Jacobs Digital Camera Gear Discounts

Jacobs Digital, a PhotoActive affiliate, has announced its Discount Codes for July. A pity there are no discounts for SLR cameras, but every little helps.

Free delivery on everything, no minimum order
  • Save £10 on orders over £150, using code JULY10 (Online only, excludes SLRs and Lenses)
  • Save £20 on orders over £300, using code JULY20 (Online only, excludes SLRs and Lenses)
  • Save £40 on orders over £600, using code JULY40 (Online only, excludes SLRs and Lenses)
  • SAVE 2.5% off Lenses, with code LENS25 (online only, offer excludes Sigma Lenses)

[include_HTML: http://www.photoactive.co.uk/extracode/jacobs_banner_wide_scroll.php]

Lowepro Sling Camera Bag Zip problem

My recent review of the Lowepro Classified Sling 220AW obviously struck a chord with one of my former photography students. Gill Ferguson, who has moved on to become a professional travel photographer, emailed to say:

Very good review about the sling bag. I bought one when they first came out, as I get neck troubles from shoulder bags. I like the fact that you don’t have to take it off to get at the contents. The main zip went while I was on a photography trip in Crete. Lowepro were great and replaced the bag free of charge. I have had the second bag for about four years…and the zip has just gone. So, I am in total agreement – good concept, but shame about the zip! Gill Ferguson

Lowepro Classified Sling 220AW camera bag zip problem

The arrow shows where the stress point is on the zip of the Lowepro Classified Sling 220AW camera bag zip. When the camera bag is fully-loaded, it needs two hands to fasten and unfasten this zip because the fastener tends to kink as it goes around a corner of more than 90 degrees.

So it seems my predictions about that zip being weak link and design flaw have already come true.

It is worth stressing just how important this zip is on the Sling camera bag – it simply MUST be kept closed because the opening is on the side of the bag. If it is not closed your camera gear will fall out. Lowepro acknowledge the importance of this zip closure with the inclusion of a security clip that reinforces the zip across the corner – see second photograph.

extra clip across the zip of Lowepro Classified Sling 220AW camera bag

The extra security clip across the zip of Lowepro Classified Sling 220AW camera bag

Another former student Alwyn Jones has commented on the blog that the older version of the Lowepro Sling, the 200AW did not suffer from this deign flaw in the zip – nor did it suffer from those silly little memory card pockets which are so utterly useless.

I’m delighted to hear that Lowepro’s after sales service was good enough to replace Gill’s bag for her, but this sort of design fault just does not go away – it happened again to Gill with the replacement bag.

Why do the manufacturers not make a mock-up of their products FIRST and give it to a working photographer for a time to see how it works in the real world? Most working photographers do not give a fig for ‘cool’, they want quality, durability and practicality that really works – at a sensible price.

GEAR TEST – Lowepro Sling camera bag

I’ve been using the Lowepro Classified Sling 220AW camera bag for some six months now – so it’s time to do an appraisal of just how well it does its job.

LOWEPRO Classified Sling 220AW camera bagMy criteria when buying a new bag was that it must get the weight off my one shoulder – so that meant some sort of a rucksack-style bag. The camera bag also had to enable access to my cameras without having to take the whole thing off my back in order to get at everything.

Added to the above was the following list of priorities:

  • Space for 2 Nikon D700 bodies – one with Nikon f2.8 24-70mm lens, and one with f2.8 70-200mm lens
  • Lightweight yet tough
  • Well made and fit for purpose
  • Discrete design
  • Reasonably waterproof
  • Dimension within most airline onboard luggage dimensions

After flirting with the idea of a back-loading type of bag, eventually I settled for the sling-style of the Lowepro Classified Sling 220AW camera bag

So, has the Lowepro camera bag done the job?

Well – almost.

My gear just about fits with the lenses attached, although the length of the 70-200 when on the camera is a bit of tight fit. With both cameras in the bag there is also space for a Nikon flash and various accessories including a remote cable release.

My first impression when carrying the bag was that it tended to make me slightly breathless. Why? Because the wide diagonal strap runs across the chest, and when fully-loaded, the bag is heavy. This took some getting used to and was not pleasant.

I still find carrying the bag for long periods a little uncomfortable for this reason.

The sling action does work quite well – provided you do not tighten the strap too much in the first place. When pulled around to the front, the bag is perhaps a bit higher than I would wish. But the cameras are easily pulled out of the bag – and easily put back in again after use.

LOWEPRO Classified Sling 220AW camera bagThe big flaw in the system is the shape of the zipped opening. This, of course, is in the side of the bag so that when the whole thing is slung around to the front, the opening is at the top. The problem is that despite the makers having tried to create a curved corner on the zip, when the bag is loaded with cameras, a kink is created in this zipped corner – and it requires both hands to undo the bag – or zip it up again. One hand to pull the zip fastener, and the other hand to straighten the zip and remove the kink.

This is not a good idea when you have a camera, or accessories, in the other hand. It slows the operation down and is a real nuisance.

I think that eventually this zip will give way at this pressure point – if I don’t lose patience with it first.

Another dislike with this Lowepro camera bag is the fiddly little pockets that claim to be for memory cards. I know of no sensible photographer who does not keep spare memory cards in those small plastic cases. These cases do not fit into the little pockets of the camera bag. Very pretty little pockets, but utterly useless.


  • Value For Money – 9/10
  • Fit For Purpose – 8/10
  • Workmanship – 8/10
  • Practicality – 8/10

The Lowepro Classified Sling 220AW is available from the PhotoActive Camera Shop for £100.86

Changes to online Photo Gallery

I’ve made several changes to my  Art Print Photo Gallery.

The entire gallery is now hosted within the PhotoActive website which means I will have more flexibility about how the gallery looks and how it is arranged and maintained. This does mean that if you wish to buy a print of any of the images, you now need to contact me and I will arrange everything. Prints will no longer be sent out directly from the printers to the customer.

There are contemporary and vintage images in the new Art Print Gallery of photographs by Philip Dunn

Content of the gallery includes many favourite vintage images that have sold countless times, to new, contemporary images.

The new photo gallery is still in the construction stages, so please don’t be surprised if you find images in wrong categories – all will be sorted over the next couple of weeks – and some new images will be added.

Meanwhile, please continue to enjoy the images in the Art Print Gallery  – even if you just like looking at photography. If you need any more information, please contact me.


£30 off Panasonic Lumix TZ6

Save £30 when you buy the Panasonic Lumix TZ6 Black from Jacobs Digital from PhotoActive affiliate Jacobs Digital

PANASONIC Lumix TZ6 Black£30 off

The normal price for this camera is £179.99

Quote the code PANATZ6 when you buy online from Jacobs Digital. Valid until 12th of July while stocks last.

  • LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens with 12x optical zoom
  • Equivalent to about 25mm wide-angle to 300mm telephoto
  • 10.1 Megapixels

Familiar photo locations

I had another photography student with me yesterday – the sun shone (a bit too harsh, that light at times) and we had a great day.

student on photography course with Philip Dunn

John Farrell checks his images while photographing the old boats in Kirkcudbright during a one-to-one photography course with Philip Dunn

Of course when you do as much photography tuition as I do these days, you get to know the local photo locations very well – too well, some might say. I suppose there is always a risk that your own locality might become so familiar that your eye just stops seeing  and fails to spot anything worth photographing.

close-up of old boat plankingAnd this brings me to one of the questions John Farrell, my student today, asked while we were photographing one of the old derelict wooden boats that lie on the river bank near my home in Kirkcudbright, SW Scotland. These boats are a real favourite and I always watch my students’ eyes light up when they see them for the first time and realise that they are going to take pictures of them. The positions, shapes, textures and atmosphere surrounding these old boats enable me to demonstrate several photography techniques very effectively.

“Don’t you ever get bored coming to the same places so often?” John asked.

Well, the answer was – no, I don’t because for one thing I am concentrating on helping and teaching my student for the day, and secondly it seems that every time I re-visit a familiar place or subject I see something new while my student and I are working together.

Here in Kirkcudbright, of course, the coast and the Dee Estuary is very tidal; we sometime get tides as high as 10 metres. So no matter what time of day we go out to take photographs, the river, the harbour and the hidden coves and beaches in the area always look different. The light, too, is always changing and that has a fundamental visual effect on the landscape. We visit these places in all seasons of the year, so again they always look different.flaking blue paint on derelict boat

Yesterday John Farrell came away from those boats with a camera full of pictures and , I hope, a little more enlightenment about his photography.

I came away with another couple of very simple abstract images, both of which I was quite pleased with. They were snapped quickly while I kept one eye on my student.


Save money on Canon EOS 50D and Ixus 130

Jacobs Digital a PhotoActive affiliate, have just sent me a couple of online codes that can save you some money on Canon camera gear.

The Canon EOS 5oD and the Canon Ixus 130

New Voucher codes for Canon products:-

canon EOS 50D camera body

Canon EOS 50D (SKU: 12343)-WAS: £689.00, NOW: £564.00 (Includes £65 Cashback)
(Total Saving: £125)

Canon IXUS 130 (Black & Silver) + Free Case (SKU: 102128 / 102083)-WAS: £199.00, NOW: £169.00

see may last post – Seeing Red in Your Photographs – for one of my pictures taken on a Canon Ixus

Seeing red in your photographs

Seeing red in your photographs can have a very dramatic effect.

red attracts attention in a photographRed catches the eye more than any other colour, especially when it is placed against a blue or green background. In these situations it simply cannot help but draw attention to itself.

The trick is to retain the viewer’s attention and draw the eye into the image once it has been attracted. Add simple geometric shapes to your composition and suddenly you have an image that has a chance of retaining attention for some time after the initial attraction.

The fact that red attracts the eye so effectively is well-understood by the editors of magazines. Editors know that they have something like 1.5 seconds to attract the eye of a potential customer and make them want to pick up the magazine off the shelf.

That’s why you see so many magazines with red used for titles and red used in front page pictures. There’s even one magazine called ‘Red’. It’s worth thinking about occasionally if you want to sell your photographs.

The picture here was snapped during one of our Photography Holiday walkabouts in Mahon, Menorca. One of the aims of the tuition is to show how to take photographs that sell.

These photography holidays are fully booked for this year – but I have arranged an extra holiday from 3-10th September 2010. Please register your interest if you would like to come.

If enough photographers register – the holiday will go ahead.

  • Camera: Canon DIGITAL IXUS 960 IS
  • Shutter Speed 1/1000sec
  • Aperture: f/4.5
  • ISO 80

BBC Radio 4: photography and the law

A BBC Radio 4 magazine programme about the law has taken a look at the legal issues facing photographers.

Veteran presenter Joshua Rozenberg launched the new series of BBC Radio 4’s Law in Action with an investigation on the changing law about photography in public places.

In a BBC blog post about the programme Joshua Rozenberg describes the hostile reaction he, his producer and a photographer received when trying to take pictures of a London building.

Joshua Rozenberg says he eventually stopped recording the reaction of the ‘building manager’ when threats were made to call the police, who could have searched him under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

However, the police later confirmed that he had not been breaking the law.

Read Joshua Rozenberg’s BBC blog post.

September Photography Holiday FULLY BOOKED

The Photography Holiday in Menorca Sept 24 – Oct 1st is now fully booked.

I now have several enquiries about the proposed extra photography holiday Sept 3 – 10th. This holiday will go ahead if I get 8 photographers interested.


Please register your interest if you would like to come on this extra holiday.

Hundreds of photographers have enjoyed the special learning experience of these photography holidays – don’t miss your chance to join us – you will be learning from experience

There are places available on the Photography Holiday in May 2011