Category Archives: Amateur Photography

Are Canon about to launch a New 3D Semi-Pro SLR?

The SLR market never stands still with Nikon and Canon looking to get as much market share as possible. Canon recently surprised many with the launch of the 7D, a Crop sensor SLR but with many of the features and nearly the same level of Auto Focus as many of the pro models.

So this leaves the 5D Mark II in a tricky spot, yes it has a stunning Full Frame sensor and excellent dynamic range but many complain about its outer focusing points not being up to the job. Now this isn’t a view I hold having used one it seems to do a great job. However I can understand the frustration of those that want a FF sensor and more of the pro level features without needing to get a huge 1D body.

So what are Canon going to do? Well if rumours are to be believed they are going to launch a 3D specifically at the Wedding / semi-pro market in early 2010. Canon  Rumors have recently reported the following specs,

3D Specs:
16.7mp FF
7.2 µm pixel pitch
DIGIC V
Small magnesium alloy body similar to the 5D2

However there is still no news on the AF or any more of the features.  Fingers crossed they add all the features from the 7D onto a FF sensor, the reported 16mp is just about perfect as well. The only worrying thing is the price, it seems that they might pitch it way higher than the 5DII but this would be a mistake. Nikon is close on Canons heals and are about to release a D800 with an updated sensor to challenge the 5DII and it has the full Pro level focusing and remote flash triggers built in.

So come on Canon get it launch oh and with eye focusing please and for not too much money and I might be about to upgrade my 40D to something new.

Sold my first image on Alamy

OK so its a tough market to sell images these days and some how someone has chosen my image. Where it is or was being going to be used I have no idea, but apparently its in a UK newspaper of up to 2million copies a day, so I guess it a major title. I’d like to know where but I wonder if I can find out?

Anyway I’m pretty chuffed I have to say and hopefully this will be the first of many but I’m not going to get my hopes up.

Will Jessops survive?

Firstly I hope they do because its good to have camera shops dotted around the country, but will they survive?

Lets face it most of the stores are very tired and poor by modern retail standards, compare it to the look of the updated Currys Digital stores and you can see a vast difference. Step into the store in the Trafford centre for instance and its dark and poorly lit like they don’t want to replace broken light bulbs.

The lack of strength in the pound is also hurting the premium SLR sales and especially lenses. A canon 70-200f4 IS last year was £700, now its barely below £1000. Thats a big difference thats delaying many potential purchases, certainly from me anyway.

They still insist on charging a small fortune for memory cards but even then they are often very poorly stocked, so when you are in a hurray you are stuck, not great. The ordering system isn’t that slick either, the person in the shop said call us if you want to check stock as he has lost count of the number of times a customer has reserved an item for it not to be in when they arrive.

Fingers crossed the economy starts to free up and Jessops have a good summer and Christmas period, if they don’t sort out their funding problems then we might lose another store from out high street. But if they do survive, put some money into a refresh program hey.

Gorillapod SLR Zoom Review

gorillapod-slr-zoom-2When you had a little compact camera you might have had a little tiny tripod that you used on occasions but have never found anything strong enough when you got an SLR except for a full tripod. Well you can now as Joby has created a couple new Gorillapod models for your SLR.

Gorillapod SLR

The Gorillapd SLR is for use with a consumer SLR such as a Canon 350D to 500D (Rebel) or Nikon D60. Its capable of holding up a camera and lens combination of up to 800g. It has the ability to rotate the camera back to level if its attached to a lap post that you can’t do with the Gorillapod SLR. Its only 165g (5.8oz) itself, so not to heavy and should be able to find a home in a corner of your camera bag. But some have complained that it wilts for some SLRs and this is where the SLR Zoom comes in.

Gorillapod SLR Zoom

The Gorillapod SLR Zoom is a whole different kettle of fish for the SLR user compared to its younger smaller brother. The first thing to note is that its rated to a much higher weight 3000g (6.5lb) which should be enough for most SLR’s including professional models. Its main users are most likely to be Pro-sumer users like myself with a Canon 40D or 50D or a Nikon D90 or similar, essentially the magnesium bodied cameras. With that 3Kg weight limit it can also hold a pretty big lens such as a 70-200 F2.8 but probably not that much more.

In use its very easy to manipulate and does exactly what you would hope for, it provides a stable platform for your SLR camera to sit. In the picture below its fixed onto a garden heater, a task that took about 15 seconds and it didn’t slip a inch whilst it was attached. Here in the shot below its holding a Canon 40d and 17-85lens which is about 50% of the weight the Gorillapod SLR Zoom should be able to cope with.

Gorillapod SLR Zoom

Gorillapod SLR Zoom

The rubber around each articulating joint and the feet help secure it to any object and I’ve not had any issues with play causing it to sag. Of course you don’t have to use it with your Camera it can be used with a Camcorder or with a compact if thats what you want the screw head can also be used with Pro level kit as well.

It is very useful when doing some work with a Macro lens and you don’t have the space to setup a full tripod, it really does have a lot of uses and is very quick to set up.

Its not perfect though

For starters unlike the other models in the Gorillapod range it doesn’t have a ball joint a the end; so as you can see in the shot above it can’t rotate to be level, for this you are going to need a small head to allow it to rotate. I’ve used it with my Manfrotto 488 RC2 without problem although this does add to the weight that it has to cope with, but it does manage with the head taking the rotational strain.

Also when you use it you need to ensure that you tighten it up to the base well as if you don’t it will sag downwards if you haven’t meaning you have undo it from what ever it was attached, before retrying, not the end of the world but its best avoided.

Gorillapod Focus – New model

So not even the Gorillapod SLR Zoom is enough for you then, you need more? Well how about the Gorillapod Focus. Its rated to an even higher load of 5Kg and its not made out of plastic its constructed with Anodized gunmetal finished aluminium, I have a feeling this one isn’t going to sag much at all if ever. But its not exactly light either as its almost twice the weight of the SLR Zoom at 500g, thats as much as some of the entry level SLR’s. But its meant for the Pro that needs or wants a Gorillipod and is prepared to carry the extra weight and has that 300mm f2.8 we all want. But its more than three times the price than the SLR Zoom, I think the focus name points more to its Movie requirements than people with an SLR, thoughts anyone?

Gorillapod Focus

Gorillapod Focus

Conclusion  – 8/10 Gorillapod SLR Zoom

Overall these are a great little device and well worth adding into your kit back, its uses are endless and who wants to carry a big tripod around if they can avoid it hey. But as mentioned its not perfect either which is why I’ve not given it full marks. But it is strong enough and up to the job even after repeated use which is the main thing. I just need a lighter head to go with it and I’m away. The shot below was taken by attaching the camera to some railings whilst being moored off Kowloon looking onto Kong Kong island, see it works.

Huge price increases on lenses in the UK

Now there is normally a divide between Canon and Nikon photographers I mean we all know Canon is best or is it Nikon, well at the moment that’s just not important. So what is ? the massive price increases on lenses. Now 5% isn’t nice, 10% uncomfortable but a 52% increase on a nice upgrade just plain hurts.

So last year I had my sights set on a nice new 70-200 F4 IS L Professional Canon lens, it could be had for about £650 in June 08 or there a bouts. Fast forwards to April 2009 and what do I find?, you guessed it a hefty price increase to a hardly believable £929 and that’s a  43% price increase on the price of the same lens last year.

Tips to get things cheaper

Needless to say I’m not going to buy at the moment and I’d say unless you really need some new glass I’d wait until things come back down if you can. This isn’t going to be a good time for retailers but maybe the margin’s are pushing the prices so high, maybe but I don’t think its that much of a factor. The biggest issue is the decisions UK plc or should I say Mr Brown is making that is killing the value of the pound and sending the prices of goods through the roof.

If you do need to get a lens then check out the link on the right to Camera price buster or use the links below to pick up some bargains from Amazon, I’ve put some great buys below. They sometimes have some great deals that the other camera shops struggle to match so check it regularly to get the best prices. Fingers crossed things improve.

Also have a look at e-bay as a few people are selling their existing kit whilst the prices are high but do check what you are getting. Also buying from Hong Kong can have its issues and you might still get stung on the high import duty and VAT killing any savings you think you might be getting.

If anyone see’s any recovery then post where it is to help us all.

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