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The Photography Show starts today!

This year’s The Photography Show starts today at the rather cold and snowy Birmingham National Exhibition Centre (NEC).

I’m here at the show today to search out the show highlight, including interesting exhibits and show gear deals.

Here’s my first update from the show; a gallery of shots from WEX, Cameraworld and LCE, who are the main three camera retailers exhibiting this year:

Meanwhile, all the main camera marques are exhibiting. It has to be said the Nikon stand, although located in a prime position near the main entrance, seems smaller and less visible than it has been in the past. Canon has a massive stand at the opposite end of the hall, complete with cavernous presentation theatre. Olympus, Panasonic, Sony and Fujifilm occupy the centre of the hall with spaciously large stands. Pentax/Ricoh are off to one side with a rather more modest sized stand. Sigma again has a large and impressive stand to show off its wares. Tamron’s is more modest. A gallery of shots from the show aisles will follow later.

For more information about the exhibitors attending and the parallel events, including talks by great name photographers, check out The Photography Show official website.

 

Canon and Nikon to ‘legitimise’ Mirrorless System Camera market

Is Canon heralding a bid for dominance of the mirrorless system camera market?

If there is one thing that emerged from the recent CP+ photography trade show in Japan it was confirmation that mirrorless cameras will finally take over from DSLRs. Canon bosses are reportedly targeting domination of the mirrorless system camera sector after years of fairly innocuous involvement at the fringes. An interview by the DPReview mega site with Sony’s camera division General Manager, Kenji Tanaka, appeared to confirm Canon’s intentions and more.

Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus and Panasonic Lumix, currently own the mirrorless system camera market. Nikon and Canon have, instead, tinkered with mirrorless cameras, carefully avoiding unnecessary competition with their established domination of the DSLR sphere.

Tough times for all system cameras

However, system camera sales across the board, including mirrorless, but especially DSLRs, are facing tough competition from the ubiquity and improving quality and usability of cameras in smartphones. But it seems mirrorless is now recognised as the more profitable and sustainable avenue for the future of system cameras.

Sony’s Tanaka not only expects Canon to invest heavily in mirrorless, especially full frame, but Nikon, too. While they can technically claim to have been a reasonably early participant in the mirrorless revolution, Nikon went for a small 1 inch sensor format for its Nikon 1 system. Sales never really took off and there hasn’t been much in the way of new Nikon 1 releases for some time. Canon has been very conservative with its EOS-M mirrorless system, though its more recent models like the EOS-M5 and M50 show a rapid expansion in Canon’s ambitions, albeit still only in the consumer sector.

Professionals will be key

Despite the arrival of some increasingly impressive professional specification mirrorless cameras, DSLRs are still the mainstay of most high visibility press, sports and wildlife photographers. Nikon and Canon DSLR shooters value not only the excellence of their gear but also the extensive and vital professional support provided by the two big marques.

But there is no getting away from the facts. DSLRs and their lenses are relatively big, heavy, and now no longer as dominant in image quality and performance in other technical areas like autofocus and shooting speed. DSLRs are also mechanically more delicate and complicated to manufacture. A lot of specialist professionals have switched away from Nikon in order to lighten their camera bags.

Legitimacy

Meanwhile, features like video, image stabilisation and new trick functionalities are giving mirrorless cameras key advantages and genuine appeal for professionals. Nikon and Canon are going to be duty-bound to provide professional grade mirrorless cameras for their legions of professional photographers. This will finally endow the mirrorless sector with the professional legitimacy it has sought to achieve for so long.

Panasonic Lumix invented the modern mirrorless phenomenon ten years ago when it launched the Micro Four Thirds system via the Lumix G1. It’s taken a long time, much longer than mirrorless fans predicted, but there are now clear signs that the dominance of the SLR era really is about to end.

Billingham introduces the Hadley Small Pro

New addition to Billingham Hadley photographic bag range provides outstanding protection for compact system cameras

14 March 2018: Billingham has added the Hadley Small Pro to its renowned Hadley camera bag range, offering exceptional protection for small mirrorless system cameras, rangefinders and mid-sized DSLRs. Precision-engineered at Billingham’s manufacturing facility in the West Midlands, the Hadley Small Pro builds upon the successful Hadley Small – one of the company’s most popular bags – with the addition of several practical new features designed for professional photographers.

Rugged, weather-resistant yet extremely compact and light, the Hadley Small Pro is perfect for travelling, or for carrying smaller equipment on location shoots or daily photographic work. The new bag will be available in six classic colour combinations from the end of March 2018 from authorised Billingham stockists and www.billingham.co.uk, and will have a suggested retail price of £200 including VAT.

Colour combinations available from launch:

– Khaki Canvas/Tan Leather
– Khaki FibreNyte/Chocolate Leather
– Sage FibreNyte/Chocolate Leather
– Burgundy Canvas/Chocolate Leather
– Black Canvas/Tan Leather
– Black FibreNyte/Black Leather

As with all Billingham products, the Hadley Small Pro is made in England, and crafted from the company’s highly durable canvas or colour-fast FibreNyte material. These hard-wearing textiles are bonded to Stormblock material: two layers of fabric fused with butyl rubber for ultimate weather resistance. Due to its special composition, Stormblock never requires ‘reproofing’, remaining water-resistant for its entire life.

Following feedback from Billingham customers, the bag has been enhanced with a number of new features. A strong, padded, leather-reinforced handle has been added to the top cover to provide extra comfort and a secure grip. The adjustable, shuttle woven polyester shoulder strap is now detachable, transforming the Hadley Small Pro into a stylish, compact messenger bag when removed, ideal for photographers wishing to use it as carry-on luggage. A handy rear pocket, featuring a water-repellent zip for protection against adverse conditions, allows owners to stow important documents such as passports or tickets for quick and easy access when on the move.

A durable rear luggage strap enables the bag to be conveniently retained on a trolley suitcase handle for fuss-free transportation.

The Hadley Small Pro’s premium quality fittings and buckles have been manufactured from solid brass, while the trims and straps are made from the finest full-grain leather. Each bag has been carefully finished and numbered by an individual Billingham team member and carries a unique serial code, and the signature Billingham logo has been embossed into leather on the front main flap.

Its sculpted top cover protects the contents from the elements, while inside the bag, a generously padded full-sized insert delivers excellent impact protection for valuable equipment, which can be unclipped and removed if required, to convert the Hadley Small Pro to a work bag, compact travel holdall or day bag for personal belongings.

For additional flexibility, within the insert are two removable, repositionable padded vertical dividers that run the height of the bag, plus two smaller dividers for stacking lenses. The top of the insert features a padded flap, further safeguarding possessions from rain, and delivering added protection in the event of a fall or knock.

Two spacious, expanding front pockets provide extra capacity for storing lenses or accessories, and incorporate studs that can be unfastened or closed for increased versatility. The leather front straps with Quick Release System ensure fast and discreet access to the equipment inside the bag, and can be effortlessly opened or secured with one hand. Two high quality brass buckles allow the photographer to adjust the leather straps to fit snugly around the front pockets and their contents.

The Billingham Hadley Small Pro comes with a five year manufacturer’s guarantee.

Billingham Hadley Small Pro specifications

External dimensions (W x D x H)

Internal dimensions (W x D x H)

330mm x 140mm x 260mm

260mm x 80mm x 190mm

Weight (inc shoulder sling and padded insert) 0.9kg
Main compartment capacity 3.5 litres
Front pockets (x2) capacity 0.5 to 0.75 litres each
Included accessories Removable full insert

Divider set (2 x small and 2 x large dividers)

Front straps

Removable shoulder sling

Optional accessories Fine leather shoulder pad (SP40)

Fine leather luggage tally

Replacement insert, dividers and straps as above

 

Harry Billingham, director, said, “Once again, we have listened to the feedback and specific requests from our loyal customers, and have integrated the most-wanted features into this newly-designed model. Created with mid-sized DSLRs and CSCs in mind, the Hadley Small Pro is deceptively spacious and versatile, and can be configured with the supplied accessories and inserts to suit the individual photographer’s needs. We believe users will welcome the additional functionality, comfort and convenience of the Hadley Small Pro, which has been painstakingly engineered for ultimate portability and protection.”

A family business, Billingham thoroughly sources and tests all materials, ensuring that every bag is built for maximum strength and reliability, using the most innovative, durable and authentic components. Manufacturing is carried out to meticulous standards of technical precision, and once the product passes the company’s rigorous quality checks, an individual laser-engraved woven label containing a unique 10-digit barcoded serial number is applied. This represents the Billingham seal of excellence, and allows the bag to be registered, identified and tracked throughout its life.

More information on the Billingham range can be found at www.billingham.co.uk.

Availability

The Billingham Hadley Small Pro will be available from www.billingham.co.uk and authorised Billingham stockists from the end of March 2018. Price includes VAT.

Make your old film camera digital – I’m Back

Somewhere in Italy, photography enthusiast, Samuel Mello Medeiros, is living his dream to bring thousands of neglected film cameras back from obscurity and into the digital era. His project to replace 35mm film canisters with a digital sensor module that can, in relative terms, be easily transplanted in to a wide variety of old cameras, is now in full swing thanks to Kickstarter crowd funding. The product of Medeiros’ labours is called ‘I’m Back’ and designed to be affordable, too.

Laughable? Maybe not

Digital replacements for film in 35mm cameras have had a laughable history. In the late 1990s an outfit called Silicon Film tried to develop a solutions called EFS-1. It never made it to market. More recently in 2011 the idea was re-hashed via a website called www.re35.com. This was launched on 1st of April by a German company that had no product, but simply sought to demonstrate that there was real interest in such a goal. You may be tempted to greet the I’m Back news with some suspicion, but to date the signs are looking positive.

Affordable

Medeiros has more than achieved his pledge targets on Kickstarter. His design appears to be functional and the specifications look realistically cheap enough to not be vapourware. The electronics are based around the popular and inexpensive Raspberry Pie versatile microcomputer board. It’s mated to an off the shelf Ambarella image processor. Another relatively inexpensive component – a 2/3rd inch 16 megapixel image sensor made by Panasonic. That’s a compact camera sensor, incidentally, with a cropping factor of around 4x.

A mirror diverts the host camera’s field of view downwards to the sensor. Everything is housed in a simple plastic module that can be screwed to the base of the host camera once the film compartment door has been removed. Medeiros says that potentially hundreds of film camera models can take variants of the I’m Back device. A finished ready-ti-use product is promised for May this year. If you’re that way inclined you can save a large chunk of the €175 price tag by purchasing a kit or even the blueprints for your own DIY build.

Clearly I’m Back is not about full frame camera image quality aspirations. Instead, Medeiros says it should interest those attracted to Lomography and pin-hole photography.

Check out the official I’m Back website and the I’m Back Kickstarter page.

Three Legged Think and the Return of Brian

Award-winning British tripod maker, 3 Legged Thing announces the return of their iconic, hero, travel tripod, Brian, with new and refined features.

STAGSDEN, BEFORDSHIRE – 12th March 2018
He’s back! 3 Legged Thing’s most iconic tripod has been given an extensive facelift, and now joins 3LT’s Punks range of tripods. Thoroughly refined and improved, the new Punks Brian is a true travel tripod – lightweight for portability at only 1.45 kg / 3.1 lb, and compact for transportation, folding to just 41 cm / 16.5 “. Brian’s travel pedigree does not forsake any capability as his 2 column sections and 5 leg sections offer ultimate versatility, as well as a maximum height of 1.87 m / 74 “.

Danny Lenihan, 3 Legged Thing’s Founder & CEO explains the return: “Brian was our first ever tripod, and the catalyst for our naming trend, and inspiration for all the brands that have followed suit. We retired Brian after four incarnations – 1st Gen, 2nd Gen, Evo 2 and Evo 3, back in 2015, with a heavy heart. At the time we felt we needed a fresh angle. We’ve missed him every day since, and so I am so excited to announce his return, but this time as part of our iconic Punks range.”

The brand new Punks Brian will be unveiled at The Photography Show, which takes place at the NEC, Birmingham from 17-20th March 2018, and can be viewed at 3 Legged Thing’s exhibition stand no E71 throughout the show.

Designed and engineered in Stagsden, England, Punks Brian is made from eight layers of 100% pure pre-preg carbon fibre, and includes all the premium features users expect from 3 Legged Thing tripods. These include a detachable monopod leg; patented Tri-mount plate which allows the attachment of accessories; removable and reversible centre column; ultra-low-level shooting using the widest 80 ̊ leg angle; and ergonomic, water-dispersing bubble-grips which provide better leverage, even in damp conditions.

Like 3 Legged Thing’s other tripods, Brian includes modular functionality, enabling users to remove, attach and reconfigure elements of the tripod allowing a multitude of uses. This includes the removable centre column which allows use of the tripod as low as 11 cm / 4.3”, and can also be added to the detachable monopod leg to create an ultra-tall monopod that extends to 1.92 m / 75.5”.

Available in two colourways – grey and blue with copper accents; and matte black with accents of British Racing Green – Punks Brian additionally includes an AirHed Neo ballhead which incorporates two spirit level bubbles; a tough nylon drawstring carry bag; and rubber Bootz footwear which grip a variety of surfaces. Brian’s footwear can be changed to suit different terrains, and 3 Legged Thing offers Heelz, Clawz, and Stilettoz for sale separately.

Brian is available to pre-order from 12th March, and will be available online and via camera retailers worldwide from 2nd April 2018.

# # #

Headquartered in a converted chicken shed (The Chicken Shed) on Kinsbourne Farm, in Stagsden, Bedfordshire, 3 Legged Thing is a small, British company of passionate people, creating and innovating camera support systems for photographers and videographers. 3 Legged Thing is the Winner of the Lucie Technical Award’s 2017 Tripod of the Year.

 

Legendary Bowens lighting company to go dark

Goodbye Bowens

There are widespread reports from the photo industry that Bowens Lighting is to go into liquidation. The company would have celebrated its centenary in just 6 years time.

Bowens used to rule the roost when it came to lighting rigs for professional photographers. Countless stars and celebrities over the decades where illuminated by Bowens lighting in studios and on location across the globe. So dominant was the company that the company name was often used as the noun that described a photographer’s lighting, particularly studio flash lighting in more recent years.

The company started in the UK as a camera repair specialist in 1923 and later found its niche in studio lighting. It’s true to say that the industry segment Bowens once dominated has now become crowded and very competitive.

  • Do you use Bowens gear – what does the bad news mean to you?
  • Have you switched away from Bowens and, why?
  • Do you have any memorable anecdotes about using Bowens lighting over the years?

Tell us now via the comment box below; we’d love to hear from you!

Are you respecting image copyright?

Press release issued by Copytrack:

Copytrack

Finally revealed: TOP 10 Errors of image use online

Berlin, 11 July 2017: If we´re all honest it´s incredibly easy to find images online. But there’s always that doubt “can I use just use this image or do I still have to ask for permission?” To help with these concerns Copytrack introduces the top ten biggest misunderstandings of using unknown images online. A massive issue on internet, especially on social media.

1.No crop can cut copyright: Altered pictures are copyrighted

When someone wants to edit a photo, whether it´s changing colour, size and then use it for their own purpose, the copyright still needs to be obtained. Only if “free use” is stated or the original image is barely recognizable, permission from the copyright holder is not needed.  You have to be careful what “free use” means though, as it varies for each image.

2.Not true: A lawfully acquired license lets you do everything

In order to be able to advertise a product range, companies hire photographers to create product pictures and then acquire special licenses for images. The terms of the licenses are usually very specific, and the picture can´t simply be used for other purposes. The manufacturers’ licenses do not automatically apply to the product distributors.

3.Extra, extra, read all about it: Newspapers spread easily online

Scans, screenshots or photos from newspaper articles are often shared a lot online. However, copyright still needs to be taken into consideration when sharing newspaper articles. The publishers are usually legal owners of the texts. But that might not be the same when it comes to the pictures.

4.Always check: The worldwide web can be a large free image database

Searching for images on the net is very easy and fruitful. However, images extracted from search engines are still copyrighted. Often the image sources and the copyright owners are not immediately visible. Despite this the copyright owner always has to be researched and the conditions for the image usage have to be clarified. Otherwise you could be paying for your mistake.

5.Ignorance is not bliss: Licenses can be distributed easily

Anyone commissioning an image and acquiring the license for the use of this image does not automatically have the right to pass the image on to a third party. Copytrack has a lot of experience of dealing with cases where images are shared to third parties without a proper licence.  When the third party uses the image without a proper license- he is still at risk. Licenses always need to be checked.

6.How free can it be? Make sure you understand CC licences

Images marked with a creative commons licence are actually available free of charge to the delight of many. But they are still copyrighted. Before use, it is also necessary to check the terms of the CC license as they vary, for example check if the photo be edited or can it be used for commercial use.

7.Mistake: copyright protection is not just for private individuals

Here is a double misunderstanding of many image users: not only professional photographers, but also amateurs have instant copyright when creating photos.

Secondly, it is irrelevant whether or not an image has been used for private or commercial purposes. Unauthorized use can always lead to copyright abuse.

8.Mistake: Stock photos can be used as desired

If you want to use stock images, you acquire a certain license (standard or exclusive), which may look different for editorial or commercial use. If a stock image is used onto a company blog, this can soon be confused with editorial use. However, since the blog is a company and this usually increases the click rate, a commercial usage license must be purchased. When purchasing a standard license for commercial image use, it is also important to note that stock images, which are distributed online, have different licensing rules depending on the site that sells them.

9.Irritating: Everything made, can´t always be sellable

Using an image without permission is illegal. Just because others might do the same, it doesn’t mean you’re protected. Individuals are always responsible to check they have the right to use photos online. Those who make these mistakes are just the same as image right abusers. Ignorance helps nobody when it comes to image rights, so always be aware of what you´re sharing.

10.eBay- Auctions offers with product photos

Whoever uses original product photos for private eBay auctions puts themselves at risk of image theft. When someone sells a product they don’t suddenly get the right to use the original product photos. The best option is to take a little time and take a photo yourself.

About Copytrack:

Copytrack (www.copytrack.com) was founded in 2015 by Marcus Schmitt and currently employs around 25 people from legal, IT, customer service and finance. The service supports photographers, publishers, image agencies and e-commerce providers. It includes a risk-free search of the global Internet for image and graphics data uploaded by users at Copytrack are found with a hit accuracy of 98 per cent. The customers define if images are used without a license and even determine the amount of subsequent fees supported by an automatic license calculator on the portal. Copytrack is fully responsible for an out-of-court solution in over 140 countries as well as a legal solution in the areas relevant to copyright law. If the image has been successfully licensed, the rights holder receives up to 70 percent of the agreed sum. The pure search function is free of charge.

Photobucket free account users left high and dry

Potentially millions of users caught out by Photobucket’s radical change to its Terms of Service

Photobucket is currently subject to a storm of social media protests

Photobucket is one of the biggest online services for storing your photos. The company claims to have around 100 million customers and to host some 15 billion images. Unfortunately, many of those customers are discovering that their photos hosted on Photobucket but also linked to and displayed on third party sites, are no longer visible. Instead, they have been replaced by a generic graphic explaining that 3rd party hosting has been temporarily suspended. Photobucket users are, unsurprisingly, furious. The change means millions of images on third party sites from blogs to discussion forums and even on e Commerce sites like Amazon and eBay, are now not being shown.

 

What’s happened is that Photobucket changed its Terms of Service for users of its free service accounts. From this month users of basic free Photobucket accounts can’t deep-link their images on third party sites. The problem is that the block is retrospective and very few Photobucket users noticed the radical change buried deep in the Terms of Service, never mind the potential consequences.

At the time of writing the only obvious way to reverse the effects of the image ban was to upgrade to a paid-for Photobucket Plus account, which costs $399 per year.

Are you affected by the Photobucket policy change? Let us know what your thoughts are in the comment section below.