Gadgets & Gizmos

There's the good and the bad with telephoto lenses. The 'good' is that they are relatively easy to design, compared to wide-angles at least. The 'bad' is that they quickly become large and heavy if you want a wide maximum aperture, like f2.8 or f4, and that can make them problematic for handling and travelling.

One of the reasons photographers wanted the wide apertures was to handle low-light situations. A wide aperture meant a faster shutter speed, which is what you needed to freeze the action, especially for sport and wildlife. Back in the film days, you could shoot with ISO 1600 emulsions, but the film was pretty grainy and often ISO 1600 wasn't fast enough anyway. A wider aperture was better than a high speed film.

Compare the situation today when Canon and Nikon cameras comfortably shoot at ISO 6400 (and often much higher) and the need for a wide maximum aperture can be reconsidered. Especially if you don't want to carry too much weight!

Enter Tamron's 100-400mm f4.5-6.3 Di VC USD (Model A035), for full-frame Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras. As you'd expect with a new telephoto zoom, it features VC (Vibration Compensation) up to four stops, meaning you can more comfortably hand-hold the lens in a range of situations, from sport to wildlife.

The 100-400mm lens uses three LD (Low Dispersion) elements for aberration reduction and Tamron’s eBAND Coating for anti-reflection performance. And at 1115 g, the new lens is claimed by Tamron to be the lightest in its class.

Magnesium alloy is used in key areas of the lens barrel to improve weight reduction, strength and portability, and at 197 mm long (Nikon mount), it's surprisingly compact and easy to use. Certainly there's no trouble fitting it into a standard camera bag.

The zoom lens is compatible with Tamron’s 1.4X teleconverter and the Tamron TAP-in Console, an optional accessory enabling users to update lens firmware and customise the lens settings, including adjustments of focusing positions for autofocusing and the operation modes for the lens’s Vibration Compensation system.

Additionally, an Arca Swiss compatible tripod mount is available as an optional accessory. Price is around the $1250 mark.

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Leica Camera AG has added the Leica CL to its range, so the Leica APS-C System now offers two camera models made in Germany – the Leica CL and the Leica TL2.

In technical terms, the cameras are equals, but could hardly be more different with regard to their design and handling concepts: reflecting the traditions of Leica in the form of the iconic Leica CL and, in contrast, the futuristic look of the Leica TL2.

The CL's electronic viewfinder (with EyeRes technology developed by Leica) features a latency time below the threshold of perception and a resolution of 2.36 million pixels. As the final image is visible in the viewfinder before the shutter release is pressed, users have complete control over the composition and exposure of their subjects.

In combination with the high-resolution, 24MP, APS-C format sensor of the Leica CL, there's a beefed up Maestro II series processor and a super fast autofocus system with 49 metering points, guaranteeing high picture quality in all photographic situations, Leica claims. This also applies to moving pictures captured at a resolution of up to 4K at 30 frames per second.

The Leica CL is equipped with an integrated Wi-Fi module. Pictures and videos can be sent by a wireless connection to smartphones, tablets or computers and quickly and easily shared by email or in social networks with the Leica CL App for iOS or Android.

In addition to this, the remote function of the app lets mobile devices be used as an off-camera viewfinder or for altering exposure parameters – for example, when shooting with the self-timer function or from unusual angles.

There are two dials for setting the aperture, shutter speed, ISO value, and exposure compensation. Everything is conveniently located so that photographs can be made without taking the camera from the eye.

An additional LCD display on the top plate instantly provides information about all relevant settings and exposure parameters.

The Leica CL with a black anodised finish has a RRP $3,700, while the CL with an 18mm will set you back RRP $5,200.

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Looking for an inexpensive photo printer so you can test the water? Check out Epson's Expression Premium Photo range! Stylish and compact, these versatile all-in-one models combine printing, scanning and copy facilities, but importantly, it’s easy to produce glossy photos too!

The XP-6000 offers a new compact design, fast printing speeds of 15.8 ppm (black) and 11.3 ppm (colour), CD/DVD printing, automatic two-sided printing, wireless Wi-Fi Direct, AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, a 2.4” LCD screen, a 100-sheet input first tray and 20-sheet input second tray and a 50-sheet output capacity.

However, the model you want to buy is the XP-8500. It offers all that the XP-6000 does with a 2.7” LCD screen and, critically, also offers a 6-colour printing solution for superior photographic quality. With speeds of 9.5 ppm (black) and 9 ppm (colour) and a yield of 500 (black) and 830 (colour) with XL sizes, the XP-8500 is a serious player in this market.

Epson claims that the Expression Premium XP-8500 will take all the fuss out of printing photos and can produce better-than-lab-quality photographs at home and on demand.

The Expression Premium Photo range uses Claria Premium inks, which are renowned for producing outstanding, glossy photos with sharp detail, deep blacks and rich, vibrant colours. The XP-6000’s five inks and XP-8500’s 6 inks can be individually replaced as and when a particular colour runs out, making it economical.

The Expression Premium Photo models’ connectivity provides even more freedom for users. There’s no need to be deskbound because Wi- Fi ensures it’s easy to print and scan from around the home and Wi-Fi Direct makes it possible to print without a wireless network.

The models are packed with user-friendly functions including a memory card slot to make it easy to print photos without a PC.

The Expression Premium Photo XP-6000 (RRP $179.00) and XP- 8500 (RRP $299.00) are available now from and all good Epson retailers across Australia.

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