Friday, 24 August 2012

Is Kodak mad?

News has come to me via the British Journal of Photography that Kodak intends to flog off all it's film divisions. Read what I read here. What mushrooms are the people running Kodak on? We all know that the bottom has fallen out of the silver capture market, but even digital enthusiasts like me can see that film is never going to go away, in fact many photographers are seeing a future where silver capture would mean a certain élan and/or art would be implied. Is there no way that Kodak could have employed economies of scale in the manufacture of these materials? It really is incomprehensible.

In my callow youth, I worked for a few years for Agfa-Gevaert serving the professional market. Kodak was the Big Yellow Box Company and when we used that expression there was both a sneer and awed admiration built in. We simply could not compete with Kodak's products. We had the better ( much better ) range of b & w papers, but we couldn't get them used. And then Kodak just got better and better at the technology, especially as the change to colour came about. As I understand it, Kodak's film products are still top-notch, so I suppose the money men think that now is the time to sell off those divisions in order "to maximise returns".
Yeah, sure, someone will buy those divisions, but so much is likely to be lost in the transactions. It just seems like a bloody great shame.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100

Has Sony done it? Have they produced a compact camera with professional quality results? It appears that they may have with the RX100. Certainly, sizewise, it fits the bill being only 3.5 x 5.8 x 10 cms in dimensions. It has a fixed zoom lens, the equivalent of 28-100mm. It has a pop-up flash. Those are all elements we associate with compact, shirt-pocket cameras. OK, the flash is crap, but what's new about that - all compacts have crap built-in flashes.

But the rest of it's features are what make it stand out. Firstly, the sensor is apparently the same as the Nikon J and V cameras, a 20.2 MP CMOS CX sensor which is four times the size of a typical compact. Worth noting is that the Nikon cameras are on the recommended camera list for Alamy. The lens is Carl Zeiss, always reassuring, with high speed autofocus. It appears that there is negligible shutter lag and that processing of the image is equally speedy, about one second. It can shoot at 10 fps. The aperture range is f1.8 to f11 and speed range from 30 seconds to 1/12000th of a second. It has aperture priority, shutter priority, program and manual. It shoots RAW and Jpeg, although, at the moment, only Sony's software can convert the RAW files. And for those who want to know, it videos at 1080p HD with stereo sound.

All the above points to the very thing that we have all wanted - a shirt-pocket camera you can have on you at all times, the modern day equivalent of the old Rollei 35, a superb camera from the 1960s. Some may argue that Canon have already done it with the G1X, but that camera is too big to qualify as a truly pocketable unit.

Here are a couple of reviews: Dpreview, where it is as yet only a preview, and Photography Blog which gives the RX100 full marks.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Leave of Absence

Oh dear, it has been three months since my last post. A shocking length of time for a blog to be dormant. Unfortunately, medical matters kept me otherwise engaged and not really full of enthusiasm. First, my back "went out" (again) and I had to have a discectomy operation. I had more or less recovered from that when a nasty looking mole was discovered on my back. When it was removed and analysed it proved to be a malignant melanoma. Yes, dear reader, I photographed it for Alamy and here it is:

So that led to a full-scale operation to excise more of the surrounding flesh and removal of a lymph node. Analysis showed that I am now free of the cancer and all I have to do is get fit again and dig up some motivation to get photographing again.