Archive of ‘Gear’ category

Canon Selphy CP1200 Wireless Compact Photo Printer Review

I have been photographing semi-seriously for quite a while, but one thing has been missing. Of all the photos I take, only a tiny minority has ended up as a real physical photograph. That, in my mind, is a shame as pictures on my computer are not equal to actual photos. There is a world of difference between backlit image and a real paper photo you’re holding in your hand.

During recent years I have ordered photos online, have had them made at a local camera store and even printed them myself using an Epson inkjet printer. Of all these, the online option was the cheapest, but of questionable quality. The local camera store wasn’t a lot better since they had real issues with dynamic range, i.e. 10-20% of the dark end was black and nothing else. I scanned the negatives in question myself and printed them with my Epson, and there wasn’t any problem with the dynamic range of the photos, it’s just that they weren’t printed right on whatever they’re using. My Epson was cheap, meaning that it wasn’t exactly capable of producing high quality no matter how much you adjusted your settings and used proper paper. The Epson was very practical in a sense that I could print a photo or two instead of having to collect a larger amount of them just because there was a base cost of few euros with every order. That’s what also killed the printer because the nozzles eventually dried up and even an Inkjet First Aid Kit they sell on Ebay was not capable of opening the clogged nozzles. Since Epson does not have replaceable nozzles like HP does, that was the end of the printer.

Having learned my lesson with inkjets now twice and never going that route again, I was looking at the possible alternatives. I concluded that for making standard 10×15 cm prints a Canon sublimation printer might be a good choice and for larger prints it’s more cost effective to order online instead of buying an expensive inkjet and worry about it getting clogged again. Inkjet ink is more expensive than finest wines or human blood, so that also was taken into consideration.

I bought myself a Canon Selphy CP1200 Wireless Compact Photo Printer from Amazon.de, since they had a huge discount on the white model for an unknown reason. Since I don’t judge printers nor people by their appearance, I chose the cheap white design.

Canon printer does not come with a USB cable, but that’s the norm nowadays, and I noticed that Canon printers are not supported anymore under Mac with USB cable anyway, so the missing cable was not a problem. If you need the cable connection (for God knows why), you’ll need to be on Windows. Wireless printing is fast enough for small amounts of photos and if you need large enough amount for the speed to be a problem, it’s cheaper to order them online. The printer itself is tiny, but once fully operational it will need some space around it.

Installing the printer is easy, but at least I had to read the small manual once. You’ll have to install one “ink cartridge” as Canon calls them and paper to the tray. I ordered three packs of 108 pcs photo paper from Canon and these packs always come with the “ink” needed to print them, so you’ll never have to worry about clogged nozzles, stripes on photos, smeared ink, missing waterproofing or other issues with inkjets. It also makes it very easy to calculate the cost of printing, which for me was 31,25 € divided by 108, making a single photo cost around 0,29 €. Canon claims the photos will last 100 years which is excellent if true. Some of my childhood colour photos are completely ruined and they are 40 years old at most. Black and white photos are fine no matter the age, even the ones from my grandparents are good as new.

My first prints were done from my iPad and Lightroom Mobile since the Canon was showing my wireless base station twice and one of those works for printing and the other does not. I’m not sure if that is because of 2,4 and 5 GHz networks I have or the fact that my ISP had enabled the once disabled 2,4 GHz wireless again using the same name I’m using on my Apple Airport Extreme. The joys of remote management. Once I got the network issue sorted out, I could also print from Adobe Lightroom on my Mac, which recognised the printer as AirPrint printer, meaning that I didn’t need drivers from Canon and hopefully never do, as Canon is one of the worst companies ever considering what comes to drivers. They’ll never support any old products, and while this printer was the latest model and brand new, even that was discontinued. Same happened once with a Canon scanner I had, meaning that selecting my next brand of scanner was a lot easier, ending up with Epson.

Taking a photo of a printed photo does not make sense, so you’ll have to imagine what I describe verbally. I was surprised by the quality I got from Canon Selphy SP1200 even without any adjustment. The shadows on the photos are slightly darker than on the screen but other than that it looks more or less the same. I have iMac 5k with sRGB screen and separate 100% Adobe RGB calibrated screen, and neither of these produces the same result as the photo is, but the main difference is in how computer screens and photo paper differ from each other. I was not disappointed with colour reproduction as it was accurate enough for skin tones, gradients on the sky, bright coloured company logos, green nature, etc. I still have one issue with the printer and that is the positioning of the image on the photo. The result is borderless unless you select it to have white borders, but borderless photos tend to cut slight amount from both top and bottom. It’s not usually noticeable, but if the image was already cropped tightly, you might end up with a partial picture. I’m not sure if I can adjust Adobe Lightroom’s Print module to leave somehow the photo zoomed a bit less, but so far I haven’t had the time nor the patience to try.

If you’re looking for a 10×15 cm photo printer for home use, I cannot recommend the Canon Selphy SP1200 more. It’s ideal in design as I do love the fact that I don’t have to worry about dried ink nor other issues I mentioned earlier. Compared to other non-inkjet photo printers on the market (Fujifilm Instax or Polaroid) I’d choose the Canon any day. Others are a lot more expensive to operate and produce smaller prints, not standard 10×15 cm photos your parents used to have.

Protecting Your Camera Gear Against Theft

Protecting your gear against theft is important. I know that you know that, but how can you be more protected against theft? Home insurance is probably covering the gear unless you use it professionally and even then there may be problems in valuation and overall coverage. It’s best to check from your insurance company what exactly the insurance you have will cover and how is the value calculated in case of theft, accident, fire or natural events. In my case the insurance company is covering all photographic gear against theft, accidents etc. and the value for vintage gear is estimated from current 2nd hand prices. The new cameras and lenses are valuated using a formula that lowers the value every year by certain percentage, which is in my case was about the same rate as in real life. Not having an insurance for your gear is playing Russian roulette. The insurance doesn’t cost that much at least here and it covers theft, accidents and events like fire.

But how about gear that is unique, or gear that you really would like to get back instead of buying a replacement the condition of which may not be the same as yours was? Making a list of your gear and their serial numbers is helping a lot in case of theft, because in case the thief is selling the gear, the serial number is something one can’t hide and one does, it automatically means the source of the gear being sold is questionable. I have once bought a cheap lens via Ebay from a real store and months later when making a list of my gear noticed that the serial number is melted away somehow. I contacted the store and they were surprised and guaranteed that they will check their incoming gear more thoroughly for cases like this. I will not buy stolen gear and feel sorry for the previous owner of this particular lens. But there is nothing I can do, because I don’t know the previous owner. I hate thiefs and theft like plague and am angry for the fact that for example in Finland you don’t really get any real sentence for theft, unless you steal from the government.

You can make a list of your gear in text file using Notepad/TextEdit, or in Excel if you are more advanced. But I have even better way of making sure you have your gear list saved and serial numbers registered. There is a free website named Lenstag to which you can enter your cameras and lenses along their serial numbers. The real kicker in the website is that you have to verify your gear by sending a photograph of each of the serial numbers on your gear. So the list is not only a good one, it’s verified that you really owned the gear you have listed. Here’s a copy of the Frequently Asked Questions on Lenstag:

What is Lenstag?

Lenstag is a project with three main goals:

  • Prevent the resale of stolen cameras, lenses & video equipment.
  • Significantly reduce the risk of theft.
  • Maintain the privacy of users and allow pseudonymous ownership.

How much does it cost?
It’s free.

How does it work?

Lenstag works like this:

  • Sign up & add your cameras, lenses & video equipment to your account. It’s totally free.
  • Verify that you’re in possession of each item by uploading a picture from your phone or computer of each item’s serial number or something else that shows you own each item (warranty card, etc.).
  • If an item gets stolen, immediately flag it as such and we’ll create a public page to help you get it back.

Bonus feature: if you sell or give an item to someone else, you can transfer the record to them using Lenstag and save the next person from having to re-verify.

Why should I register my gear before it gets stolen?

The first few hours after a theft are absolutely critical to getting the word out & preventing resale of the stolen gear. If your gear is already registered, then you just have to sign in & flag the items as stolen (and optionally provide additional information).

If you wait until after your gear is stolen, you’ll have to add the gear, verify it with something else other than a picture of the serial number and wait a day or two for someone at Lenstag to approve the verification request. By then the gear has probably been pawned or sold and the chances of successful recovery are substantially lower.

How can I tell if a camera or lens is stolen?

Do a web search for ‘stolen’, the serial number of the item and ‘lenstag’ for good measure. If the item’s page shows up, there’s a good chance it’s stolen. If you know something about the item (location, craigslist post, etc.) please type it into the box and leave your email address (optional) so we can follow up.

Also, here’s a list of all the gear flagged as stolen on Lenstag. Please let us know if you come across any item on here.

I have listed all my gear on Lenstag, verified them and delivered the printed list to my insurance company. I don’t know a better way to make it easier to catch the thief than this, because most probably the gear is being sold on Ebay or your local similar service on Internet (in Finland there are two similar services). If you see your kind of gear being sold, ask the serial number in case it is not shown on the pictures. If the seller refuses to give the serial number, it’s an alarming thing. If the seller has multiple gear for sale all of which you had and the seller refuses to give serial numbers, I’d contact the police with the verified list from Lenstag and the sellers listings.

Using Lenstag is easy. First you add your gear one by one:

add-serial-number

After that the gear is added to your gear list, but it is in unverified state, meaning that you haven’t verified your ownership yet.

new-entry

Clicking the Verify button opens a new dialog to which you can upload a photograph of the serial number:

verification-dialog

After uploading the picture of the serial number it takes a day or two for your gear to change status to verified.

That’s all it takes to make a good list of your gear and have it being verified by 3rd party. The only thing I miss from the service is the ability to see the pictures of the serial numbers you sent later. As of now, unless you save the images yourself, you don’t get to see the real photographs, only the fact that the site has verified your ownership of the gear. But to me that is good enough and having a list of serial numbers makes selling the stolen gear more difficult, which is a great thing.

Discover AGUA by Miggo – Kickstarter campaign

A revolutionary quick-draw storm-proof camera-carrier I present you the new Kickstarter campaign by Miggo. Feel free to joint it . It’s a fantastic idea to work on a PX3 camera carrier ! I have just receive an Aqua (thanks alona !) and i am going to…

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