Allen's Blog

Posts tagged ‘gear’:

Tiltall: The Definitive Tripod

Tiltall tripod (photo by user 'voytek' on mflenses.com)

Ozzie Sweet, maybe the all-time numbers champ in terms of magazine cover photos died two weeks ago at age 94. I knew the name, but the obit by NY Times writer Bruce Weber was a mother lode of information. One of the three photos in the obit was a self-portrait from the 1980s, showing Sweet with a massive telephoto lens mounted on a Hasselblad, the rig supported on a tripod I recognized instantly – the Tiltall. That brought back a whole lot of memories since in the day, Tiltall was the definitive tripod. Made in New Jersey by the Marchioni Brothers and later licensed to Leitz for broader marketing, the Tiltall was beautifully made of machined aluminum, sturdy, durable, and with a full range of easy adjustments. I finally lost mine to the PanAm baggage system, and by then it had disappeared from the marketplace.

In writing this, I just discovered more about Tiltall, the Marchioni Brothers, and where the product has been and is now, courtesy of Gary Regester’s blog. FYI, you’ll learn more about Gary, whom I met 30 years ago and who was the first in the industry to come up with the collapsible soft-light bank.

My New Walking-Around Camera, the Sony RX100

Sony RX100

In a recent post, I wrote about David Pogue’s rave review of Sony’s RX100, the pocket-size camera with a Zeiss 1.8 lens and a big, big chip. Since then, I’ve read a number of write-ups and reviews, and what was “maybe” my next big purchase has become a reality that goes with me everywhere. Check out the specs and reviews for yourself, but here’s what stands out for me –

  • Instant shutter response
  • Beautiful image quality, even wide-open (due no doubt to the relatively huge chip that Sony has managed to use)
  • Great macro capability (the lack of which kept me from buying Canon’s G1X)
  • The ability to shoot both RAW and JPEG simultaneously (if you’re so inclined)
  • Great performance at high ISOs. Here’s a sample, ISO 6400, shot late at night on a flight back from L.A.

Photo of the plane's cabin on my red-eye flight back from L.A.

Menu navigation took a bit of learning (probably due to my advanced age), but now it’s quick and easy. FYI, Lightroom’s latest update handles RAW from the RX100 and a whole group of new cameras from a bunch of manufacturers.