-frame DSLR with a fixed M42 mount and full mechanical compatibility with all vintage screw mount lenses, I would be one of the first in line. My next purchase would then be one of these lenses, despite the price.

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C�mer�cr�ƒt Publisher & Editor: DAVID KILPATRICK Icon Publications Limited Maxwell Place, Maxwell Lane Kelso, Scottish Borders TD5 7BB editor@iconpublications.com +44(0)1573 226032

C�mer�cr�ƒt REARVIEW

FACEBOOK PAGE: @CameracraftF2 Assistant Editor DIANE E. REDPATH diane@iconpublications.com +44(0)1573 223508 Associate Editor RICHARD KILPATRICK richard@rtkmedia.co.uk Mobile +44(0)7979 691965 Associate Editor, USA GARY FRIEDMAN gary@friedmanarchives.com

Cameracraft is published six times a year Mar/April, May/June, July/ Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec, Jan/Feb.

ISSN 2514-0167 This issue: Cameracraft #39, Vol 6 No 1

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Icon Publications Ltd can accept no responsibility for loss of or damage to photographs and manuscripts submitted, however caused. Responsibility for insurance and return carriage of equipment submitted for review or test rests with the owner. Views expressed in this magazine are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and policies of Icon Publications Ltd or its advertisers, or of The Guild of Photographers. All technical data and pricing information contained in news and feature articles is printed in good faith. While all advertising copy is accepted in good faith, Icon Publications Ltd can not accept any legal responsibility for claims made or the quality of goods and services arising from advertising in this publication. All contents including advertising artwork created by Icon Publications Ltd are copyright of the publishers or the creators of the works, and must not be reproduced by any means without prior permission. ©2021 Icon Publications Ltd. E&OE.

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A lake in Gwent captured by Peter Ellis of Newport – https://www.peterellisphotography.com

A favourite of ours from the Guild’s annual awards – by Jayne Bond, a Gold award and contributing to her runner-up placing in their Natural History Photographer of the Year 2020


Pet Image of the Year 2020 from the Guild’s awards – by Jessica McGovern (formerly Jess Wealleans as featured in ƒ2 Cameracraft in 2016 for her equine and pet photography – and invention of the Scarfstrap) See: https://linktr.ee/ThatPhotographySpot

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Photo Philip Ruopp: 70-180mm | 70mm | F / 2.8 | 1/ 500 | ISO 800

The Tamron Trinity for Sony E-mount The award winning Tamron Trinity for Sony E-mount includes the 17-28mm F/2.8 Di III RXD, 28-75mm F/2.8 Di III RXD and 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD. Each lens has similar innovative features such as a constant F/2.8 aperture, fast and precise autofocus, 67mm filter diameter, compatibility with Sony cameras key AF features, weather sealing, and they are very affordable. Being suitable for photo and video, they will unleash your professional creativity and maximize your potential.

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Transcontinenta UK Ltd. | Distributor for Tamron UK and Ireland | www.tamron.co.uk | www.facebook.com/tamronuk

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