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Chris R (Devon, UK)

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Corgi Toys 1:72 Scale Flight Red Arrow Bae Hawk Die Cast Aircraft
Corgi Toys 1:72 Scale Flight Red Arrow Bae Hawk Die Cast Aircraft
Price: £16.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Model but not really a toy, 18 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I ordered this for my son's third birthday, but when I looked at it the night before, I realised the packaging said it was for 14+ year olds only, so I had to send it back. Amazon's product details state that it's unsafe for under 3s, but the tail fin looks almost as sharp as a knife so I'm not sure how accurate that description is!
Looks like a lovely model for older children or collectors.

Hozelock Multi Spray Pro Gun
Hozelock Multi Spray Pro Gun
Price: £22.09

5.0 out of 5 stars Time Saver, 11 Jun. 2013
I wish I had bought this Spray Gun sooner. My previous spray gun (dark green cheaper brandless model) was leaking from where the hose attaches. Not only that, I noticed that the output was reduced unless I pushed the gun into the hose attachment while I was using it. Needless to say, these issues were infuriating.

This Hozelock Gun is very well made, with quality materials throughout. It feels very solid in the hand and the rubberized outer material will help it survive the odd drop onto the patio. There is no leakage from the hose attachment and the metal connector looks built to last.

The various settings are excellent and the fact you can turn the power down with the red switch too means I can use this for everything from watering seedlings with a fine mist to hosing down the car or filling a watering can quickly.

Nothing seems to last more than a couple of years out in the garden, but at the price I paid for this (just under £14!) it is worth every penny and probably still worth it at twice the price!

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G Lens
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G Lens
Price: £495.00

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great lens, smaller than I expected, 2 Jun. 2013
I spent a lot of time deliberating before I went for this lens. The wide angle prime lens selection offered by Nikon is starting to get quite dated, with the only fast option other than this lens being the £1000+ 24mm f1.4, if you are looking for modern AF-S glass.

I considered the Nikon 28mm f2.8 (too slow, not very sharp), the 20mm f2.8 (ditto), the 24mm f1.4 (too expensive, too heavy), the 35mm f2 (not wide enough) and I ruled them all out. There are some offerings from third party manufacturers - I particularly like some Sigma lenses - but they don't save much cost wise, and I worry that in a few years when I upgrade my camera the lens may not be compatible.

So I was left with one choice - the 28mm f1.8. It was a bit more than I wanted to spend, but the wide aperture is important to me and allows me to take photos in the lowest of light. I was a bit concerned that 28mm wouldn't be wide enough, but I have found this not to be the case and I think if it was much wider I would want to change lenses more often.

If money were no object I would probably still plump for the 24mm f1.4 as it offers a slightly better optical performance according to lens reviews. However, I have found this lens to be contrasty, sharp enough and quick enough to focus. The build quality is similar to other f1.8 lenses, and it feels quite light considering how wide it is and as, from looking at the technical diagram, it does have quite a bit of glass in it. The 28mm f1.8G seems quite long and narrow compared to my 85mm f1.8G, but feels lighter than it looks - just as that lens does.

The hood is quite long for such a small lens but still compact and the 67mm filter thread size not too large (so not too expensive to buy filters). This is quite a standard size for Nikon these days.

This completes what, for me, is the holy trinity of prime lenses for Nikon Amateur Photographers - with the 50mm f1.4 (or 1.8) and the 85mm f1.8 completing the setup. This set of lenses is good for most applications apart from wildlife shooting or more specialist work.

Overall I am very pleased with my purchase and this is now one of my favourite lenses. It's just wide enough to add a sense of drama to a photo, which normal lenses sometimes lack in their more traditional (~35-50mm) perspective.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 18, 2014 1:28 AM BST

Nikon D600 Digital SLR Camera Body Only (24.3MP) 3.2 inch LCD
Nikon D600 Digital SLR Camera Body Only (24.3MP) 3.2 inch LCD
Offered by Gee Gadgets
Price: £1,299.00

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars D300 Upgrade - First Time Using Full Frame DSLR, 17 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I made the decision to upgrade to a Full frame (FX) camera over several months after the D600 was released. I loved my twin D300 cameras but the only things holding me back with them was the high ISO performance (low light shooting) and the reduced control over depth of field because of the smaller sensor. I decided that I could upgrade to FX and sell one of my D300's and f2.8 DX lens collection to pay for it, and use a f4 zoom and some prime lenses on the D600.

First impressions were good, this camera is not as sturdy or solid in the hand when compared to the D300, but for my use it feels robust enough. The handgrips are slightly thinner and less grippy than those on the D300 and it certainly feels more like the amateur camera Nikon say it is than the professional level D300, D300s or the D700. My fourth finger on my right hand only half fits onto the grip, so I can see I will want the optional MB-D14 battery grip to make the camera more comfortable to hold if I use it for an all day shoot.

I've spent 5 years learning about depth of field, shutter speed and ISO on the DX line of cameras, and the FX camera doesn't feel as different as I thought it might. The main differences I have noticed so far compared to the D300 are the lack of grainy noise at ISOs above 800 and the exposure and white balance are more accurate. The pictures just look better straight from the camera than the exact same images shot on DX. I have only tried RAW files so far, but the output at ISO 6400 on the D600 is around the same as ISO 1600 on the D300 as far as noise goes.

Many of the controls are slightly different on the D600 as there are less buttons than on the D300 style bodies. The main controls I've noticed/missed are the button for selecting focus points (multi or single point focus) and the quality/iso/white balance buttons. The lack of dedicated button means you have to press another button and then turn one of the control dials by the shutter release. Once you've done this a few times it becomes intuitive and no slower to use than on the older camera. Many people have criticized the smaller spread of the focus points, but I haven't found this to be a big problem.

The other differences between these two cameras are more subtle. There is a brighter, more colourful look to the images shot on the D600, no doubt in part due to the increased tonal range from the sensor and in the Expeed 3 processing engine. The subject 'pops out' far more in the images on full frame, both because of the colours and also the reduced depth of field. Although the background blur and bokeh are not as dramatically different as I thought they may be, the effect does enhance the photos noticeably.

So, was it worth the investment? The D600 at the time of writing is almost £1000 more than a used D300 in excellent condition. I could only afford it because I had spent some time building up a collection of DX lenses which I have now sold. It feels like I am starting again now, as there will no doubt be some FX glass that I end up wanting (eg a super wide angle lens) - but the main reason for going to FX has been to reduce the weight of my camera kit. The difference in low light performance of the FX cameras means that f2.8 lenses can be substituted with f4 lenses and the weight of kit overall will be reduced. A couple of primes can be bought cheaply to take care of portrait work and very low light situations, and a 24-120 f4 for everything else.

I am pleased that I finally took the plunge and bought into full frame photography. The D800 is another step up and would mean an upgrade to my computer to handle the file size so that was out of the question. The D600 is perfectly placed for the very top of the range in amateur photography and I am delighted with my purchase.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 6, 2013 12:58 PM GMT

Deuter Cross Bike 18 black/silver Rucksack
Deuter Cross Bike 18 black/silver Rucksack

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Bag!, 3 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This bag is great value and is packed with useful features. The bag is just big enough to fit a large lunchbox, extensive puncture/bike repair kit, work shirt and wallet/phone etc for my daily commute. There is an internal pocket for the wallet and phone, and a front top pocket where you can store your keys and easily access them at the end of the journey.

The bag is made from good quality water proofed nylon and the zips feel fairly sturdy (this was what broke on my last bag). The shoulder straps are well padded and comfortable, with quite thin waist and chest straps that are adequate for their purpose.

The unexpected bonus for me is the rain cover, which is packed away in the bottom. This is easy to use and is brightly coloured so you will be very visible if the rain does start falling on your journey.

I like the helmet cover as I can shove a jacket or something similar under it if the bag is already full. The only thing I don't like is that the helmet cover top straps get in the way of the zips for the main compartment slightly.

Overall, very pleased, especially as this bag is priced quite keenly compared to the other cycle bags available.

Zixtro Flash Mobile Phone Bike Bicycle Handlebar Mount Holder Stand Case Cover - Grey for Apple iPhone 5 Apple iPhone 3G 3GS 4 4S HTC Desire S
Zixtro Flash Mobile Phone Bike Bicycle Handlebar Mount Holder Stand Case Cover - Grey for Apple iPhone 5 Apple iPhone 3G 3GS 4 4S HTC Desire S

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just Buy A Proper Bike Computer, 3 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I deliberated for ages about which handlebar mount to buy for my smartphone (a Samsung Galaxy S2) as I was sure I wanted to use the phone to record my training rides (on Strava). I ended up buying this product, but I wish I hadn't bothered.

I really wanted to like this phone holder, but there are a number of flaws to the design. First, the cover. This feels OK off the bike and the lip of the front cover clips over the bottom half of the holder which looks secure. However, on my first outing with my £500 smartphone inside it, the cover flipped open whilst I was travelling at over 35 mph and I had to grab the phone to stop it flying out. One solution to this problem would be an elastic band around the cover, but this would look awful.

The second problem is the size - this thing is big. It has to be big to fit the phone in, but it really looks too big on a racing bike (in my opinion). My Samsung fitted in even with the extended battery on it, but you can't fit the phone in with a case of any type around it, so you have to remove your phone case every time you go on the bike (problem number 3).

Issue number four - the handlebar mount attaches with using a tool, so you can't just unclip it and swap between bikes, meaning I would end up needing to buy three or four of these mounts, one for each bicycle.

Problem five is the quality - I was very disappointed with this. The mount looks well made enough, although the clear plastic screen cover isn't very smooth and looks quite flimsy, but the screw to attach the top part of the mount to the bottom went right through and scratched my handlebars! This caused permanent damage to the immaculate bars that I had paid a lot of money for. If they were carbon the bars would probably need replacing.

The quality of the bracket that attaches to the bars has another flaw, which is that if you over tighten the metal screw it goes right through the plastic bracket and becomes useless.

I've used the mount twice and it is now no good and was out of the one month return period by the time I realised it was no good.

In the end I bought a Garmin 200 which I could get for much less than £100 with cashback. This is a purpose made cycle computer and so does not suffer from weather proofing issues etc. You can also buy multiple mounts very cheaply for other bikes and it transfers easily between them.

Don't waste your time trying to use your phone as a bike computer as in my experience they are really not up to the job, particularly when used with this mount.

Duronic TVB123M Heavy Duty Adjustable Wall Bracket for 33-60 inch Plasma/LCD/LED Screen - Black
Duronic TVB123M Heavy Duty Adjustable Wall Bracket for 33-60 inch Plasma/LCD/LED Screen - Black
Offered by DURONIC
Price: £99.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Product and Easy to Install, 3 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This bracket arrived very quickly and came with every conceivable type of fixing in order to attach the bracket to your wall. The package was quite small and arrived very quickly from Amazon but the bracket looks very sturdy and is far better value than the ones I've seen on the High Street.

Once our 50" TV was installed, the tilt action allowed us to easily alter the angle of the TV up or down to reduce reflections on the screen. The bracket is not visible at all due to its compact size.

The only issue I found is that the HDMI cable at the back of the TV is pressed against the wall, so I will be ordering a right angled adaptor to stop it being damaged. (These are only around £1 on Amazon and they were suggested when I bought the wall bracket).

Next Base NB48-A 7" Portable DVD Player with Car Kit - Black
Next Base NB48-A 7" Portable DVD Player with Car Kit - Black
Price: £68.70

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite pleased so far, 27 Oct. 2012
We got this for our two year old for long journeys. It's quite solidly made, having survived a drop onto a concrete floor from waist height already. One issue we had the first day we used it was that dvd's kept skipping. They would play for a few minutes and then start skipping or freezing for a few seconds. It go so bad after a while that we couldn't use it.
I decided to give the player one more chance though, and the next day all the discs started working with no problems. It has worked flawlessly ever since (for over a month).
Overall very pleased. It works well, with a clear picture and good enough sound quality. The headrest attachment is easy to use (we have a VW Golf) and the battery lasts long enough to watch a film.

Adapter-Duo UK-USA - American Double Socket Adapter
Adapter-Duo UK-USA - American Double Socket Adapter
Offered by General Stores Online
Price: £8.19

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Product, 27 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this for a recent holiday as I have the European version and i like it. The adaptor is well made and it's great to have two plugs as many hotel rooms only have one socket available.

The best thing for me on this trip was the nightlight. It was just the right brightness to allow us to navigate to the bathroom without switching on the main lights and waking up the baby.

A well made product and very useful

Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar
Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar
by David Millar
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Millar's Time, 27 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book left me with almost as many regrets about Millar's decisions as he must have himself. He's a legend of the peloton now, but I am left wondering what he might have achieved had he not made the mistakes he did.

Millar tells the story of his life from his troubled and often unconventional upbringing and his determination to succeed in the sport he grew to love, through to his present day position as a spokesman for the pitfalls of doping and a mentor for today's junior pro cyclists.

By all accounts, it seems that Millar was one of the most gifted junior pro's we have ever produced in Great Britain and it's a shame cycling's doping culture at the time tarnished what would inevitably have been a glittering career.

I went from feeling sorry for Millar, to disliking who he became, before ending the book with a great deal of respect for him as an ambassador for anti doping efforts and above all, as a cycling fan like me.

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