I think your article on scenics, in the November ‘89 issue, is terrific, and there are some wonderful shots. But then, why not? Consider, please, that not many of your average readers can afford or have the opportunity to visit such exotic places as the Canadian Rockies; Yosemite; the eastern Sierras; Antelope Canyon, AZ; Courthouse Rock (apparently Bryce Canyon); Red Square; Mount Williamson; or Lhasa, Tibet.
“What did I do wrong?” lamented a POPULAR assistant as she sadly sifted through her vacation pictures, freshly returned from the photo lab. All were much too light, in pallid shades of blue and pink. Looking at her Kodacolor Gold 400 negatives, we were surprised to find them a deep shade of shocking magenta. . .a far cry from the usual orange mask.
Play a waiting game: Hold your fire ’til just before the action peaks
If you can stand the heat, welcome to our kitchen. We’re resurrecting one of Modern Photography’s most popular features: “Hard Knocks.” Old Modern hands know how it works: Send us some pictures you’re proud of, and a panel of our editors will mercilessly critique (and sometimes even praise) them.
The most dangerous word in photography is “automatic.” Put a button on a camera that says automatic and people will push it—no matter what it does. (The one labeled “program” is becoming extremely hazardous, too.) On point-and-shoot cameras, automatic may often be the worst choice—particularly with flash pictures.
The ubiquitous 283: an amateur flash that pros have made into a cult
Tamron Adaptall-2 Mount works with Minolta Maxxum AF cameras
Canon FD lenses and F-1 SLR going bye-bye??? But an adapter’s coming.
The president turned to face the tightly packed corps of press photographers. “How strange,” he thought. “They all look so professional—except for those peculiarly angled, small flash units with the paper index cards attached. And I’ve been seeing them for as long as I can remember.”
Hold it! Don't chuck that old BC flashgun! Blast your buddies with blue bulbs instead!
Much to the consternation of fanatical collectors, certain items invariably get trashed. In consequence, a brisk business in overpriced, original instruction manuals flourishes in the pages of Shutterbug; original never-ready leather cases often fetch fancy prices; and I’ve even heard of obscure lens caps changing hands for double-digit figures.
Camcorders with memory, memories on videotape, and other things to remember
Autofocus in two places
Show and tell
How can a moving subject stay the same size?
In any event
Elinor H. Stecker
It’s amazing what camcorder designers can come up with. They’ve put the jazziest features on two new Canon camcorders, and these are features that serious hobbyists as well as casual users can appreciate. I say this because the Multi-function Autofocus System in the Canon H660 (HiBand 8 model) and E640 (8mm model) makes it downright simple to execute some difficult and delightful camera maneuvers.
Tired of waiting hours for your batteries to recharge? Eveready's new Generator charger does it in a flash.
How does it know?
Use ’em to improve ’em
Which batteries for you? Quick chargeables have an edge!
We all know how vital it is that your electronic-flash batteries are up to snuff. They determine both the number of flashes you’ll get per set and how long it takes for your flash to recycle. Nickel cadmium cells give the fastest flash recycle time of any drop-in cells like AAs, but their main attraction is that rechargeability makes them the least expensive to use in the long run.
Ilford's new HP5 Plus: Yes, they did it the hard way, but is Ilford really ready to take on T-Max 400?
How good is HP5 Plus? Here’s the lowdown...
HP5 PLUS AND NON-ILFORD DEVELOPERS*
Faster and finer: On the recent improvements in black-and-white emulsions
When Kodak set about improving its venerable battle-ax of black-and-white emulsions, Tri-X Pan, the company’s emulsion technicians felt the silver halide technology that produced this film was perhaps reaching a point of diminishing returns.
Want flash pictures that are more than well-exposed snapshots? All you need is the right subject, a clear idea of what you want, and a dash of creativity.
Not too terribly long ago, most serious amateur photographers and many pros regarded flash as a regrettable necessity. If all else failed, it would get you a properly exposed image on film, all right, but you had better be satisfied with lighting that looked natural at best and harsh and unflattering at worst.
Artificial light is a natural for many kinds of pictures. Here’s how to make a brilliant choice.
BY THE NUMBERS
TYPES OF AUTO
THE BIG BOMBERS
MINI FLASH UNITS
MEDIUM FLASH UNITS
LARGE SHOE-MOUNT UNITS
So, what kind of electronic flash should you own? For that matter, can a single unit meet all your lighting needs? First, keep in mind that all electronic-flash units are, fundamentally, the same. The principle behind making a brief, intense burst of electronic light hasn't changed since Dr. Harold Edgerton developed the beastie in the 1930s.
Or, can you get top-flight lighting on a rock-bottom budget?
ROKUNAR STUDIO PRO HOME PORTRAIT KIT
LOW-COST, CAN-DO METERS
You need go no further than the back pages of this magazine to realize that professional studio flash setups are expensive—very expensive. A system of, say, three flash heads, power packs, light-stands, umbrellas, softbox, and all the attendant widgets can easily cost as much as a serviceable used car—and sometimes as much as a shiny new compact.
Canon’s objective in designing the EOS-1 was to produce a truly professional member of the EOS family of autofocus SLRs. The EOS 620 of 1987 was originally touted as such because of its many pro-oriented features, such as builtin autobracketing, partial metering, 1/4000-sec shutter speed, and a top flash synch speed of 1/250 sec.
Focusing screen is bright and contrasty. Viewfinder displays appear at nearly same distance as screen, but eyeglass wearers must shift viewing position to see analog exposure scale. Actual AF zone is slightly wider vertically and narrower horizontally than marked AF zone in finder, but small discrepancy should not cause problems.
In configuring a professional EOS, Canon was faced with the challenge of upgrading an already sound and durable autofocus SLR to withstand hard use and abuse, and modifying its internal and external control systems to deliver greater reliability as well as enhanced performance and ease of handling.
Don't you hate it when you try to put photos in an album with those little old-fashioned corner mounts ... and you have to lick them, and they fall off before you get them onto the page, and the picture ends up mounted cockeyed and is always flopping out of the mounts anyway? It's enough to drive you to plastic pages, although you hate looking at pictures through plastic, too. A new design in photo mounts, Stik-Its, combines the best of old-style corners and modern plastic sleeves. These are clear plastic corners, about an inch on a side, that come with a choice of backing. The standard type, suitable for mounting photos on albums pages, poster board, or other smooth surfaces, has a self-adhesive backing with a peel-off paper protection. For fastening on other surfaces, there are foam-backed adhesive, magnetic, and Velcro versions. Retail prices for Stik-Its range from $2.39 to $2.59, depending on type, for a package of 24 corners. For information, contact Prographics Inc., 1576 State St., Schenectady, NY 12304.
Stroboframe LP Macro Flash Bracket
The new Stroboframe LP Macro Flash Bracket looks sort of like an exotic orthopedic brace—and perhaps that’s appropriate, seeing how it was invented by a medical photographer for medical and dental close-up pictures. Besides these specialized uses, the LP Macro, with its wide range of flash positions, would make a useful tool for any type of close-up photography requiring maximum control over flash position, such as nature work and tabletop setups. The bracket’s semicircular arm permits rotation of the flash up to 125 degrees around the lens, and it can be adjusted to match lenses of various focal lengths. It comes with a locking shoe mount and tripod bracket. While usable with any shoe-mount flash unit with bounce head, we'd suggest that exposure would be simplest with through-the-lens flash units. The Saunders Group, 21 Jet View Dr., Rochester, NY 14624-4996, can provide further information on the LP Macro Flash Bracket, which lists at $119.95.
BanDust Compact Lab Compressor
Depletion of atmospheric ozone is a serious matter, leading to tighter controls on the supply of Freon and the canned-air products that use it. If you’re a serious darkroom amateur or run a medium-volume photo business or school program, you might consider the BanDust Compact Lab Compressor, a smaller version of professional lab compressors. The Compact takes up less than 40 square inches of lab space, comes complete with a Falcon Pro air trigger and 12foot hose, and, best of all, uses no liquid propellant. Simply plug the unit into a standard outlet for filtered air. The unit's trigger activates the on/off control to conserve electricity as well. The manufacturer notes that with a suggested retail price of $399.95, the BanDust Compact will pay for itself in a year for users currently consuming one canned-air refill per week. BanDust units are distributed by Argraph Corp., 111 Asia Pl., Carlstadt, NJ 07072.
Dust Gun 22
For those photographers for whom a lab compressor is just too big an investment, the Charles Beseler Company suggests the new Dust Gun 22. It uses a different type of propellant, HCFC-22, reputedly safer than the Freon-type propellants implicated in damage to the ozone layer; in fact, HCFC-22 is claimed to be 20 times safer than CFC-12, the commonly used propellant. Suggested price for a 12-ounce can with trigger valve and extension tube is $6.50. Beseler, 1600 Lower Rd., P.O. Box 4219, Linden, NJ 07036.
You've carefully arranged your shot, set up the tripod, attached the camera, framed, adjusted, taken one last final look through the finder, then cursed your tripod to the moon and back because it's shifted about a millimeter to the right. Don't take it out on your tripod. Instead, convert its three-way head to a four-way head with the Cullman Titan CT77 Micro Adjusting Platform. This steel platform attaches to virtually any tripod head (it’s made with both ⅜|and ¼-inch threads) to provide very fine camera adjustments left to right or front to back. It allows total movement of 120 mm (about 4¾ inches) regardless of its configuration. The CT77 lists for $79.95 and is distributed by GMI Photographic Inc., 1776 New Highway, Farmingdale, NY 11735.
PHOTOG'S AMMO BELT
“What are you shooting with?“ is a question with added significance if a photographer is wearing a Bazooby Bandolero film holder, a variation on the ammunition belt we all know from those countless movie shoot'em-ups. Bazooby’s flat-black vinyl belt holds five cartridges (35mm type, not .45-caliber) and slips over belt, camera strap, or onto the special clip of the newly redesigned Bazooby photo vest. Besides keeping your film handy rather than lost in the void of your gadget bag, the folks at Bazooby suggest the Bandolero can also help keep exposed and unexposed film sorted. Leave the caps off the canisters and store the unexposed film nipple up, exposed film nipple down. The flaps are just loose enough for you to slip a finger under to check the film status. Bandoleros have a retail price of $9.95 and are distributed by Photoflex, 254 East Hacienda Ave., Campbell, CA 91406.
Got a Gitzo tripod but feeling a little out of kilter because your posh three-legged baby has no spirit level? New hope for the crooked-horizon set comes by way of an add-on accessory level. This beefy four-inch-diameter metal plate, -AMP;AMP;#X215B; inch high, fits in between the tripod and head. Its well-shielded, beautifully made bubble level should get you back in line in no time. If you think the level's $59.95 price is the only thing out of line, just take a gander at the price of one of the larger Gitzo tripods. It's marketed by Karl Heitz, Inc., P.O. Box 427, Woodside, NY 11377.
It's new, but how good is it? Here's what we found out.
ALL YOKES ASIDE...
When it comes to camera bags, photographers divide into two camps: hard and soft. The latter prefer pliant, “user-friendly" bags of canvas that snugly mold themselves around equipment and photographer—Domke and Tenba bags, for example.
Honest, unflinching answers to your most pointed equipment questions
What makes a pro SLR?
In “The Awful Truth” (October ’89, page 146) you implied that the Minolta Maxxum 9000 is a sophisticated camera for serious photographers, but it is certainly nothing of the kind. In the first place, no self-respecting photographer would ever be seen with such a camera.