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M. Bhangal "S" (Somewhere in Northern England)

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Lava Brightsounds Bluetooth Speaker with Lamp for Smartphone - Teal
Lava Brightsounds Bluetooth Speaker with Lamp for Smartphone - Teal
Price: £39.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice, simple, fun., 28 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Length:: 2:47 Mins

The video pretty much says it all.

The sound was recorded with a Tascam DR07, which has better sound fidelity than the Lava, so if you are playing the video back on decent speakers then you will get a good impression of the sound quality when I record it on playback at the end of the video. Sound is about as good as the sound from an average TV: a bit bass heavy but ok for a portable device.

A few additional points:

There were absolutely no problems connecting to the phone via bluetooth. Unless you don't know how bluetooth works and have never done it before on your phone, you should have no issues.

Bluetooth only works if you are playing back music or internet radio from your phone. If you want to play from terrestrial radio (i.e. FM radio) from your phone, you have to use the supplied wired 3.5 inch jack. This is not a fault of the Lava - its because the radio has to use the wired connection as its aerial.

The lava seems very well built, and has no case vibration at any volume.

I tested the waterproofing by throwing a few glasses of water at it, and it was fine.

I recorded the sound with the volume at 100%, and there is a tiny bit of distortion on the bass on the very deep sounds. This disappears if you go down to 95% (NB - I'm not sure where this distortion is coming from - it could easily be from the phone, but in any case, its easy to get rid off: just go down one notch from 100% volume).

The lamp function is separate to the sound, so you can use them independently.

Battery life is good: far better than your phone!

What would I use this for?
Playing music in the garden or on a picnic in the park, listening to music in the office, or following a match on streaming radio from the phone. Anywhere away from the car and away from the hiFi, where you want something portable but are not that worried about sound fidelity. It would also be good as a night lamp for a young child who has a phone, or if you are watching iPlayer on a tablet and want some decent sound.

How We Are (How to Live Trilogy 1)
How We Are (How to Live Trilogy 1)
by Vincent Deary
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highbrow self help, 23 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've not enjoyed this type of book in ages. A self-help book that is less Oprah and much more James Burke.

The topic of the book is change: moving from what you are to what you want to be.
There are no simple techniques and self-affirmations. If you want that style of self-help book, save yourself a lot of money and just google `90% of self help books chopcow' (if nothing else, it will give you a chuckle).

The book is more of a philosophy for change. No `fake it till you make it' and `you make yourself feel the way you feel' (and a host of other non-results based theories whose only claim to fame is that they sound good). This book is more about what creates bad habits and poor ways of living, how to understand them, and then how to overcome them.

The book is full of insights and real eye opening stuff rather than the usual self-help platitudes. For example: the 80:20 rule. In both world wars, it was noticed that most people didn't directly kill anyone. Most of the casualties were at a distance or caused by the debilitating effects of war.

Most people simply can't face killing, and only a small proportion of soldiers (1 in 5 or 20%) actually had the stomach to do it face to face. Modern armies have researched this and put in place ways to make that number closer to 100%. In world war one, you would hear soldiers talking about duty and king and country. The modern soldier is not so vague. Ask one why they kill and they will say they are just completing the job they were trained for.

That must be some training!

This book looks at how this change from 20% effort to 100% can take place: how we can train ourselves to live better by understanding what is stopping us making changes so that we face what we need to do.

Oh, and the book is well written. Really well written. If nothing else, it will give you an enjoyable read through a sprawling discussion about how we choose to live the way we do.

L.A. Noire - The Complete Edition (PC DVD)
L.A. Noire - The Complete Edition (PC DVD)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £7.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent budget game for windows 8, once you get it running, 18 May 2015
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not a game I would buy at full price, but now it has come down to budget price, its a decent game to get, with two big caveats

Firstly, it doesn't work at all out of the box on windows 8. Even if you follow the support instructions on the Rockstar support page, it still won't work. The two things you have to do as well as the Rockstar support instructions is (1) turn off your antivirus during the install, and (2) make sure the install path has no spaces in it *at all*. You have to select 'custom install' and set the install path manually, making sure you don't install it into a 'L.A Noire' folder as per the standard install, and neither do you want 'My Games' or anything similar in the path.

Secondly, L.A Noire is story lead rather than an interactive game. That makes it quite linear and not as open ended as some other sandbox games. You do missions in order, and don't have things like concurrent missions nor side quests going on. If you are fine with that, then its a great game. Just don't expect a 1940's themed Skyrim!

On my Windows 8 machine it works well with everything maxed out, and at WQHD (my NVidia 770GTX can make 4k, but only if I drop a few settings, but I prefer full-on graphics at less than 4k). I don't have stutter or other graphics issues.

So overall, not a free world sandbox, but a strong story led interactive experience. Some people may say that is not their definition of a game in 2015, but each to their own! I quite like it: it brings a welcome slower pace after a few hours on Battlefield multiplayer!

Iron-Front - Liberation 1944 (PC DVD)
Iron-Front - Liberation 1944 (PC DVD)
Offered by Soprano Entertainment
Price: £29.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Finally playable - as an ARMA2 mod, 11 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this in February 2013 for under a tenner. Two years later the game is full price.
Why? Because it has been reworked as a mod for ARMA2 (with an ARMA3 version in development), and it looks and plays great.

There are other free WW2 mods for ARMA2, but only Iron Front has the extended damage model (which now also works well). Graphically its still very good because its one of the few games where the graphics really do scale with better hardware, especially with graphics hardware that can run beyond HD and a fast CPU (I run on a 4k monitor with a decent GPU and fast 12 core i7).

You have to have Iron Front installed on the same PC to get the full ARMA2 Iron front mod experience (you can also try the 'lite' version of the mod for free, which has lower quality textures, etc), but if you like the ARMA series then Iron Front is now one to add to your collection.

I'd hold off until it is mid price again if you can though, although the rarity of this game seems to be set to keep the price up for some time: its in demand from ARMA fans but has been dropped by both the developer and publisher (community patches have fixed it though). The upside of this is that all the people with the game DVD who never liked the game can sell it on the bay and not only get their money back, but make a profit... but I'll be keeping mine!

XCSOURCE 5x 1/4" 3/8" Tripod Mount Screw Convert Adapter Flash Light Stand Spigot LF600
XCSOURCE 5x 1/4" 3/8" Tripod Mount Screw Convert Adapter Flash Light Stand Spigot LF600
Offered by XCSOURCE
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Saves having to buy lightstands, 2 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you have some LED lights (such as the Aputure Amarans) or ice lights, then as a photographer you would normally have a tripod or two, but will soon realise you need light stands for your LEDs. Well, with these adapters, no more! You can use these adapters to attach your lighting to an old tripod. Yes, they are not the top range quality, but there's two things going for them: you get five of them, and LED lighting weighs nothing so you don't need Manfroto solid brass ones at 6 quid just for one!

I have three LED lights (A Travor ice light for my rim light and a pair of Aputure AL-528S for my main and side lights), so have all the adapters I need for about a fiver all in... plus two extra, which is useful because two of these together make a good makeshift handle for hand held lighting. Plus I save the three figure sum I would need for three sturdy light stands (I could of course get the cheap twenty quid ones, but those are more 'slight stands' than 'light stands', and a false economy even for cheapskates like me!).


Dell P2715Q 27-Inch Ultra HD 4K LCD Monitor (2M:1, 350 cd/m2, 3840 x 2160, 9ms, DP/Mini DP/HDMI, MHL/USB) - Black
Dell P2715Q 27-Inch Ultra HD 4K LCD Monitor (2M:1, 350 cd/m2, 3840 x 2160, 9ms, DP/Mini DP/HDMI, MHL/USB) - Black
Offered by PCBuyIT Limited
Price: £499.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent monitor for photo/video work, decent for games., 1 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I do a fair bit of photography and video, and my old pair of 24 inch 1080p monitors were looking decidedly old school when you can now have a single 4k monitor, giving you the same resolution as 4 1080p screens stacked 2 by 2.

I was initially undecided between the 24 inch and 27 inch version, but plumbed for the 27 inch after realising how small text can be on a 24 inch 4k screen for applications that don't respect your operating system's font sizes (I'm looking at you, Adobe Photoshop and Premiere, 2015 and you still can't accurately reflect the operating system font sizing!).

This screen is amazing for the price. Sharp as anything, no dead pixels, and looks good out of the box, although it will still need calibration for colour work: I calibrate mine with a Spyder 4 Elite, which showed that the monitor comes with a yellow cast by default (probably to make the screen look more consumer friendly - warmer - for the showroom!).

The best things about this screen are the wide viewing angle of the IPS panel, the 60Hz refresh, and good coverage of the sRGB color gamut, all making it good for my chosen use cases. The screen is also surprisingly bright, and has both good contrast and is bright enough to seen in most situations. Colour shift is minimal, and is near zero for all but the last 10 degrees either side of the full viewing angle.

Reasonably stylish in the usual Dell fashion (not as flash as some of the Samsung and Apple monitors, but certainly not ugly). I have a PC (windows 8) and simply used the supplied Displayport to mDisplayPort cable, plugging it straight into my NVidia GTX770's display port and on to the monitor's mDisplayPort. Although this cable is specified for Mac users, It does work at 60Hz for PC users. The screen has a very nice matt finish. It doesn't look so sexy when it is off, but when the screen is on, there is no reflections or bounce, so the coating gets top marks from me: its made to work not look like an over-shiny desk ornament! The stand is really good. Sturdy enough, and allows you to swivel 90 degrees so you can quickly do landscape-portrait (even if you don't want to do that, moving to portrait is something you will do often if the monitor is backed up against a wall, because portrait allows you to access the USB ports behind the screen). The screen swivels up, down and can rotate left right, and move up-down by all the right amounts: I don't think I will be looking for a replacement stand because the supplied one is immaculate and totally practical. Oh, it also has a hole in it for cables, so tidy as well as practical! Finally, on looks, the power goes straight into the back of the monitor: no power brick to have to hide, and the monitor never gets above 'slightly warm': all very nice and hint at reliability - hot things tend to go pop quickly.

The monitor has its own USB3 pass-through, giving you 3 additional USB3 posts enough for a keyboard, mouse and colorimeter (the last of which, with something like a Spyder 4 permanently connected practically gives you a neat all-in self-calibrating monitor for non-pro prices), or a high end general use monitor with a decent USB HUB thrown in.

Bad points:

This is not a pro model out the box, so the back-light is not quite as uniform as it should be by default. I can see a small dark patch to the left third of my panel (looks like a *very* faint vertical yellow stripe), but I only see it if I display a 100% white background, and then only if I look very carefully. However, this is out-of-box: if you go into the menu and select Menu > Display > Uniformity Compensation > Calibrated and un-check 'Off' (or set brightness below about 60% or over 90%), you get a much more uniformly lit white display. In normal use, the lack of uniformity it is less noticeable once set to Calibrated (unless you are actively looking for it or have an all white background or very light web design), but it is an annoyance for an otherwise perfect screen. To be fair though, I have never seen a non-pro screen without either dark corners or some sort of non uniformity (usually either brightness drop-outs or poor viewing angle).

[Edit] I've looked at this issue a little more, see the comments for further information

Colour calibration is cut down for pro users as the menu is dumbed down for precise professional adjustment (you don't get access to colour temperature - you just get basic RGB sliders or colour 'styles' such as 'standard', 'multimedia', 'warm'. 'cool', etc ) . If colour accuracy is your thing then you will need a screen calibration tool. Although these are expensive new, the bay is your friend for cheap and cheerful, and they are affordable second hand. I recommend DataColor.

The monitor has a slow 9ms refresh rate. Thats fine for creative work (Photoshop/Lightroom and Premiere/DaVinci Resolve, and even 3D authoring), but may be an issue for gamers. Its not an issue for me, and I have been happily playing ARMA3 for a few hours now, loving the additional detail 4k gives me! You can go into the menu and select Menu > Display > Response Time and set it to 'Fast' to make things better than out-of-box.

If you turn the computer on before the monitor, the monitor doesn't detect the signal (it does this on both mDisplayPort and displayPort, haven't checked on HDMI). Nuisance rather than a problem, but you get used to it, although it made me think the monitor was broken when I turned it on out-of-box in the wrong order!

Not much to dislike so far then (unless you are a purist and really need to spend 50% more and buy a pro screen).

The only real issue with 4k I have found is that some applications do not respect OS font size (I have mine set to 150%, which gives me very nice sharp and legible type). The main culprits are, surprisingly, not games, but high end applications that should otherwise make good use of a 4k panel. Adobe is awful for this failing (although they don't like to admit it, many of their UIs are done in Flash for old versions of the software, and HTML5 for current - I know this for a fact because I have written custom Adobe panels for application extensions). Lightroom is fine for scaling up to 4k (and photo-editing at 4k is a workflow dream - you get to edit 24MP images at half size when you are at per-pixel size, so you can finally see what you are doing in relation to the overall photo). Photoshop is atrocious: changing font size in Photoshop preferences does exactly nothing.

The other issue is that you need a beefy graphics card for some games. I can Play Battlefield 4 at 1080p with everything on 'ultra' on my old monitors, but at 4k I have to reduce a few settings. I actually prefer to stay at ultra and drop the resolution a bit down from 4k (the P2715Q screen scales very well for non-native resolutions).

To be honest though, games don't benefit from 4k as the frame rates are too fast to notice. I get much more mileage playing at a few notches above 1080p rather than native reolution (and often can't tell the difference on a fast action screen). So, although everyone tells you that you will need to update your two year old graphics card for 4k, its not been the case for me as the main use of of 4k (at least for me) is productivity and authoring tools. I can happily use my GTX770 with this monitor without upgrading or going dual-GPU. With that card, all my games benefit from the 4k screen (including GPU limited ones like BF4) because all of them allow me to move up from 1080p resolutions. The only slight issue I have found is that some older games don't expect 4k resolutions (and weird things happen, like the mouse pointer stops moving at high resolutions, or some parts of the UI don't scale as much as others... this is all very rare though and changing compatibility mode to Windows 7 or XP almost always fixes the issue).

These issues are not limited to this monitor, but moving to 4k in general, so no marks off the Dell for them (but worth bearing in mind).

The only real issue for gamers is price over a TN panel. I expect 4k IPS panels are still at early adopter prices and will come down significantly as they get mainstream (as is happening now for 4k TN panels), so holding off for 6 months may get you a much better deal. Having seen the advantages of a 4k IPS panel over a dual 1080p workstation, I am glad I'm not one of the ones holding off until prices drop: its a no-brainer for productivity.

Your only real competition to the Dell P2715Q is a 32 inch 4k IPS panel, but the depreciation on one of those will be even steeper, so I'd recommend the 27 inch for now... although with this quality, its hardly a compromise! Do yourself a favour and get a 27 inch now, and update to two once prices drop. Best of all worlds!

I'll update this review if I ever get any hardware or reliability issues, but so far very pleased with my purchase: I will not be going back to 1080p!

*** Update May 23 2015 ***
Slight hardware issue (well, it was major until I found the fix!). Today I turned on the computer and the monitor refused to respond to the display port signal (neither DP nor mDP worked). You need either of these to work to get 4k at 60fps. the monitor was correctly seeing no cable faults (i.e. the monitor correctly detected no cable if I pulled it out), but the monitor acted as if there was no signal on the cable. The HDMI cable worked, but that only gives 4k at 30fps. The fix is easy: you have to unplug everything (unplug it, not just turn it off), and wait a minute or so.
This has happened to me only once, and I'm not sure where the cause lies, but other people have seen it on other monitors using displayport at 4k (according to a quick search on the web). Feels like a port rather than monitor issue, although its not clear on which side it occurs (I have an nvidia graphics card). One to be mindful of so you know the solution if it ever occurs - it wasted two hours of my morning just now!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 9, 2015 2:36 PM BST

Panasonic Eneloop CC16 - 2 Hour Battery Charger & 4 Eneloop AA Batteries - UK Model
Panasonic Eneloop CC16 - 2 Hour Battery Charger & 4 Eneloop AA Batteries - UK Model
Offered by iCell Media
Price: £17.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 1 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have loads of eneloop batteries (over 50!), used to charge my 4 camera Flashes and some video LED lighting. I previously had a charger that took 9 hours to change a set of batteries, not realising it was a 'dumb' charger in that it doesn't check the actual charge in the batteries.

The charger you get in this pack does check the charge, so won't overcharge your batteries, extending battery life whilst at the same time significantly reducing charge time down to 2 hours or less, depending on how charged the batteries are to start with. Important when you need to rush out with a camera and Flash, and just want the batteries to be full: if they actually are nearly full my wait is now minutes rather than 9 hours every time!

Special mention to seller iCell, who immediately sent me a second item without quibble after the first one didn't turn up.

Excellent product, excellent seller service. Can't ask for more!

Panasonic ALL8 Wireless Speaker System (White)
Panasonic ALL8 Wireless Speaker System (White)
Offered by ASK
Price: £286.61

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One for first adopters, 28 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The device itself looks really nice. I have the white one, and it looks like modern furniture rather than audio electronics: no obvious push buttons or dials, and sleek lines. It's also surprisingly heavy (it weighs like a subwoofer if you pick it up: i.e. quite dense and heavy) and a bit bigger than I expected: this is not a cheap Bluetooth speaker! Its higher quality than that, requiring WiFi, which allows it to stream higher quality audio. It also has a wired internet connection, or if you just want direct wired audio, a 3.5 inch jack.

Sound-wise, it's powerful without being boy-racer style bass heavy, but doesn't get as loud as 80W RMS would suggest, and has limited sound options for the technophile (because it has no buttons, there is no way to change bass nor treble outside your streaming software). Is the sound worth the asking price? I'm undecided on that one at the moment, as I'm sure I could get a better sounding dedicated hiFi for the asking price, but perhaps that is not really the point. This is a lifestyle item for the connected living room, not an ugly slab of audio kit (bonus - the All8 looks good next to my Phillips Hue).

Connection to your WiFi is painless, but make sure you update the All8 firmware as soon as you get it (this sorts out all sorts of pain if you have an early revision as of this writing). Firmware update is equally painless, just press a couple of buttons and wait a few minutes, then restart.

You need an always on WiFi and preferably single channel (dual channel WiFi seems to cause it to drop-out, if you have a two channel WiFi, turn one frequency off), and Spotify only works if you have a premium account (there are other options, although not many for the UK). Oh, and the Panasonic streaming app needs work: crashes a fair few times, and a bit slow to react to keypresses.

Firstly, you cannot choose your streaming application if it is not on the list of compatible apps. You can't choose iTunes or Windows Media player for example (at least, I haven't managed it). If you have a media server, lack of third party streaming services is not a problem though, as you can use your own server.

Secondly, the AL8 sounds nice, but doesn't really live up to its specification. It's fine for background sound, but if you really want to rock out, it just doesn't sound as loud as it should. I have a feeling that some of that 80W RMS is being channeled into some sort of baffle system to get deep bass at the expense of volume.

Thirdly, it seems a bit... well... `Hipsterish' if I am being unkind, or `ahead of its time but not quite there yet' if I am being diplomatic. I think the Qualcomm Allplay system (which the ALL8 is part of) has the potential for the highest quality streaming audio, and is more stylish than the typical dedicated HiFi, but the software and streaming services are a bit behind the hardware.


One for first adopters at the moment: it looks nice and (kind of) works well in a stylish `this is a room talking point' way, but there are perhaps better options if you are after the best sound for the money and don't mind bleeding edge aesthetics.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 (PC/Mac)
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 (PC/Mac)
Price: £108.21

88 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A return to form, 26 April 2015
Since LR3, Lightroom has been getting slower. It has begun to really lag when compared to DxO and other competitors. The main emphasis of LR6 has been to use your graphics card to speed things up, and it certainly does this: moving sliders is now a lot faster. Zooming in and out has less of a performance change but to be fair, it's the sliders and adjustment brushes that you spend most of your time on so the change is very welcome. Most importantly the change makes LR6 work much better on a laptop with a decent graphics (i.e. anything except integrated) card on it.

The other big thing (well, apart from Lightroom mobile, which I won't discuss as I never use it) is High Dynamic Range or HDR. This is all about taking the same shot at (typically) 3 different exposures (varying shutter and keeping aperture and ISO constant) via a bracket, and merging them in post to create a single image that has highlights and shadows that would be clipped if you took a single shot.

HDR in LR doesn't have some of the controls in Photoshop, Photomatix nor HDR Efex Pro (tone mapping controls, micro contrast, etc), but what it does do is perhaps even better: it merges your shots into a single raw image file with an extended exposure and highlight/shadow/whites/blacks range. So if you do a HDR merge on three raw images, it creates a new raw (of approximately three times the filesize), but if you now vary the exposure and tonal controls (sliders and tone curve), it allows you *many* more stops of latitude. How cool is that! If you are a landscape photographer, It's like having a camera with a dynamic range that will not be seen for years, Better still, LR6 does not create the out-of-fashion type of HDR (cartoony colours and overdone texturing), but creates something more useful: bigger dynamic range, with all the usual LR controls to make full use of it.

File edits on a HDR image remains non-destructive, unlike other HDR applications where the HDR comes out as a .tif or other `baked-in' file that you cannot re-edit later. This may be a small feature, but it will have a big impact on HDR use, especially for the landscape photographer who needs images to stay realistic, but doesn't want blown out skies or clipped shadows.

There is also a panorama stitch function. Again, I'm not a fan of panoramas (I prefer to take video rather than panoramas), so I don't have much to say about them because I don't use them. Similarly for face detection (I don't want metadata telling everyone who is in the photo, because that will become searchable if I put the image on the web, and fb is bad enough for that as it is without us adding even more personal data to our likenesses!¬).

Finally, there's some of the usual hidden little features. My favourite is support for large resolution screens. If you go Edit > Catalog Settings > File Handling Tab > Standard Preview Size and set it to Auto, LR will limit the preview sizes to the size of your screen. Nice if you change your screen from HD to 4k, because LR will automatically detect the hardware change, and resize the previews to the new resolution! I use this feature all the time, as I have Lr on two machines: a 1080p laptop and a PC with a 4k screen (a Dell P2715Q, which comes very highly recommended for LR6, noting that Photoshop/Premiere does not play well with 4k (you cannot increase the user interface text to make them legible at 4k as you can with LR)- so if you also use those applications, I would hold off 4k for a while).

Oh, and the graphics card usage never goes above 20%-30% on my NVidia GTX770, so I doubt you even need a fast graphics card to see speed improvements. Should be good for older laptops with a 5 or 6 series NVidia card or equivalent.

On the subject of hardware, one thing to bear in mind if you are buying LR6 for the HDR is that it is very memory intensive. I have a PC with 24GB memory, and LR6 will use up to 2/3rds of it during a HDR merge and sit at 50% memory for the rest of the time, which is way up from typical LR5 use. So consider upgrading to 16GB memory if you want to make the most of LR6.

Bad points?

Editing makes use of the graphics card, but image export does not, so that and thumbnail generation still takes as long as it ever did.

There is no new process, so although your image editing will be nippier, the images will still look like LR5. That is not necessarily a bad thing though!

The downside of the new HDR feature is that leaving your HDR image editable is that it gets slow if you use a large bracket. I typically shoot HDR with a 24MP, 5 shot bracket which creates a 167MB raw file on the hard drive. That is a lot of data for LR to go through and it shows! If I try to make an adjustment selection on that file, the screen update can be over a second behind, and that is on a fast 12 core i7. I'd advise sticking to 3 shot brackets if you want to do HDR in LR!

The UI is unchanged (but why break a good thing?).

Too much emphasis on mobile. There's a little bit of text on the UI that keeps telling me I have 30 days left of Lightroom mobile trial. I will never use it, please make it go away faster than the 30 days, not interested: I'm a photographer not a selfie junkie!

There don't seem to be many optimisations if you do not have a compatible graphics card, so if LR decides your graphics card is not up to it (you can check via Edit > Preferences > Performance: if `Use Graphics processor' is available and checked, you are using the graphics card), you might well be better off with LR5 if HDR is not your thing.

Finally, not a bad point, more a niggle: LR 6 standalone is available on Adobe for slightly more, and you have to wade through all the rubbish trying to entice you to buy Creative Cloud. If you decide to buy direct from Adobe (heaven knows why you would!), make sure you get the standalone, unless of course you want to risk Creative Cloud.

So to conclude:

A needed update. HDR is a nice new feature, but the killer feature is usability - LR6 will be faster for most users. All we need now is noise reduction that is as good as the one in DxO!

[Update]: I have uploaded an example of a simple sea shot, one (top) done with traditional HDR, and the other (bottom) shows the same bracket processed as HDR in LR6. The top one looks more processed and obviously HDR, whereas the LR6 output looks a lot more natural (it looks more like traditional methods i.e. using NR grads... because that's exactly what I did to bring the sky back: I added an LR graduated filter to the sky to bring its exposure down). Most importantly, it maintains correct colour whilst increasing dynamic range. If I actually wanted the 'HDR' look, then I can get heavy handed with the clarity slider (when using a merged bracket the clarity slider acts a lot like micro-contrast in traditional HDR applications, and gives you the 'HDR textured look').
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 23, 2015 1:42 PM BST

Philips HP3631 300w InfraCare Lamp
Philips HP3631 300w InfraCare Lamp
Price: £50.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says., 11 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Length:: 1:00 Mins

Ok, so the big question is `what is the difference between this and an electric heater? The InfraCare fires out longer (infra-red) wavelengths that penetrates deeper, and therefore soothes your muscles. You don't get the burning-skin feeling you do with an electric radiator, but a deeper warmth.

Physically, it looks like a small electric heater, except that it has an infra-red filter at the front, it has a timer, and you hear a small fan at the back when you turn it on. It seems sturdy enough for what it is, perhaps a little plasticky, but nothing to complain about.

My partner has already used it to sooth a stiff neck and reports that it works well, so it does what it says on the tin.

Un-boxing video included so you can get a feeling for size and look and feel.

Overall recommended.

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