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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My first photography blog post...

I thought my first post on this, my newly repurposed Flashing12 blog, should link the original purpose of the blog to tell stories about people who are technologically inept with my photographic passion/obsession...

For those of of you who don't know, a “Flashing 12” is a person with no technical inclinations; someone who is inept in all things technological. The name comes from the fact that when you walk into their house their VCR (yes, exactly!) is flashing "12:00", because they cannot figure out how to program it.

I had a moment last week I would like to pass on...

Every so often I need (or want) to use an expensive lens. I've hired Canon 100-400mm L lenses, 70-200 f/2.8 L lenses and suchlike from Calumet here in London. They have this weekend deal which enables photographers like me to hire a lens on the Friday and return it on the following Monday and get charged for one days hire. Sweet eh?

It gets better. Over a bank holiday weekend the same deal applies so you get 4 days hire for the price of one! Last weekend here in London was a loooong weekend so I decided to push the boat out and hire a BIG lens. So off I trotted to Calumet at Drummond Street (Euston / Euston Square) and hired a Canon 400mm f/2.8 L lens.

Now, I was expecting a biggish lens. What I wasn't expecting was the killer monster lens from hell which I duly left Calumet with. Man this thing was heavy...
Canon 400mm F/2.8 L lens (Mark 1)

I got it back to the office okay and as my hands and arms recovered I thought I would see how heavy it was. The Canon USA website is, by far, the best Canon site out there and downloading the spec sheet and manual for the 400mm L was easy.

The lens weighed 5.3Kg (11.7 pounds) and that got me thinking a bit more...

You see, each tripod is rated to carry a certain weight. Stay below that and you're fine. Go above it and bad things might happen. With Calumet's parting comment of "Don't Drop It" ringing in my ears and the £4,000 deposit weighing my credit card down I researched my Manfrotto 190CXPro4 carbon fibre tripod's own weight rating. It can handle 5kg. When you add in the 1.2kg weight of my Canon 7D and grip it makes it an interesting combination.

Worst case? A gust of wind blows my (top heavy, overloaded) tripod over and with it my camera and £4,000 deposit...

I rang them back and explained what I was concerned about. The guy I spoke to sad that if it was his gear he would probably go for it but as it was a hire he probably wouldn't.That settled it. I duly trooped back to Calumet and, I have to say, they were brilliant. They reversed out the deposit and cancelled the hire

I may be thick but I'm not stupid..

Lesson learned: Before you hire that piece of dream gear research it all properly...

There you have the post that links my Flashing 12 days with my Photography days. More to come shortly.

1 comment:

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