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The overlooked essential of the photographers kit.


You have done all the research, talked to your photographer friends and specialists. You spend sleepless nights on your computer flicking from page to page comparing megapixels, ISO, zoom and sensor sizes. A decision is made after months of research and you walk away with your camera purchase happy as larry…you then chuck your precious cargo into your unsupported rucksack along with your lunch and keys.

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Unfortunately, this is all too common for the keen photographer and I am guilty of this sin. You may think a bag is just a bag to hold everything in one place, but it is so much more than that. Tripods fall under the same prejudice. A tripod is used for steadying the camera and what really is the difference between a metal stick with three legs? Surely they all do the same thing?! Yes, you are correct. They ARE designed to do the same thing, but there is a massive difference between a £30 tripod and a £200 one.

Let me take you on a journey through the jungle that is our bag and tripod area and explain why doing your groundwork for these items are just as important as your camera research.

I recently went on a trip to the Farne Islands. A bird photographers paradise. Terns, cormorants, puffins and guillemots to name a few, reside on this small island and I could spend all day there. You take a 1-hour boat trip to Farne and if its windy expect to be soaked in salt water! You are walking around the island and need quick access to your range of lenses for flying shots, portrait and wide-angle photos. A secure sturdy and comfortable camera bag is ESSENTIAL. A rucksack would not cut it.

Here are some Artic terns and puffins for anyone who likes birds.

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My bag of choice is the Lowepro flipside 400AW. (We do not stock this bag anymore, but click here to see a similar design) It is designed to hold heavy equipment with full support around the waist for long walks. I felt comfortable all day, even with a Canon 80D, Canon 15-85mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM, Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L mkii, Tokina 11-16 f2.8, Canon 100mm f2.8 L Macro, a water bottle and lunch! It has a hidden compartment for a waterproof case (brilliant for the salt water spray) and big enough to comfortably fit all my equipment. My lunch was kept in a separate area so as not to dirty my rental lenses! I never felt weighed down by the bag on my back, leaving me to concentrate on what was important (taking photos)

 

Starting out, I used my standard rucksack. This was never good enough. All my equipment collected at the bottom, putting strain on my back and shoulders. There were no compartments for other accessories meaning that my poor cameras LCD screen took the brunt of my bundle of keys. Most importantly, a standard rucksack does not have the padding designed for expensive electronic equipment. When you are constantly changing lenses and exploring, your bag will take the strain of the elements. Wind, rain, snow, rocks, accidental falls, the end of the world – your bag will go through a-lot. A good quality bag will be hard-wearing and strong, lasting through all your adventures. Doing your research will save headaches in the future.

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If we had to buy our skulls to protect our brains (the organ that holds all our precious memories) would we compensate on price? If your photography is important to you, why compensate?

Just because I work at Castle Cameras does not mean I have all the handy equipment. I will be honest. I don’t own a tripod. I find it easier to handhold for fast quick shots and find tripods a bit cumbersome to carry and set-up. I may need to change my attitude to this. My friend came with me to the Farne Islands and bought with her a Manfrotto 190X. At the time I scoffed at the idea of carrying the heavy aluminium tripod when most birds were diving and flying suitable only (I thought) for handheld photography. However, my friend found an area to set up, saw the birds coming in to land and used her tripod to pan the camera and get some excellent sharp flying birds with her Canon 300mm f4 L. This action saved her arms from the heavy weight of the 300mm and eliminated any extra shake from the hand. Although I am pleased with the images I got, I feel that a tripod would have given me that extra edge. Because she set up her equipment and quietly stayed in one place most of the time, she had the opportunity to capture a herring gull attacking a small tern chick and one competition worthy photo of its head in the gulls mouth! As I was moving around, I lost these opportunities.
Patience is a virtue and having a tripod would have compelled me to wait and capture a potentially amazing scene.

A sturdy tripod with the facility to extend the legs horizontally (for any macro work) is a great piece of kit. A cheaper tripod would be made of plastic rather than aluminium or carbon fibre. (Therefore not as stable) The three legs would be connected, moving in unison and limiting the capabilities when out in the field. There are a variety of tripod heads for different uses – ball head, tilt head, 3 way head, fluid head, among others. At the budget end you wont get a choice of head as they are usually attached to the legs. As you go up the scale the heads become an option and are usually much more fluid in movement. So for any video or panning work you get a very steady shot

Choice is something we are privileged to have, but it can create mayhem in our minds! When you round the corner at Castle Cameras you will be blown away by what we have in store. However if you are trying to choose the best bag or tripod for you we are always here to help and advise.

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If you have already spent a small fortune on your new camera, then check out our clearance offers this week. Good quality items at reduced rates – to help the purse strings but still making sure your camera and photography get the best help out in the big wide world.

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Panasonic GX80 – Pre-order and get a FREE street photography workshop with Damien Demoulder


Panasonic are launching an incredible promotion today. Pre-order a Panasonic GX80 and get a FREE street photography workshop with Damien Demoulder worth £120!

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The recently announced GX80 will be available late may from £509, you can pre-order yours here

Full specs shown below:

Panasonic DMC-GX80

Pre-order the brand new DMC-GX60 today! 

Body only £509

Black with 12-32m lens £599

Black with 12-32mm and 35-100mm lenses £729

  • 4K recording capability – 4K video, 4K PHOTO and Post Focus
  • 5-Axis Dual I.S. (Image Stabilizer) to be free from any type of blur
  • True-to-life high quality images with Live MOS sensor and Venus Engine
  • High speed response and practical AF/MF options
  • Intuitive control for operational comfort
  • Photo Style and Focus /Aperture Bracket for more creative photography
  • 16 mp with no low-pass filter
  • 2.8mp OLED EVF
  • Power: Lithium-ion battery included
  • Dimensions, body only: 12.2W x 7.06H x 4.39D cm
  • Weight, body only: 426 g

LUMIX GX80 is capable of recording 4K video in 3840×2160 at 25p or 24p in MP4. Thanks to this 4K technology, you can capture unmissable moments with 8-megapixel equivalent resolution 4K PHOTO at 30fps. Optimal mode is selectable from 4K Burst, 4K Burst S/S (Start/Stop) or 4K Pre-burst depending on the situation. Furthermore, the Post Focus function enables you to select in-focus area even after shooting. It is helpful in situations like macro shooting where severe focusing is required or for changing expressions by changing focused subject.

5-Axis Dual I.S. (Image Stabilizer) is more effective suppression of blur. Combining a Lens Image Stabilizer and a Body Image Stabilizer, this compensates for a larger movement which was conventionally uncontrollable, making it possible to use 4-step* slower shutter speed. You can enjoy blur-free photo / video shooting from wide to tele, even in low light situations. * Based on the CIPA standard [Yaw/Pitch direction: focusing distance f=50mm (35mm film camera equivalent f=100mm), when H-FS14140 is used.]

LUMIX GX80 achieves crisp, high resolution image in detail with high contrast, impressive colour reproduction. Removing the Low Pass Filter of the Digital Live MOS Sensor, the limiting resolution is improved while Venus Engine suppress generation of moire. The Venus Engine reproduces vibrant, impressive color for such as clear sky by dividing hue, saturation, and luminosity, and finely adjusts them separately. Thanks to an electromagnetic drive in the shutter unit, the shock caused by the movement of shutter diaphragm is dramatically reduced.

Contrast AF in LUMIX GX80 features DFD (Depth from Defocus) technology* and digital signal communication at max. 240fps. It excels in both speed and accuracy, and achieves ultra-high speed AF of approx. 0.07 sec** and high speed burst shooting at 8fps (AFS) / 6fps (AFC). A variety of extensive AF functions including Face/Eye Detection AF, Pinpoint AF, One-shot AF and Low Light AF enhance usability to comply with wide-ranging shooting situations. * Works with Panasonic Micro Four Thirds lenses. ** In AFS, at wide-end with H-FS14140 (CIPA).

LUMIX GX80 integrates a LVF (Live View Finder) featuring 2764k-dot equivalent resolution, approx.100% colour reproduction and approx.1.39x / 0.7x (35mm camera equiv.) magnification. The static-type touch rear monitor tilts up by 80-degree and down by 45-degree which enables shooting in either high or low angle even easier. For even more creative photography, L. Monochrome is newly added to the Photo Style, that produces impressive monochrome pictures with rich gradation like that of a B/W film. Focus Bracket and Aperture Bracket are also added.

Sony Trade-In Bonuses


Sony start their new promotion from 1/4/16 to 25/5/16

Trade in your old camera/lenses against the models listed below and receive the minimum trade in value.

It covers kit derivatives as well as body only, and the body and lens trade-ins can be used in combination.  Therefore, you could combine an Alpha7 Mark2 £80 trade-in, with a 24-70 lens £60 trade-in, with a 70-200 lens £60 trade-in to get £200 Trade In Value.

This is an In-Store offer only.

See the full list of eligible cameras and lenses here:

Bodies A6300
£80 Trade In A7M2
A7S
A7RM2
A7SM2
Lens SEL1635Z.SYX
£60 Trade In SEL24240
SEL2470Z.AE
SEL28F2
SELP28135
SEL35F14Z
SEL35F28Z.AE
SEL55F18Z.AE
SEL70200G.AE
SEL90M28G.SYX

 

 

Fujifilm Spring Promotion 2016


It’s spring deals time and Fujifilm are offering cashback on the X-T1 and X-T10

Spring Cashback

Spring cashback from Fujifilm running until 31st May. Available on the X-T10 (£50) and X-T1 (£100)

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Fujifilm Claim Website: https://www.fujifilm.eu/uk/products/digital-cameras/promotions

 

Trade in Promotion

Trade in any working digital interchangeable lens camera and get money off your new X-Series camera.

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Canon Spring Cashbacks 2016


Canon Spring Cashbacks 2016

Canon have launched their spring cashbacks for 2016. Running from 17th March to the 18th May with DSLRs, lenses, compacts and PIXMA all included. Savings begin at £30 up to £250.

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Full details of the cashbacks and how to claim can be found on the Canon Cashback site and on the Castle Cameras cashback page

Virtual Kits from Canon

As an added incentive Canon are offering our customers Virtual Kits. Buy a Canon EOS 7D mark II, EOS 6D, EOS 5D mark III, EOS 5DS, EOS 5DSr and any compatible lens and receive a rebate from Canon of up to £590.

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Notes on claiming promotions together

You can claim WBW (virtual kit) on a lens as well as CashBack on a camera

If a customer buys a camera and lens that are both in cashback and the lens is also in a virtual kit, the customer can claim either WBW or CB on the lens, the customer can’t claim twice on a lens i.e.

If a customer bought an EOS 5D MKIII & a EF 100mm 2.8L.  The camera is in cashback and the lens is in both cashback and the virtual kit promotion.  The customer would need to choose whether they claim cashback on both or cashback on the camera and WBW on the other i.e.:

EOS 5D MKIII = £250 CB

EF 100mm 2.8L = £75 CB or £90 WBW. 

In this instance it would make sense for the customer to claim the EOS 5D MKIII £250 CB and then the £90 WBW on the lens.

 

You can on claim one WBW Virtual kit per products

The customer can claim as many times as they like, but they can only claim one lens per body.

 

You can claim up to ten products on cashback

If a customer bought a camera and nine lenses in cashback.  The customer could claim for all products.

If the value is greater on a WBW, then they would claim 1 on WBW and the remainder on cashback.

Spring Shoot – All the Special Offers and Deals


We have just put all of our special offers and deals for the Spring Shoot live on our website. Click the OWL to find out more, you might want to refine your search by manufacturer as there is A LOT of deals!

A guide to Christmas Cashback


Ho ho ho, Merry Cashback.

Even camera companies get excited for Christmas, rolling out cashback and buying incentives across the ranges. Here’s a quick guide to the best deals around.

Sony Alpha 37 digital SLR, 18-55 SAM, 75-300 D lenses

Sony Alpha 37, Double Lens Kit

An absolutely cracking entry into Digital SLR photography. The Sony Alpha 37 boasts features from camera way above it’s price point, wrapped in an easy to use body. Add another lens and we’re talking some serious power and an excellent start to any photographic journey.

£549.00 with £100 cashback offer until 16th January 2013 – £449.00

Nikon D5100 digital SLR, 18- 55VR, 55-300VR zoom lenses

Nikon D5100, Double Zoom Kit

For the enthusiast in your life. The Nikon D5100 features a 3inch vari-angle LCD and the complete range of Nikon lenses to choose from, this is the perfect step for anyone looking for an upgrade. With £55 cashback available and extra deals for popping in the shop, it’d be a good idea to save our Nikon event in your diary.

£649.00 with £55 cashback offer until 21st January 2013 – £594.00

Pentax K-30 Black digital SLR,18-55mm DA WR lens

Pentax K30 18-55mm WR

The first ruggedised camera featured on this list. The K30 offers top quality features in a fully weather resistant body, properly winter proof for the adventurer in you. There are a ton of kits around, the one you really want is the WR lens kit, as these are the only kits that offer a weather proof lens to complement the body.

£569.00 with £50 cashback offer until 15th January 2013 – £519.00

Sony Alpha 65 body

Sony Alpha 65 Body

The most powerful DSLR body with festive cashback. The Alpha 65 will rattle shots off 10 frames per second thanks to it’s translucent mirror technology. With an OLED viewfinder and full body controls the Alpha 65 is nearing the top of the Sony range.

£629.00 with £50 cashback offer until 16th January 2013 – £579.00

There’s plenty more where these came from, with full listings on our website. Canon have launched a range of cashback available on lenses purchased over the festive period, giving an extra £25 when you buy 2 or more together. You can search for all Cashback offers on our website and narrow down the results by manufacturer. Keep your eyes peeled on our Events page as we’re hosting a new supplier each week to make the most of this seasons offers.

Follw us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook and sign up to the news letter to keep up-to-date with the latest news.

Canon launch the NEW Canon EOS 650D – available for pre-order.


Pre-Order the new Canon EOS 650D with just £100 Deposit! All pre-orders will receive a FREE Canon gadget bag worth £79.99!

Due Mid June, £699 body only.

Canon have announced the new Canon EOS 650D.

Building upon the success of the EOS 600D the NEW Canon EOS 650D boasts class leading features in a compact body. A new touchscreen tilting LCD and some video-centric controls will be a big hit with the DSLR video enthusiats whilst the metering system from an EOS 5D Mk III will ensure perfect pictures every time you hit the shutter.

  • 18-megapixel CMOS sensor
  • 1,040k-dot 3.0″ Vari-angle Touch Screen
  • Scene Intelligent Auto mode
  • Full-HD EOS Movie
  • DIGIC 5 processor 14-bit processor
  • Advanced metering – 63 zone Dual Layer Metering
  • Hybrid AF – nine cross type focus points
  • ISO 100-12,800, expandable to 25,600
  • Up to 5fps continuous shooting
  • Integrated Speedlite Transmitter
  • HDR Backlight Control
  • Video Snapshot
  • AF in movies
  • Creative Filters

Alongside the new EOS Canon have also anounced 2 new lenses; the EF 40mmf/2.8 STM pancake lens and an updates EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM. Both lenses encorporate Canon’s new STM, or stepping motor technology, for even quieter auto focus when shooting video. As more and more users utilise the video facility in DSLRs advancements such as STM are going to be game changing. Expect a full hands on and review once we get our first delivery.

Canon EOS 650D


Sony Events November/December 2011


We’ve teamed up with Sony to give you TWO chances to get your hands on the newest releases to their Alpha and NEX ranges.

We’ll be running offers on both days, giving you the chance for some free goodies should these amazing new products sway you. There will be the new Alpha 77 and Alpha 65 to play with, both cameras being a revolutionary step for Sony in terms of performance and durability. Read our hands on and tech blogs on both cameras to find out just how good they are. Expected to also be present are the new NEX 5N and NEX 7 system compact cameras. We’ve managed a little play on the Nex 5N but are especially excited about the NEX 7 with it’s completely re-designed body and sharing sensor technology with the 2 new Alpha’s.

Both nights will start from 4pm and finish at 8pm, matching late night shopping for many other stores in the area. If you’re umm-ing and ahh-ing over whether to upgrade then pop down with your old kit to compare.

Sony Event Bournemouth – 24th November

Sony Event Salisbury – 1st December

These events are set to be big hits so come on down to really get to grips with these new cameras, we’ll have someone from Sony with us offering up some excellent buying advice and, of course, we’ll also have our regular guys ready to taunt and tease you.

September, back to school and a heap of lower prices.


Good news as the kids go back to school. We are busy checking our September pricing which will come into effect next week.  We have already made a few reductions which we couldn’t keep under our hats any longer;

Nikon D7000  body £ 799.00 -80.00

Nikon D7000, 18-105 £ 979.00 -70.00

Nikon D7000, 18-200VR £ 1299.00 -100.00

Pentax K-5, 18-135mm DA WR £ 1179.00 -120.00

Pentax K-5, 18-55mm DA WR + 50-200mm DA WR £ 999.00 -60.00

Pentax K-5, 18-55mm DA WR £ 819.00 -130.00

Pentax K-5, body £ 789.00 -110.00

Sigma 0012-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM EOS £ 599.00 -50.00

Sigma 0012-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM NAF £ 599.00 -50.00

Sigma 0012-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG Sony £ 599.00 -50.00

Sony Alpha  55 body £ 529.00 -50.00

Sony Alpha  55, 18-55 SAM £ 549.00 -50.00

There is some bad news, prices for camera bags have gone up since our last big order. Expect some increases in that market from next week so grab a bargain quick if you’re in need.

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