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Dedicated to thorough product testing

Welcome to our test, reviews and advice section. Over the next few pages we will present this week's equipment tests, reader questions and technique pointers

Our guarantee to you

All our tests are conducted by people who understand the product area, as well as photography. We aim to discover any shortcomings, as well as finding those aspects that deserve praise. All our tests are thorough, honest and independent

Forthcoming tests

In the next few months AP hopes to ain the following equipment through the most rigorous testing procedures in the industry... PanasonicLumix DMC-G1 Dec

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Jan

Nikon Getting the best from the D700 Jan

Sony Ericsson C905 Jan

Canon E0S40D v Nikon D90 Jan

Trek-Tech Optera 460 Pro £54.99

Canon Selphy ES3 printer £189

THERE are all manner of camera supports on the market, ranging from the classic tripod to the more humble beanbag, and it is an area that is constantly evolving. New arms, legs and protrusions are added to devices as manufacturers compete to develop new ways to support your camera and lens.

Two of the latest devices on the market are the Trek-Tech Optera 230 and 460 Pro supports. Of these, the Optera 460 Pro is the more useful model. Described as 'an articulated endoskeleton' enclosed within neoprene rubber, the 460 Pro is a fully pose-able support. It allows the camera to be supported like a traditional tripod, but the extra-long 'bendy' leg can be doubled back to support larger lenses.

The 460 Pro uses a Mag Connect Pro mount to attach it to the camera. This small device is a powerful magnet, the size of a £ 1 coin, that screws into a camera's tripod mount. The magnet then connects to an opposing mount on the Optera.

The main advantage of the Optera is that the articulated legs allow the device to be wrapped around objects that otherwise wouldn't support a camera, similar to a Joby Gorillapod. The Optera Pro 460 successfully supports a Nikon 03 and Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens in its 'tripod' position. However, although I managed to attach

CAPABLE of accepting all major memory cards, the Canon Selphy ES3 printer doesn't require attachment to a computer. It can even print images from mobile phones via an infrared connection or an optional Bluetooth adapter. Images are viewed on a 3.5in LCD screen and can be stored on an in-built 1GB of memory

It produces prints with rich colours that are true to the original file. Rather than liquid inks, the ES3 uses dyes on a ribbon to create the print by dye sublimation. It takes around 90secs to create a 6x4in print, which is dry when it leaves the printer.

Loading a pack of paper and dye roll is as easy as loading an APS camera, and the printer's menu is straightforward and simple to use. I tested it with an E-P50 6x4in postcard pack, which costs around £12 and allows 50 prints to be made (at 24p per print). Canon claims that, when stored in album, the prints produced can last for up to 100 years.

With options to print multiple images on a single print and add borders, there is much more to the Selphy ES3 than just a simple printer. Although prints are expensive compared to mini-lab services, they are quite reasonable for small runs. The only extra feature I would like is an optional battery pack for true portability. Richard Sibley

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the device to various items, including chairs and tables, I would err on the side of caution and use it for stability rather than the sole form of support. Richard Sibley

• For more information, visit www.johnsons-photopia. or call 01782 753300

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