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Wednesday, 17 December 2014


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I can see some problems with the wine bottle caddy:

1) There's no way the camera will ever fit that pouch.
2) Said camera is too weird and has a zoom lens attached, which is sacrilege.
3) The lens has no hood; hope it isn't an expensive extra.
4) The people who will get this as a Christmas gift can be forgiven to think someone is mocking their physical appearance...
5) ...Or subtly calling them a drunk.

Nikon fans will feel insulted to receive a T-shirt designed for Pentax and Canon users.

Finally, the cleaning kit is too cheap for a Zeiss product. It should cost 10 times more to honour the brand's reputation.

Got two, need another one:


Any chance of an Amazon UK link, so we can do each other a favour?

Happy Christmas to all.

I don't give a rip about manual ... no shirt saying that real photographers use primes? This is a gigantically modest retail opportunity!

Huh. I thought at first that the "Manual" t-shirt actually had the "real men" message in the caption, and my initial reaction was dismay. But it doesn't, folks, and a good thing as it's a cool design.

Yes, it was grumpy pre-caffeine me, and I know your tongue was in cheek, Mike--I'm not scolding, or complaining, I'm just saying. Thanks for the lists!

I like lenspens, though I find them not so good on greasy/oily spots. There are also mini lenspens for viewfinders. Here's a nice little set:


Hi Mike. Merry Christmas.

I don't know how to put an iPhone app in a stocking but suggest you look into "Heirloom".
It photographs photos from that shoe box in the closet and stores them in the cloud somewhere. It takes care of perspective problems and isn't too fussy about framing. You can add the pix to your camera roll so they can be accessed for editing on your computer. Its obviously an early version but works fine when you solve its quirks.

Here's a sample. A Monk in Montreal c. 1958.



For decades the rule everybody used and taught was "nothing touches my lens surfaces twice". More recently, though, with micro-fiber cloths and lens pens, people have moved away from that. The argument always was that whatever you used to clean (other than a brand-new sheet of Kodak lens tissue) might have picked up grit and might thus scratch your lens. Is there any actual reason to abandon this simple, safe, old rule?

The dial on that shirt is specifically a Canon dial, though; at least, when people talk about "AV" and "TV" modes they always seem to be Canon shooters.

I prefer not to think too much about the number of "useful" photographic accessories that are lurking about waiting to reproach me when I encounter them. Let's give an honourable mention to just one of them: The Cotton Carrier geek rig. I wore it once, feeling like a wannabe Special Services operative creeping about the woods.

By comparison the Peak Design Capture Clip (which can be clamped onto a backpack shoulder strap - or even your belt if you don't mind the weight of a camera dragging yer strides down) has proved to be an absolutely brilliant and inexpensive buy. It completely eliminates the problem of the camera bouncing about at the end of a strap: any strap. I use it with M43 gear these days but it serves the same purpose even with an FF DSLR - which some people still insist on staggering around with.

I will say that the QR plate can sometimes tend to jam a bit and would definitely benefit from a rethink. I also bought one of these for a world-travelling woman friend who is very picky about additional weight and not exactly receptive to photographic complications. She's found it irreplaceable and often gets asked by fellow trekkers where she found it.

I guess I should have added a link. When I looked at their site I discovered they have the original design plus, inevitably, a "Pro" version.
How does the saying go? "Never play cards with a man called Doc; never eat at a place advertising Mom's Home Cooking; and never buy anything prefixed Pro."

Feel free to concatenate these comments Mike.

What, no What the Duck merch? :)

Also, I love my little WD Passport hard drives, but perhaps one of the newer Passport Wireless drives would better serve a tablet user?

And I'd also throw a blu-ray of Tim's Vermeer onto the gift list, having just watched it on cable last night. Vermeer painting in chromatic aberration sealed the optical aids premise for me.

"Ctein mentioned these years ago, but we paid no attention to The Bearded One."

Which we would that be? I've been using a 320 GB USB 2.0 My Passport as light, portable backup for years.

"The wee little Western Digital My Passport hard drives are wonderful—you can alternate backups to two of them and then just grab one when you're traveling with your laptop. One stays safe and sound at home and the other continues performing backups on the road with you, with minimal cost in size and weight."

Or - use one on the road, copy to primary storage when home and backup with one's usual home strategy. My images come off road storage/backup into my regular image storage process.

"We chose ... but there are lots of different models, and different colors, even."

WD Elements is the same drive in drab clothing and without the WD backup/cloud/password/encryption software. It may, depending on the vagaries of retail, be available for noticeably fewer $, as was the case for my one TB model. (It would require reformatting for Mac.)

Be aware that USB 3.0 peripherals use a different Micro cable connector than USB 2.0. So if you want a back-up cable in your travel kit, you may need to buy the second one.

Another Bearded One

Gift suggestion #19, for i-phonographers only:

Selfie stick

Um, lots of people wear watches. Probably more as a fashion statement these days, but still easier to glance at your wrist to get the time than to dig out your phone. And then you have the "smart" watches coming...

I wish I had not clicked the link on that Ona bag. I'm not one for bag lust, but that one made me a little fluttery.

Watches? In my corner of the world, it's the 30-60 crowd (incl. me) who are enjoying our unshackled wrists (thanks to cell phones) and probably will never go back. Meanwhile, many of the under-30 folk (well, at least the guys) are wearing and collecting vintage watches.

That's as of last week, anyway. And, of course, the smartwatches are coming...

Crazy, but I do like that f-stop watch. Hm, maybe I'm not too old for watches after all...

There is a handsome watch that looks like a GraLab darkroom timer, also from the unemployed Philosophers:


Note to digital-only photographers: you may not understand - sorry

For those HCB fans, the Steidl version of the Decisive Moment is in stock at Koenig Books, Charing Cross Road, London. It's been selling well and they only have 3 copies left.

I mentioned to the guy in the shop that this book didn't seem to be available elsewhere and he said that they got theirs directly from Germany.

I'm not qualified to judge whether the reproduction is up the level of the original. One thing, the paper is very, very matt. Very!

The whole thing is nicely packaged. There's a booklet that comes with the hardback. No idea what's in it, I had too much Christmas shopping to do.

Two books, I'd happily recommend. Doisneau's Les Halles Market and Eyewitness; Hungarian Photography in the 20th Century.

Watches are in with the under thirty crowd, and not small thin elegant watches, they like big fat metal analog watches, think Rolex on steroids.

Why would I want a crystal camera paperweight, I already have plenty of real camera paperweights.

(And doorstops)

I don't want another camera. I don't want another lens, bag, accessory, or gadget. All those things I have, too much. What I want for Christmas is what my mother always said she wanted: a kind word.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.

How could anyone not love the lenspen? It's the first thing I ever bought based on a TOP recommendation. I think it's probably time to buy a couple more.

Um, lots of people wear watches. Probably more as a fashion statement these days

I wear a watch. I use it to tell the time!

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