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Price: 77.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit pricey, but still a good budget option, 15 April 2012
This review is from: MINI MOTION CAM (Electronics)
When you first get the Mini Motion Cam out of its box, you realise that you've essentially paid 70 for a curved bar of metal, a ball and socket joint, and some weights - there really isn't much to this bit of kit, so at first it can seem like you've been a bit ripped off.

But when you start using it (and it does take practice to get right!) you realise it's a steal compared to the other pro options out there. Obviously this just doesn't compare to a 3,000 steadicam, but for small SLR cameras it's hard to find better for the price. I'm using a Canon 550d and a chunky Tamron 17-50 VC lens, which is really pushing the weight capabilities of this gadget (I bought a few extra washers from a hardware shop to give extra weight to the bottom of the Mini Motion Cam) and it does sway a bit, but with a few practice runs of each shot I can get pretty smooth results - certainly a very noticeable improvement over handheld. I expect that with a lighter camera/lens combo you'd get even better results. Even filming static shots, using the Mini Motion Cam makes your footage look so much better than handheld. Of course you'd ideally use a tripod for static shots, but the MMC is much smaller and lighter than a tripod so might be a better option in some situations.

Yes, for a fraction of the price you could probably build one of these yourself, and it does seem a little pricey for what it is, but once you've got your technique right and got the camera balanced properly, it's fantastic. It's ridiculous to see how many people have reviewed this on other sites saying "it just won't balance!" - you have to give it time and make lots of tiny adjustments before it'll work perfectly, so some patience is required!

Battery Grip for Canon EOS 550D 600D/Rebel T2i T3i Camera+2x Canon LP-E8 Compatible Li-ion Battery + Remote for Canon RS-60E3
Battery Grip for Canon EOS 550D 600D/Rebel T2i T3i Camera+2x Canon LP-E8 Compatible Li-ion Battery + Remote for Canon RS-60E3
Offered by Ultra Sales Global (7-23 Business Day Delivery Time)
Price: 30.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Must have, 1 Mar 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First off, this battery grip isn't exactly the same as the official Canon one - the grip material is slightly different - but in terms of functionality it does everything you need. It takes 2 camera batteries (included in the price - and mine both charged just fine on the Canon charger, sorry that some people have received duds) or AA batteries, which I can see being handy if you run out of charge and need to power your camera in an emergency.

This pack also includes a wired shutter release remote which has full focus/shoot functionality (hold half way to focus, full press to shoot) and can also be locked into 'hold' mode so you can take a long burst of images.

For the price, this is a fantastic deal. The grip makes your 550d feel a lot more sturdy without being annoyingly heavy (I have quite small hands but it's still very comfortable to hold). The grip has a tripod thread on the bottom so the camera can still be tripod mounted, and the exposure lock/AF point selection/aperture buttons and dial on the side mean you can take photos in portrait mode far more comfortably and easily than before.

All in all a great buy, no complaints!

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple but incredibly effective, 27 Feb 2012
Just bought one of these today to use as an external mic for my Canon 550d, and it's really impressive. The sensitivity of the microphones is incredible, far superior to my Behringer C-3 condenser mic that I use for music recording. To give you an example, straight out of the box with no adjustments to the input gain, I held it to the window to record traffic noise, and could pick up the sound of birds tweeting, and even doors opening and closing on the other side of the street! This makes it incredibly versatile, since you can pick up even the quietest of sounds. For outdoor recording, I would recommend getting the accessory pack which includes a wind shield (or you could make your own from a toilet roll tube and some fluffy material from a hobby shop!) since moving side to side does create an audible 'whoosh' noise.

I'm also using this tonight to record a live gig, using the venue's sound desk to output directly to the H1's line-in port, so really for the price this does just about everything! All you need is a standard 3.5mm jack cable and it'll plug straight into the H1.

I will say that the device itself does not scream 'durable' - it's made of quite creaky plastic, so I would recommend keeping a firm grip and not moving it too much during recording - you can easily ruin a recording with the sound of the plastic moving in your hands. For any film-makers out there looking to mount this on an SLR, you can get a hotshoe adapter on Amazon for a couple of quid, or go to this site to get a really cheap shock-mount adapter: [...]
Obviously, this doesn't have the XLR inputs available on the more expensive Zoom recorders, but if you just need a simple but effective way to record great quality stereo sound, the H1 represents incredible value. If you have a battery-powered external mic, you can use the H1 as just a recorder, but if not, the quality of the built-in mics really is excellent for the price and provide a perfect entry-level audio solution for DSLR film-makers with a pro quality feel.

Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR VC Di II LD Aspherical (IF) (Canon Mount)
Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR VC Di II LD Aspherical (IF) (Canon Mount)
Price: 349.00

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the price, unbeatable, 19 Feb 2012
Obviously, a 5-star review for a lens that cost just over 300 from (highly recommended site!) will not be the same as a 5 star review from a professional photographer for a lens that he/she has just spent over 1000 on. Having said that, there are many features which make this lens perfect for amateurs who know what they're doing and want a bit more from their DSLR.

I had owned a 400d for a few years, shooting mainly with the 18-55mm kit lens - and I was never disappointed by the results. I upgraded to a 550d because I wanted video functionality, and thought I might get a new lens with it. This is the important part: IF YOU'RE ALREADY SATISFIED WITH THE KIT LENS, YOU MIGHT AS WELL STICK WITH IT.

When you're on an amateur budget, any lens is 'expensive', in that it seems hard to justify to your mates that you've spent over 300 on a tube of glass. BUT, if you know what you want, this is ideal: the VC function makes video shots noticeably more steady (really, the results are pretty fantastic), and the sharpness is noticeably better than the old Canon kit lens. Again, though, you have to know what you're doing - shooting JPEGS, this lens does not produce much better shots than the kit lens - even with the step up from 10.1MP on the 400d to the 550d's 18MP, I barely noticed a difference. However, in RAW, that extra resolution makes all the difference, and from an amateur's point of view, this lens does that resolution justice. Viewing images full screen on an iMac is an absolute pleasure, with excellent sharpness and colours.

Yes, extremely picky reviews will have pointed out softness at the corners - but who takes pictures of test charts all day? For those of us keen to shoot real subjects, the test figures are irrelevant - chances are, the focus of your shot will be in the centre of the frame, so a bit of vignetting and softness in the corners isn't really important.

I have my own small poster design and photo business, and I use this lens with a 550d - unless you're a pro photographer whose shots are being blown up to A1 size, you just don't need to spend the extra money. This lens will do the job just fine, and in RAW mode it will surprise you with its crispness.

Small point, but you get a lens hood included in the price, which is a nice extra.

Official Xbox 360 Common Controller for Windows - Black (PC)
Official Xbox 360 Common Controller for Windows - Black (PC)
Price: 19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal controller at unbeatable price, 31 Jan 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I'd looked at several unofficial controllers before buying this one, and I'm glad I spent the extra few quid to get the real deal. As a PS3 owner with quite small hands I'd always thought that the DualShock controllers were a little easier to hold, but this Xbox controller is definitely more ergonomically shaped and fits in the hand snugly.

I know many PC gamers would never even consider giving up the keyboard/mouse combo, but for some games you just need those analogue sticks! I'm using this to play Just Cause 2 (movement and flying was just too stilted and boring with a keyboard) and Fallout New Vegas, which works surprisingly well with a controller. Of course, some PC games just have too many key commands to fit on a controller, but for multi-format games with controller support (basically any Games For Windows release, and the majority of other games too) this is a real bargain - especially considering the 35 price tag on the wireless Xbox or PS3 controllers! Yes, this is a wired version, but the cable is extremely long (about 3 metres) and easily reaches far enough away from the screen. I use this to play games on an iMac using Windows 7 on Bootcamp, and I never use more than half the cable's length sitting a good distance away.

Worth noting that setup was incredibly easy: just pop in the included disc and install the drivers, and you're away! With many games, you don't even have to set up the controls (Just Cause 2 detected the controller and set all the on-screen control tips accordingly - I think this happens with all Games For Windows games). Of course, with some poking around on the internet, you can also find software to make this controller work with any game you choose.

So unless you see wireless functionality as a requirement and are prepared to pay nearly double for the privilege, this is a real bargain for a quality controller that will be familiar to any Xbox users and will add another dimension to your PC gaming, if it's what you're after. It's boring and repetitive reading hardcore PC gamers saying "why the hell would you ever use this for PC?", and in answer to those people I say "don't waste your own time commenting on a product that doesn't interest you!" For those who DO like the idea of a gamepad, you simply won't find better than this.

Buffalo HD-LB1.0TU2-EU 1TB DriveStation USB 2.0 3.5 Inch External Hard Drive
Buffalo HD-LB1.0TU2-EU 1TB DriveStation USB 2.0 3.5 Inch External Hard Drive
Offered by Entertainment Hub Ltd

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No frills (thank god!) and ideal for media enthusiasts, 31 Jan 2012
So many of the 'helpful' features included with external hard drives are often actually a hindrance - my old WD drive used to power down when not in use, so opening any file or performing a search would slow the whole computer down as the drive turned itself back on. This Buffalo drive just keeps running all the time - not so good for power consumption, but much more practical from a computing point of view. Also, there's no intrusive bloatware on this drive, so for those who have their own way of backing up (e.g. Time Machine or Windows Backup) and don't want to be forced into using the drive's own software, this is ideal.

Obviously USB 2.0 isn't the fastest option out there, but for the price (I got this for only 65 brand new from eBuyer, highly recommended and extremely prompt delivery) this is the best value storage you can buy. I've got it split into 3 partitions: one for Time Machine backups, one for media storage, and another as a FAT32 partition to share files between Mac OS X and Windows (the drive came pre-formatted to NTFS, but it only took a second to format it using Disk Utility).

As a side note, I've heard USB 2.0 taking a knocking on many forums for its slow speed, but this is perfectly capable of streaming HD 1080p video shot on a Canon 550d to Final Cut or similar video programs, and I also use it for saving my Sonar music projects. If you're a photographer, video enthusiast, or musician on a budget, you really can't go wrong with this - even if you prefer to keep your media files on your computer's main drive whilst working on them, you can always transfer them back to the Buffalo to save space later. Unless you're a pro shooting massive video files on a 5d, save yourself some money and get this instead of a Firewire drive (which would cost you double the price).

In conclusion: fantastically cheap, near-silent drive with respectable but not blazingly fast transfer speeds - unless you really NEED the extra speed of a USB 3.0 or Firewire 800 drive, you can't go wrong with this drive.

Logitech B110 Optical USB Mouse - White
Logitech B110 Optical USB Mouse - White

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ugly as hell, but does the job - cheaply, 27 Jan 2012
I bought this mouse as a replacement for the Apple Magic Mouse, which I find gives me hand cramp after prolonged use due to its very flat shape. This mouse, although very light, is much more ergonomically shaped, allowing you to rest your whole palm on its surface - much more comfortable than the Apple mouse (and yes, it works with OS X and Windows).

However, from the product images you would expect this to be a crisp white colour, when in fact it's closer to the off-white greyish colour of computers from the 90s. Just worth mentioning if anyone is buying this on looks.

But apart from its appearance, which doesn't really matter a great deal, this mouse is responsive and easy to use, and at this price, you won't find a better mouse. I'd tried using similarly priced laptop mini mice, and this is just so much better.

EDIT 11/11/2012 I should mention that after a while using this mouse for video editing, I have started to find it a little too light - even with sensitivity set to minimum, the cursor feels like it pings around the screen a little too fast due to the fact that the slightest knock will move the mouse. I found that blue-tacking a few 2p pieces to the bottom added a bit of extra weight and made the mouse feel a bit more precise. For this price you shouldn't expect the precision needed to editing/gaming, so tweaks like this might do the trick for budget-wary power users.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 6, 2013 11:51 AM BST

Kiwifotos Lens Mount Adapter: Allows Contax and Yashica (C/Y) Lenses to be used on Canon EOS 5D Mk II, 10D, 20D, 30D, 40D, 50D, 60D, 300D, 350D, 400D, 450D, 500D, 550D, 600D, 650D, 1000D, 1100D
Kiwifotos Lens Mount Adapter: Allows Contax and Yashica (C/Y) Lenses to be used on Canon EOS 5D Mk II, 10D, 20D, 30D, 40D, 50D, 60D, 300D, 350D, 400D, 450D, 500D, 550D, 600D, 650D, 1000D, 1100D
Offered by PowerPlanet Europe
Price: 14.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic value, and it really works!, 8 Jan 2012
For anyone looking to buy a new lens for their Canon EOS camera, the prices can be a little daunting, but if you're willing to sacrifice autofocus, you can get some truly fantastic manual Yashica lenses for as little as a tenner on eBay or from second hand camera dealers, and with the help of this little gadget, they'll work on your EOS digital camera! I've been using this on my 550d with a Yashica 50mm f/1.7 and a Kiron Yashica fit 70-150mm f/4, and I have to say they both blow my Canon 50mm f/1.8 out of the water in terms of build quality.

I really can't recommend this adapter enough - being able to use these old manual lenses which tend to have the build quality of modern 'L' lenses (sturdy metal construction and damped focus rings in particular make these older lenses perfect for shooting video on your SLR, since the manual focussing on most modern lenses can feel wobbly and imprecise) is an absolute dream, and can be achieved at a fraction of the price of a new Canon EF lens.

It can be a little fiddly to get the adapter OFF the lens (if you want to put it on another lens), but really at this price it wouldn't even be that expensive to get several of these adapters and stick one on each lens you buy (applying the adapter to the lens in the first place is as easy as putting a lens on a camera, it just snaps into place).

So if you're a film-maker on a budget or just want another lens for photos but can't afford to splash out hundreds of pounds, this is the ideal workaround - especially considering the insanely low price and fantastic optical quality of many of the lenses on offer if you shop around.

N.B. I bought this Yashica adapter because I happened to have Yashica lenses lying around, but you can also get adapters for other lens brands, for example the old Canon FD lenses - a little more pricey, but considering you can get a 50mm f/1.2 Canon FD lens on eBay for less than 300 (as compared to the price of the modern 50mm f/1.2 'L' lens, well over a thousand pounds), these cheap little adapters can open so many creative doors that would otherwise be closed due to the extortionate cost of modern lenses.

A remarkably simple gadget that opens up a world of value - I seriously recommend getting one!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 4, 2012 10:49 AM BST

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Limited Edition (PS3)
Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Limited Edition (PS3)
Offered by IDSS
Price: 3.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The hardest review I've ever written, 18 Oct 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Deus Ex: Human Revolution can be summed up by one word: compromise. Almost every decision in the game has a repercussion later on, and depending on how you look at it, this makes it either a gaming tour de force or a fatally flawed masterpiece. Either way, I urge you to give it a chance. Like no other game in recent years, Human Revolution will immerse and engage you, but it will also possibly frustrate you - if only out of a sense of a shot at gaming greatness missed.

Firstly, the augmentation system. With `Praxis' upgrade points hard to come by, decisions as to whether you prefer stealth or action are at the front of your mind: upgrade my armour and go in all guns blazing? Enable higher jumping and the ability to lift heavy objects in order to uncover new pathways? Or go for cloaking and silent footsteps to be able to creep past guards? I've always been a Splinter Cell fan, so naturally went for a stealthy approach, but when it came to boss fights, I found myself under-prepared and outgunned. Although I wanted to play the game stealthily, I was constantly aware of the need to hang on to heavy weapons (at the expense of valuable inventory space) just in case another boss was around the corner.

Boss fights aside, the gameplay is excellent, and Human Revolution succeeds where most spy games fall down. It lets you complete missions in so many different ways, and there's never a `right' way to complete the game: spare a man's life early on, and you'll reap the rewards when he discloses computer passwords to you, only to find that he tries to kill you further down the line. Can't hack a door lock? Eavesdrop a conversation between two guards, and find out one of them's lost their PDA. Go and find the PDA in the men's room, and hey presto - it's got the door code on it. These little touches made me really feel engaged in the spying experience in a way that Metal Gear Solid 4 never did. `Choice' in a game usually means getting from A to B by killing everyone, or by not killing everyone. In Human Revolution, it's the time spent between A and B that make it such a joy to play.

But is it actually choice? Strangely, the level of realism makes the whole experience that much more `gamey', since you'll be itching to play the game again to explore new areas and complete side missions you left behind. Even within a mission, you might end up taking all the possible routes to your goal just because you're keen to explore and find items. Here lies the paradox at the heart of the game: choice isn't really choice if you can have your cake and eat it, multiple times.

In this respect, the game's ending is a massive disappointment: you are literally given a choice of 4 buttons to press, each triggering a different cutscene ending. It's simple, it's lazy on the part of the developers (as is the miniscule but totally game-changing decision you'll make about two thirds through the story), and it's an unworthy culmination of the love you've poured into completing every single objective of every single mission because you're so totally hooked on the experience. The consistency of the visual styling, the suffocatingly claustrophobic atmosphere of the labyrinthine Lower Hengsha streets, and the geeky but never-in-your-face cultural references (Highway 17, anyone?) makes Human Revolution the most engaging game I've played since Half Life 2, and yet it disappoints on so many levels. The cities positively pulse with energy, but the graphics are at times woefully below par; the story and character development is leaps and bounds ahead of most games, but the carefully constructed atmosphere crashes to the ground when the "city-wide riots" described in the in-game newspaper reports turn out to be no more than a few flashing lights and some background crowd noise; you kill an entire gang, then walk into the boss's office and have a chat - it's these little details that totally uproot the game's credibility in the blink of an eye. When playing Human Revolution, the good moments made me want desperately to ignore these glaring imperfections, and I suppose this is the crux of my review: any player's enjoyment of this game is going to rest upon whether the highs are high enough that you can excuse the lows.

It's taken far longer than I thought to write this, and I think that says a lot about this game: I really want people to enjoy it as much as I did, but perhaps it's ahead of its time. We're coming to the end of this current generation of consoles, and I suspect that if Human Revolution was made for more powerful machines - allowing bigger environments, greater graphical detail, and choices that impacted more genuinely on the outcome of the game - it would join the ranks of the few games worthy of the label "masterpiece". As it is, I think it just misses the mark, but the fact that I'm disappointed by that is a testament to the great thing that Square Enix have created here.

Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City (PS3)
Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City (PS3)
Offered by funfair games
Price: 9.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much more than just DLC, 19 Aug 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Each episode of this pack was originally marketed as downloadable content for GTA IV, but having finished both, it's clear that this pack offers way more value than any Call of Duty or Killzone map pack or similar DLC.

First off, you can expect to get about 10 hours of gameplay out of each episode, with a decent number of story missions and plenty of side missions to keep you busy. So on the value front, Episodes From Liberty City is very impressive.

Although some of the visuals are quite impressive, particularly weather effects, the original GTA IV sparkle has started to wear off a bit and the game engine is showing its age - character models are a little basic and rigid at times - but GTA has always been known for its irreverent humour and over-the-top gameplay, and this is where the game shines. A whole host of new vehicles and some crazy weapons have been added, and the radio dialogue and soundtrack has been updated, so any fears that Rockstar were sitting on their laurels and releasing a half-baked mission pack were quickly dispelled after I played the first few hours.

As for storyline, the two episodes offer a very different perspective on Liberty City and interweave nicely, with glimpses of the Bellic brothers and Brucie from the original game creating a sense that the story has been well thought out, as opposed to merely tacked on to the GTA IV experience. In fact, the gulf between the down-and-out lifestyle of the biker gangs in The Lost and Damned and the glitzy hedonism of The Ballad of Gay Tony helps create a sense that this is a real, living city, with a believably diverse set of characters. I thought the Gay Tony story would actually be worthy of a full GTA game - it draws you in, and there's a real sense of desperation as various factions begin to close in on Tony and his fading club empire. The Lost and Damned is also good fun, particularly when you find yourself blazing across the city with other members of the gang, but it's the more predictable and repetitive of the two episodes; with helicopter battles, rampages in SWAT tanks, and parachuting, The Ballad of Gay Tony provides a lot more entertainment value.

I did have a few minor niggles: for some reason, The Lost and Damned is played through a "noise effect" filter by default, which makes the screen appear grainy - this can be turned off in the settings, but for the first few hours of play I just thought the graphics had actually got worse since the original GTA IV - this distracted me from enjoying the game at the start. Also, it seemed that absolutely every radio broadcaster in the game and most of the major characters mentioned the recession every time they spoke. While I appreciate this is Rockstar's attempt to provide some cultural background to the story, it was overdone and got a bit irritating. However, the radio broadcasts were, as ever, hilarious, and the fact that I'm picking Rockstar up on tiny things like that show how hard it is to find anything wrong with this game!

Overall, if you enjoyed GTA IV and crave some more story missions, this is a must-have. Due to the game's shorter length, the best cars and weapons are available much earlier on, so EfLC is definitely suited to those who want instant fun with some depth too. I think the best thing about EfLC is that, despite it being built entirely on the foundation of GTA IV (same graphics, same city, same gameplay) it feels like a new game: you'll find yourself exploring new areas of Liberty City that you perhaps ignored when playing GTA IV, whilst the overhaul of weapons and vehicles means those aimless rampages that we all find ourselves guilty of when playing GTA are that much more fun.

If you liked the original, you've probably already bought this. If you didn't, you probably won't think this is any better, but for newcomers to the series, this is a bargain entry into the deepest and most entertaining series in gaming.

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