An interesting marketing approach?

I mentioned my ‘watch search’ last week. And I am always on the lookout for a new camera – I still have ‘a few’. But I don’t own the Rolls Royce of cameras – a Leica.

They have a new advert. It’s long. I don’t suggest you watch it all – unless you really have nothing better to do!

In effect a technician spends 45 minutes polish in the new Leica T.

As someone suggested I wonder if Dulux might be following suite soon with a the ‘watching paint dry’ version?

I can’t work out if I think this is clever or not!

Mixing flying and photography?

In the last few months I have had reason to commission some photography – of sites I am selling. At one time it used to be necessary to pay for a photographer and a pilot – and then wait for the weather. But now photography can be done from a ‘pole’ – which is quite impressive.

I have an interest in photography and flying so this new ‘toy’ from Lehmann is right up my street. It’s not really a toy – it’s a real aeroplane built of carbon fibre and foam. It carries a Go_Pro video camera and can fly a pre-determined flight path for around 5 minutes. You don’t actually ‘fly’ it – you simply program it and set it free – it does the rest!

It will fly at around 300 ft – lower than a light aircraft can go safely! But higher than the pole system.

The blurb says, “Launch it, wait 5 minutes, enjoy your images”.

The downside? Well it’s about 1,000 euros. And then you need a Go-Pro camera.

But the results on their web-site are impressive!

As I have suggested before if Lehmann Aviation want me to play with one for them, I am fully available!

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business Tagged aerial photography, , Flying, Go-Pro, Lehmann Aviation, , pole, PPL

Paul Smith & Leica

I’m a fan of Paul Smith – he’s a local lad who has done pretty well for himself building a global brand. He’s talented too. Leica are synonymous with quality – making a brand of cameras that reek of money and quality. I have never owned a Leica, but aspire too…

If you have found a purse and you are fans of Paul Smith and Leica – this is your moment. For the princely sum of £2,000 you can buy one of 1,500 limited edition cameras designed by Sir Paul himself.

It looks amazing. I love the quirky light bulb sketch for the flash. The racing green leather looks cool too – although the orange might be a bit gaudy for those moments when you are trying not to draw attention to the fact that you are holing £2k worth of camera. It’s not too shabby as a performer too – 16 megapixels and a 24mm f2.8 lens shouldn’t disappoint. You can read the specs of it here.

Like most of these editions people won’t use them – they are bought as investments. In fact why would you buy one – the ‘standard’ model in black costs £500 less.

Even so, I love it! Piggy Bank – how are you fixed?

A new camera – making headlines

Photography has moved on in the last decade – almost beyond recognition. The demise of film was inevitable at the side of the massive growth of digital imaging. I guess that most people now carry a camera with them – in the form of a mobile telephone. The quality of these devices has improved exponentially. You only have to go to a tourist destination to see hordes of people snapping away. It costs next to nothing to take a digital image (unlike film). So people take millions of images! The purists roll their eyes at these amateurs. Of course a professional photographers life is being made harder as so many people are trampling on his toes. The Canon and Nikon race continues to make headlines – who is holding the best camera title. They incrementally out-do each other with every release. Others simply try to keep up. Leica doesn’t need to – it has its own place. So I was really interested to see the launch of a new camera in the week. Called the Autographer – it takes images spontaneously – the camera senses movement and takes images automatically!The blurb says it is the worlds first intelligent wearable camera… It looks amazing – and I like the concept. I just wonder whether it is truly gimmicky. I’m fascinated about it’s ability to tell a story – which could be really interesting. The web site for the camera is here. If anyone fancies letting me use one for a while as a test, I’m available for that gig. It launches in November – I’m told the price might be £399…

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business Tagged Autographer, , Canon, digital image, Nikon, storytelling

Is stuff too complicated sometimes?

There was an interesting article in last weekends Mail On Sunday about the number of functions on washing machines which are unused. Duvet washing programmes are relatively untouched apparently. I admit i only know how to do one type of wash – that’s to get my squash kit clean – which no one else will touch!

The inside of my washing machine - you can just spot the Higgs boson on the bottom left.

I have a number of cameras and I was looking a couple of days ago at the manual – the camera has developed an intermittent fault. In the 200-odd pages of the instruction book it doesn’t tell you what the code means – but I did work out how to put copyright information in the file name. I then realised just how complex my Canon 7D camera is. It really can do anything – but you need to carry the book around – by which time the moment has often gone!

I blogged some time ago about a small camera I carry around – it’s Ricoh GR3 – tiny but brilliant. It has been all over the world with me. And the main feature I use is the exposure compensation, but that’s it. It just keeps going – perhaps there’s not much to go wrong with it?

I was debating, on-line, with Simon Dare at the weekend about the desire for Google to pervade our lives even more than they do now. Google do one thing brilliantly – they find things for you amongst the billions of web sites. The main page is so beautifully simple it is difficult to see what else you could do this it. And so perhaps you shouldn’t.

I took a bit of heat last week for my Apple collection. What I think Apple do really well is throw away the instruction book. The general principle is that if you need an instruction manual then it needs to be re-engineered.

So, I think I’m with the MOS, lets keep things simple. We don’t need Duvet wash programmes…

A new camera and a bargain too…

I take my photography quite seriously – and have a small collection of cameras. In recent times I have been quite interested in Video too – especially as we have worked towards High Definition – and the joy of AppleMac editing software. iMovie is brilliant!

At the isle of Wight Festival this year I noticed that the BBC were using Canon still cameras for their interviews for The Apprentice ‘comments’. The Canon cameras in particular have come a long way in a very short space of time! It seems incredible that these ‘pro-sumer’ cameras are good enough for mainstream TV.

I have used Canon gear for a while (well actually since my Nikon gear was nicked). I have a collection of lenses and other accessories – which is a clever way of tying you into the system.

The Canon 40D I have had a for a few years and is a very good camera – but it doesn’t do video. And I fancied one of the new ‘bridge’ cameras as they are known. I did my research and the choice was between the Canon 5D MkII or the 7D – which is around £500 cheaper. That was an easy choice…
I only needed a body – the camera ‘kit’ comes with a lens which is inferior to one I already have – the best price I could see was around £1079 for the body alone. This was on various web sites. On Saturday morning – before I made my final decision I went into BestBuy in Nottingham to have a look at the thing in real life. I got talking to the member of staff who told me they would not just price match but then deduct 10% of the difference too. So the price of the camera would be reduced from £1250 – their list to £1,062 – a saving of £188.

Deal done. I am now the proud owner of a Canon 7D. I have so far read the manual – which exhausted me. But I haven’t been out yet to give it a whirl. I am looking forward to this and may well post some images here shortly…

Well done BestBuy.

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business, Nottingham Tagged Amazon, , BestBuy, , , Canon, Canon 4d, Canon 7D, Canon EOS 40D, Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EOS 7D, Nikon, Television

Apple and the ipad2

My ipad is nearly 9 months old – and in the world of technology that is a lifetime it seems. I blogged about the birth here.

So, on 25th March 2011 a new ipad will be born. It’s 33% thinner and 15% lighter. And the battery life is now extended to 10 hours. It has also got 2 cameras – which were anticipated in the original.

So will I get one? In a word – no.

I use my ipad a lot – I think it is great, but I don’t need the cameras, nor does the size of the machine worry me. The battery life is brilliant – I think I charge it probably once a week? I haven’t tested it from full to flat – but I am guessing that it is around 6 hours.

I have used it as a mini laptop – but I have to say that it doesn’t replace my trusty 13″ MacBookPro – which goes everywhere with me. It has been in New York and Cannes this month – and next week it will accompany me to Shanghai.

I think I still need a keyboard! I find typing lots on the ipad to be too hard. But it is great for reading mail and news.The screen quality is superb – and shows off the photographs from my various trips brilliantly.

I am a fan of Apple kit as you probably know if you follow my blog. But I am not as sad as the ‘early adopters’ in the USA – who seem to worry if they are three hours behind their fellow Countrymen in getting their hands on the new kit. You can read the rather sad story here.

The end of an era…

In the last few days it has been announced that Kodachrome is now deceased. Production of this iconic film stopped last year, but the chemicals to process it have now gone too.

Kodachrome was a film I used a lot of – either in 25asa or 64asa speeds. It was a fantastic film – which, due to the processing required had to be sent to Kodak themselves. They had a great turnaround time and the resultant ‘trannies’ as they were known really were of the highest quality. I moved away from Kodachrome when Fuji Velvia was introduced – partially as the colours were much more vivid, but also because this films was ‘E6′ processed – which meant that you could get it done locally in a couple of hours. Velvia is still going strong…

At the time I had a Nikon F4S camera – which was a truly fantastic camera – and with Velvia produced stunning results.

Then ‘digital’ came along and I sold the Nikon. At the time Canon were marginally ahead of Nikon in the digital stakes – although I suspect they are pretty much neck and neck now. My latest Panasonic GF1 is equally good.

I stopped using film – as pretty much everyone else has – so the decline in Kodachrome was inevitable! It did make 74 years old though!

It’s a sad time though – I have some great images on slides – and bringing out the projector and that wonky screen were a real treat…

Now the images get taken, uploaded automatically to my laptop on my eye-fi card and then onto the 42″ screen via Apple TV! It’s not quite the same, although the image quality remains quite comparable now! I think we are all guilty of point and shoot stuff; in the old days you had to think about the shots – film and processing was expensive!

I do have some film (Velvia of course) left in the office fridge for my Hassleblad…. now where did I put that?

By Tim Garratt Posted in Nottingham Tagged , Canon, digital image, E6, Kodachrome, Nikon F4S, , Professional Photography, Velvia