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Zeller 16002 6-Piece 38 x 23 x 32 cm Garden Set with Basket Polyester/ Metal/ Wood
Zeller 16002 6-Piece 38 x 23 x 32 cm Garden Set with Basket Polyester/ Metal/ Wood
Price: £25.13

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful present, 25 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Slightly bigger than expected. Could do with some more hangy bits for sprays etc, but it was delivered fast and is in everyday use now in the garden. Ideal, simple present for those who leave thier pruning implements lying around rusting on the patio.

Kent Brushes NU22 Mens Fine toothed Comb in Leather Case
Kent Brushes NU22 Mens Fine toothed Comb in Leather Case
Offered by Glamour Ladies
Price: £9.58

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Travel essential, 25 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The fact that it's a comb is not worth reviewing - the fact that it is a comb in a little leather case is. For two reasons: 1. It feels more luxurious, and for some primeval animal psychological reason this enhances the experience of running the comb through your hair. 2: You're less likely to forget it somewhere - the ritual sheathing and unsheathing of the comb in front of the mirror will ensure this. And the cost.

Snugg™ iPhone 4 / 4S Case - Leather Pouch with Lifetime Guarantee (Black) for Apple iPhone 4 / 4S
Snugg™ iPhone 4 / 4S Case - Leather Pouch with Lifetime Guarantee (Black) for Apple iPhone 4 / 4S
Offered by TheSnugg
Price: £29.98

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pocket-tastic..., 25 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If like me you keep your iphone in a jeans pocket, this is surely the right case. Fits like a glove and the little magnetised tab for pulling it out works fine. Some reviews complain that it is too tight - my observations on that are: 1. 30 seconds of squeezing the case softens it up for the iphone to slide in and out easily, as long as you use the tab to pull it up first. 2. This is a good thing, the phone doesn't slip out by mistake. The only crisitcism I would have is that the very top is still exposed, so if you were to drop it and that hits the floor there is stil potential for damage. (BTW it does fit snug to the very top of the case, not as pictured on Amazon which shows the top actually sticking out.) Otherwise this Snugg case gives you extreme confidence carrying it around in your pocket that nothing will get crushed or scratched. Recommended alternative over rubber/carbon backs & screen protector combos.

NOTE: The original review is based on the black version of the phone cover which was perfect. Having recently lost that I had to purchase a "worn brown" version as black was no longer available. Different story: first time I put my phone in it took 2 hours to get it out without damaging it and I had to spend hours stretching the case to get it to even slightly fit. Would have sent back if 4S cases weren't getting more difficult to find. Avoid the fancier finishes in my opinion.

Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC HSM Optical Stabilised Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras
Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC HSM Optical Stabilised Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

85 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Versatile & Talented All Rounder, 5 Oct. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As far as pure £ for £ flexibility goes this is one of the best lenses around, a clear step above entry level/kit lenses, with not too much compromise on mid range EF-S's and the like.

I've mainly owned Canon EF-S and L lenses, but also briefly owned this lens' predecessor, the 18-200mm OS. The reason I got that (and ultimately this) was that I wanted a wide-to-long travel lens that meant I didn't need to cart two or three other lenses around all the time. My worry was that it would be a big compromise, and the old 18-200mm certainly was. Though it was also thankfully short-lived due to the handiwork of a thief in Ealing. The 18-200 was noisy; the OS sounded like a coffee machine, it was unreliable in focus and rattled generally. Image quality was barely acceptable, at best. So this time around out of Canon's own 18-200mm, Tamron's 18-270mm and Sigma's 18-250mm - the main choices for a 7D - this one started bottom of the list... but I eventually chose it it, and no regrets so far.

Good reviews and my own shop tests demonstrated that the 18-250mm offers a lot for the money. Its range is good, its build quality is as good as the rest (and several notches above its cheaper brother) and its OS is both quiet and effective, at least as effective as the Canon or Tamron IMHO. The real clincher for me was focus; with HSM it's fast and very quiet; close to Canon's excellent untrasonic tech: faster and quieter than either the Canon 18-200 (which isn't ultrasonic) or the Tamron. Image quality-wise it seems to perform lower than the competition in review sites' labs, but "in the field" it performs very well for me. Not a studio lens then, but it will rarely let you down snapping out in the open.

A hidden bonus is that although it's OK for close-up work at 250mm, it's no Macro - but it also works fine with my Ef12 extension tube and even better, it functions with the Life Size Extenter designed for Canon's 50mm Macro: extending its travel lens credentials into very pretty image stabilised closeups too (if not absolutely sharp on crops).

Overall, highly recommended for what it is, and if you've had a 'mare with previous Sigma mid-range quality you'll be pleasantly surprised by this. Not quite an EX, but it's not too far off. If you really want slightly better IQ (but still not "high quality") then the Canon 18-200mm or Tamron 18-270mm are options - but neither will beat the autofocus on this baby, and that's a compromise I'm happy with.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 16, 2013 9:21 AM BST

Canon TSE2435L 24mm f/3.5 Tilt & Shift Lens - Filter Size - 72mm
Canon TSE2435L 24mm f/3.5 Tilt & Shift Lens - Filter Size - 72mm

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Freaky, fun & very sharp, 18 May 2010
Picked this up for an architectural photo project because I was frustrated by perspective correction in Photoshop and several guides said this (and/or its 17mm and 45mm brethren) would make a big difference. Reviews on Photozone and Fredmiranda said it was not L-quality image-wise, despite the name and the red ring. But I wasn't planning on blowing up the images to A1, and I got a real bargain with this V1 as the new MKII version retails at a whopping £2k. I reasoned that once the project was over I could still sell it with minimal loss - or even make a profit. Bad move.

Having got it I first shot a tallish building with my 17-55mm EF-S at about 24mm-f/8 on the 7D, I then switched to to this lens and took the same shot, same tripod position, same aperture. It's very easy to muck up shifting the lens and get odd angles through the viewfinder/screen (making Photoshop even more difficult). But examining the best results in Lightroom @ 100% I was impressed. Not only did I have a more natural looking building than my from-the-ground perspective should have allowed, but also better resolution, sharpness, colour rendering, absence of CA. This is from a lens that often seems to review badly (though the MKII is hailed as a God among lenses), versus the 17-55mm which is pretty good.

The results I got were shifted, so the lens was a few milimetres higher on the sensor than it had any right to be, and yet it was amazing. Subsequent shots confirm that resolution is very good in shift mode, certainly from f5.6 onwards. Maybe I have a good copy - better than the pro reviewers (except for Bryan at The Digital Picture maybe). Of course purists will tell you it's because it's a prime lens: but it's a pretty odd one since you can shift the barrel up and down, and tilt it sideways, and swivel it around in 30 degree stops at the press of a button.

Weirdly for a wide angle lens, it seems very happy to take a teleconvertor and even extenders for macros. The Canon EF12II ext tube works well, but the EF25II takes the front of the lens unmanageably close to a subject. Neither the extender or my Kenko Pro300 2x tele significantly alter centre sharpness to the naked eye (though it does at 100% and effects corner darkness and edge resolution much more, as does anyting other than slight shifting/tilting). I haven't really tested it fully tilted and shifted with the tele, but it certainly works as an emergency 48mm prime.

As a signed-up, die-hard zoom snapper I'm fully impressed, and now VERY short of cash as its so much fun and so high-res there's no way I can trade it back in.

Three drawbacks are price - not for the faint-hearted. Also, its complexity means it has manual-only focus. Finally it's very hard to figure out what to do with it and how to actually judge and control it at first.

But these shortcomings are what gives it a quirky appeal that goes beyond my normal electrojunkie cravings for extreme image stabilization and high-speed USMs. It feels like I've swopped my 7D for a venerable medium format camera where I have to think about things for a long time before I shoot them, sipping tea and working out exposure and angles. That can't be bad, can it?

If you're considering one, The Digital Picture, and Northlight Photo all have good articles/reviews (even if some arent impressed with overall resolution).

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens
Price: £377.00

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Canon 10-22mm USM - Canon knows best... for Canon, 12 April 2010
Having owned a Tamron wide angle zoom for my 5D and been very happy with it, my first instinct was to go third party and save £200 when I switched to a 40D - opting for the original Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6.

I was reasonably pleased with the results until I borrowed a friend's Canon 10-22mm USM for geeking about with, and discovered that I could get about 8% more image in, corner to corner at 10mm. Literally the Canon was wider at 10mm than the Sigma... Also, slightly closer focusing meant the Canon - despite producing some fantastic straight lines at this extreme wide angle - could also produce more "odd", nearly fisheye effects when used in extreme close-ups. All in all, it gives more flexibility.

When I upgraded to a 7D I went back out and tried all of the super-wide-angles from Sigma (both 10-20mms), Tamron (10-24mm) and this from Canon in a friendly local shop and once again it came out tops for resolution and range: only the new upgraded Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 came very close. In the end I opted for the Canon, got a good deal and love it. Its resolution is not quite as high as the 17-55mm IS, 70-300mm DO IS or 24-105mm L, but it's perfectly acceptable as probably few people plan to crop the hell out of a wide-angle image. Depending on your shooting style, and where you shoot you might even find that the range gives you a useful walk around as 22mm roughly equates to a 35mm lens on a 35mm SLR.

Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)
Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)
Price: £730.00

320 of 326 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EOS 7D - Stunning, 20 Dec. 2009
In the last six years or so I've moved from a 300D to a 20D to a 5D, then back to a 40D in search of a balance between image detail, features and shooting speed. Image size was never really an issue as I'm not a pro, and the 50D just wasn't a big enough step over the 40D to make me upgrade a year ago. I love the 40D, it was the most "sorted" camera I'd ever used. So when the 7D came out I agonised over it and tested it a few times in shops - with mixed results since its version of RAW wasn't supported by Photoshop or DXO at the time. Then in a moment of madness I made the jump. And I'm VERY glad I did.

18 megapixels isn't where it's at for me with this camera and lots of tests have shown that it's still not quite got the resolving power of the full-frame 5DmkII - but then I've hardly taken a shot at more than medium image size or mRAW in the month I've owned it. What's really brilliant is the redesigned focusing and metering system, the unbelievable frame rate, the battery life (and a menu with information about the battery), the hi-res screen and real-world application of live-view tech that takes everyday photography to a completely new level (eg, held at arms length above your head). Also just how well balanced it feels in the hand and, I never thought I'd say this about a digital SLR: the movie mode. You might only use it once a month, and it sucks up a ridiculous amount of disk space but but it blows away handycams I've used for image quality.

There are a few minor downsides: for my liking JPGs are a bit soft, but I've ramped sharpness up in user settings and there is an "instant RAW" button that allows you to shoot an emergency duplicate RAW file without fiddling in the menus or having it on all the time with associated workflow problems. Also, in truth up to even large standard print sizes you'd be genuinely hard pressed to tell the difference between this and a good 40D image (or indeed a 20D image), but getting a good image is easier thanks to better metering and focus, and it's atarting to become more intuitive as I've got used to the camera. However if you use higher ISOs, pixel peep or crop images the difference in resolution becomes very noticable.

To sum up, the 7D is a genuine upgrade. Not just more megapixels, fancier menus and other augmented bits and pieces. It looks almost the same as a 40D/50D, and it still feels comfortably familiar as a consequence, but it is a new camera in almost all areas and a big leap forward for upgraders. Of course technology is no substitute for technique and there are many other DSLRs that will deliver stunning results at a fraction of the cost, new or second hand. But for die-hard amateurs like myself (or maybe canny pros) who have been on a Canon mid-range DSLR journey of discovery, this is the promised land.


Update 27 March 2010: Now been using the 7D for 5 months. I really like little electronic processing touches like auto lighting optimisation and lens-specific vignetting compensation that recognises my Canon lenses. Also, three custom dial settings let you store presets for certain situations - effectively replicating (with your own tweaks) some of the auto settings on the 40D. So I'm using C1 to dial in immediate shutter priority with AI Servo, centre-point focusing, partial metering, and full auto ISO for action shots. C2 is set up allowing me to achieve flash subject and background illumination in aperture priority mode by overriding the higher speed flash sync I've set as standard in custom functions. Finally I've set C3 to give me access to ISO expansion without fiddling with the menus. Speaking of ISO, since auto now goes up to 3200 with pretty good results I've been using manual and aperture priority more and more, letting the ISO do the work while I get DOF and shutter speed just right. Not one for 35mm purists obviously - but it proves the 7D's flexibility. Sadly, full resolution HD movies defeat my laptop and Adobe Premiere though they stream from the camera OK, but downsizing the resolution works fine (and uses less disc space). Still loving it!
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 16, 2010 8:00 PM GMT

Apple  In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic for iPhone
Apple In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic for iPhone

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great sound insulation and balance - bad for sports, 20 Sept. 2009
These Apple phones take a little bedding in, but are fantastic when you get used to them. They need to sit comfortably WELL inside your ear, otherwise they are tinny and trebly - and I found that the large buds were worse than the little buds. Although there doesn't seem much bass at the beginning, after a while you notice that it's just well balanced rather than boomy and going back to the old Apple phones - even the better 770 mic'd ones - sounds a bit raw. Sound insulation is great - too good if you're running (can't hear cars and bikes) or if you're expecting a phone call. The other issue with sport usage is the amount of sound generated from the cables, or even just your breathing thanks to the in-ear design - so I've kept my older iPod phones for that. Jury was out on this or a set of Sennheiser MM50s, but the conveninece of forward/back/pause as well as volume on these was the clincher. Took about a week to get used to, but never going back (unless I'm running/cycling).

Canon EF - Telephoto zoom lens - 70 mm - 300 mm - f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM - Canon EF
Canon EF - Telephoto zoom lens - 70 mm - 300 mm - f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM - Canon EF
Price: £1,091.97

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Canon 70-300mm DO IS - Compact, hi-res, fast focus..., 20 Sept. 2009
In the world of Canon zooms, the 70-300mm DO IS must be the most underrated and unloved of the lot. It's an expensive lens new, £1000+ and yet I've seen it go for £350 in auction - which is the equivalent of getting an Audi TT Quattro for Mini Cooper money. I've owned the 70-300mm IS standard optics, the 55-250mm IS (bought as part of a kit and sold on) and a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8, at various times and I can honestly say that this beats all of them for image quality at all focal lengths (though the others are no slouches and undoubtedly offer better raw IQ/VFM). But crucially, it autofocuses faster than any of them, even the f/2.8. With manual override USM it edges close to the AF speed of an L-level lens despite its slower f-range, and its image quality is almost there too if speed isn't an issue, according to most professional tests.

All of this is contained in a package that is shorter at 70mm than almost any other quality zoom I've used and not too obvious even when it's zoomed (unless you use the lens hood). And it's black, so despite being pro-spec, L-range expensive, it's almost completely anonymous - unless a potential thief is in the know and spots the green ring. Its considerable girth is something to be reckoned with and it's also heavier than it looks due to solid construction: so it's really out of proportion on one of the smaller Canon bodies to my mind, but for a 40D upwards it's fine. IQ tails off a little from the mid 200s unless you stop down to f8+, but it's pretty wow between 70-200mm. It's not for everyone, but if you're looking for understated high performance, then the high price (or a bargain quest) is well worth it. As it works equally well on full frame and crop it's probably the one lens of all my current Canon-compatible collection that I would never even consider changing. If, once in a blue moon I needed full f/2.8 "L" speed, I would hire it. This can be used every day, in every situation: ultimately that will be the measure of value for money.

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens
Price: £502.00

32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Canon 17-55mm - Great resolution, shame about the dust..., 20 Sept. 2009
Having owned a variety of good mid-to-high end lenses I can confidently say this is the best standard zoom for crop frame Canons, bar none - especially on the 7D. With my original 20D I used a 17-85mm IS, which was good but pretty slow and suffered from super-bendy images at the wide end. When I moved to a 5D (Mk 1) I switched to the 24-105mm L IS and absolutely loved it, combining reasonable speed and a fantastic focal length range (not too far off the flexibility of the 17-85mm on crop frame).

I moved back from a 5D to a 40D because I needed frame rate and flexibility more than resolution (have subsequently upgraded to a 7D for both) and while I used the 24-105mm for about six months with the 40D I found the limited wide end too narrow for my carry-around purposes. Even when I got a 10-22mm EFS I found myself having to change lenses constantly as it crossed over in a very awkward zone. The long-end was useful, but also clashed with my 70-300mm DO IS, which was the L's easy equal in terms of resolution and image quality - and I found that when I needed to go to 105mm, quite often I needed more: so more lens changing ensued. In the end, bought a bargain second-hand 17-55mm f/2.8 IS and within a few weeks sold the 24-105mm. 17-55mm covers a really useful standard range for a 1.6 crop Canon, and provides massive flexibility in situations most other lenses would struggle in: f/2.8 and IS makes for unbelievable low-light capacity - even where you need to keep shutter speed moderately high. Image quality isn't amazing (but it's acceptable) at f/2.8 but stopped down to f/4 or especially f/5.6 it's definitely in the resolution range of the L.

To my mind images have a neutral colour feel to them - the L seemed to give slight "warm" tinge to images which was pleasing, but it's not a show stopper. Although the wide end suffers some barrel distortion it's no-where near the extremes of 17mm on the 17-85mm IS and is certainly usable in most cases. I find myself only reaching for the 10-22mm now when I know I need absolutely straight lines or greater reach. Again images are on a par, resolution-wise on my 7D, with the 70-300mm DO IS, and they exceed the 10-22mm stopped down - and that is a very good lens.

My main criticism is dust. It doesn't seem to affect image quality even on the 7D (or if it does one could only imagine what it would be like clean), but the front element is getting like the Sahara right now. When I got it second hand, I had it serviced and cleaned but within 18 months there is a film of dust building up again. If I was doing a lot more work outdoors or in dusty environments I would seriously consider whether a weather-sealed L would be a better option - but Canon doesn't do one in this range!

I haven't tried the new 15-85mm, and by all account it's a good lens - but if you don't need the range, perhaps because you've already invested in the upper or lower end with other lenses, this is the baby to have if you want real tailored performance and resolution on a 7D/50D/40D (might be a bit large on the 500-550D). I'd probably buy new though and try to get a service/cleanup under warranty if the dust issue affects you within the first year: unless you get a real bargain and there are a few about.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 14, 2013 8:54 AM GMT

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