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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Compact Camera with Full HD Video Recording - Black (12.1 MP, 24x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 Compact Camera with Full HD Video Recording - Black (12.1 MP, 24x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New model on the way, 23 July 2012
This is one of the best bridge cameras with Full HD video recording (1080p/50) and the option to connect an external microphone for much improved sound recording. It is cheaper and more compact than an equivalent DSLR but note that the sensor is smaller.

Be aware that a new model, the FZ200, was released in late 2012. The main improvement is wider aperture (f2.8) throughout zoom range, also better EVF. There are detailed reviews and samples of both models at the respected dpreview.com website.

Update: the FZ200 is out now but costs around £100 more so it is more an addition to the range than a direct replacement as I had expected. It has a higher resolution viewfinder (not screen) and more options for high speed/slo-mo video. It is fractionally larger and heavier with a bigger battery (giving longer battery life). Compare the specs side by side at Panasonic's panasonic.net website (click on Select and Compare).

The FZ200 is here: Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Bridge Camera - Black (12MP, 24x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD but the FZ150 is still available and remains a very good camera especially if you don't wish to spend the extra £100.

Top Tip: pop up the flash in video mode to reduce camera noise from zoom or buttons; this also helps to reduce wind noise in light breezes. In windier conditions you'll need an external mic - available from about £20 they come with a wind sock. See also comment 2 about a Windcutter - I have now tried one and it is a big improvement when recording outdoors in anything from a light breeze to quite windy conditions so I would highly recommend one. Note you may well need an adapter or cable to convert from standard 3.5mm to 2.5mm, they cost £1 or so on a well known auction site where you can also pick up a mini-hdmi to hdmi cable (not supplied) for a couple of pounds to connect to your HD TV. Panasonic recommends its own accessories but they are expensive.

A note on video formats: MP4 is recommended for use on a PC but looks flickery on TV. AVCHD/50p looks best on TV but you need a powerful PC just to play it on a PC never mind edit it. My average laptop will play AVCHD/50i but there is a slight reduction in quality compared with 50p so experiment with the different formats to see what works best for you.

Criticisms: the flash modes are buried away in the main menu and you can't add them to the function button. They can however be accessed via the "quick menu" button which doubles as the delete button in review mode.
Also I would prefer to use the main shutter button for shooting video with a separate mode on the main dial - I find the separate video button a little awkward to use.
As others have said the lens cap is a little fiddly and the rear dial a little stiff. The lens hood is also stiff but can be reversed and you can still use the camera (except manual focusing controls).

All in all an excellent camera and a DSLR with equivalent zoom range and features would cost a lot more. Buy a UV filter (52mm) to protect the lens and a polarising filter - both are cheaply available as are a variety of carrying cases. At under £300 this camera is excellent value for money.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 18, 2012 7:22 PM GMT


LaCie Hard Disk design by Neil Poulton 1TB USB 2.0 - 7200RPM
LaCie Hard Disk design by Neil Poulton 1TB USB 2.0 - 7200RPM

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still going strong!, 12 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought mine new in 2008 and I have had no problems with it whatsoever. It looks good, it has an on/off switch and a cool activity light. I use it for both PC backup and with my Freeview HD recorder. The disk inside is made by Samsung and is relatively quiet. I've just ordered a new 2TB drive to match and I hope it does as well.


Spamalot
Spamalot
Price: £7.27

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 9 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Spamalot (Audio CD)
Does for musicals what Austin Powers International Man of Mystery did for the James Bond franchise. You won't regret buying this CD.


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Good value cushions, 15 Jun. 2012
These cushions look better than they appear in the photo, more like their £10.99 item which doesn't include free delivery. I received it in only 3 days of ordering. Recommended. I bought a second one to use as a backrest making my wooden bench much more comfortable.


BENCH CUSHION SEAT PAD APPROX 41 x 17" GREEN CHECK HIGH QUALITY
BENCH CUSHION SEAT PAD APPROX 41 x 17" GREEN CHECK HIGH QUALITY

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good value cushions, 15 Jun. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This item looks better than it appears in the photo, more like their £10.99 item which doesn't include free delivery. I received it in only 3 days of ordering. Recommended. Also available in twin pack. At ten pounds inc delivery this is excellent value. I bought a second one to use as a backrest making my wooden bench much more comfortable.


Union Jack Flag Bunting 12ft with 11Flags
Union Jack Flag Bunting 12ft with 11Flags
Offered by Deal Sheal
Price: £1.27

5.0 out of 5 stars Waterproof!, 14 Jun. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was excellent value and being waterproof managed to survive the wet and windy weather at the Jubilee weekend. I'll put it up again for the Olympics!


Tiger - Spy in the Jungle [2008] [DVD]
Tiger - Spy in the Jungle [2008] [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Attenborough
Price: £6.52

4.0 out of 5 stars Where's the blu-ray?, 21 May 2012
I have just watched this series again on BBC HD and it is superb. However if it was filmed in HD why isn't it also available on blu-ray? If you add the "polar bear - spy in the den" 1 hour special as an extra and aren't too greedy about the price (£9.95 on Amazon) I would buy it tomorrow.


All Hits [CD + Bonus DVD]
All Hits [CD + Bonus DVD]
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £5.65

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Stars, 12 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Arguably one of the greatest girl groups of all time their material still stands scrutiny today and you'll find most of their hits on this excellent compilation.

Puppydog is right to point out that the video clips on the free bonus DVD are short but she exaggerates: the six videos are all between 2 and 3 minutes. There are also some free bonus remixes. Hey sister go...


Technisat HDFV Terrestrial HD-Freeview Receiver
Technisat HDFV Terrestrial HD-Freeview Receiver
Offered by electronics-dealsuk
Price: £94.90

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars HD recorder with additional high-end capabilities, 11 April 2012
This is a good Freeview HD receiver with the option to record via USB to a stick or external hard drive. The EPG and some menus are a bit confusing at times but they work and there is the added option of organising your recordings using your PC onto several hard drives or hard-drive partitions. I didn't have any problems with the unit crashing, freezing or overheating until I had a power cut with the unit on. It then froze several times but using the "restore factory defaults" menu option has sorted it out and it has been fine since. Recordings use about 3gb an hour for HD or 1.5 gb for SD recordings.

I had no problem connecting my Lacie (Samsung) 1TB HDD which had two different partitions on it, one formatted with NTFS (for PC backup) the other with FAT 32, Provided the drive is powered up first. You can only record to a Fat 32 drive and the HDFV will format a drive or partition to Fat 32 if you ask it (be careful to select the right partition if you have more than one!). Note that versions of Windows (inc Vista) can only format partitions under 30GB to the older Fat 32 format so you will need the Technisat HDFV to format larger partitions or drives.

You might want several partitions e.g. to store different categories of programmes e.g. films, sport, natural history etc and you can easily switch between them in the "Recording media organiser" menu. This is preferable to having one large partition with a jumble of dozens of different types of recordings. You may need to delete or shrink a large partition first before you can create further partitions on a hard disk and you can rename partitions using your PC. There is no "series record" so you might want to create a dedicated folder or partition for a major new series. You need to be comfortable using PCs to do this sort of thing but the Windows help menus are pretty good on this - see disk management, formatting partitions etc. One important tip is that with some versions of Windows you can only create up to 4 partitions, 3 primary and one extended. However in the 4th, extended, partition you can create as many "logical" drives as you like which will be recognised by the HDFV. If partitioning a large new drive my tip is don't create the first three partitions bigger than you need to leave plenty of free space to create several logical drives of say 100gb each to format with the HDFV and then rename with your PC. NB Windows 8 and 8.1 cannot format to FAT32.

I'm getting a 16gb USB stick (£10) so I don't need to leave my external hard drive powered up when I am away to timer record (I can then copy them over on the laptop if I want to using Windows Explorer). Update: I got a standard Sandisk USB stick which the HDFV says is not quite fast enough. It seems to work OK but HD recordings may occasionally breakup and timer recordings may not be reliable so it is advisable to get a fast USB stick rather than a standard one. An external HDD is generally best so maybe I'll get one of the portable ones powered direct from the USB socket (i.e. not direct from the mains). Please post if you have successfully used one of these portable drives powered by USB. I instead got a fast 16gb usb stick from ByteStor for under £10 which the HDFV says is fast enough and so far I have had no problems with timer recordings unlike the slower standard Sandisk.
ByteStor 16GB USB High Speed "Dataferry" Flash Drive

You can use the HDFV to tidy up timer recordings by inserting bookmarks and copying the range between them to a new file or deleting the range. One criticism is that you can't use the HDFV to reorder your recordings or to copy files from one partition (or device) to another (in a playable form). However you can easily use your PC (Windows Explorer) provided there isn't already a recording starting with the same file number in the destination folder: if there is it will get confused and not play them all back correctly. Just copy over the relevant (even-numbered) .TS file(s) together with the odd-numbered file which follows. Your recordings will appear in date order in the new location. You can use the "range copy" menu to get round a conflict as this creates a new file with a different number, then delete the original recording you copied (importantly) On The HDFV, not on your PC.

[I thought I might be able to get round this by connecting the HDFV to my PC using a LAN cable. I managed to do this using the DCHP Server option (not Client as stated in the manual) but still couldn't copy files across in a playable format using the HDFV so I can't really see the point of connecting the HDFV direct to a PC - just move files around by connecting your usb storage device(s) direct to your PC if you want to, it's much quicker and easier.] Apparently the reason for the lack of a copy function is to prevent piracy but you can still only play the recordings through your HDFV and I don't see why you shouldn't be able to rearrange your recordings on your hard drive!

Don't be put off by the previous paragraphs - you can easily use this unit as just a Freeview HD receiver or simple recorder, or as described you can organise your recordings (quite easily once you know how) in different partitions etc using your PC. I guess you can also use a Mac to do this but I haven't tried it.

It also has both analogue and digital sound outputs and a menu option to sort out any lip sync issues. An HDMI cable is included.

So overall I would recommend the HDFV even though it is not perfect. As always shop around for best price as they vary dramatically. Note: there is an option to stop automatic updates which stops the automatic retuning which some people have reported as a problem.

PS Please do post a comment or review about USB sticks or hard drives which do or don't work with the HDFV as Technisat is being rather coy about this. See the Comments for Technisat's advice on suitable hard drives.

UPDATE 18 JUNE 2013: NEW BBC RED BUTTON BUG

The BBC during the Olympics used a red button on its Freeview HD channel to switch to another HD channel for additional coverage. This problem then returned on all BBC1 HD and BBC2 HD programmes.... When the red button appears the picture goes off. Technisat hasn't issued an update for this bug BUT you can get round it by pressing RECORD (or PAUSE and PLAY) assuming you have attached recording media via USB. The picture reappears as normal (initially this didn't work meaning you could neither watch nor record BBC HD channels.) This problem seems to have gone away thank goodness.

UPDATE: FREEVIEW HD Channels moved to 101-104

My HDFV struggled with the move of these channels on 17/10/12 perhaps not helped because I'd left it tuned to BBC HD on Ch 54. It took several resets (hold power button, then change channel). Only restoring factory defaults via menu finally sorted it out as normal retune was insufficient... I hope it goes smoother for you.

My advice to Technisat is to bring out an HDFV2 which focuses on the core functions of Freeview HD tuner and recorder. Make it more robust to prevent crashes and revise the menus to make them clearer. Introduce series record and enable recordings to be reordered, preferably from one partition on the same drive to another. Sort out the red button bug. The ability to record HD to different external storage devices is very useful but the implementation needs improvement.

If unavailable consider this bargain alternative now that the lip-sync issue has been sorted out:
August DVB400 HD Freeview Set Top Box - 1080p DVB-T Receiver and Multi Media Player with HDMI Out and Digital Coaxial Audio Out - USB PVR Style TV Recording
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 8, 2013 2:12 PM BST


The Pink Panther [Blu-ray]
The Pink Panther [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Peter Sellers

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 22 Feb. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This together with A Shot in the Dark are my favourite Sellars movies and amongst my favourites of all time. They are much better than the later Pink Panther films which progressively ran out of steam and far better than the awful recent remakes. Enjoy! (I am not sure how much difference blu-ray makes to the enjoyment of this film but it is not much more than the standard DVD at the time of writing.)


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