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Giottos GTAA1900 Rocket Air Blower - Black
Giottos GTAA1900 Rocket Air Blower - Black
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not up to the task, 1 Feb 2013
For starters, this simply isnt powerful enough, thereby moving dust from unwanted point A to unwanted point B. Perhaps I'm asking too much of such a simple, inexpensive device. My rocket blower now gathers dust on a shelf. Sucking is often the more appropriate option.

My favoured way to remove dust is with a vacuum cleaner and a small, soft paintbrush. On my previous D3X, and current Leica R9, I simply took the lens off, held the vacuum cleaner nozzle reasonably close to the lens mount whilst simultaneously moving the brush gently over the internal surfaces of the camera body (including the D3X sensor). Zero dust and zero damage.

BTW, unless you have inappropriately exposed your sensor whilst the lens is unmounted, or you have used your sensor as a dinner plate, there should only be dust on the sensor, so there is no need for cleaning fluids
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 14, 2013 11:58 PM BST

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 16GB SIM-Free Smartphone - Titanium Grey
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 16GB SIM-Free Smartphone - Titanium Grey
Offered by Cheap Mobile Phone
Price: £339.99

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truly excellent phone!, 24 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The standout features of this phone are the S Note/S Pen, and the large screen, so my review shall focus on these points


I bought the note 2 primarily to use the S Note app in university lectures (I'm a mature student). It is responsive enough, with only a slight delay between where the pen is to where the writing appears. S Note obviously takes practice, though it quickly becomes intuitive and of benefit.

I managed 5-6 words per line in portrait orientation, although larger, more easily legible words reduce that number to around 4 per line, so it imposes a more selective style of writing than traditional pen and paper. Only 3-4 lines appear in landscape orientation, but I haven't found a way to change the scaling of it. Adding a new page is easy enough, as is scrolling from one page to the next.

I would like to be able to annotate Powerpoint and other MS documents, and although there are apps for creating such documents, I doubt the S Note app is compatible with them. Its not possible to "write" on published documents in the same way as with the S Note, which is a pity, though the pen alone does work on powerpoints and docx opened with Openoffice Pro (via a full qwerty keyboard), which I find very useful indeed. Using the S Pen with Openoffice MS documents allows adjustment of text size and uses much more of the screen, which are both benefits that S Note doesnt have. MS docx are more easily shared than S Notes, and can be further elaborated on with a PC.

I've read a couple of reviews which state it isnt a substitute for pen and paper, but I'd say it comes close enough for my purposes, and there are benefits that pen and paper do not have. Perhaps the S Note isnt perfect, but I shall certainly continue to use it in preference to pen and paper. The S Pen and S Note transforms this into a far more usable phone than any I have ever used.

As an aside, the stylus can be as useful as the traditional touch input, if not easier in some circumstances, though it can be annoyingly unresponsive when not using S Note, e.g., at shallow angles, and when a light touch is attempted.


The color accuracy and depth of blacks is comparable to watching movies on a television or laptop. This is a powerful phone and its wonderful for watching films and music videos! They are rendered seamlessly and this screen does them justice. The extra inch-and-half compared to my old Nexus S makes a world of difference.

The screen IS huge, but then my large hands can almost reach the upper corners. Perhaps this phone does require both hands to operate it at times, but its not the end of the world! If you're even considering this phone then its dimensions either wont be a problem, or will be a happy compromise. I'd disagree with Apples "one size fits all" 4 inch policy: where is the screen on an iphone 5?! PDF's and other documents are far easier to view than with a 4 inch screen.

My last phone was the Nexus S, though even with the latest JellyBean 4.1.2, it seems prehistoric and insufficiently small compared to the Note 2!
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 29, 2012 8:03 AM GMT

Schizophrenia: Cognitive Theory, Research, and Therapy
Schizophrenia: Cognitive Theory, Research, and Therapy
by Aaron T. Beck
Edition: Paperback
Price: £28.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, 1 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book offers a very thorough account of the processes involved in the development, maintenance, and treatment of schizophrenia. Despite the breadth and depth of the concepts involved, the use of analogies and vignettes ensures it remains eminently comprehensible for laymen and nursing students such as myself. The theories and concepts proved to be a revelation and have gone some way to answering the many questions I have regarding this fascinating disorder.

No Title Available

2.0 out of 5 stars not a secure fit...., 15 Dec 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you're looking to buy this lens cap then there's a very good chance you've lost the old one because it didn't fit securely. A non-Leica cap would look out of place on a Leica though, so I bought this instead of a decent one....

UPDATE: I have just lost the replacement, so unless I sell my APO Macro Elmarit-R (NEVER!!), I'll stick to better fitting lens caps

Mammut Unisex-Adult Monolith Gtx Hiking Boot
Mammut Unisex-Adult Monolith Gtx Hiking Boot
Price: £177.69 - £280.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good boots, 14 Dec 2011
I have narrow feet with high arches, plus slightly arched toes. Mammut Monolith boots fit my feet in a way that La Sportiva and Scarpa offerings never did. Try on as many brands as you can before committing to a purchase, obviously.

The midsole unit of these boots is the semi-rigid B2 variety, whilst the uppers are more flexible than traditional 4 season leather boots. The flexibility of both uppers and sole combines to increase the effort and accuracy needed for scrambling and descending. Stiffer boots would require less tension in leg and foot muscles for the same foothold, and so would require less effort than the monoliths. I shouldn't criticise the Monoliths too harshly as they are B2. I'll keep them for technical summer stuff like crib goch

On the plus side, these boots are narrow in profile both internally and externally, and this lack of bulk makes them nimble and dexterous. Combine this with their low weight and you have boots which provide good feedback and aren't cumbersome. The walk in is easy due to the excellent rolling action, low weight and low external bulk. The deep-lugged Vibram Teton outsole gives excellent traction

Overall, I`d say these are good allround 4 season boots, but aren't quite stiff enough for my needs

Nikon D3X Digital SLR Camera Body Only (24.5MP) 3 inch LCD (discontinued by manufacturer)
Nikon D3X Digital SLR Camera Body Only (24.5MP) 3 inch LCD (discontinued by manufacturer)

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great camera!, 29 Sep 2011
As time passes and I learn to shoot to this cameras strengths (contrasty subjects), the more I appreciate the benefits it brings over the d700. For me the range of light captured is wider than that of a D700, thereby drawing out greater detail from shadows, without blowing the highlights. This enables you to keep Active-D Lighting low, so contrast isn`t compromised.
I also noticed an increase in colour depth, which combines beautifully with the increased light range to give rich, deep images. This colour range gives images a subtle beauty, but depending on the subject, these improvements are not always pronounced though, and lens choice can have a far greater impact on image quality. Invest in some good glass and you`ll get wonderful results!
The ability to produce large, detailed prints is one of the reasons I began photography, and the D3X delivers 20 by 30" prints at 200dpi.

Personally speaking, I prefer the D700 at ISO 400 and above, but this isn't a problem as I largely shoot still subjects at ISO 100. I`d like to see a "favourites" sub-menu, so I don`t have to wade through a morass of rarely used functions. When shooting in constantly changing light, making even the most basic adjustments frustratingly fiddly. The ability to assign a specific function (e.g. LiveView) to a particular button is also frustratingly limited. Any d3x successor needs to be smaller and lighter (the d4 isn`t the d3x successor).

Lens choice has become the main dslr drawback for me - there aren`t many 35 and 50mm lenses with high contrast when shot wide open. Leica M lenses apparently have excellent wide open contrast, and are some of the best lenses of any format, so I`ll move to Leica M lenses combined with something like a Sony NEX7, or the M9 replacement if it has liveview. If my Leica APO Macro Elmarit-R 100/2.8 is anything to go by, the M lens image quality will be first class.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 15, 2013 5:54 PM GMT

Nikon AF-S VR Micro NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens
Nikon AF-S VR Micro NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens
Price: £629.00

17 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay starter macro lens, 2 Nov 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Some shots are good, but others are poor, so it`s rather inconsistent. Contrast levels are not high, even when stopped down. This lens is not apochromatic, hence the frustratingly inconsistent colors. Bokeh is good, though. If you compare it to very good lenses, images taken with this lens don't look "real". I don't buy the usual "you must have a bad sample" excuse - "bad samples" are nikons norm. There are much better macro lenses out there, and if you tried one, you wouldn`t give the nikon 5 stars. Auto focus is the only advantage this lens has, but it focus hunts, and you need to use LiveView instead for macro work.

I now have a Leica APO Macro Elmarit-R 100mm f2,8. Contrast is excellent even when wide open, and color rendition is almost perfect. The beautiful, SHARP images look "real". Chromatic aberrations are virtually nonexistent. Bokeh is perfect. This Leica is truly worth 5 stars.
UPDATE: Last year I shot cherry tree blossom with the nikon 105, and did the same this year with the Leica. The difference is like night and day, and 8 months later serves to confirm my above comparison of these two lenses. I bought my Leica for about £1k, and had to replace the bayonet so it fit my D3X body (Leitax make a good one for about £80). There are reputable Leica dealers around Germany who sell this lens secondhand for about 1300 euros.

Other alternatives include the Voigtlander 125/2.5 - very difficult to find/pay for, and the Zeiss 100/2, which has excellent reviews and at f2 is the fastest macro lens available. It only goes to 1:2 though, which surprisingly wasn't a problem for me. Do yourself a favour and hire one for a week
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 23, 2014 7:03 PM BST

Manfrotto 496RC2 Ball Head with Friction Control
Manfrotto 496RC2 Ball Head with Friction Control
Price: £59.00

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, but could be better, 7 Oct 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My main gripe is that the quick release plate mounted on the camera doesnt always provide a secure lock with the receiving plate. My macro focusing rack adds another 1kg, so the movement between QR plate and its receiver ruins focus stacking. The QR lever needs a firm push to prevent any unwanted movement. Its obviously easy to do, but it shouldnt be neccessary.
Part of the problem is that the QR spring tension isnt high enough to provide a secure lock, and the pin which depresses to lock the camera needs lubricating to ease its operation.

The locking dial requires too many rotations, so when the sun is about to go in the extra time it takes to lock becomes frustrating. With a lightweight lens a high degree of friction on the ball head is all thats needed to keep the camera from moving, so you dont need the locking mechanism. "Lock" should be an "ON/OFF" switch, but it isnt with this head.

This ball head doesnt allow lateral movement past 90 degrees, so you may have to adjust your tripod to get level shots in portrait orientation. If youre doing relatively level landscape shots then this head is ok, but shooting at irregular angles isn`t this (or any other) ball heads forte. Is fiddly and frustrating.

My manfrotto tripod is good, so I have nothing against the company, but I was dissapointed with this head. Perhaps I bought the wrong type, so my next one will be a 3 way. I thought a ball head would be easier and quicker, but they arent accurate enough for my type of shooting
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 27, 2011 1:31 PM BST

HTC Battery for HD2 Mobiles
HTC Battery for HD2 Mobiles

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars just like the rest of the hd2, the battery is also shi7, 17 Sep 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The battery I got with the phone only lasted 9 months of light use before it died, and this one for sale on amazon is EXACTLY the same model. Perhaps this is because the phone has such a large screen, so maybe its not the batterys fault, but 9 months aint a long time.......
The phone has turned out to be a very unreliable piece of shi7 anyway, so maybe I shouldnt take my anger out on this battery...........
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 3, 2012 10:02 AM BST

HTC Touch HD2 Windows Mobile 6.5 Sim-Free Mobile Phone
HTC Touch HD2 Windows Mobile 6.5 Sim-Free Mobile Phone

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor phone indeed, 12 Sep 2010
Just got my hd2 back from "repair". HTC says its been water damaged (check for the litmus dots turning red), which isnt covered in the warranty, and cannot be fixed. I used this phone in exactly the same careful manner as my previous, trouble free blackberry.
HTC`s litmus paper trick must be a feature of all htc phones, so dont carry it somewhere even remotely humid, such as your pocket!

This phone had been turning itself off unexpectedly for a while. The replacement battery did little to improve standby time, and switching between apps had become increasingly slow.

The htc "sense" overlay made no sense and the phone would have been better with the basic windows OS alone. Having tried an android samsung galaxy I certainly wouldnt consider any other OS, or any HTC again

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