My First Camera…nearly

Actually my first camera was a Christmas present from my dad and was a Zenit EM in 1979, and whilst it taught me the basics & I learned to develop & print with it, it was, basically crap. So in 1980 I upgraded (a little) to the Cosina CT-1, I also added 70-150mm zoom lens and continued to learn more & more, After upgrading the darkroom equipment from an old Johnson Wray Enlarger to an LPL C7700 & an EL Nikkor 50mm F2.8 I started to see the weakest link was the cheap glass, the standard lens was OK but the zoom was atrocious so in 1981, with money from Christmas & Birthdays and a loan from my mum & all of the Saturday Job money I had I replaced the CT-1 with a Canon A1, adding in due course a FDn 24mm F2, and an FDn 100mm F2.8, two of the sharpest lenses that Canon made at the time.

Anyway I had been looking for a Cosina CT-1 to add to the collection for quite a long time and most of the ones that I had seen were either totally borked or in such poor condition that I couldn’t be bothered to bid on them. Anyway last week a really tidy one came up and had the original standard lens, it was a little more expensive than I wanted to pay, but I’ve done it now. Just need to give a thorough clean, whack a new battery in it and some XP2 and away we go. One thing that I had forgotten is just how small these cameras are in comparison to my current gear.

Upgrade Time

It is time to upgrade my 1Dx bodies (well two of them, one of them has some 500,000 actuations, so next to worthless, so will be kept as a remote) One has 119k actuations and the other just under 140k. Looking for about £1k each, with battery & charger. They both have some wear & tear commensurate with their age and usage. I do look after my kit, so they are nowhere near as worn as many of the ex-press photographers gear you will find on ebay. Feel free to email for further details.


After some issues in the week with a 2x Extender that hadn’t been calibrated with the 400mm I fired up the Reikan FoCal software. Which has been updated since I last used it, so downloaded the latest release and printed a fresh target. Some 3 hours later with the laptop battery nearly dead, after 6 reboots, numerous software re-starts I was no closer to actually calibrating anything. If anything I was in a worse position than when I started as I was unable to calibrate the 400mm with the 2x or the 1.4x I decided to attempt to do just the lens on its own. BIG MISTAKE. It had then threw out my original calibration & unfortunately I hadn’t noted the original calibration details.

So fast forward to Sunday and another attempt, this time just the 400mm on its own. Now the lens & three different camera bodies are properly calibrated, hopefully I will get time tomorrow to do the 1.4x & the 2x extenders as well.

The software is quite intuitive when it works certainly a damned sight easier than doing it manually. I looked at the Canon instructions for calibration and it isn’t for the faint hearted.

Now it is properly pin, not bad for an old EF 400mm F2.8 L IS mkI.

That’s it, no more spending


This year has been an expensive year, upgraded from the old EOS1D mkIV bodies, replaced all the glass, replaced flashguns, upgraded iPad, laptops & desktop machines, repaired a Quantum Turbo, serviced the studio kit, & the list goes on. So no more money is being spent on photographic equipment this year. Unless a Sigma 150-600 OS Sport comes up at an unbeatable price, or a Canon 400mm F2.8 or a 500mm F4 or…………

A brace…

img_0252aAfter shooting with a 1Dx & a mark IV and leaving the mark IV in the bag on most jobs I decided that it was time to upgrade the second body. Pleased with the acquisition, just need a second WFT-E6 now.

Chopped in a pair of EOS1D Mark IV bodies (heavily used with 170,000 & 260,000 frames) and a lightly used EOS1D Mark IIn which had been sitting around for ages doing nothing).

Was hoping to work them both today, but the diary was empty so it will have to wait until next week.

Upgrade Time

08/11/2016. Camberley Town v Guildford City. Krooner Park

After visiting some non league grounds with the worse lighting ever in the last year or so, I have decided that the Canon EOS1d mkIV is probably past it, the noise is horrendous when you need to shoot at 6400ISO or above, so I have upgraded, I was fortunate to find a deal that I couldn’t refuse, so the mkIVs will be semi retired, probably to behind the goal duty.

Having moved to full frame is going to be a little strange after working with cropped camera bodies since the late 1990s. When I first transitioned across to digital with the DCS3 ( A horrible 1.3 megapixel DSLR with all the draw backs of shooting film & none of the big benefits of digital) the number of times I had to take a couple of steps backwards to fill the viewfinder was embarrassing. The trouble is I can see myself setting up group photos now lifting the camera to my eye, and having to take several steps forward. D’Oh!

Initial impressions are very positive, especially as I have now tweaked the settings to work “my way” all I need now is a CF-SD adaptor that will allow me to use my eye-fi mobi-pro card to work in one of  the slots, & I will be a very happy bunny.


Retirement Imminent


Canon EOS 1D Mark IIn

After nearly 8 years of service the old girl is about to retire, with some 120,000 frames to her credit she has never stopped working, she has had to be resucitated several times, over her life, twice in the last couple of years after 6+ hours in monsoon conditions needing a warm bed in the airing cupboard however she has always bounced back into front line duty. Her destiny now is to be relegated to behind-the-goal remote duty at football  games, along with her twin sister & a couple of cheap wide angles.

Her first paid for job was a trip to Rome to photograph Keira Knightly.

Kiera Knightly Rome  PPUK0005-Edit

Keira Knightly leaves Taberna Gracci with movie company colleagues. No re-use, no resale.

So it is here, at last

canon-eos-mark-iv-press-rm-eng1-300x313The Canon EOS1D mk iv has arrived, or at least the press release has. Whilst there seems to be some things worthy of praise, (assuming that it works as advertised) firstly the new high ISO settings, enabling native shooting up to 12,800 and expanded shooting all the way to an impressive 102,400ISO.

I like the AF revisions and the new preview screen technology, but why-oh-why are they persisting with one CF Card slot and one SD slot, please lets have a pair of either CF or SD cards.

Canon EOS 1D mkIII

Managed to have a play with the New EOS1D mkIII camera body recently. Initial reactions are pretty good.

Build quality seems everything that it should be, and I prefer the new layout, however I didn’t get a chance to stick a CF card in it and take some photographs. The AF (bearing in mind we were in the dimly lit basement, and I had an 85mm F1.2 mkII on board) was pretty impressive.

The live preview function was also pretty good, although you obviously have no AF, as the mirror is in the up position, and with the fairly wide viewing angle of the preview screen may be useful in crowded situations when you have shoot with the camera away from the eye. The only reservation would be in reasonably bright weather it might be tricky to see the screen.

The Screen is pretty impressive, being 3″ instead of 2.5″ on the mkII. Ask any women; they will tell you that size really does matter.

At full chat the 10 frames per second, doesn’t really sound that different from the 8.5 of the 1D mkII or the 9fps of the EOS1VHS.

The new battery pack is alleged to make a significant difference to the battery life, with it being a smaller Lithium Battery, it means that it should not need the periodic conditioning that the current batteries need. I also like the fact that the charger comes with twin charging slots, rather like the old DCS520 battery charger, rather than just two plug in leads.

One of the biggest problems with the old battery charger was trying to charge batteries in the car, you go around a corner and the batteries weight pulls them further than the charger. Meaning that whilst you think the batteries are charging in the boot, they are actually shorting themselves out on any piece of metal they come into contact with.

I will be interested to try out the mkIII when it becomes available, and shall let it be known amongst the suppliers of my kit that I want a play at the earliest possible, even if I don’t initially add one or two to the kit bag. Having only upgraded to the mkII bodies 10 or 12 months ago, I am reluctant to spend another £6k on bodies if I can’t see a very real reason for doing so.

The Body now has USB rather than a Firewire connection, which is a little disapointing as it means that even if you wanted to, you cannot now use the WFTE-1 WiFi pack, and at £700 a pop. That said the new WiFi pack does look better thought out and better designed. There have been some people who have seen the pre-production version and are whinging that it doesn’t have it’s own power supply, but uses the camera battery. Rather than pre-judge, I would like to see how long the new batteries are going to last, both with and without using the WiFi transmitter.

I must confess that I don’t see this camera as a huge leap forward, but a continuation of the evolution process of the 1D camera.

I have to say that the megapixel count increase isn’t enough on it’s own, neither is the huge buffer, however if the noise at high ISOs is significantly better then that may be enough to swing it. Unless Canon wish to donate a couple of them for free? You listening Canon?