Continuing my life long search for the perfect camera bag resulted in a great Christmas present this year. My ‘go-to’ bag for the last five years or so has been a Vanguard Arlen 59 (also reviewed on PhotoArk) backpack that has served me well but has a couple of niggles that, whilst not insurmountable, led me to search for something new. The Arlen is a beautifully made pack and has many years of service left in it, but I needed to address the following points;

Early last year I began the hunt for a new Digital SLR to replace my trusty Olympus E-510. I wanted something more up-to-date, more robust and essentially more professional. I looked at many manufacturers and found quite a few bodies I liked, but choosing ‘the one’ proved difficult; I did not wish to follow the Canikon herd, preferring something a little more individual…something that didn’t scream ‘me too’, be hobbled by poor reviews or offer a limited lens range that allowed little growth. After much research and a visit to the Focus on Imaging 2012 show I found my ideal camera… the Pentax K-5.

Transparency film production has been in free-fall for several years now, as more and more photographers gravitate to other emulsions or technology. With just a few slide films remaining on the market it was obvious that some projector manufacturers like Kodak and Leica would end their involvement with this historical medium, and discontinue machines that were once a photographic mainstay. I must admit that in 2013 I expected very few 35mm projectors being manufactured, but a trawl of the web revealed many models still in production from the likes of Reflecta, Braun, Kindermann and Simda.

Just before I went abroad this year I decided to purchase one of Pentax's super-wide primes to see how it performs compared to my 16-50mm zoom lens. I have been interested in this lens for quite a while prior to purchasing, mainly because it is so small and it is also the widest fixed focal length lens Pentax offer, except for a fish-eye. Given I am a wide-angle man rather than a telephoto the purchase of this lens was imminent, I just needed an excuse, so three weeks before going abroad I made the leap.

Kiwi specialise in producing high quality photographic accessories such as lens and mount adapters, macro accessories and quick release systems. Their product line is constantly expanding to provide useful well engineered components that complement most camera manufacturer’s offerings, including Leica.

Back in the film days, Olympus was top of the tree when it came to macro system components. Along with seven dedicated macro lenses, flash units, bellows and supporting accessories was a unique item – the 65-116 Telescopic Auto Tube, designed to offer a portable method of taking true macro images.

In the closing years of the 1980’s, Olympus took flash technology to a new level with the F280 gun. Being the innovative company they are, they took ground breaking strides to overcome the problem faced by all manufactures when it came to flash exposure.