Category Archives: Everything Else

Not camera related in any way, but needed to write this to get it off my chest.

Dear British Airways. In the email you sent to me this morning the very first sentence stated: 

“We’re constantly improving the British Airways Executive Club for our Members, which is why we’re making a change to the way you collect Avios on flights”.

This led me to expect to find something that would mean the benefits that I gain through being a long standing member of the BA Executive Club and frequent BA flier were going to improve. But alas, the reality of your changes mean that I will now actually be significantly worse off than before. Because I mostly fly long haul and  I don’t buy your most expensive fully flexible business class and first class tickets, instead buying more affordable and less flexible tickets,  as a reward for flying with you and being a loyal executive club member, on average on the same flights as I have flown for decades I will earn between 1/3rd and half of the Avios that I used to earn. 

I’m really struggling to understand how this is an improvement. Now you have chosen to dramatically reduce my ability to save up enough Avios for a decent saving on a future special treat holiday flight, perhaps you would prefer it if I started looking elsewhere for better flight deals with other airlines and then use the money I could save for my holiday flights instead?

I realise the BA Executive Club is your club, so you can change the rules as you please. But don’t expect me to remain a member if you take away the benefits that directly affect my choice of airline when looking for the best flight deals.

Alister Chapman.

If you are still reading…. BA are changing the way you earn reward points when you fly. Previously you earned points (Avios) based on the distance you fly plus the cabin you fly in, plus a multiplier based on your frequent fly status. From October BA will now give you 6 Avios for each £1 you spend for an entry level member increasing to 9 Avios for the top tier Gold card holders (and above). BUT there is a catch, you only get the Avios for the fare+BA imposed charges, all other taxes and fees are excluded. So if I take one of my return flights to the USA earlier in the year as an example:

Under the old scheme I earned 20,000 Avios as I flew a total of 10,000 miles in premium economy and then got a 2x bonus because I am a BA Gold card frequent flyer bring up the total reward to 20,000 Avios.

That ticket cost me around £1.4K, of which approx £400 is taxes and other fees. So, with the new system I would only get my  9 Avios per £1 for the remaining £1000 giving me 9,000 Avios, less than half of what I used to get. And I only get that because of my Gold card.

For those that don’t fly so frequently things are possibly worse. In the example above currently a Blue member would earn just the base 10,000. But with the new scheme that would reduce to 6,000 Avios making it even harder than it was before build up a worthwhile Avios balance. 

And what if you fly short haul? It’s just as bad unless you buy much more expensive fully flexible or  business class tickets. I fly to Copenhagen frequently, in the past I would earn around 2000 Avios on a return flight, even if I booked the very cheapest ticket I would still get 1500 Avios.  An economy return will often be around £240 of which £65 is taxes and fees. So I will now get 1575 Avios, but again if I by the very cheapest ticket that excludes luggage etc for lets say £200 then that drops to 1215 Avios. 

Don’t Charge Very Cold Lithium Batteries!

To be honest, not many of us have to charge extremely cold batteries, but on my Northern Lights trips my batteries often get very cold and often I will charge them while they are still very cold. I’ve always known that this isn’t health for the battery, but what i didn’t know was that actually it can be quite dangerous.

It turns out that if you charge a lithium battery that is very cold (below 0c/32f) it will appear to charge more or less as expected. But, when the cells are very cold metallic lithium gets deposited on the anode of the cell. If you repeatedly charge the battery at low temperatures the lithium will continue to build up on the anode causing a safety risk. This metallic lithium can cause the cell to become less stable and more prone to bursting into flames if the battery is over charged, gets hot or is shocked such as through being dropped or crushed. 

So – all you Aurora chasers and others that shoot in very cold conditions – let your batteries warm up before you charge them. It won’t be obvious that charging them is causing harm and the last thing you want is a battery suddenly bursting into flames on a job some time down the road because you’ve dropped or bumped it.

Temporary Outage Dec 19th 2022

Sorry about the temporary outage today. The SSL certificate for the site needed to be renewed, a process that normally happens automatically. But the company that normally issues the certificates appears to be having issues, so I had to get a certificate from a different provider. Running this site does take quite a lot of time and I couldn’t do it without the support of my current site sponsors Bright Tangerine and Camrade. Please do visit their websites if you need camera rigging and support accessories or covers to protect you valuable equipment investment. I highly recommend their products. Not just because they help me run this site, but also because they do make genuinely great products.

FX6 Guide To Cine EI Updated

CineEI-diagram-1-scaled FX6 Guide To Cine EI UpdatedI have updated my guide to the FX6’s CineEI mode to ensure it is up to date and compatible with any changes introduced in the Version 3 firmware update. The revised and updated guide includes new graphics that I hope will make the CineEI mode easier to understand for those completely new to shooting S-Log3 and the Sony FX6.  

If you are struggling to get to grips with CineEI in the guide I take a step by step approach to using S-Log3 on it’s own without any LUT’s or EI offsets, then introducing the s709 LUT at the base EI and then show how you use different EI levels to offset you exposure. There are suggested exposure levels for both white and grey cards as well as skin tones.

Click here to go to my updated FX6 CineEI guide.

Bright Tangerine Black Friday Sale

BTBF22-20off-16x9_01-600x338 Bright Tangerine Black Friday SaleBright Tangerine are a UK based supplier of support equipment for professional film and video cameras – and one of my site sponsors. Their products are designed and manufactured in the UK in their own facility. Keeping everything in house allows them to react to end user feedback and market changes very quickly. Their unique Left Field base plate system is both versatile and incredibly stable.
With the FX6 finally shipping from Sony in good volumes a lot of people will be looking for base plates, top plates, a better viewfinder support and matte boxes, so their Black Friday sale may be a great opportunity to pick up some really high quality accessories at a great price.  I will be reviewing their latest FX6 accessories very soon. I have been using them myself and I can assure you they are all great. I’m a Left Field convert and am now moving away from VCT plates etc. due to the increased stability and flexibility. Click Here to see what they have to offer in their sale which starts Monday 21st of November 2022 .

Camera Test Charts To Print At Home

Screenshot-2022-05-16-at-11.11.38-1024x622 Camera Test Charts To Print At HomeWhen testing and evaluating a camera, whether that’s a digital photo camera, video camera or digital cinema camera it is always useful to have a test chart or 2 (or more). While printing a chart at home isn’t always the best way to go, comercial charts can be very expensive to buy. So below is a link to an ISO 12233 chart, a Zone Plate chart and a Siemens Star chart that you can download  for free and print at home. You will need a good printer and good quality photo paper for the best results. 

For the ISO 12233 chart I divide this into quarters, print each 1/4 and then join them back together to make a larger chart.

The zone plate and siemens charts should be printed as large as possible, but in use they would not fill the frame, perhaps only a small part of the frame depending on the resolution of the camera you are evaluating.

I have not included any color charts or grey scale charts as it will be extremely difficult to know whether the colors or shades of grey your printer produces are actually correct, making the chart invalid.

Click on the green link or the images below:

Click here for ISO 12233 Test Chart as at the top of this page.

Zone-Small-150x150 Camera Test Charts To Print At Home
Zone plate derived from Imatest Software. Click on the image to go to full size file.
Siemens-100-chart-150x150 Camera Test Charts To Print At Home
Siemens 100 radial star chart – click on the image to go to the full size file.

LUT Download Issues when using Chrome – Fixed

Some of you may have been having issues downloading my LUT’s and some other content. This was occuring due to Chrome blocking the download of any files it deems unsafe. I have installed some upgraded tools on my server and you should find that downloads will work again now. Do let me know if you ever encounter issues with the site. The sooner you let me know the sooner I can look into them. Thanks.

Why Do Cameras No Longer Have PAL/NTSC Options.

PAL and NTSC are very specifically broadcasting standards for standard definition television. PAL (Phase Alternating Line) and NTSC (National Television Standard Committee) are analog interlaced standards specifically for standard definition broadcasting and transmission. These standards are now only very, very rarely used for broadcasting.  And as most modern cameras are now high definition, digital and most commonly use progressive scan, these standards are no longer applicable to them.  

As a result you will now rarely see these as options in a modern video camera. In our now mostly digital and HD/UHD world the same standards are used whether you are in a country that used to be NTSC or used to be PAL. The only difference now is the frame rate. Countries that have  50Hz mains electricity and that used to be PAL countries predominantly use frame rates based on multiples of 25 frames per second. Countries that have 60Hz mains and that used to be NTSC countries use frame rates based around multiples of 29.97 frames per second. It is worth noting that where interlace is still in use the frame rate is half of the field rate. So, where someone talks about 60i (meaning 60 fields per second) in reality the frame rate will actually be 29.97 frames per second with each frame having two fields. Where someone mentions 50i the frame rate is 25 frames per second.

Most modern cameras rather than offering the ability to switch between PAL and NTSC now instead offer the ability to switch between 50 and 60Hz. Sometimes you may still see a “PAL Area” or “NTSC Area” option – note the use of the word “Area”. This isn’t switching the camera to PAL or NTSC, it is setting up the camera for areas that used to use PAL or used to use NTSC. 

New Tech That will Change The Way We Work – Media, Production and Technology Show London.

Screenshot-2022-05-05-at-17.12.26-600x278 New Tech That will Change The Way We Work - Media, Production and Technology Show London.


Next week I will be giving a presentation on new tech including 8K cameras, stabilised cameras, lighting, colour managed and cloud based workflows that may change the way we do things in the future. Come and join me in London on the 12th of May at 13:00 at the Media, Production and Technology show at Olympia to find out more.


CineD Anamorphic Lens Raffle

cined-raffle-600x331 CineD Anamorphic Lens RaffleWith the FX9 recently gaining the ability to shoot Anamorphic the timing of this couldn’t be better. My good friends over at CineD are giving away a Sirui 50mm 1.3x Anamorphic lens in a Christmas raffle. I have the 35mm and the 75mm versions of this lens and the are nice little lenses that will of course work perfectly with the FX9 in it’s S35 4K scan mode with the anamorphic monitoring set to 1.3x. The lenses can also be used with the 5K Crop scan mode. On an FX6 you would need to use about 1.2x clear image zoom to remove the vignette, but I feel these are useable with the FX6 for 4K. I was looking to add the 50mm to my own set so maybe I need to enter the raffle too!
CLICK HERE to go to the raffle – good luck!