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Reviews Written by
Mr. W. A. Bickerton "Roastpoo" (Cheshire, UK)

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Pentax K-x Digital SLR Camera (Single Lens Kit 18 - 55mm)
Pentax K-x Digital SLR Camera (Single Lens Kit 18 - 55mm)

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great but with minor faults..., 21 April 2010
This is my first digital SLR, before this I had a panasonic GF1 and a Canon G9 which were both very good, however I decided to "upgrade" despite the kx being cheaper than the panasonic, I "upgraded" to this one... the main difference it this cameras ability to take pictures which are not only usuable but actually very sharp and clean at high ISO. I think the high ISO photos really are this cameras party trick and even 3200 iso images are very good, imfact when out with friends in a resturant or party for example the 3200 are fine... Anything under 800iso really donr show any noise at all, at least compared with the panasonic which were terrable at 800 and the canon which were only usuable upto 200, due to the tiny sensor...

The Pentax with kit lense produces very good sharp images above f8, anything lower than this are a bit soft. I have sold this lens and bought a sigma 18-200mm which is vastly better, maybe a little more distortion and softer edges but usuable right down to base f3.5. I would recommend you buy the pentax with the 18-55mm lens as its cheaper than the dual kit lens and having bought the dual kit lens (18-55 and 50-200mm) version can tell you both lenses are soft at base f-stop... The 50-200mm lens was also horribly noisey when focusing and pretty slow... I didnt like using it at all, thus I sold it... The Sigma is better...

Apart from the kit lenses the camera really has very minor faults... It burns out slightly in high contrast shots as the emphasis seems to be on shadow detail and not highlight, however simply dropping the exposure a stop can fix this. Mine is constantly set to -.7 to -1. Also the white balance in artificial light is not great, but using raw will help with this... I have read the jpeg and raw quality differ very little. This simply is not true... the raw DNG files can be post edited really rather a lot... I have had jpegs which showed objects as black but with the raws was able to bring back a great deal of detail and colour in these areas... I had the jpeg shadow correct on full...

The battery isnt an issue... lithium batteries last for thousands of pics and the sanyo eneloops last for about 600 baring in mind I use the viewfinder but do review pretty much every image I take on screen... I have no problem with the battery...

All in all this camera is simply fantastic, it has flaws which I have mentioned, but for the price and with a better lens it trully is a joy to use and using raw you always have the feeling any image you take will be usable. I did not feel this way the the Panasonic...

I love this camera and would happily recommend it to any of my friends...!!

Gift Republic Name a Star Gift Box
Gift Republic Name a Star Gift Box
Price: £13.62

82 of 94 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Can you officially name a star?, 14 Mar. 2010
I love the idea of this gift and thought about buying this for my children, however after reading a few negative reviews, decided to google the actual facts about naming a star.... It turns out according to the International Astronomical Union... Stars are only classified under a numerical reference, with a hand full of ancient star names being the only recognised names....

This is simply googled, under "can you name a star".

I am not going to declare if one can actually name a star or not, but I would urge you to spend a few minutes googling it before you part with your cash...

Basically I have now chosen not to name a star and will buy my boys a toy frog instead...
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 24, 2012 1:19 PM GMT

Manfrotto Modo Tripod
Manfrotto Modo Tripod

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not stable enough, 4 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Manfrotto Modo Tripod (Camera)
This is a very lightweight and fairly small tripod, which is good, however not so good if you actually want to use it for photography...

I have been using my pentax K-x with this and it seems to hold it pretty well, the camera is way under the 1kg weight limit and sits very securely within the tripod housing... The probelm I have is stability. The tripod at full height is prett much unusable, it wabbles when the shutter is released on the camera. Its not a lot of wobble, but to blur your images only takes a little movement... The tripod is stronger with the center post down, but this makes the tripod a lot shorter and my shutter can still cause wobble...

The problem is with the lower legs sections, especially the bottom, which you can actually easily flex with your hands and with my camera on the tripod I can actually see the lower legs bowing. The rubber feet are pointless... the slide all over the place, unless on tarmac. and finally the worse thing about my particular tripod is that one of the lower clamps does not close securely resulting in my tripod collapsing as the lower limb returned into the leg body and my camera hit the floor. I can only think myself lucky I was talking pictures in my living room with a carpeted floor...I did not realise the clamp opened at will until the event had taken place. I have checked the clamp and it does not seem to close properly and will click open at will, making the tripod not only useless but potentially harmful to my camera.

I have read many revies about this product and in the whole they seem to be favourable, I can only assume this is due to the product being a really good make at a really good price, but you wouldnt buy a skoda with a ferrari badge. I would say this tripod is trying to be too clever and depite having some good features including the awsome handle ball joint and funky leg angle selection, is really no good for an slr with any amount of shutter movement, it is also pointless for windy conditions...

Velbon V-Pod Kit and Case Tripod
Velbon V-Pod Kit and Case Tripod

3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars way too tiny and weak..., 2 Feb. 2010
I bought this to replace my Velbon VTP-815 Tripod as my velbon is 5 years old and feeling a little worn... I wanted a very small compact as I have had few problems with my VTP-815, despite is being wabbly in windy conditions... The v-pod is pretty much pointless... the legs are very small and short, with the center unit providing a large portion of the height, which is a massive mistake as this part is very wabbly.. The joints on the legs are far weaker than those on the VTP-815 and as such provide pretty much zero stability, unless using something which weighs nothing in a internal environment...

It is cheap and is quite pretty, but unless your buying this for your chilrden to use with their mobile phones I would seriously say dont bother... Its a shame really as the product is beautiful and could have been much more... I have sent it back after just a 10 min play and have ordered the manfrotto modo maxi, which is more expensive 4 times the weight and larger, which hopefully will be better, especially if used with my SLR.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 17, 2010 9:43 PM BST

Velbon VTP-815 Tripod + Case - Black
Velbon VTP-815 Tripod + Case - Black

4.0 out of 5 stars still going after 5 years, 2 Feb. 2010
I have had this tripod for several years and I have never had a problem with it.... I originally bought it for use with a compact 150g camera which I think is pretty much what its designed for, however having later used a Canon G9 and now a Pentax K-x, the tripod still holds up very well... The legs are strong enough, the movement comes from the telescopic sprung bearing clups which hold the tripod in the extended position, basically the joints are pretty weak and do allow the tripod to move and twist easily... I have captured very good images using this and my pentax, but only using the remote and with zero wind...

It is a good portable tripod and is very light, whilst being well made... but only suitable for indoor or zero wind conditions.

Hama Retractable Blower Brush 60mm Bulb
Hama Retractable Blower Brush 60mm Bulb

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No blow and little brush..., 29 Jan. 2010
This is a retractable blower which is the main problem... Firstly the brush when extended will not stay extended and even under very light pressure wants to crawl back into its little rubber house... Secondly, the blowing action is like a turtle with a chest infection... The air is lost through the lose fitting brush connection to the bulb and any air which does manage to wheez its way to the brush has such a large opening to tumble out of that the pressure is non-existant... It really is like blowing through a bucket...

I would not recommend this product as is simply does not do the job it is intended for...

3 x atFoliX Screen Protector Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Screen Protection Film - FX-Antireflex anti-reflective
3 x atFoliX Screen Protector Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Screen Protection Film - FX-Antireflex anti-reflective
Offered by @FoliX GmbH
Price: £7.29

1.0 out of 5 stars Diffuses the picture and glows in bright light, 29 Jan. 2010
The screen protector was really easy to install, much much easier than other screen protectors I have used including more expensive ones, which is probably the only good think about the screen protector... The screen protector in terms of use is a different matter... It is very diffusing and makes all the pictures look somewhat out of focus and when zooming in one the camera screen to check sharpness is impossible as you just cannot see a crisp image through the diffusing matt folix protector, the screen protector also removes some of the colour leaving you with a false colour image on screen, which to me is a big no no...I removed it after just a day as it was irritating me. I cannot comment on the protective qualities of the screen as I didnt give it enough time to test this feature, I will however way it did handle a rather good scraping with the provided smoothing card just before removing it (as a slight test), which probably means it would be fairly good at combating scratches. Another bad point is it marks very easily, so if you touch it, it will retain your oily finger prints enhancing the diffuse effect of the screen...

I have tried many screen protectors and this is by far the easiest to install, but by far the worst in terms of use... I cannot recommend this screen protector as it will impede your pin sharp photo taking ability... I would recommend due to the nature of the panasonic GF1 being a live view only camera you really concider if scratch resistance and apparent antirefectance is better than being able to see the picture you have taken, remember the screen on the panasonic GF1 is your only connection with the world your photographing and as such should be as perfect a representation as possibly...

The Digital Photography Book: The Step-by-step Secrets for How to Make Your Photos Look Like the Pros'!
The Digital Photography Book: The Step-by-step Secrets for How to Make Your Photos Look Like the Pros'!
by Scott Kelby
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good...!!, 8 Jan. 2010
Most of the tech stuff seems to be ained at people who have never even seen an SLR never mind handled one. However the simple "pro tips" are actually really interesting, they are really obvious, but just thing you dont think of... for example, get a group of people to close their eyes and when you shout "smile" have them open their eyes and smile... Pretty obvious hey... This is just one example and some are far more complicated.... Its a very very good book, and despite not actually learning anything new about my camera technically, I do feel I am now seeing aspects of photography in a different light... Buy this book, ignore the guys rather irritating attempt to be funny and you really will find yourself learning some nice tips, and more importantly you will fond your photos are improved...

No Title Available

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish...!!!!!, 6 Jan. 2010
Worse umbarella I have ever had the misfortune used.... Firstly, It lasted just a couple of uses before the hinges sheered, it comes apart everytime you fold it up as the ends are not fixed oh and you actually feel really stupid using it, as despite looking rather cool on the pictures, trust me, it most certainly isnt when your walking down the street with people laughing at you, as it looks broken....

Its actually manufactured by totes, which despite having owned a nimber of compact and ultra compact totes brollies have never found a trully usable one.

Do not buy this as you will regret it....

I do wish my review was positive as I love out side the box thinking and radically different design, and being an industrial designer know how difficult it is to create something different, however this is not different it is actually just rubbish....

Panasonic 12GB Class 4 SD Card up to 20MB/s - Silver line
Panasonic 12GB Class 4 SD Card up to 20MB/s - Silver line
Offered by K.K. Electronics
Price: £33.60

3.0 out of 5 stars Not great... Less than I expected., 4 Jan. 2010
I have been using Transcend sdhc for several years now, and have been fairly happy with them, however I recently bought a Panasonic GF1 (fantastic camera) and decided I would "upgrade" my SD card to a Panasonic one... I did not wish to pay for the gold version, and as the Transcend 16GB SDHC Class 6 Memory Card was nearly fast enough for my liking decided the panasonic silver range would be an improvement... I was wrong. I inserted the card, hoping for quick burst RAW recording to find with my test of 5 burst photos and then times record time that the Transcend took around 15 seconds to record where as the panasonic took very slightly longer at 16 seconds. I have read the Transcend records at 6mbps and the Panasonic advertises at upto 20mbps... I have seen a little faster transfer time from my camera to my laptop with the Panasonic sdhc, but to be honest we only care about the record time... I am very dissapointed and feel very mislead by Panasonic. I did read before buying that class 4 refers to 4mbps recording and class 6 6mbps recording, but assumed at the increased price and advertised speed (20mbps) that the panasonic were doing something different and pushing the limit of the class 4...

I am going to keep the panasonic card as I do blame myself for not going with my brain and trusting wikipedia... be warned if you expect this to be an upgrade from a class 6 card, it is not...

Aside from the issue above, the card does work fine even in the rather cold conditions at the moment, but once again no more so than my old transcend cards...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 22, 2011 11:47 AM BST

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