The Photo Show 2019 Highlights

Emma, Hilary & Judith’s highlights from The Photography Show at the NEC in March 2019.

Something fun (Emma)


Fuji Instax instant prints are the Polaroids of the 21st Century. You can either get a dedicated camera, or this neat little printer to print photos direct from your phone via their app.

Approximately £150, with refills about £15 for 20.



Bag option (Judith)

When is a camera bag not a camera bag? 
This Peak Design tote bag (about £160) has moveable padded sections to hold camera bodies and lenses securely. 
There are easy access sections so that everything is accessible without taking the bag off your shoulder.
There are lots of internal areas for holding small items such as batteries. There is also a section for a laptop. 
It has adjustable straps so that it can be worn on one shoulder, as a cross-body bag or as a backpack. 
The main closure is magnetic but it also has a secure strap. 
I don’t like a large backpack, but find a normal sized camera bag is too small to hold a camera body, spare lens and all the other odds and ends I need, such as glasses, keys, purse etc.
However, what really attracts me to this bag is that it doesn’t look like something that would be used to carry expensive camera gear.

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Inside your bag option (Hilary)

Do you wish you could transport your camera and keep it safely protected without having to cart around a dedicated camera bag? Tenba’s BYOB range of inserts enable any bag to be used as a camera bag. There are a variety of sizes to accommodate different combinations of cameras and lenses but all have a soft protective shell, configurable Velcro dividers and lots of pockets around the outside for accessories. This is a BYOB 9 carrying a compact DSLR with a 50mm lens plus an 85mm lens and at the show it was a very affordable £19.00.

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Power on the go (Emma)


All the power you could ever need on the road, with a mains adaptor. Finally, a solution for how to charge your camera batteries when you’re away from the mains: Omnicharge. They claim a 3 hour recharge, and more power than you will know what to do with. They even have a solar panel charging option.

From £150, more if you get all the adaptors and higher power.


Portable lighting (Judith)

When working outside, it is not normally possible to control the light to any great extent. One solution is to use a Lumimuse LED light. There are several different pocket-sized lights (as well as larger ones), with 3, 6 or 8 LEDs (prices start at about £45). The lights can be set to several different brightness levels. 
The 8 LED version comes in two models: the higher spec model has Bluetooth technology so that it can be controlled by an iPhone, in which case the lights can be set anywhere from 1% to 100% brightness. The same light can also be controlled manually (if your phone is flat) but only to one of 4 presets.

A small lumimuse can be used to add extra light to the main subject of a photograph, such as a flower. It can also be used to illuminate the underside of flowers that tend to point down, such as snowdrops, or fungi. It can be hidden by leaves so that it doesn’t show in an image.


L-bracket (Hilary)

This is something you probably didn’t know you needed. L brackets provide a more secure method of mounting a camera on a tripod than traditional quick release plates and they allow easy swapping between landscape and portrait orientation without having to extensively recompose a shot. Ellie is a brand new L bracket made by British company 3 Legged Thing and is, like all L brackets, compatible with Arca-Swiss design tripod heads. The manufacturers claim Ellie is the most configurable and universal L bracket available today and they are confident it will fit almost any camera. There is generous access to camera side ports for cable releases and the like and enough adjustment to ensure that the battery door isn’t obstructed when the bracket is fitted. And if that wasn’t enough Ellie also has options to attach wrist or hand straps. I went for the jazzy orange colour but it’s also available in a more muted and business-like grey.  They sell for £64.99.

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Sensor dust solution (Emma)

Do you know if you have dust on your sensor? And do you know what to do about it? Take an out-of-focus shot of the sky and see if there are strange grey blobs or specks on the image. If there are, it could be dust on your sensor. (If the specks are only visible when you look through the viewfinder, then that’s a dirty viewfinder and doesn’t matter at all.)

You can take your camera to a shop to be cleaned, or you can try it yourself. make DIY sensor cleaning kits. Key points: make sure you have a fully charged battery before you start, use mirror lock-up mode (or the dedicated sensor cleaning setting), don’t scratch your sensor. They make three kinds of sensor cleaner: a blower (the one with a filter is better as you are blowing clean air into your camera), a static brush (you charge it up and it attracts dust to it meaning you barely have to touch the sensor), and a wipe system for stubborn spots (needs a confident hand - too firm and you could scratch your sensor).

This is what dust spots on a sensor look like on an image

This is what dust spots on a sensor look like on an image


Lens hood (Hilary)

A simple collapsible silicone cone to fit over your lens which enables you to take photos through glass (check out the examples on the website). The hood eliminates the usual reflections you get when shooting through glass giving much clearer images. The Ultimate Lens Hood (from £20) was the result of a 2018 Kickstarter project and is now, according to the inventor, being used all round the world. It also multitasks as, when collapsed, a place to put your equipment when changing lenses and can even be used in reverse to protect the camera against rain and splashes.

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Camera club essential (Judith)

Frith and Company for mounting board
: if you plan to enter prints in a competition or to try for a distinction, you will need to mount your work. 
Frith and Company supply a range of mount board in different colours, with or without pre-cut apertures. It is perfectly possible to cut your own apertures, and indeed it is cheaper to do so. However, if you are using standard-size prints it is also possible to buy mounts with the apertures cut for you. 
The cost per mount gets cheaper the more you buy, so it’s worth clubbing together with others to do a bulk order. 
Standard mounts are delivered free of charge within the UK; bespoke mounts are not.

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Emma Davies