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Mr. T. A. Maurice "Film Addict" (Essex,England)

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Olympus OM-D EM-5 Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Camera - Black (Body Only) 
Olympus OM-D EM-5 Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Camera - Black (Body Only) 
Price: £534.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Rewards perseverance in setting up., 12 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Although advertised as 'New', the box containing the camera, and it's accessories, was unsealed.

A phone call to Amazon resulted in an immediate apology, and a satisfactory resolution to the situation.

The camera's firmware was Version 1.2 dating from July 2012.
Having downloaded the Olympus Digital Camera Updater, updating the firmware to the current version 2.0 was easy and straight forward.

Then the battle began.

The camera is correctly described as being highly configurable.
The downside is that the menu system is the most lengthy, convoluted, and user unfriendly I have experienced in all my years of using digital cameras.

Why, for heavens sake, is the SCP (Super Control Panel), which makes life so much easier to alter parameters, switched off by default?

One has to steadily work one's way through so many menus, and sub-menus, that setting up the camera is not for the easily daunted.

In fact, having missed a couple of settings, I was convinced that I had a faulty camera since certain features were inoperative.

Several resets, and attempts later, the camera was set up to my satisfaction.

After such a steep learning curve, it would have been a severe disappointment if results from the camera had been anything less than stellar.
Suffice to say that, in conjunction with my Panasonic Lumix 14-45mm lens, the OM-D EM5 produces JPEG images that are very impressive even in low light situations.

The camera with it's 5-way image stabilisation, and high ISO capability, make hand holding a slow lens in low light no bar to producing excellent image quality.

Apart from the poorly placed on/off switch, I have found the various buttons and dials easy to operate, and the overall handling of the camera, even with my large hands, is fine.

Handling should be even better with the HLD-6 Grip which is available free with the Olympus promotion which runs until the 31/08/2014.

The Grip has a retail price of approximately £200, which makes the package with the OM-D EM-5 an extremely attractive one.

To anyone contemplating buying an OM-D EM-5, I would say don't let a less than user friendly set-up procedure deter you from acquiring a tough, weather sealed, well built camera that is ultimately configurable to produce excellent results to your personal satisfaction.

Canton DM 9 Flat Wall Mounted TV Soundbar - Black
Canton DM 9 Flat Wall Mounted TV Soundbar - Black
Price: £410.84

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Sound Quality In A Slim Package., 21 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was initially attracted to the Canton DM 50 Soundbase, but having read on several user reports of unreliability, I decided to opt for the DM 9 Soundbar.

The DM 9 has a 2 year warranty.

On unpacking, the DM 9 impresses with it's appearance, and build quality.

There are no HDMI inputs/outputs on the Soundbar.

Connection to a TV is by an Optical Cable which is provided with the unit.

It should be noted that the power cable is terminated in a 2 pin European plug.

The remote control is a very solidly built device.
However, it should be noted that the remote's power is supplied by a not so readily available CR 2032 lithium battery.
There are no physical controls on the DM 9 so a functioning remote is of the utmost importance.

On switch on, settings are viewed on a blue lit led display visible through the front metal grille.

We are then presented with my major complaint about the DM 9.
The volume control is scaled 1-99, but as with the DM 50, Canton has, for some unknown reason, designed the control so that any setting under 50 produces minimal sound output.
In fact, to produce a reasonable volume in my, fairly large, room a setting of 70 is a minimum requirement.

Canton recommend a breaking in period of 15-20 hours to obtain maximum sound quality.
However, from the outset the sound has a rich tonal quality, and a 'see through' clarity which is impressive.
Particularly noticeable is the quality of vocals-both spoken, and sung.
In film sound tracks, the DM 9 renders small background details with great clarity.

There are only two Sound Options available on the DM 9- 'Stereo' and 'Surround' but, to my ears, the difference between the two is very subtle.
Given the length of the Soundbar, stereo spread is very restricted.

Bass and Treble are adjustable between +6db to -6db.

On the DM 9, one can adjust Lip Sync in 10ms steps.
I encountered no problems with the 'out of the box' setting.

I have yet to try the Blue Tooth facility.

To sum up.

The DM 9 is expensive, but it exudes quality in it's appearance and build.

The sound it produces has a solidity, and clarity that impresses as does it's ability to render very fine details.
In a soundtrack, vocals are clearly defined, and are not swamped by loud background noises.

Downsides are a weirdly designed volume control, and a restricted stereo spread of sound.

For me, the quality of sound, even within the recommended ' break in' period, overrides any shortcomings.

JVC GC-PX100EU Camcorder-1080 pixels
JVC GC-PX100EU Camcorder-1080 pixels
Price: £737.90

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An underated Camcorder., 28 Jan 2014
Why purchase the JVC GC-PX100EU rather than the more widely publicised Canon, Panasonic, and Sony models?

I thought long, and hard, especially having read adverse reports of the Camcorder suffering from Chromatic Aberration, before deciding to buy the JVC.

My reasons for purchase were the overall design of the camera, it's light weight, the thoughtful design touches such as the shade for the LCD screen, and the control knob for changing functions, and the excellent video quality exhibited by clips on YouTube.

I have only had the camcorder for a short period of time.

Early thoughts are that the resolution, and sensitivity to touch, of the LCD screen could be much better than they are, especially bearing in mind the price of the camcorder.
However, as I prefer to use the Electronic Viewfinder, which is supplied a standard accessory, the deficiencies in the LCD screen do nor overly concern me.

It may be the case that the camcorders exhibiting Chromatic Aberration were from an early production run, or were individually faulty.
My unit was manufactured in November 2013, and try as I might to produce CA I have so far been unsuccessful.

The test video, MP4 1080p, I have shot so far has been very impressive.

I have yet to investigate the three options available for Image Stabilisation , but the one I have used so far has left me wondering as to it's complete effectiveness.

Given my caveats-why five stars?

Because the camcorder is a delight to use, and the results I have seen so far have impressed me.

Heute Nacht Oder Nie: Live in Berlin (2DVDs+1CD) [2010]
Heute Nacht Oder Nie: Live in Berlin (2DVDs+1CD) [2010]
Dvd ~ Max Raabe
Price: £17.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Sophisticated, Musical Performances., 21 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Purely by chance I came across Max Raabe, and Das Palastorchester, performing 'Singing In The Rain', and was immediately 'hooked'.

So, to 'Heute Nacht Oder Nie'.

One might ask how can one enjoy a programme composed primarily of songs in a language one neither speaks, nor understands.
The answer is that one is captured, and delighted, by a singer with an excellent high baritone/falsetto voice accompanied by an orchestra that is comprised of extremely talented, multi instrumental, musicians.
Added to which are arrangements that are sensitive to the original compositions, and performances that evoke the era of the 1920s, and early 1930s.

Max Raabe strikes an elegant figure in his white tie and tails, and in introducing songs displays on occasions a cheeky sense of humour either verbally, or with a facial expression.

The musicians display an open delight in playing the music which again adds to the enjoyment of the audience, and the viewer.

The quality of the video, and audio, is excellent.

In fact the Cinematographer was Michael Ballhaus who has been nominated for an Oscar three times.

This DVD set, notwithstanding the absence of subtitles, is highly recommended.

Young Montalbano [DVD]
Young Montalbano [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michele Riondino
Price: £16.23

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A series with it's own special charm., 8 Oct 2013
This review is from: Young Montalbano [DVD] (DVD)
At first I had difficulty in adjusting to there being only an 8 year gap between this series being set in 1990, and the first episode of ' Inspector Montalbano' being set in 1998, and the vastly different appearances of the lead actors in their respective roles.

Having made that adjustment, I quickly became absorbed in the complex storylines, and the filling in of the central characters lives, notably the relationship between Salvo, and Livia ( charmingly portrayed by Michele Riondino and Sarah Felberbaum)

Comment has been made that the young Mimi comes across as sleazy, no doubt due to the nature of his initial introduction to the viewer, but I think he can be forgiven given the 'passing scene'.
Mimi is quickly revealed as being far more than a womaniser, and the interaction between him, and Salvo, contains some very amusing moments.

As for the young Caterella,the actor Fabrizio Pizzuto seems ill suited to the role, but then Angelo Russo who plays the character in ' Inspector Montalbano' was always going to be a tough act to follow.

So, in essence, with 'The Young Montalbano' we have an attractive main cast, absorbing complex plots, and the Sicilian scenery.

Whats not to like?

Panasonic TX-L32E6B 32-inch Full HD 1080p Smart LED TV with Built in Wi-Fi and Freeview HD  (discontinued by manufacturer)
Panasonic TX-L32E6B 32-inch Full HD 1080p Smart LED TV with Built in Wi-Fi and Freeview HD (discontinued by manufacturer)

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Gem., 2 Oct 2013
Panasonic has really done us proud with their E6 range.

Firstly, despite, unlike the remainder of the E6 range which use an MVA Panel, incorporating an IPS Panel, the TV's black levels are excellent.

Secondly, despite being an LED edge lit panel, backlight uniformity is excellent.

Despite the E6 range being quite low ranking in the Panasonic TV hierarchy, the out of the box 'Cinema', and 'True Cinema' settings produce impressive picture quality.
Additionally, the 'True Cinema', and 'Custom' settings activate an 'Advanced' option which provides a further suite of picture setting options enabling a professional ISF calibration.

Also one can either apply the TV settings to all the AV inputs, or calibrate each one individually.

Sound quality is OK given the slimness of the TV, but I have personally combined the TV with Panasonic's SC-HTB65 Soundbar which is an excellent value for money product.

The TX-L32E6B TV is a surprisingly sophisticated TV which provides excellent picture quality at a very reasonable purchase price.
Highly recommended.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 22, 2014 12:11 PM GMT

Panasonic SC-HTB65EB-S 90W Soundbar - Silver
Panasonic SC-HTB65EB-S 90W Soundbar - Silver
Offered by PANDY
Price: £99.37

67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A simple,inexpensive, but good sounding Soundbar., 2 Oct 2013
I bought this Soundbar to accompany a Panasonic TX-L32E6B 32 inch TV.

It should be noted that the Soundbar is just over 37 inches in length.
It's height is such that it does not intrude into the Panasonic TV's screen when the TV is mounted on it's pedestal stand.

Connection between the TV, and the Soundbar, is by a Digital Audio Cable which is not supplied.

At one end of the Soundbar are push buttons controlling On/Off, Volume, and Input Selection.
Along the top of the Soundbar are various indicated options each with it's own LED confirmation.

The Soundbar's remote control is initially required to set up one's choice of Sound, and to adjust Dialogue, and Subwoofer output, but subsequently will only be required to operate the Soundbar if one wishes to make an alteration.

As for sound quality?
It should be borne in mind that the soundbar is small in length,contains small speaker units in both size, and number, in a simple array, and therefore it is unrealistic to expect a wide stereo spread let alone a fully immersive surround sound experience.
What one does get is an immersive, surprisingly rich, sound with more than a hint of bass response from the inbuilt subwoofer.

I have not experienced any lip sync problems with either TV broadcasts, or equipment connected to the TV's AV inputs.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 22, 2013 12:02 AM GMT

Top of the Lake [DVD]
Top of the Lake [DVD]
Dvd ~ Elisabeth Moss
Price: £7.50

8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Grossly Overrated., 19 Aug 2013
This review is from: Top of the Lake [DVD] (DVD)
I am a great fan of Scandinavian films, and actors/actresses in general, and the 'Nordic Noir' films, and TV series in particular.

So, with it's overwhelmingly ecstatic reviews from Press Critics, and it's eight 'Emmy' nominations, I had high hopes for this series.

What a disappointment it turned out to be.

It is difficult to quote specific examples because of the risk of spoiling the series for anyone who has yet to watch it.

But, in general terms, for me, the tendency for Jane Campion, as both Director, and joint Script Writer, to veer off on tangents that bear little or no relationship to storyline progression, or generation of atmosphere, struck me as being either purely self indulgent, or a way of filling a six hour runtime.

Additionally, she appears to forget, or doesn't care, that certain events make a nonsense of prior, or subsequent, ones.
This is particularly true of the finale, which, in itself,apart from one shocking scene, was, for me, somewhat risible.

Then there are events that are, to say the least, lacking in realism/credibility.

Also, what does become quickly tiresome, is Jane Campion's overall polemic that women are generally the victims of brutish, evil, men.

So all in all, a real disappointment.

For a tautly scripted, and directed, complex series watch 'The Killing- Series 3'.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 23, 2013 3:33 PM BST

David Starkey's Music and Monarchy [DVD]
David Starkey's Music and Monarchy [DVD]
Price: £16.00

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Superb., 13 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A superb combination of David Starkey's erudite presentation of the history of the Monarchy's influence, for good, and ill, on the nation's music from the late 15th century, accompanied by glorious performances.

The Special Features on the DVD include full, and extended, musical performances.
The selection is:
1. 'Why Fum'th in Fight' Thomas Tallis.
2. 'Nay Let Me Weepe' Orlando Gibbons.
3. 'My Heart is Inditing' Henry Purcell
4. 'Zadok the Priest' George Frideric Handel
5. 'Hallelujah Chorus' George Frideric Handel
6. 'Al lampo dell'armi'
(from 'Guilio Cesare' ) George Frideric Handel
7. 'Beati Quorum Via' Charles Villiers Stanford.
8. 'Jerusalem' Hubert Parry.

All involved in the production of this series are to be congratulated.
Perhaps a special thank you to the Sound Engineer for splendidly recording the glorious performances.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 13, 2013 5:53 PM BST

OPPO Find 5 Find5 X909 Quad-core 1.5GHz 13MP 16GB 2GB 5.0" IPS 1080P 1920*1080
OPPO Find 5 Find5 X909 Quad-core 1.5GHz 13MP 16GB 2GB 5.0" IPS 1080P 1920*1080

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 'International' Oppo Find 5., 17 July 2013
I ordered the Find 5 from on the evening of the 15 July, and, via the free Royal Mail delivery, received it early afternoon of the 17 July.
The cost of the 32GB version is 429 Euro which worked out at roughly £371.
One thing to be aware of when checking out is the default option of PayPal to convert the charge to £s using a poor rate of exchange.
Opting to be charged in Euros saved me £14 on the conversion.

Oppostyle has a special promotion, running to the 31 July, of a free Easycover, and Screen protector, worth 32 Euros.

Ordering from Oppostyle has the advantage that the phone has a 2 year warranty.

The packaging of the phone creates an air of high quality.
Although the in the box power adapter is American 2 pin, an European 2 pin adapter is also supplied.
The supplied, very brief, documentation is in English, as is the phone's set up language.

The build quality of the phone is impressive, and, despite it's size, feels very comfortable in the hand.
It is only when handling the phone that one really appreciates how thin, but solid, it is.

I will add to this review once I have had an opportunity to get to grips with the phone.

Update: 20July 2013.

Set up of the Find 5 was straight forward.

There was a very swift prompt that updates to various Google Apps were available, and download, and installation was very fast.

After about 25-30 minutes of continuous use, the phone became rather hot.
I contacted Oppostyle Customer Support, who replied, within 24 hours, advising that this was normal, and that the phone incorporated a thermal cut-out to protect the internal components.

The display is impressive to view.
However, I have found that the screen does not always respond to first touch on trying to activate an App.
However, scrolling is fast, and smooth.

Given the comment in the other review about the phone defaulting to Chinese after a 'Factory Reset', as an experiment, I did a Factory Reset, and found that the 'International' version defaults to English.

I have found that the GUI on the Find 5 is very clearly laid out, and is a pleasure to use.

For me, Oppo is to be congratulated on producing an excellent phone with the Find 5.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 15, 2014 1:57 PM BST

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