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M. Bhangal "S" (Somewhere in Northern England)
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The DSLR Filmmaker's Handbook: Real-World Production Techniques
The DSLR Filmmaker's Handbook: Real-World Production Techniques
by Barry Andersson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £23.11

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent book, but not the Standard text on the subject; some basic ommisions, 24 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First a bit of perspective. I started shooting video with Sony, moving quickly to a hacked Panasonic GH2, then from there to BlackMagic Cinema cameras (which are no longer DSLRs but video only, albeit very affordable). I used to do a lot of my post in Première, but use DaVinci Resolve more and more.

Along the way I have made mistakes, and bought a LOT of kit I didn’t actually need, and missed buying some of the absolute essentials. I have read this book with an eye to how many of my mistakes it would have prevented (and whether it would have prevented my gear envy for useless kit!).

The short answer; not much.
(If you want to cut to the chase and not read a lot of nit-pickery, go straight to the conclusion – last paragraph - where I recommend another book as the standard text to go for)

There are three issues.

Firstly, although the book goes through the basics, it doesn’t go through the fundamentals that a stills DSLR shooter would need; video is not the same as taking lots of stills very quickly.
The fundamental issue a stills shooter needs to know about video is you cannot control exposure with shutter. Shutter in video is tied to the frame rate and ‘look’ of the footage (as a rule of thumb for the cinematic look, it is twice the frame rate, so at 25fps it is 1/50s), and if you don’t realise this, you will treat shutter as per stills, and your footage comes out looking like video rather than cinema – think Coronation Street vs The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in terms of cinematic quality of the footage!

As aperture is often used stylistically it cannot be used to set exposure either (and worse, it often higher than in stills because you want more of a shallow DOF, so it puts you into overexposure even more than the fixed shutter issue!). The way (and often, the only way) to control exposure in DSLR video is with a ND filter. This is why you need a good variable ND (or a wide set of NDs).

The book does not make any of this clear, to the point where it does not include NDs in the ‘typical kit lists’. This is not just inaccurate; it is wrong! *You cannot shoot DSLR video without an ND* because then you have no good way to control exposure. If you know about the primacy of NDs in video even the cheapest camera with video ability will give you great cinematic HD footage. Put another way, until you realise how central NDs are, you will bleed money looking for the elusive cinematic ‘look’ that DSLRs can give. Once you realise you need to be at 1/50s, relatively wide apertures, and using NDs to control exposure, you will fly on no money (just your stills kit and a couple of filters). BTW, low contrast filters are another must for older cameras (Google will have to be your friend on that one).

The second issue is that the book does not ever talk about input bit rates. It only talks about it in the context of output (which is often less important because you can change it – input bitrate is a hardware constraint and may cause you to end up with the wrong camera). The quality of your footage depends not just on your sensor, but also a lot of other things to do with how the video pixels are captured on the sensor (line skipping vs binning) and all sorts of things to do with video compression and what data is lost and how the remaining information is encoded. To simplify, the one figure that gives you the best heads-up on basic output quality of a moving digital picture is bitrate. There are particular ranges where, as a rule of thumb, you can say ‘that looks okay as a possible contender for what I want to do’. Knowing this will save you LOTS of cash (and prevent you buying unsuitable/outdated video DSLRs), but it is not in the book.

The third issue is perhaps a little controversial, and may just be my opinion but here it is; Canon was an initial trailblazer for DSLR video (along with people like Vincent Laforet who realised how to use DSLRs for video) but is no longer the leader. Look to Panasonic, Sony and BlackMagic. Canon is up there for higher end video equipment, but they are now behind for DSLR video. This second edition needs to reflect this reality, but it is still sticking with Canon. That tends to age the advice by about a year as of this writing; not enough of an update.

Other things are covered very well; sound, lenses, tripods and lighting. I won’t go into this too much as other reviewers have picked up on this (this is already a far longer review than I wanted it to be!).

Conclusion

Although this is a very good book, it doesn’t surpass the Standard: Kurt Lancaster’s DSLR Cinema. I’m actually somewhat disappointed, because I was willing this to be a better book. However, I’d recommend The DSLR filmmakers Handbook as a second book to Lancaster.

4 stars because this is still a good book, and a good companion to the standard text.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 27, 2015 12:41 PM BST


Proster 8GB Digital Voice Stereo Sound Recorder USB Flash Drive- Multifunctional Rechargeable Mini Audio Recording Device with MP3 Player Music Headphone
Proster 8GB Digital Voice Stereo Sound Recorder USB Flash Drive- Multifunctional Rechargeable Mini Audio Recording Device with MP3 Player Music Headphone
Offered by PROZOR
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Versatile multifunction sound device., 23 Aug. 2015
Length:: 0:59 Mins

There are three uses of this device:

As an MP3 player.

Turn the device on with headphones attached, and the device goes into music player mode. The + and minus buttons at the bottom can be used to shuffle between songs, with long presses being volume control. Obviously, because of the simplicity of the interface (two buttons and no display) it's difficult to go to specific songs if you have loads of albums, so this player looks to be designed with a smallish collection in mind. The included ear bud headphones are pretty much filler. I discarded them immediately and instead used my trusty Sennheiser HD 25s, and although you don't have bass/treble control, with a set of quality headphones like the Sennys, you don't need it because the sound quality that comes through is pretty much spot on!

As a USB drive.

The device has a USB cable; one side is a full sized USB connector, and the other side is a 4 pole 3.5 inch stereo jack. I initially assumed this was non-standard, but a quick look on Amazon reveals you can buy another, so no issues there. The cheapest replacement I could find on Amazon is here: enter `B00JB2FL8O' in the search box.
In terms of speed, write speed is 3.5MB/s and read speed is about 8MB/s, which puts it somewhere between class 2 and 4. Certainly not mainstream today (class 6 or 10), but fine for the odd file. I use mine to transfer code files (I'm a web application developer), and for that its fine, and I suppose it would be fine for word docs and mp3 files, but not video files.

As a voice recorder.

Now we get to the really cool thing about this device; turning it on without headphones makes it record audio via an inbuilt microphone. The really cool thing about this device is that it is very small and self-contained, with enough on-board memory and battery life to keep recording for several hours. That makes it a good option to keep in your wallet (yes, it really is that small!) to bring out and quickly record meetings and general dictation. Further It is small enough to hide in a small space, blue-tack under a table or even push into a plant pot, and sturdy enough to survive quite a while - covering it with cling firm quickly makes it waterproof for outdoor surveilance. All this makes it a very good covert eavesdropper. I showed it to my partner, and her eyes literally lit up when she realised it records (we have a rather noisy and mouthy local neighbour who can get quite insulting, and there may be a need for some of the stuff to be played back to a constable!).

Downsides?

Apart from the basic UI (which can be either a good or bad thing), the only other issue I had was that the device can create some fairly sharp clicks when you switch it on with headphones on. Because its so small, I often lose it unless I leave it connected to the USB cable, or headphones, or safely tucked away in my wallet! Oh, and it saves audio as .wav files rather than .mp3, so the file sizes can get large, (although .wav are less compressed, so better quality).

Conclusion.

This device is pretty basic, and with a simple design. It's certainly no iPod, but it does a fair few different things (MP3 player, USB drive, basic dictation recorder, small covert recorder). The big selling point of it is that it does so many different things, and at a bargain price. I'm actually buying another one because both myself and my partner want one!


Incredi-Cables INC-MU/U-1 Micro-USB to USB Cord Charge Charging Sync Charger Cable for Android, Samsung s3 s4 s5, HTC One M8, Motorola, PS4 Controller, XBOX One
Incredi-Cables INC-MU/U-1 Micro-USB to USB Cord Charge Charging Sync Charger Cable for Android, Samsung s3 s4 s5, HTC One M8, Motorola, PS4 Controller, XBOX One
Offered by SORK-LTD
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice colour coded cables, 22 Aug. 2015
Ok, so a cable is a cable, so there's not much to say, except;

1. These are cloth covered rather than plastic sheathed. Cloth cables tend to tangle far less, and last longer (plastic tends to crack around the joins after a few years).

2. These are amongst the cheapest cloth covered cables I can see on Amazon.

3. They come in several colours so you can colour code. My USB charger hub is a mass of black wires so the only way to see if something is fully charged is look at the device itself rather than the corresponding '100% charged' light on the USB hub. With a set of colour coded cables, its far easier to use the hub lights.

Physically, the cable works perfectly, and looks like it will last

Overall, recommended.


Urbanz FABRIQ Foldable On-Ear Headphones with Deep Bass and Detachable Braided Cable (Nude)
Urbanz FABRIQ Foldable On-Ear Headphones with Deep Bass and Detachable Braided Cable (Nude)
Offered by SORK-LTD
Price: £27.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Best budget - does remarkably well against pro studio headphones, 22 Aug. 2015
Length:: 0:41 Mins

Before I put the Urbanz Fabriq headphones on my head, I had a preconception about how they would sound based on the low price. Most headphones under fifty pounds have either too much bass or too much treble, and no mid. As soon as I put them on, I realised these headphones were different; they have very good bass and mid, but no treble.

More surprising was that the lack of treble can easily be fixed: just dial up your treble control to near max.

This gives the headphones a *very* balanced sound that I could not believe was possible with such cheap headphones. To clarify, I am comparing these speakers against a pair of Sennheiser HD25s (a classic set of headphones, with a very smooth, full range sound, used in studio environments, and by many DJs).

Ok, so range is one thing, but listening to actual music is a different matter. I compared the HD25s and the Urbanz with three pieces of music:

Henryk Gorecki Symphony No. 3 Il Lento E Largo - Tranquiliiissimo. There's many headphones out there that sound great for bass heavy styles, but they fall apart for classical music, especially choral, where much of the ambience comes from the interplay of mid with bass and mid with treble: without mid, classical music often sounds flat, and Symphony No 3 is one of the best pieces of music to filter out bad headphones. Although the HD25s did have the smoother sound, there was actually very little in it once I had applied the treble fix to the Urbanz. Pretty much amazing.

Underworld, Born Slippy. Dirty bass, distorted lyrics and thumping drums. Its all about audio power here, and if the headphones start to click, squeak or vibrate, then there is a problem. No vibration sound from either, and the Urbanz actually matched the HD25s on bass. (side note, they are the first headphones I have tried that are under one hundred quid that have done so!). Cool.

Curve, Fait Accompli. 90s style Indie rock that spawned many copycats, from Garbage to Kidney Thieves. Guitars, drums and synths. A sound that quickly sorts the men from the boys; cheap headphones sound too bass heavy or lacking in power, and only decent headphones give you the nice, analog roll-off between bass, mid and treble that this music requires. The Urbanz began to falter here and did not reproduce the deep bass, but I don't think this is down to the speakers themselves, but more to do with the way the headphones seat on the ears (more on this later).

Physically, the speakers look pretty decent, although I guess a lot depends on the colour. Particularly striking is the cable, which is colour matched, removable, and also cloth covered rather than rubber sheathed. The fact that the cable is replaceable means your headphones will potentially last forever, as it's the wire that most often goes.

Ok, so downsides?

One is the colour I was given: this is a sample review and I just asked for `a colour that you want to push because I will be doing a video review'. I got purple. The first time I put the Urbanz on in the office at work (I work in a web development office for the advertising industry, where sarcastic put-downs are a required skill), one of my colleagues looked up and said `I bet you got those free with a My Little Pony'. Ok, so I won't be wearing them in the office again, but chose your colour carefully as some of them are a little, um, `cartoony'.

Second issue is that the cups are neither noise cancelling nor fully adjustable. The headphones do not cancel outside noise (although people around you do not hear what you are listening to unless they are really close). Another issue is that the headphone does not allow you to adjust the cups so they fit flush to your ears, Unless you have a really big head, the speakers never sit completely flush to your ears, This is a shame, because you lose a lot of deep bass, and why the Urbanz lost a lot of bass on the Curve song. Disappointing, because a little more design on the headphone band and cup hinges can fix this easily.... But hey, these are really really cheap headphones, so no stars off (particularly when I am comparing against a top end pair of Senheisers, which is very unfair!).

A side effect of the fitting is that the Urbanz are not as comfortable as the HD 25s. I can wear the HD25s all day (and have actually done so at work for pretty much every day at work since 2007), but the Urbanz are both a little tight and most of the pressure is at the bottom of the cups, so I can only stand them for a couple of hours at a time.

Conclusion

Overall, a very good pair of headphones, once you get the treble response under control, and based on how well they fared against the HD25s, I'll go out on a limb and say they are the best cheap headphones you can get at this price range.

Oh, and watch for some of the louder colours, unless of course you actually do collect plastic horses that have a propensity for false eyelashes!


Project Management For Dummies
Project Management For Dummies
by Nick Graham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Tried, tested methods, concise and easy to read book. Result!, 16 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I’m a lead developer working in the online advertising industry. My group creates web applications to support the work flow, and we use mostly HTML5 and agile methodologies. There are some major issues with both those, but the overriding issue is that everything seems to take far longer than it should.

Anyway, almost as a joke, I got hold of a copy of this book. I’ve been reading though it at dinnertimes, and its raised a few laughs (given that I’m a senior and should not really be reading a ‘Dummies’ book).

Of course, that all goes in the other direction when I start quoting from it.

Here’s an example:

The Agile methodology focuses on requirements by looking at user roles; ‘as a Customer, I should be able to do XX because…’ and ‘As an Administrator I should be able to do YY because…’. The trouble with this is everything after the ‘because’ goes back to a business case and anything that cannot does not get done – or rather, they don’t address it until too late and it becomes a bottleneck.

What does traditional project management say? Well, there are four reasons to do anything and only one of which is the business case. The other three are;

It could be for compliance. You’ll miss these if you have only business cases and no domain knowledge (the dreaded ‘run by accountants’ scenario).

It could be for maintenance (not code refactor); some things just have to be done and have no business case but an availability constraint – if you don’t do it, things start to die or are not there when you need them.

And finally, it could be an enabling action; you have to set some things up that do not provide direct business case benefits, but a far looking team can see they need to be done up front to enable other things.

So yeah. When I want to do something and someone says ‘there’s no business case for it’ (which, sadly, gets more often the bigger the company gets), I have all the tried and tested methodologies to put a solid case forward (even if I am ultimately wrong, which is fine for the trying), as well as some nice tools to actually get it done.

That's just one example, there are many more

Oh, the book is well laid out and easy to read with little jargon, and straight to the point.

Conclusion

Anything that makes me better managing at work has to have 5 stars, so it has!


AUSDOM Car Video Recorder, All-in-One Automobile Car driving recorder DVR 1080P Full HD, Cars Black Box with Built-in GPS Tracking,130° Viewing Angle, 2.0 Inch LCD TFT Display, Strong Suction Cup Mount
AUSDOM Car Video Recorder, All-in-One Automobile Car driving recorder DVR 1080P Full HD, Cars Black Box with Built-in GPS Tracking,130° Viewing Angle, 2.0 Inch LCD TFT Display, Strong Suction Cup Mount
Offered by LeadTech
Price: £129.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Protects you, whilst also taking care of itself, 16 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Length:: 3:49 Mins

The included video has both day and night travel footage, as well as an unboxing and close visual look at the device itself.

There are many dash cams to choose from, but this one is at the higher end of the price range. You get what you pay for, so let's first look at what you are paying for the Ausdom dash-cam (I'm reviewing the A261).

The A261 has a very fast f2 lens. Most cameras have a much slower lens because (a) its cheaper and (b) its easier to focus with a slower lens. This camera has a fast lens that allows it to see better in low light (as you will see in the video night time footage), plus faster lenses are usually a sign of optical quality.

The A261 supports very high resolutions. You get beyond HD video with this camera; up to 2300x1300 (possibly overkill, but great if you want to report drivers on mobile phones!). Cheaper cameras will stop at 1920x1080.

The A261 has a full set of sensors. Not only does this dash-cam have GPS, but it is also VERY sensitive; it can receive GPS even inside my house, something that my tomtom cannot! It also seems to receive signals from far more satellites (7-10 vs the tomtoms paltry 2 or 3). It has an accelerometer so it knows if you have had to brake suddenly.

The A261 has lots of options. You get an extensive set of options to decide how this camera will work. Things such as video quality, white balance and exposure compensation which are the sort of things you would see on a DSLR, and not expect on a dash-cam!

The best thing by far about this dash-cam though is that you can simply fit it and then leave it. It turns on when you start the engine, turns itself off when you stop the engine (you get a little jingle for each, so you know it is working), loops the video (so you don't have to be constantly erasing footage from the SD card), but also allows you to save `events' permanently (an event is something where the car moved in an unexpected way - such as braking suddenly... such footage is saved to an `event' folder and not overwritten later).

All you have to do is leave this dash-cam it in your car, and look at the SD card only when you have to rely on it - no messing about turning things on or off or checking stuff every trip!

The A261 dash-cam allows you to use cheap SD cards. The default quality footage (1080p, 30fps) comes in at about 10,000kb/s, which means most SD cards will handle it, and you get about 7 hours of continuous driving footage from one class 6 32GB SD card. However, a - now equally inexpensive - class 10 card gives you much higher resolutions or frame rates, and the dash-cam can accept up to 64GB. I use a Sandisk 32GB class 10 (search Amazon for `B010Q57T02').

In setup and operation, the dash-cam was a doddle. You get two USB cables: a short one if you want to go from the cigarette lighter straight to the dash cam (temporary fitting) or a longer one if you want to do it properly by permanently hiding the cable, going around the windscreen and across the dashboard to the cigarette lighter).

I took the second option and didn't have to loosen any panel and never needed a screwdriver. 20 minutes and a teaspoon handle to push the wire into place was all it took. Not only was I impressed, but so was my partner (and the latter takes some doing in anything car related - she didn't even ask me how much it cost like she usually does!). The suction cup holding the cam to the window is solid and hasn't dropped off or moved so far (I'll update this review if I have problems, but it all looks solid and reliable so far).

The one thing you will not be able to see on the video is footage clarity. Well, you can change this by varying resolution and quality, but on the resolution and quality I use (1920x1080, 30fps), you can read a car registration or recognise a person up to 10 metres away (less so in night driving), which is as close as you want for an accident. Personally, I save the higher resolutions for sightseeing. I have some nice high resolution travel footage of the lake and peak districts, which is a nice bonus.

Downsides?

It's a bit larger than many other dash-cams. It is more of a GoPro style square rather than some of the smaller cameras. I don't have a problem with this as it doesn't really attract attention to itself (if you put it near the rear view mirror, it is actually impossible to spot unless you are within about 4 meters of the front of the car). Given it doesn't have a `name' on it, I'm hoping nobody will ever try to steal it (but there's some desperate people about, etc!).

Oh, and finally, it can be made to record sound inside the car. Some of the things myself and the better half discuss whilst in the car have been hilarious when played back after the event...!

Conclusion

Overall a very good dash-cam. Mine's now permanently part of the car. Dash-cams give you a bit of peace of mind against some of the idiots on the road. This one gives you a bit more than that because it is both fully automatic and totally reliable, with an excellent feature set, and higher resolutions that allow you to enjoy some of your more scenic trips after the event!


SanDisk Ultra 32 GB MicroSDHC UHS-I C10 Memory Card with Adapter, up to 80 MB/s Read (Newest Version)
SanDisk Ultra 32 GB MicroSDHC UHS-I C10 Memory Card with Adapter, up to 80 MB/s Read (Newest Version)
Price: £9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works great for my dash-cam, 16 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Length:: 0:25 Mins

SD cards tend to state their maximum possible transfer rates, so its worth noting that that the 80MB/s is not a value you will be able to see with typical files.

In my tests, the write speed (which is always slow and hardly ever stated!) is about 14MB/s, and the read speed (for typical media files - photos and video from a camera - was a respectable 35MB/s. In all these tests I was using a USB3 connection and using a fast SSD as the other drive (so they would not affect any score with this card).

Having said all that, this card can easily meet prosumer media demands. I am using it for a dashcam that can record better than HD (2304x1296, 30p), and I see no dropped frames or errors. This card should be more than enough for a typical phone or tablet, and will certainly keep up.

The best SD cards out there are made by Sandisk (Sandisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC 64GB, which I use for my BlackMagic Cinema camera to shoot HD raw and Prores video), so the Sandisk brand is pretty much a sign of quality, and the one to go for if you want reliable cards. They are often a little bit more expensive, but the one to go for if you value your data. Recommended.

[Edit] We have a technical - the video incorrectly says 'read speed' for both read and write test - it should say 'write' on the first figure, but Amazon doesn't seem to want to change it when I upload a corrected video. Sorry!


Tonor Rechargeable Bluetooth 3.0 Wireless Mouse For Phone/ PC/ Laptop/ Tablet/Desktop Computer Black
Tonor Rechargeable Bluetooth 3.0 Wireless Mouse For Phone/ PC/ Laptop/ Tablet/Desktop Computer Black
Offered by TonorDirect
Price: £29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Five star bargain!, 15 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Length:: 1:24 Mins

I already have a Tonor Portable ultra slim mouse (search on `B00WQQA7YA'), and am very pleased with it. That mouse looks to be a copy of the Apple style mice - small, white and stripped down design. This mouse is more like a Logitech PC mouse; more buttons and a darker colour scheme.

You get mouse left, mouse right, mouse wheel and mouse down, mouse wheel free toggle (press this button to toggle between a clicked mouse wheel and a free rotating one), and back/forward buttons on the side

I've included a video with this review. A few points to note:

The rubber at the sides of the mouse is not real: it's a moulded effect on the mouse body rather than the rubber insert it looks like. The top of the mouse has a rubberised covering though.

The charge lasts a couple of days.

Gaming mice usually have a DPI setting. This one does not - your only control is to set mouse speed in your OS. 1600DPI is about right for most people though (both gamers and non-gamers).

Gaming mice tend to be heavier than average, but this mouse is quite light.

You can see me testing the mouse on both Windows 10 and Android (via a dual boot tablet that supports both, the Teclast X98 Air Dual 64GB, which incidentally comes recommended if you are looking for a tablet). Both operating systems picked up the mouse quickly. I initially had a slight problem with the mouse not going into Bluetooth connect mode. The instructions say you have to press the right mouse button and mouse wheel together for 3s, but I got better results by holding them down until Bluetooth picked up the mouse).

To conclude, a nice and economical mouse. Its cheaper than other mice, and for this you lose rubberised sides and a bit of weight, but at the price, you can't go far wrong!


SKG Business Dual USB Power Bank - 10000mAh iPhone Portable Charger - External Battery Charger for iPhone - Mobile Phone Battery Charger - Universal Power Bank - Rechargeable Power Pack - Mobile Phone Chargers On the Go - Phone Juice Pack - Backup Charger for iPhone 6 / 6 Plus / 5S, iPad Air 2 / Mini 3, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, HTC, Nokia, Android, Apple and More Smart Phones & Tablets (Black, 10000mAh, Li-Polymer Battery, Genuine Cowhide Leather Case, 1-Month Free Trial, 2-Year Warranty)
SKG Business Dual USB Power Bank - 10000mAh iPhone Portable Charger - External Battery Charger for iPhone - Mobile Phone Battery Charger - Universal Power Bank - Rechargeable Power Pack - Mobile Phone Chargers On the Go - Phone Juice Pack - Backup Charger for iPhone 6 / 6 Plus / 5S, iPad Air 2 / Mini 3, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, HTC, Nokia, Android, Apple and More Smart Phones & Tablets (Black, 10000mAh, Li-Polymer Battery, Genuine Cowhide Leather Case, 1-Month Free Trial, 2-Year Warranty)
Offered by SKG HOME & BEAUTY ELECTRONICS
Price: £42.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Smart looking, easy to use, 15 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Length:: 0:43 Mins

There's many portable USB batteries available now, and they are all about the same: Li-On technology and a bit more capacity than the SKG for the same price.

There's two things the SKG has going for it. Firstly, it's a LI-Po battery. A Li-Po battery tends to be lighter (its actually used in radio control drones and the like because of this), it never gets hot under load, and it has a longer shelf life. Secondly, the iEGrow comes in a leather half-case, and has a soft rubber covering.

The issue of shelf life is something I've seen first-hand as I have had both types of battery (a Li-on laptop battery in an old computer that is now completely dead, and some Li-Po batteries for an RC helicopter that are still going strong many years later).

Both a Li-On and a Li-Po will last about 300 charges, but a Li-On battery will only last about 3 years even if you don't use it. This might be important: assuming you only use a USB battery charger only in emergencies (when you are away from home and need to charge your phone), you will typically only charge it once every week, giving you a lifetime of about 5 years. The Li-On will die 2 years before that on shelf life, so the Li-Po will actually last 2 years longer. If you will be using the battery only for holidays or long trips, then this difference will be much longer. The only thing to watch with a Li-Po is that you do not leave it fully charged if you want to store it for long periods (charge one device with the battery before you put it in storage).

The downside is capacity for the same size: a Li-On battery has a greater charge density, so you will typically get about 15000mAH for the same cost as the SKG 10000mAH.

I have compared the SKG with two batteries in the video, an iEGrow 15000mAH and an Anker Pro 20000mAH. The iEGrow is about the same dimensions/weight as the SKG and has 50% more capacity. It will however, not last as long (as a Li-On, it has a fixed shelf life of 3 years) and does get warm when I charge my tablet with it (the tablet draws the full 2A capacity load) whilst the SKG does not. The Anker Pro is a high capacity Li-Po that can output 5, 12 and 19V, and I actually use it to power a Black magic cinema camera and video monitor. It is very robust, and more importantly, very reliable, and a standard choice for filming with my set-up - partly because it is a Li-Po and doesn't get hot even on high current drain when it is powering a cinema camera rig! Something to bear in mind when considering Li-On vs Li-Po.

In use, the SKG battery works fine, and has enough reserve to fully charge my 9.8 inch tablet once (8500mAH battery), or give me three charges on my mobile phone (3000mAH battery). The LED indicator flashes white if you have 25-100% capacity remaining, and red if you have 0-25%. Unlike Li-Ons, a Li-Po has no memory issues, so you can top it up as often as you want (a Li-On only lasts the 300 charges if you only charge it when it is nearly empty).

So to conclude, a very nice battery. and I'm hoping it lasts as long as my Anker Pro already has. Whether you pick the SKG over something like an iEGrow Li-On probably depends on how often you will use it. I'd pick the SKG if you foresee occasional emergency use, and expect the battery to be charged up less than once a week. I'd pick a Li-On if you expect the battery to be charged so often (once every 2-3 days) such that it reaches its 300 charges before the 3 year shelf lifetime limit.


TomTom Dive Lens Cover for Camera
TomTom Dive Lens Cover for Camera
Price: £27.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Good quality, but perhaps should not be necessary, 14 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The original lens cover is splash proof, but not waterproof. Yet when I look at the waterproof version, apart from the black colour, they are almost identical - same case, same front glass, same thickness and locking mechanism, and the exact same rubber seal.

The only difference is that the original lens cover has two holes at the bottom for the microphone, but the waterproof one does not!

So although the waterproof version does exactly what it says it does, I can't help feeling that a tiny bit of thought in the design of the original lens cover (such as the lens cover locking onto the main body in two slightly different positions, one of which allowed sound, and the other that allowed waterproofing) would have made a second lens cover unnecessary!


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