I ordered a watch from Aragon in Florida and on Wednesday (5th) I got an email to say it had been dispatched and was due for delivery on Friday (7th)! Well I thought that was a bit of a joke, but come Friday morning I was wearing this rather superb Aragon Divers watch.
Now not a watch I'd normally go for, very big and chunky, but it was flagged up to me as superb value and from a micro-brand that had been in business since 1991, so obviously doing something right - yes, I chose the orange version which looks superb, is beautifully made and was extremely well packaged/presented. Will add more pictures in due course to the Product/Watches Gallery, but I really am pleased with both the watch and service from Aragon.
OK so this Chinese watch arrived this morning (7th), which is brilliant considering it was only ordered on the 1st of the month all the way from China. Now based on the recent reviews both on here and on YouTube I was expecting a Miyota movement with a Hardlex crystal, but it is actually the Seiko movement and whilst I would have been more than happy with the Miyota, I do like the second hand 'hacking' facility of the Seiko. As to the crystal, I've no definitive way of testing other than the 'waterdrop' test, but to be honest I'm not too sure that's really a good guide, but I'm really not that fussed, but I suspect this is indeed a sapphire glass. The faceted bezel adds a nice distinctive touch to the watch as it catches the light beautifully, as indeed does that wonderful sunburst dial. The watch has a classic and classy look on the wrist and would suit a variety of dress situations. Physically it sits well on my rather skinny wrist and looks rather classy and understated at the same. Any issues, well the day, doesn't quite line-up in the centre of the display window, but it's perfectly visible, the strap is pretty much what I expected but the butterfly clasp is much better - mine is the press button type and really secure, but it is new and only time will tell. On the GearBest site it states it is fitted with an 18mm strap, but it's 20, so given the variations; in movements, crystals, strap clasps, you are taking a bit of a punt, regarding what you'll actually get, but I have to say that I would find any of the various iterations perfectly acceptable given the price - oh I didn't mention the price, well they go up and down like the proverbial yoyo, but this was £33 delivered, which is utterly astonishing. Comes with all the usual returns and warranties, but lets be honest about this, if this dies it will probably end up in the bin! Up until this point I only own two brands of watch, Omega and Citizen, but I'm going to be more than happy to add this to my collection. Just be interesting to see how well it fares over time, my oldest watch is 48 years old and is still going strong and keeps great time! I'll take some 'proper' photographs later, but here are a few phone snaps.
More watch pictures can be found in My Watch Gallery.
For over thirty years I've had an old Seamaster Chronograph sitting forlornly & forgotten in a draw and whilst doing a tidy-up it re-surfaced so I decided I ought to get it serviced and in use once again. The only trouble was that it had suffered a case of dial fade (and not in a good way) with the wonderful vibrant blue main section of the dial going grey around the sub-dials. Also I never did treat it very well and the glass (or crystal as they call it) was very scratched & the case was a bit battered, all of which was the reason it got put away in the first place! So I started looking at restoration as well as servicing - now for the avid watch collectors, they insist that everything should be as original as possible, so both dial restoration and case refinishing are absolute no, no's - but I want to wear it again so decided to go ahead and send it away to be 'done'! Couple of before images below and as you can see it's a bit of a state, so will be interested to see how it looks after some TLC.
While I was researching the what, how & who to get the restoration done by, it also re-kindled my interest in wrist watches, now I've always been a fan of Omega's, certainly in preference to like likes of Rolex and some of the more ostentatious marques so during this 'research process' I must confess that I ended up with two new (well 40 & 46 year old) Omega's which I just really liked the look of. Just had the 46 year old one serviced and it keeps time as accurately, as my new quartz watches, indeed as does the 40 year old un-serviced one, not too bad at all for vintage wind-up watches - we're talking about a few seconds a month! Some pictures of these can be seen in the Product Gallery, but here's a taster.
The first is an Omega Genève MD 136.0049 with a Caliber 613 manual wind movement dated 1972 and the second is a Seamaster MD 166.0203 with a Caliber 1010 automatic movement from 1978.
A couple of X5's turned up second hand & after a quick test I decided to buy them. My Variolite 900 is now gone and I've just put my Profilite 500 up for sale, so now all my Multiblitz heads will have TriggerHappy remote function control available. For more see the update at the bottom of the Multiblitz Studio Flash page.
But this time rather that the trigger, its the MIOPS Water Drop Splash Kit, which as the name suggests is an electronically controlled (Smart Phone or Tablet) water dropper. As with the MIOPS Smart Trigger this can produce some remarkable pictures, but I did find it quite complex to get repeatable quality images!
But I'm getting there - more images from this can be found in the MIOPS Gallery page which hopefully will grow as time goes on with better results & of course as with the smoke and water trails, I can't pass up the opportunity for a bit of image manipulation !
I've always fancied the larger 'V' mount Fresnel Spot, and recently had the opportunity to acquire one, this did however lead to a few surprises, for such a big beefy looking unit. More on this in my Multiblitz page, within the Photography section.
After my previous attempts at splash photography, where I probably had a one in 20 success rate (capturing the moment) I decided to invest in a MIOPS Smart (especially after reading the review by Michael Sewell) & finally got round to trying it for the first time this evening. I didn't have a laser pointer but had the necessary components so put one together as I wanted to try out the laser mode first
Decided to trigger my Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 500 head from the camera hot-shoe. Now given the rather small size of my studio area I put a glass filled with water inside a small fish tank to try and reduce the potential for mess.
Even with the laser going through several layers of glass & a coloured gel with minimum set-up time it work perfectly every single shot. This was just a trial run, but every single shot was spot on, with the only adjustment needed was the level of delay.
Now I gave up on DSLR's some time ago with my move to Fujifilm X series compacts and have never really missed the bigger cameras, until recently when I found that the cameras couldn't do something I wanted them to do, so time to think of a new camera! the thing I wanted them to do was to trigger my studio flash units while the camera was in 'burst mode', unfortunately when in this mode the hotshoe is disconnected. For me the DSLR is a dead format and there is no way I was going back to this style of cameras, so I started looking at other Mirrorless Compact System Cameras (CSC). perhaps the obvious choice would have been another Fujifilm offering, but I honestly didn't really like anything currently on offer and the brand I kept returning to was the Olympus range. So to try this out for a reasonably modest outlay a secondhand E-M5 was found with the two part battery grip, which I mated to the 12-50mm lens. Now I'd be the first to admit that I found the menu system to be far to complex for my liking and the level of customisation is very impressive, and after a few week of ownership I feel I'm still only slowly coming to terms with everything on offer, but it is an enjoyable small camera to use coupled with very impressive results picture wise. Now this is an older model now superseded by the MkII, but I feel this one will be fine for a few years yet. I'm also pleased enough with the result to consider investing in some of Olympus's Pro range of lenses and on my shopping list is the 40-150mm F2.8 with 1.4x tel-convertor and the 7-14mm F2.8; the former for studio and perhaps a bit of wildlife action & the latter for landscape and architecture.
I've had a couple of questions about Bowens Flashtubes in the last few days, even though I really know nothing about their products, other than I've used them a few times over the years. Well I don't want to start a Bowens pages, so contacts for repair in the UK are;
Brian Chapman studio Flash Repairs
Clive Christian - Camera Repairer - also was(is?) the authorised Multiblitz repair agent.
In the EU for flash tubes the German Company Flashtubes EU would seem to be able to supply 'compatible' tubes for many recent models and brands.
With the Multiblitz web site(s) now gone, I've also added to the 'Manual' page as much information I could glean regarding the main Worldwide Distributors as at the time of liquidation, plus some of the Service Centers - this may not be complete, but for the distributors there are links (if available) to their web sites & hopefully they'll offer some ongoing support for spares and the like!
The above is just a Word document with active links for the Distribution & names and addresses for the Service Centers.
Born in 1956 (so getting on a bit now) I'm married and have two wonderful children we all live in Devon in the South West of England - on the Cornish border.