Gadgets & Gizmos

Fujifilm Australia has launched a professional services program which offers photographers exclusive support for selected camera bodies and lenses. The new service, Fujifilm Professional Services (FPS), provides complimentary phone and email support, checks and cleans, express repairs and loans to customers.

FPS is for enthusiasts who have purchased at least one qualifying GFX camera body and GF lens, or two qualifying X Series bodies and three XF lenses. For a full breakdown of the criteria required to be eligible for FPS, visit www.fujifilm-connect.com/au

The service is also available to professional photographers who have purchased at least one qualifying camera body and lens in either X or GFX Series.

Benefits include: 

  • Priority repair services with best endeavour turnaround times of two working days for GFX series and three working days for X Series.
  • Receive priority telephone and email support from Fujifilm experts.
  • Repair needs extra time? You may be eligible to receive a loan camera while you wait. Note this is subject to product availability - terms and conditions apply.
  • Access to free health checks for two pieces of your Fujifilm kit per year, purchased from an authorised Fujifilm retailer.

To register for FPS and for a list of all qualifying camera bodies and lenses, visit https://fujifilm-connect.com/au/

Alabama Hills, near Lone Pine, California, SW USA
Phase One A-Series with 23mm Alpagon lens, f8 @ 0.5 seconds, ISO 50.

So, what's in my current camera bag? It really depends on the job at hand and what I want to photograph. On a landscape shoot, like the one Tony Hewitt and I did in SWUSA in February - and the Canadian Rockies you could join us on this October - my focus is on a medium format outfit, with smaller cameras for behind-the-scenes and video.

Shooting the landscape for me means my Phase One 100MP system, but for most readers, it is more likely to mean a Canon EOS 5DSR, a Nikon D850 or Z7, or a Sony A7R III. Of course, we're in a wonderful era when we have more megapixels than sense and a 20-megapixel sensor is still going to produce amazing quality. I used to have pixel-envy back in 2001, wishing I could afford a 20-megapixel Sinar back. You don't need to have pixel envy as practically everyone has this image quality today!

Shooting medium format for me does require compromise. I don't have as long a focal length as I'd like. I have heavier cameras than I'd like. I choose to take a second camera system for BTS and video work, which I might not need if only I shot with a DSLR or mirrorless camera. However, the file quality I produce with my medium format is second to none and that's what drives me when it comes to landscape photography. I can slow down and take my time to get the images that matter to me.

For other trips, like the one I'm on right now in Iran, my choice of equipment is slightly different because what I'm photographing is different, but today we're talking about landscape photography - so here's what I took on my last trip.

Top left is the Phase One 100MP Trichromatic with the Schneider 240mm mounted. It is surprising how often this is the lens I use for landscape shots when travelling on the road. Below it are a 55mm, 110mm and a 2x converter. In the middle is a GoPro Karma which works well if the camera sees the USB connection. I bang it if it doesn't! Top right is the Phase One A-Series 100MP with a 23mm ultra wide-angle lens (like a 16mm on a full-frame DSLR). You can't get this wide a lens on the XF. Below this is a Fujifilm X-H1 with 10-24mm and 55-200mm zooms, chosen for their video performance on this occasion. Other bits and pieces include an extra GoPro for the pocket, NiSi filters (ND 6x, 10x and 15x), spare batteries, Sandisk memory cards and the tiny LaCie SSD drive.

I don't think you should look at this outfit and think you need two systems. I have two purposes these days: taking (hopefully) great photos, but on workshops I'm also collecting material for marketing, hence the interest in video. And I must say, I'm really enjoying the challenge of creating better videos. I've always had a great appreciation for the cinematic arts, perhaps even more so now!

Many productions made by photographers ignore location sound because it is so difficult to do correctly – and a much easier solution is to add music or narration later during post-production.

This approach works just fine for doing little arty pieces, but what happens when you have people talking to the camera as part of your storyline? What happens if you want to interview someone on camera?

Professionals use a number of different approaches, depending on the location, the budget and other considerations. One of the most popular is to use a wireless lavalier system. A small microphone is attached to the person talking, connected by a cable to a transmitter which goes into their pocket or attached to a belt out-of-sight. A receiver is attached to your camera or sound recorder and away you go. And if you have two people speaking, you need two set-ups!

So here's another, inexpensive solution that will fit in a pocket: the RØDE Mobile Interview Kit. It includes two smartLav+ lavalier microphones (they are connected by cables, not wirelessly) and an SC6-L connector for an iPhone or iPad. To use, plug one or both lavalier mics into the iPhone via the connector, attach the lavalier mics to the people you are filming, and launch the RØDE Reporter app. Your iPhone or iPad records the sound and then you simply export it and drop it into your video editing software.

The smartLav+ is a 4.5mm miniature mic made with omnidirectional condenser capsules and Kevlar reinforced cable. The SC6-L is a simple input/output breakout box with a Lightning connector to connect directly to iOS devices. With two TRRS inputs and one stereo headphone output, the SC6-L connects to any TRRS device, including the two supplied smartLav+ microphones. And with the RØDE Reporter app, you can alter boost gain and choose between summed stereo and dual mono.

RØDE is an impressive company, producing a range of products that are useful for photographers dabbling in the world of audio visuals and video productions. They also have a range of camera mounted mics that do a stellar job – and an even better job if you learn a little about sound recording before you use them!

For full details, visit www.rode.com.

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