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Canon 1DC - 4K for real!

Posted on: 28/01/2013 17:47:00 under News » General 

So the speculation is finally over and we have production versions of the new Canon 1DX we can get our hands on! so how have people found it so far?

I happened to bump into Philip Bloom and James Miller last week in Brighton whilst Philip was shooting his review of the camera. it was the first time any of us had seen a production camera - it was literally straight out the box that afternoon.

Whilst the weather was frankly awful and we were getting wetter and colder by the minute, Philip continued with his review going out in the sleet to get some footage (James and i sensibly stayed under cover!).

Anyhow, you can read all about it on Philip's blog. You will also find James has added to this. He has been playing with the camera over the last few days and really spending some time getting to know it.

Below are firstly Philip's review (unfortunately you will be exposed to my ugly mug at one point) and then a video from James, shot over the weekend in London. Please do feel free to click on the Vimeo link on Philip's video to donate via the Vimeo Tip Jar - always greatly appreciated - these reviews take huge amounts of time to compile.

What is clear is that even if you don't want your end result in 4K, by shooting in 4K and then downscaling to 2K, there are definitely benefits to be had in terms of the sharpness and detail in the picture.

James and I will be shooting side by side later this week with the 1DX and the 1DC with identical lenses to test this theory to the full.


Beat the January Blues - 4 days for price of 1

Posted on: 23/01/2013 13:27:00 under News » General 



So this week started off with 'Blue Monday' and there's no doubting the snow has caused endless disruption for us all. So we thought it was about time to cheer everyone up.

So book today and we'll send out your equipment for delivery before 12pm tomorrow. You can then keep it until we collect next Tuesday 29th January. All for a 1 day hire charge!


If you would like to keep the equipment until Monday 4th February, we'll only charge you the equivalent of our normal weekend hire charge extra! That's 6 more days for the price of 2!

As always, this offer is on a first come, first served basis so we would advise phoning now. Naturally we can send out tomorrow and the offer will still be valid. The earlier you book, the more days you get for free!

Standard courier charges, minimum hire fees and deposits apply. Please note that this offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other club or loyalty discounts.


Fuji expand their Pro range

Posted on: 07/01/2013 22:40:00 under News » General 

So CES in Las Vegas has kicked off for 2013.  Annoyingly it clashes with the SWPP Convention in London which means staying in Blighty this year.

So onto the first of the announcements and that's from Fujifilm.  The X10 and X100 are frankly brilliant cameras.  When the X100 first camera out, everyone stopped and stared.  Here was a retro great looking camera with bang up to date tech including that hybrid viewfinder.  That was two years ago now (where has time gone) and speculation about a replacement has been around for some time.

So what's new?  Well quite a lot, although you'd be hard pushed to tell looking at it.  The biggest news is the new X Trans sensor which is based on the same technology as found in the X-E1 and X-Pro1. I have yet to meet anyone who has used one of those cameras not to be blown away by not only the image quality and colours but also the lack of noise at high ISOs.  Well the X100s also uses a new EXR Processor II which is claimed delivers 30% less noise too.  So we should be expecting very great things from the camera.

The new processor has also given us a far quicker camera, not only in start-up time but also in shooting speeds.  Speaking of speed, Fujifilm have massively improved the autofocus and now claim the X100s has the fastest AF of any current compact.

The hybrid viewfinder was always one of the X100's party tricks but resolution has moved on and so it's great to see this has been increased from 1.44m to 2.35m dots.

If you want to focus manually, there's now focus peaking and a great new feature called Digital Split Image which overlays two images and allows you to line them up manually (bit like a Leica rangefinder).

Moving on to the new X20.  The premium compact camera market has shot up in the last year or so and you could possibly give Fujifilm a fair pat on the back for driving it along.

The X20 moves the game on from an already very impressive X10.  First up is the new optical viewfinder with a Digital Trans Panel at less than 1mm thick, it displays the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, focusing area and other shooting info in the viewfinder.

The X20 also benefits from the same X-Trans technology found in its bigger brothers, although the megapixel count is 12mp rather than 16mp (although we suspect for most people it will be more than enough due to the lack of optical low-pass filters).  Like the X100s, the new sensor is supposed to improve low light performance by 30% over its predecessor.

Autofocus has been dramatically improved with built-in Phase Detection offering AF in as little as 0.06 seconds.  It is also claimed that due to the Back-Side Illuminated sensor structure, the pixels can work in low light conditions, something that does tend to test AF systems.

The lens is a 4x zoom f/2-2.8 manual barrel zoom lens with IS that is claimed to compensate for camera shake by up to 4 stops.

We look forward to getting our hands on both these cameras.


Happy New Year from Hireacamera

Posted on: 04/01/2013 07:02:00 under News » General 

Happy New Year from Hireacamera!

We hope you have all had the most wonderful Christmas and are adjusting to being back at work again! 2012 was a superb year for us at Hireacamera and with 2013 being our 10th anniversary, we are hoping for greater things.

Firstly you'll notice we're back on the case with newsletters - these will be sent out monthly. We will also be launching a separate 'offers' mailing list that will be sent out on Thursday mornings listing the last minute equipment available - if you would like to subscribe, please click on the link below.

We are also introducing 'Gear of the Month'. This will give customers the chance to try different parts of our stock at a reduced hire charge for one month only.

There's more to come but for the moment, may we wish you a very properous New Year!

And so to our first 'Gear of the Month' promotion. The idea is simply to give our customers the chance to sample different ranges of our equipment at the very best price possible - we'll give you 20% off our normal hire rate*.

This month it's Zeiss lenses. Massively popular for video, the ZF.2 and ZE lenses also lend themselves to stills photography, offering an incredibly crisp picture. We think more photographers should try them!

If you've got a Sony E-mount camera or camcorder, why not give a ZM mount lens a try? With their combination of small form factor and exceptional quality, they lend themselves perfectly to be used with a Metabones adaptor.

* The hire period has to commence in January 2013. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, discount or loyalty scheme. Minimum hire charge of £30, normal courier charges and deposits still apply.

If it's January, that can only mean one thing - it's SWPP Convention time. This year sees a change of venue to the Hilton London Metropole on the Edgware Road in London.

You'll find us on Stands K96-100 in the Kings Suite opposite Canon. The Trade Show days are Friday 11th to Sunday 13th January.

More details can be found on the SWPP Convention Site.

Panasonic GH3 available to hire now!

The GH2 has always proved a popular camera, more for video than anything else.

Its successor, the GH3, moves the game on quite significantly and after testing it thoroughly, we can confirm that it puts certain D-SLR cameras to shame with the quite incredible video quality.

Recording at up to 72 Mbps does help. Bolt a decent lens on the front of it and prepare to be amazed!

For more details and pricing, click here.

The new Sony RX1 - we've got one!

There's not much you can say about the RX1 apart from Wow! Yes, it's a lot for a compact but consider it as a full frame camera with a VERY good prime lens and suddenly it doesn't look so bad (honest!).

The camera seems to be at its happiest when shooting at F2, giving stunning depth of field and bokeh. Low light performance is astonishing.

Yes, it's a fixed prime lens but that merely encourages you to think more about composition which surely is good thing, isn't it?

Do feel free to have a look at the full details and pricing on this camera - you know you want to!

Canon EOS C100 now in stock!

We weren't admittedly that excited when the C100 was announced but now we've had a chance to play with it, we can see a large number of 5D Mk III shooters moving to this camera in 2013.

With one touch AF, auto Iris and WB, it's as run and gun as a Super 35mm camera is going to get and don't forget it uses the same sensor as the C300.

Every Thursday we give customers the chance to try kit at 25% off the normal weekend hire charge.

This is an excellent chance to hire equipment at a massively reduced rate. We're afraid you can't book until the Thursday before the weekend to be eligible for this discount.

From this week onwards, we'll be sending out an Offers Newsletter each Thursday morning outlining what equipment is available.

Click here to Subscribe to the Offers Mailing List!

Canon EOS-6D in stock now!

We were quite keen to get out and play with the 6D when it arrived. The results are good and bad - good if you're a photographer and bad if you're into video. For stills it really is up there with the 5D Mk III. Okay its AF and metering aren't as advanced but the quality of the images is stunning.

If you're into video, it's actually remarkably similar to the 5D Mk II with moire issues. So afraid there is no cutting corners over the 5D Mk III for shooting video.

However, and it's a big however, if you just shoot stills, seriously take a look at the 6D as it's brilliant.

Have a look at the full details and pricing on the camera.


It's our great Christmas Offer!!

Posted on: 04/12/2012 14:27:00 under News » General 

Regular customers will already know of our great Christmas and New Year offer and once again it's here!

Well we've gone a little mad this year (must be the weather) and have decided to give our customers the best Christmas present we can, short of giving the equipment away (which sorry we can't do!).

Very simply, you pay only a weekend's hire and get to keep the equipment from at least Friday 14th December until Wednesday 2nd January.*

That's 19 days hire for the price of 2!!! 

This offer starts today (Friday 7th December) as of midday so it's now first come, first served!!

Rumours are we are in for some of that festive white stuff later this month - this may force us to send equipment out early to ensure it gets delivered on time. Interlink our courier company have an action plan in place and we will be working with them to ensure equipment does get delivered. If all else fails, we may well fall back on delivering ourselves where we can, like we did in 2010 (Guy did just over 3,000 miles in a week).

* Please note that we will dispatch the goods on Thursday 13th December for delivery before 12pm on Friday 14th December.  In the event of a mis-sort or any other courier delays, the equipment would be delivered on Monday 17th December.


Christmas Opening Hours

Posted on: 04/12/2012 13:01:00 under News » General 

This year we are staying open late for both the Monday and Tuesday in the last run up to Christmas. Our last day of dispatch is Wednesday 19th December. Please bear in mind that in the event of adverse conditions, we may have to move this earlier. If we do, we will also move our late nights earlier to give people the chance to ensure they can get their bookings through in time.

Our usual opening times are from Monday to Friday : 8.00am to 6.00pm.

Monday 17th December 2012 LATE NIGHT 8.00am to 8.00pm
Tuesday 18th December 2012 LATE NIGHT 8.00am to 8.00pm
Wednesday 19th December 2012 LAST DAY OF DISPATCH 8.00am to 6.00pm
Thursday 20th December 2012 LAST DAY OF DELIVERY 8.00am to 6.00pm
Friday 21st December 2012 CLOSED
Monday 24th December 2012 CLOSED
Tuesday 25th December 2012 CLOSED
Wednesday 26th December 2012 CLOSED
Thursday 27th December 2012 CLOSED
Friday 28th December 2012 CLOSED
Monday 31st December 2012 CLOSED
Tuesday 1st January 2013 CLOSED
Wednesday 2nd January 2013 FIRST DAY OF COLLECTION 8.00am to 6.00pm
Thursday 3rd January 2013 FIRST DAY OF DELIVERY 8.00am to 6.00pm


Canon C100 now in stock

Posted on: 27/11/2012 12:51:00 under News » General 

We've been getting quite excited about this camera's arrival.  For Canon SLR video shooters, especially those that have been hiring 5D Mk III's, this camera is really a no-brainer.  It's only a tiny bit more to hire AND you get all the sound equipment built in so no separate recorder.

It shares the same Super 35mm sensor as its bigger brother, the EOS-C300 so picture quality is a given (love the look the C300 gives you).  Yes it records to AVCHD and not at 50mbs but for a lot of applications AVCHD is more than good enough and if it isn't, just bolt a Ninja 2 straight on top!

Demand is already quite high as supply of these EOS-C100's is pretty low so we're getting through stock at a trickle.  But we do have it now available for hire.  Feel free to find out more about it on our detailed product page!


Come and see us in London tomorrow!

Posted on: 19/11/2012 09:08:00 under News » General 

Tomorrow sees us at the last Photovision Roadshow of the year to be held at the ILC Conference Centre in Earls Court, London.  If you are attending, please pop over and say hi!


Canon announces new IS lens duo

Posted on: 09/11/2012 11:42:00 under News » Website 

Canon have this week announced two new IS lenses - the EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM and EF35mm f/2 IS USM. Both lenses use Canon's Image Stabilizer (IS) technology and Ultrasonic Motors for fast AF.
Details of both from Canon are below -

EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM – high performance, high flexibility, Hybrid IS
The EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM is the latest model in Canon’s elite L-series of pro lenses, and expands the range of standard zoom EF lenses available for photographers. Ideal for reportage and wedding photography, the zoom lens combines an essential ‘every day’ focal range with a premium quality L-series construction to deliver consistently sharp, professional-quality stills in a range of different situations. The new macro function optimises the placement of lens groups for macro photography, allowing shooting at a maximum magnification of 0.7x – thus reducing the need to carry a dedicated macro lens.

Its first-class optical system includes two aspherical elements alongside two Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) lenses, each with optimised Super Spectra Coatings to minimise chromatic aberration, colour blurring and flare. A constant f/4 aperture throughout the zoom range provides photographers with exceptional creative control, allowing blurring of the background of a scene at all focal lengths. A nine-blade circular iris also assists photographers in making their subjects stand out, delivering beautiful out-of-focus highlights (bokeh) in the background blur to add atmosphere to a shot.

The EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM also features a newly designed IS system, to deliver blur-free images throughout the zoom range. Canon’s advanced optical IS offers a 4-stop light advantage, while Hybrid IS effectively compensates for angular and shift shake during macro shooting for stable close-ups.

Super-fast AF performance is provided by a small, ring-type Ultrasonic Motor (USM). Working in combination with a high-performance CPU and advanced AF algorithms, USM technology enables accurate, silent and ultra-responsive autofocusing. Full-time manual focusing also that ensures adjustments can be made even when AF is engaged.

The EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM zoom has a revised shape to ensure ease-of-use with the focusing and zoom rings designed for easy and optimal operation. The lens has a dust- and drip-proof construction and a lock function stops the lens slipping out when being carried, thus preventing any possible lens barrel damage. Fluorine coating minimises the amount of dust, dirt and fingerprints that adhere to the front and rear lenses – helping to maintain superior image quality and reduce the need for cleaning.

EF35mm f/2 IS USM – a wider look at the world
The new EF35mm f/2 IS USM lens is designed to offer outstanding flexibility – allowing photographers to capture an even broader range of scenes and subjects. It is Canon’s first-ever 35mm prime lens to feature optical Image Stabilizer technology, which combines with high quality optics to offer outstanding performance. The 35mm focal length also provides the ability to capture everything from close-up portraits to landscapes, making it an ideal companion for travel or general reportage photography.

A bright, fixed f/2 aperture also allows photographers to employ a shallow depth-of-field, and optical IS offers users a 4-stop light advantage, allowing the photographer to minimise camera shake when shooting hand-held in low light conditions. Intelligent detection of panning motion is also supported, with the panning IS mode automatically engaged to enable photographers to capture movement with greater accuracy.


Introducing the new Sony F5 and F55

Posted on: 30/10/2012 22:17:00 under News » General 

Today Sony announced the new PMW-F5 and PMW-F55 cameras and blimey, they have really delivered and thrown down the gauntlet to the competition! The F55 is probably outside of our normal remit but with the success in hire of the Canon EOS-C300 and Sony NEX-FS700, the PMW-F5 most certainly isn't and we can see it being incredibly popular.

So what's it all about? Well, I bumped into Den Lennie from F-Stop Academy this morning at the Sony London Roadshow so out came his NEX-FS100 and we shot an interview with Sony's Sebastien Leske.

For more information on the cameras, take a moment to have a look at Sony's detailed release.


Clean HDMI coming for 5D Mk III

Posted on: 24/10/2012 12:03:00 under News » General 

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III moved video performance on from the Mark II in many ways (once we realised that the soft image could be sharpened in post!).  However one huge moan was the lack of clean HDMI, especially as the Nikon D800 and D4's (and now more recently the new Sony A99) provide it.

It would seem Canon have decided to finally answer our prayers and announced a Firmware Update will be made available in April 2013 that will allow the 5D Mk III to output high-definition uncompressed 4:2:2 8 bit data without any embedded symbols or graphics.  Time coding will also be output over HDMI to an external recorder such as the Atomos Ninja (or indeed the Ninja 2's we will shortly be stocking).

For still users, there is also an improvement to AF performance with the camera's central dual cross-type focal points now working up to a maximum f/8 aperture rather than the f/5.6 available at the moment.

Clearly, as soon as the update is available, all of our cameras will be updated.


Canon announces firmware update for EOS-1DX

Posted on: 18/10/2012 10:21:00 under News » General 

The Canon EOS-1D X is, we think, a stunning camera but not being able to shoot at  f/8 was a massive issue for some and the debate as to why Canon didn't allow the camera to do so has continued to go on.  Thankfully this has been fixed with their latest firmware update!  They have also illuminated AF points so you now have red blinking again!

More details below from Canon's official release.

Performance redefined - Canon enables auto focus at f/8 for the EOS-1D X with new Firmware 1.1.1

United Kingdom, Republic Of Ireland, 18th October 2012 - Canon today announces a new firmware update for its acclaimed EOS-1D X professional digital SLR is now available, offering new functionality and improved performance to professional photographers. Developed in response to direct feedback from photographers around the world, Firmware v1.1.1 improves the scope and performance of the AF function and introduces minor fixes to offer professional photographers the ability to capture stunning images more easily in all conditions.

New functionality; enhanced performance
During AI Servo AF shooting in low light, viewfinder information is now illuminated, with the AF points blinking intermittently in red, allowing them to be easily confirmed whilst shooting, without affecting the metering of the scene.

Getting closer to the action is also even easier, with the firmware update allowing photographers to use extenders to increase the focal length of their super telephoto lenses, whilst maintaining the use of AF to capture a crisp, clear shot. Enabling the utilisation of telephoto zoom L series lenses plus extender, the centre AF point (one cross-type with four supporting points) can now be used to auto focus at a maximum aperture of f/8.

The firmware update v 1.1.1 is released for cameras with current firmware up to v 1.0.6. Firmware update v 1.1.1 is available to download now from: http://software.canon-europe.com


Canon EOS-1D X Firmware v1.1.1 – new features:

Auto focus with f/8

Illuminated AF points and viewfinder information in AI Servo AF mode


Canon EOS-1D X Firmware v1.1.1– fixes:

Corrects a phenomenon where the metering value of the AE sensor becomes abnormal, affecting the final image

Corrects a phenomenon where Error 70 may occur during AEB shooting

Corrects a phenomenon where the firmware of the lenses cannot be updated normally

Minor corrections to Arabic menu


Canon EOS-1D X – key features:

18.1 MP full frame CMOS sensor

Up to 12fps and 14fps shooting

100-51200 ISO, up to H:204800

61 point AF system

100,000 pixel RGB AE metering with DIGIC 4

Full HD 1080p EOS movie

Dual “DIGIC 5+” processors

Clear View II 8.11 cm (3.2”) 1040k-dot LCD

Ethernet port


GoPro announces new Hero 3 cameras

Posted on: 17/10/2012 06:28:00 under News » General 


GoPro has today announced the launch of three new Hero 3 cameras - the Black, Silver and White.

Headlining the range is the GoPro Hero 3 Black which is now capable of shooting at 4K at 15fps, 2.7K at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps (we assume 50fps will be available at launch over here), 1440p at 48fps, 960p at 100fps and 720p at 120fps!! The camera can also shoot 12 megapixel stills at 30fps!

Low light performance is said to have improved two fold over the Hero 2 and the sound has been completely redesigned to improve capture.

Wi-Fi is now built-in so there's no need for the BacPac box anymore and the camera will work directly with the GoPro app that was launched last week.

Physically, the GoPro Hero 3 is 30% smaller and 20% lighter than the Hero 2.

The two other Hero 3 models are the Silver and White Editions. The Silver Edition is basically a Hero 2 and the White Edition is the budget offering.

One other new feature is the new LCD display which is now touchscreen and offers better quality.

EDIT - So here are the official features of GoPro's site!

Smaller, lighter and 2X more powerful, again.
The Wi-Fi enabled HERO3: Black Edition is the most advanced GoPro, ever. No expense was spared during its development, resulting in a GoPro that is 30% smaller, 25% lighter and 2x more powerful than previous models. Wearable and gear mountable, waterproof to 197' (60m), capable of capturing ultra-wide 1440p 48fps, 1080p 60 fps and 720p 120 fps video and 12MP photos at a rate of 30 photos per second, the HERO3: Black Edition is the world's most versatile camera. Built-in Wi-Fi, GoPro App compatibility and the included Wi-Fi Remote (normally a separate $79.99 accessory) make the HERO3: Black Edition all the more versatile, still.

Smaller, Lighter...Better
Weighing in at a scant 2.6 ounces, the HERO3: Black Edition is 25% lighter and 30% smaller than previous models.

2X Faster Video Performance
The HERO3: Black Edition captures professional, cinema-quality video at 2X the resolution and 2X the frame-rate of previous models while delivering 2X better low light performance. Slow-motion aficionados and industry professionals will love the HERO3: Black Edition's 1080p-60, 720p-120, WVGA-240, 960p-100 and 1440p-48 video modes while those desiring a cinematic look will appreciate the ultra-high resolution 2.7kp-24 and 4kp-12 (Protune only) video modes.

3X Faster Photo Performance
The HERO3: Black Edition's photo performance is 3X improved, now boasting 12MP burst capture at a staggering 30 frames per second with 2X better low light performance compared to previous models. Still Photo and Time-lapse Photo modes remain the same but are now joined by a new Continuous Photo mode that captures continuous 12MP stills at a steady 3, 5, or 10 photo-per-second rate, up to 30 photos at a time.

Improved Sharpness, Less Distortion
The HERO3's reduced-distortion, 6-element aspherical lens combines with user-selectable Ultra-wide, Medium and Narrow field-of-views to deliver more perspective-capture options than ever before. Add the totally updated flat-lens waterproof housing that delivers stunning image sharpness both above and below water and you've got one of the most powerful and durable image capture solutions on the planet.

Redesigned Audio System
Understanding that sound quality is as important as image quality, GoPro engineers completely redesigned the HERO3 to be as adept at capturing the subtle, natural sounds of voice and music as it is at capturing the immersive sounds of sport. Also improved is GoPro's already famous wind-noise reduction, ensuring that you'll hear more of your passion, be it your engine or expletives, and less of the wind during high speed activities.

Built-in Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi Remote Included)
The HERO3 Black Edition features built-in Wi-Fi and includes GoPro's Wi-Fi Remote accessory. The Wi-Fi Remote is normally available as a $79.99 accessory but is included with the HERO3: Black Edition. The Wi-Fi Remote is waterproof, wearable and can control up to 50 Wi-Fi-enabled GoPros at a time from a range of 600'. The HERO3's built in Wi-Fi means it can also be controlled by iOS or Android smartphones and tablets running the GoPro App. The GoPro App enables full camera control and live scene preview on any compatible iOS or Android smartphone or tablet.


Samyang Cine Lenses now available

Posted on: 04/10/2012 16:04:00 under News » General 

Samyang have been producing DSLR lenses for a while now - whilst we haven't had them on our hire stock, I've had a few that I've used for personal use and I've been really impressed with their performance for the money.

They have now produced three lenses for their 'Cine' range - a 14mm T3.1, 24mm T1.5 and 35mm T1.5. A 8mm T3.8 and 85mm T1.5 will be available shortly.

These lenses have been developed primarily for movie making purposes and feature follow focus gearing and a decoupled aperture. Both adjust really smoothly.

You'll also find the aperture and focus scales have been moved from the top to the side of lens making it easier when mounted on a rig and you're viewing from the side.

We have them available in both Nikon and Canon mounts. Links to them can be found below -


The world is ever-changing and the camera industry is no exception. High end compact cameras and interchangeable micro system cameras have moved on at one hell of a rate and now offer not seen before quality. We have vastly expanded our range of these cameras, simply out of requests from customers, and we are determined to continue to offer the most comprehensive range of them in the UK.

Most of our regulars use SLRs for their day jobs because they are the most effective way of doing their job. However, sometimes size can be a factor and there is no doubting the incredible interest in what these smaller cameras can achieve.  Let's be honest - who doesn't want to have a play?!

We have decided to give even more people the chance to try these cameras. As of today, anyone who is a Loyalty Card holder (Blue, Silver or Gold) is eligible for a 25% discount off the hire of any cameras in our Compact, Micro System or Rangefinder ranges. We will also apply that discount to lenses in this range - this covers Leica, Zeiss ZM, Sony E Mount, Fuji X Mount and Micro 4/3rds mount. This discount is over and above your Loyalty discount so Gold members will be getting nearly 40% off the normal hire charge!

Why are we doing this? Simply because most of these cameras are not cheap and very hard to justify from a commercial point of view as a photographer. We want to say a big thank you for your loyalty to us and hopefully this should give you more a chance to get your hands on them to try!

We recently added the Zeiss ZM range of manual lenses that can be used with adaptors on a wide range of mounts. Our Leica range is due to expand with the arrival of the M camera early next year and more lenses. For Fuji fans, we have the new X-E1 arriving shortly and will be stocking new lenses as they are launched. Sony have announced the new RX1 which will be available in December - a full frame 35mm sensor in a compact camera - bonkers!

Sigma have produced the DP1 Merrill and DP2 Merrill, both containing Sigma's 46mp Foveon sensor.

And we're not stopping there. We will continue to expand the range and are currently looking at stocking the Olympus OMD system - we would appreciate customer feedback on this.

So go on, treat yourself. Just promise you'll send them back!


Date for the diary - Brands Hatch

Posted on: 01/10/2012 11:59:00 under News » General 

If you're based in the South East, feel free to pop along and say 'Hi' at the Photovision Roadshow at Brands Hatch on 23rd October.  For more details, click on the image above!


Come and see us in Southampton!

Posted on: 01/10/2012 11:54:00 under News » General 

Next week sees us in Southampton for the Photovision Roadshow - for more details, click on the picture above.  Look forward to seeing you there!


Photokina Report Pt 2 - Fuji

Posted on: 26/09/2012 13:35:00 under News » General 

Our next trip was to Fujifilm's stand. Fuji have really moved the game on with their X Series of cameras. If you're not familiar with them, they have a website dedicated to them.

The first new camera we saw was the XF1. This is a stunningly pretty compact using the same sensor as the X10 and featuring a fast f/1.8 lens with a 4x zoom (25-100mm at 35mm.

Whilst it isn't something we will be putting on our hire stock, there is no doubting that all the girls would like one in the office. You can find out more details about the camera in our XF1 blog post.

Fuji just seem to have a knack of producing beautiful products and whilst the selector wall was a bit of fun on the stand, it was also a very clever way of getting feedback about not only what designs people liked but also the reaction to personalising camera exterior design going forward - very smart.

So we move onto our good old friend, the X-Pro 1. It's no secret that we are hugely biased towards this camera as I simply love it. However, it most certainly wasn't perfect with the chief culprit being slow AF (and in fact no AF in poor light conditions). I also found when using the M Mount adaptor with any manual lenses, it was impossible to focus as the expanded focus was so great, you couldn't hold the camera still enough to have a hope of focusing!

During Photokina, Fujifilm announced their Version 2 firmware upgrade. We all knew it was coming but I don't think anyone knew quite how much better it was going to be. I timed the difference between the AF speed before and after firmware update and I'm not joking when I say that it has been cut by half. Secondly the minimum distance for focusing without having to switch to macro has also been reduced. Better still for someone like me that does like using a manual lens or two, the expanded focus has been decreased to a perfectly acceptable scale now. Finally processing has been speeded up as well.

It's turned the X-Pro 1 into an even better camera now and one that really everyone should try. We bought one as customers wanted to try it with a view to having it for 'playtime'. The reality is that I know of two clients that are using them full time now for Pro work along with their SLRs. If you haven't tried one, you really should! You can find out more details on the camera on our detailed product page.

So now the X-Pro 1 has a little brother - the X-E1. This is Fuji's smaller and more affordable offering in the interchangeable X family but don't think for a moment its spec has been compromised.

The sensor is the same 16.3 million pixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor as in the X-Pro 1. I've already mentioned previously how good this sensor is - because it doesn't have an optical low pass filter, the image you get off it is quite beautifiul and low light performance is astonishingly good. Put simply it is as good as some larger full frame sensors.

You will immediately notice that the viewfinder on the X-E1 is different. The X-E1 uses an electronic viewfinder only, rather than the hybrid system on the X-Pro 1. I'm not a huge fan of the electronic viewfinder on the X-Pro 1 - I tend to leave the camera on optical viewfinder unless shooting with manual lenses or in macro - BUT the X-E1 EVF is really good indeed with a 2.36m dot panel (as opposed to 1.44m dot panel on X-Pro 1). Sony really started the trend with OLED EVF's with the A77 and NEX-7. I have heard rumours that it is in fact the same OLED as in the Sony NEX-6 - would make a lot of sense as it's a damn good one. Being a glasses wearer I sometimes struggle to view the whole viewfinder on the X-Pro 1, especially if using the wide 18mm lens. The X-E1 seems to allow me to view the whole EVF without struggling.

Using the X-E1, it seems very slick indeed. As as X-Pro 1 user, all the controls seem very familiar but I watched new users on the stand very quickly get to grips with the controls.

I'm not going to talk about the quality of the photos as naturally they will be the same as the X-Pro 1 and it's clear what my opinion of that already is!

So who will this appeal to? Welll it's a fair chunk cheaper than the X-Pro 1 which I know was just a bit of out most people's range so hopefully should introduce a whole new raft of customers to the X Interchangeable family. Getting access to that sensor for less money can only be good news for everyone. Losing the hybrid viewfinder for most will not be an issue. I love it because I also have a rangefinder Leica camera and so enjoy shooting that way and the extra framing opportunities it gives you but it's not for everyone - I know of a few people that cannot get on with it.

We'll be stocking the X-E1 from the end of October. I really urge people to try it - just be prepared to go and buy one afterwards as you'll miss it once it's gone!

So let's move onto new lenses. Most users will know of the three current lenses available, the 18mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4 and 60mm f/2.4 Macro. Each has its own place for me and whilst it was a great launch line-up, Fujifilm have been keen to increase the choices.

First out the blocks is s a new wide angle 14mm f2.8 lens. It doesn't sound that much wider than the 18mm f/2 but it is usually wider (21mm equiv) and I can see people using it for interiors and landscapes. I got to have a play with it and expanding right in on playback on the LCD, it looked pretty sharp.

More interesting for me was the 18-55mm f2.8-4 OIS zoom lens. This gives a 35mm equivalent focal length of 27mm to 84mm, which as anyone who uses a 24-70mm f2.8 lens on Canon or Nikon will tell you, is a very useful range. Having image stablization can only help in more challenging conditions. I love the way the frame changes in size when you're using it on the X-Pro 1 in optical viewfinder mode - just incredibly slick.

We should have both lenses available around the beginning of November.

So next year we have more X lenses on the way from not only Fuji but also Zeiss and indeed SLR Magic were showing two primes that will now bolt on.

This is great news for any X series camera user - 2013 is going to be a very good year!




Photokina Report Pt 1 - Zeiss

Posted on: 24/09/2012 06:58:00 under News » General 

So the crazyness that is Photokina has now passed and with a weekend behind me, I've had time to reflect on what a manic week it was.

Monday night saw me co-presenting on www.cameradiner.com 's first live broadcast. Camera Diner is a new website set up by ex Sony supremo Paul Genge. What Paul doesn't know about the photo industry isn't worth knowing and whilst, if you cut him in two, you'd probably find an Alpha sign in there somewhere, he's enthusiastic about other makes of cameras as well. He broadcasted every night of Photokina live. Sadly due to work and meetings, I didn't get to see them all.

So off to the show and to Zeiss. It's no secret we have significantly increased our stock of Zeiss lenses recently and there's a very good reason for this - our customers love them! We now stock a comprehensive range in ZF.2, ZE and ZM formats.

We knew Zeiss were going to be announcing some new releases for 2013 and here they are. I was fortunate enough to bump into Dr. Michael Pollman who is the Consumer Lenses Product and Program Manager for the Camera Lenses Division.

First off the blocks and great news for Fuji X and Sony NEX users are the new family of AF lenses for Mirrorless System Cameras. Initially three primes are in development - 12mm f2.8, 32mm f1.8 and 50mm f2.8 macro. Further prime lenses are planned and zoom lenses are still being considered. These lenses are for Sony E mount and Fuji X mount only - there will not be a Micro 4/3rds offering, certainly not initially. Both mounts will be offered with autofocus with slight differences - the E mount lenses will also be offered with manual focus (good news for movie shooting). The X mount lenses will interestingly also come with a manual aperture setting.

Will they be as heavy as existing Zeiss glass? Zeiss say that they have tried to continue the theme of the top end mirrorless system cameras by offering high quality as lightly as possible so where they consider metal not to be needed, it has not been used.

So we then move onto Zeiss' new high-end full frame SLR lens. This is aimed at getting the best out of high resolution full frame SLRs such as the D800. We know only too well that at full resolution the camera is quite capable of showing up any lens flaws and Zeiss claim that by matching that sensor with a much higher quality lens, it is possible to produce performance approaching medium format systems.

This one lens shown, the Distagon T* 1,4/55, will grow into a family of lenses to be offered in both ZE and ZF.2 mounts. Price wise, they won't cheap at around £2,500 but if you can get close to medium format results for under £5k when combined with a D800, as Zeiss claim, then perhaps it is good value. Zeiss are saying the lens will be available around Autumn 2013 but I got the feeling this was a worst case scenario.

Zeiss also announced the Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 lens. The longest lens we stock at the moment is the Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2. The Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 is now gives both photographers and movie shooters the extra reach a telephoto lens offers. The lens features eleven elements in eight groups and is built using Zeiss' 'floating elements' design. As the lens is apochromatic (that's the Apo in its name), chromatic aberrations are corrected with elements of special glass materials with anomalous partial dispersion and thus well below defined limits. One thing to note (and anyone that's tried to pull focus on a 70-200mm lens shooting movies will know this), the lens has a large rotation angle of 268 degrees for the focus ring so pulling precise focus is a great deal easier. 

If you want to know more about the lens, have a look at Zeiss' own video, showing Michael Schielen, Director of Sales for the Camera Lens Division, explaining the lens is greater detail.

The lens should be available some time around December this year. We have just ordered them in both ZE and ZF.2 mount and will have them up on the website shortly.

So a busy year ahead for Zeiss.  We will be stocking the newer lenses as and when they become available. 



Panasonic announce the GH3

Posted on: 17/09/2012 12:09:00 under News » General 

Well this was no great surprised as details had already been leaked the end of last week but here are the press release details in full.

Building on the prestige of the LUMIX GH2, new LUMIX G addition takes professional videography to the next level in a portable interchangeable lens camera
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Sept 17, 2012: Panasonic today launches the LUMIX GH3, its most powerful and versatile Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM) interchangeable lens camera yet, featuring incredible video and picture quality in a ruggedly elegant and compact design. Offering expert control for videographers and photographers alike, the state-of-the-art LUMIX GH3 delivers crisp images and videos with a 16.05-megapixel Live MOS sensor combined with the incredible processing power of Venus Engine in a portable 550 grammes compact body (incl. battery and SD card). With an exceptionally fast and accurate auto-focus, engineered for precision control and professional results in any situation, you’ll always capture the action with absolute detail.

Clarity and control for beautiful video quality:
The new LUMIX GH3, the latest addition to Panasonic’s LUMIX G ecosystem, pushes the boundaries of video quality from an interchangeable lens camera. The LUMIX GH3’s sensor advances mean that you can take complete control of stunningly clear 1080 50p Full HD AVCHD video with a video bitrate of 28 Mbps or you can shoot MOV1 videos with 72Mbps in ALL-I.
Even in low light conditions, you can pick out all the detail to give you breath-taking cinematic quality thanks to an ISO range between ISO 200 to ISO 12800 as standard, or even between ISO 125 to ISO 25600 with an extension function.
Whether you’re filming an interview or an action sequence, multiple high-quality video file outputs - including MP4, MOV and AVCHD - mean you’ll always have the right tools for the task at hand to quickly and conveniently transfer and edit your work. In addition, the all indexed video option without compression means you’ll never need to compromise.
Full-time AF, AF Tracking and Face Recognition AF are all available in video mode, allowing you to ensure the focus stays on a subject or face, even if they move around.

Professional quality on the move:
Ready for adventure, from filming a remote village to shooting insects under the darkness of the jungle canopy, the lightweight and compact LUMIX GH3 is weather sealed and ready to take on the challenges with you – the classically designed and easy-to-grip chassis is both splashproof and dustproof. You’ll always capture beautiful and authentic colours driven by the 16.05-megapixel Live MOS sensor and enhanced 3DNR (3D Noise Reduction) and MNR (Multi-process Noise Reduction).
The LUMIX GH3 features ultra-high-speed and precise Light Speed AF, making it possible to capture even the most fast-moving subject with utmost clarity and accuracy. Burst shooting – at 6 fps in full resolution and 20 fps in 4-megapixel recording – means professionals can get the perfect shot, even when they’re on the move.
The powerful and versatile LUMIX GH3 is also compatible with all the accessories you would expect. It features a sync socket for studio lighting rigs as well as a range of pro-friendly accessories including noise-reduction directional microphone for exceptionally focused sound which can easily be plugged into the 3.5mm microphone jack. For longevity and even more flexibility, the new LUMIX GH3 battery grip means you can shoot for longer and benefit from the additional weight to get you more stability when you need it. For more creative control, the LUMIX GH3 vertical grip means you can make precise changes and take the perfect shot.

See the world in a different way:
Take shots no-one else can get - the lightweight design means you can comfortably carry the LUMIX GH3 anywhere and still take stunning pictures and videos. Choose how you frame shots - compose the scene with poise and precision using the high resolution 614k pixel 3.0-inch free-angle OLED screen, or use the 1,744K OLED viewfinder for a traditional shooting experience. The LUMIX GH3’s silent shutter means you’ll never be distracted or disturb the scene, and always capture the action just as it was.

GH3 - Product Details
Freedom to shoot and share:
Connecting you to the world, the intelligent built-in Wi-Fi integration gives you shooting freedom and unleashes a new versatility in professional photography and videography. You can collaborate with colleagues instantly as they review shots from moments ago being streamed to your office PCs with remote browsing via your smartphone or tablet. Meanwhile the LUMIX Link smartphone / tablet app for Android and iOS gives you remote control of the camera’s functions including the shutter, enabling you to take photos even when you’re not touching the camera.
Now you don’t have to worry about carrying data transfer cables with you everywhere, as you effortlessly and quickly back-up and share photos to the cloud with LUMIX CLUB Cloud Sync Service. Saving you time and effort after a long day shooting, the LUMIX GH3 can detect trusted Wi-Fi connections, such as your home network, and sync your photos and videos directly to the cloud.

Be part of the LUMIX G microsystem:
Ichiro Kitao, Director Imaging Network Business Unit and head of Panasonic’s global Digital Still Camera business, says: “The LUMIX G ecosystem has constantly pushed the boundaries of innovation and the LUMIX GH3 marks another significant step forward for the industry. The range and depth of features combined with an intuitive user experience make the LUMIX GH3 a powerful and versatile tool for professionals and serious amateurs alike. Those looking for a premium interchangeable lens camera will enjoy using the LUMIX GH3. The video capture is exceptional, and pictures quality is sublime – we’re incredibly proud of the innovation in the LUMIX GH3.”
As part of the LUMIX G system, the LUMIX GH3 will provide you with access to the world’s largest range of Micro Four Thirds lenses (17) and accessories, making sure you have the right set-up to capture every moment. These include Panasonic’s new high-quality weather sealed LUMIX G X series 12-35mm and 35-100mm lenses, offering pinpoint sharpness and F2.8 brightness throughout the zoom ranges, with a premium and rugged design.

LUMIX GH3: Key Features
• Outstanding quality from a DSLM: With a new 16.05-megapixel Live MOS sensor; the Venus Engine image processor; and high sensitivity image recording even at ISO 12800 or ISO 25600 in extended mode, the LUMIX GH3 delivers incredible video and photo quality, even in low-light situations
• Adaptable and always ready: Weighing just 550 grammes (incl. battery and SD card), the lightweight design means the LUMIX GH3 is highly portable, and the enhanced auto-focus captures action as it unfolds
• Versatile and flexible: The LUMIX GH3 offers 1080 50p Full HD recording in a range of video file formats, with all footage indexed to give you complete control over editing without compromising on quality
• Powerful and easy to use: The LUMIX GH3 features a redesigned and intuitive user interface, making it easier than ever to push your own creativity to new levels and shoot sublime pictures and video. It also provides easy sharing and transferring of content thanks to its built in WIFI functionality
• Stylish yet robust: The sophisticated design of the LUMIX GH3 complements the advanced technology, and is weather sealed so it is always ready for adventure. The LUMIX GH3 offers beautiful craftsmanship without compromising on utility, with a bright and vivid 3.0 inch OLED screen and sockets for professional grade equipment

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