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Stuart "stuartballuk"

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Canon Remote Switch RS-60 E3
Canon Remote Switch RS-60 E3
Price: £13.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't do without it!, 26 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I do mainly wildlife photography, especially macro stuff on insects, but also birds using long lenses. In either case, a tripod and a cable release are often essentials. The Canon Remote Switch RS-60 E3 is ideal and does the job of a cable release for the digital age with no fuss. A nice touch is the notches on the sides to facilitate wrapping the cable round it when not in use, and the hole in the end to insert the 2.5mm jack so that the wire is held nicely in place whilst it is in the camera bag.

Two small criticisms (which are why I only rated it 4 stars):

- the release button is in a sort of slider which allows you to lock it down for "Bulb" mode long exposures (night shots, astro-photography, etc). But it is a bit too easy to operate by accident! It need some sort of click mechanism or something so that you have to definitely want it before it operates.

- the shutter release button is at the wrong end! It is at the end where the wire comes out. It seems natural to me, for some reason, that this button should be at the other end, furthest from the wire. Because it seems wrong to me, I am forever losing the button and having to think about where it is - which just occasionally loses me a shot! Perhaps it is because the first one of these gadgets I owned was the Olympus equivalent for the OM2 - and that had the button "the right end"!


Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly Charged Sensor Brush
Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly Charged Sensor Brush
Price: £93.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arctic Butterfly 724 and Loupe 7x, 28 April 2013
I have had a Canon 550D since June 2010 and a 60D since Jan 2011. Up to now (April 2013) I have need to clean the sensor of the 60D (which gets far more use) twice and the 550D once. I bought a cleaning kit including the Arctic Butterfly 724 and the Sensor Loupe 7x. These have done the job just fine. In each case I have only cleaned the sensor after noticing quite marked grey splodges in flat, light coloured area of my photos. I found I could clearly see the tiny filaments of dust responsible on the sensor using the loupe, (which has LED lights) and a single sweep of the Arctic Butterfly's brush removed them. It is quick to do, it works and the Loupe is very reassuring - you can see the culprit before you start and can see it has gone afterwards! OK, sooner or later I expect I will pick up a more sticky and resilient bit of dirt or pollen that will necessitate wet cleaning, but until that is forced on me, I am very happy with this method.


GIMP 2.6 for Photographers: Image Editing with Open Source Software
GIMP 2.6 for Photographers: Image Editing with Open Source Software
by Klaus Goelker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £24.97

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gimp 2.6 for Photographers, 8 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have been using GIMP, initially 2.6 and now 2.8, for some time for processing and retouching my photos. I bought this book in Jan 2011 so I have been using it on and off for a couple of years. I see that an update for 2.8 by the same author is due in May 2013, so I thought a review would be timely.

The book is very comprehensive and detailed. It is organised as a series of exercises (with the necessary sample images and other resources available from the included DVD). The material is well and clearly explained and the exercises are covered in a clear, step by step approach. They tend to start off with very detailed hand-holding and then the hand-holding is withdrawn as things progress and the instructions become somewhat terser. I rather like this approach - it avoids becoming patronising which is one of the pitfalls of this sort of detailed step by step approach.

Its subtitle is "Image editing with Open Source Software" and it does indeed cover several other pieces of software in some detail, particularly the raw converters UFRaw and RawTherapee. The DVD includes copies of GIMP and the other pieces of Open Source software mentioned.

It starts off with the basics of loading and saving images, cropping, resizing and various basic touching up: colour correction, removing spots and scratches, sharpening, etc. There is extensive coverage of working with scanned images, which I find particularly useful as I have an extensive collection of 35mm slides and need to deal with these from time to time when organising materials for talks.

A number of common filters are covered in some detail for things like red-eye removal, perspective and lens distortion correction, frames and vignetting and dealing with under- and over-exposure. It then moves on to layers and masks with a series of exercises covering things like replacing the sky in an image, removing increasingly more complex objects from their background and building composite images. I have found these exercises very useful and have returned to them a number of time when I need to remind myself how to do some of the more complex tasks.

There is a brief appendix "A Forecast on GIMP 2.8", but this book was written a couple of years before the release of GIMP 2.8 and cannot therefore say much about the changes. The user interface of GIMP 2.8 has changed somewhat (especially the single window mode and the major new "Gotcha" of separate Save and Export commands in the File menu) but, in general, the exercises work perfectly well in GIMP 2.8.4 (the current version at the time of writing). I will be interested to see the updated version of the book when it arrives!

Overall, I would thoroughly recommend this book both to the new comer to GIMP and to the more experienced GIMPer who wants to remind themselves about some of the more complex stuff.


Digital Dream Enigma Digital Camera [1.3MP]
Digital Dream Enigma Digital Camera [1.3MP]

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It meets my specialist requirements, 26 Oct 2003
I would not recommend this as your first or only digital camera, but if you need a small, light, relatively cheap digital this could be the one.
I have a Nikon Coolpix which produces excellent results, but I am a white-water kayaker and would not risk taking it on a river trip! Kayaking rule: never take anything out in a kayak you are not prepared to lose. So, I wanted a camera small enough to carry in the pocket of my bouyancy aid (in an AquaPac watertight-bag), with a low enough value so that I could live with losing if it came to it, but which would produce photos suitable for the club web-site.
I have had the Enigma 1.3 for a month or so and tried it out on a couple of trips plus several evening and weekend visits to the local river and it does the job nicely.
I have used it almost exclusively on its highest resolution (1280 x 1024) and highest quality setting and, with a 32mb Smart Card added, I get just over 80 shots (only 18 with just the built in 8mb though). In daylight the quality is good, although they don't stand much enlargement before JPEG artifacts are evident. But to resize down, or crop, to get a 600x400 image for a web site they are ideal. I agree with other reviewers that pictures taken in poor light suffer a magenta cast. I have not yet had cause to use the inbuilt flash.
As other reviewers note, there is quite a long pause between pressing the button and the picture being saved (I make it nearly 2 secs). In my experience, all digital cameras suffer from this to some extent, but the Enigma is perhaps towards the longer end. This, coupled with its small size and the fact I am often operating from a small boat on turbulent water makes camera shake a real problem. In these circumstances I find the "annoying beep" when the picture is taken a very useful confirmation.
To the reviewer who complains about it "eating batteries" and having poor software, I can only say I am still on the original batteries (2xAAA) and the indicator shows about half used - so I am not complaining and I just installed the TWAIN driver that is supplied, which I use from Paintshop Pro, and downloading images has worked flawlessly for me.


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