Bowens Gemini 400Rx Kit

To relieve the transportation issues that I’ve been experiencing with the large size of the kit bag and the lack of rolling wheels, i have resorted to stashing the contents of the kit in a rolling luggage bag. This is less than ideal as it doesn’t offer the same cushioning or protection as the Bowens carry pack provides, but does allow me to transport the kit from home to my shooting locations easily. Having used the kit for a few months, I can now set it up in under a couple of minutes and there’s barely any delay between arriving at a location and firing off my first frame. When working with the kit earlier this month, it occurred to me just how useful it is being able to separate the flash heads so far from each other, and although there have been times when my eagerness to shoot comes before the pack has had a chance to recycle, the loud beep that indicates when the lights are ready to re-fire, can be heard over loud street scenes. I’ve gone a month now without having to charge the TravelPak and it’s still displaying I have 50% battery remaining, which is impressive considering the amount of use and fast recycle setting it’s set to. I now feel at ease using the kit. know exactly what camera settings to use when the heads arc set to different power settings, and I’m always fond of the drama that location lighting can bring to otherwise dull and dreary looking scenes. Now it’s part of my day-to-day kit, I will have to have a serious think about what to do when Bowens requests the review sample back.

Fujifilm X100S

I’m coming to the end of my time with the X100S as my long-termer and for keen photographers. I can’t recommend it enough.

One thing I haven’t really touched on until now is the styling. While it may be a bit bulky for some tastes, there’s no denying it’s a stunning looking camera that oozes desirability. Complementing the design is the lovely premium finish that together makes the X100S feel that little bit special when you pick it up.

I love the way the controls are stripped down to the bare minimum, with the choice of Aperture or Sutler Priority as well as Program or Manual, while the hybrid viewfinder is a joy, though as I’ve said before, I found I used the EVF most of the time. The jewel in the crown though is the 16.3MP X-Trans APS-C CMOS sensor, and married to the super-sharp 23mm f/2 optic, delivers exceptional results. The ISO performance is just as impressive, with results at ISO 6400 a match for my full frame DSLR.

It’s not quite perfect though — while the AF’s been improved over the X100, I’d still like to see the AF snap into focus a bit quicker, while the rear screen could do with a bump in resolution.

When I first took on the X10OS I wanted to see if it would be a perfect partner to my DSLR and the answer is a resounding yes — great design, great handling and great mages. What more could you к ask for from a camera?

Sony Cyber-shot RX1

I’ve recently returned from my first major outing with the Sony RX1 — a week-long stay in the south of Spain.

When you consider the size of most full frame cameras on the market, the fact that the RXi manages to pack such a sensor into a compact body becomes even more remarkable. Where previously 1 would have had to travel with dedicated camera-carrying equipment, instead I simply placed the RXI into a padded case and slipped it into my hand luggage.

That’s not the only luxury that the RXi affords the photographer. Having a full-frame sensor combined with a fast optic means you needn’t be afraid of taking the camera out with you of an evening and getting blurry images. I found myself frequently shooting at ISO 25.600 and being amazed by the results, images aren’t noise-free, yet the noise that is visible doesn’t impinge on detail and an impressive level of sharpness is retained.

Images also exhibit a wonderful tonal range and natural colour palette at these higher ISO settings — yet another benefit of the full frame sensor.

There’s no arguing that at times I found the fixed focal length lens slightly limiting, having to zoom with my feet rather than with the lens mechanics. However, once I had returned home and loaded the images up on my computer I quickly realised that I needn’t have worried. The level of detail captured by the 24.3MP almost any camera I’ve used, and as a result I felt fully confident to substantially crop into images to create the new compositions that I would have otherwise have had to zoom to get.

So far the only real stumbling block I’ve experienced with the camera is that it costs a small fortune, although I look forward to spending more time with the RXI to see if I can discover any other faults.

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