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Chris Hoare "Chris" (UK)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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Hoya 67mm Pro-1 Digital Circular Polarizing Filter
Hoya 67mm Pro-1 Digital Circular Polarizing Filter
Offered by CameraKing - UK Registered Company. VAT receipt included
Price: £32.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Over the summer months my lenses pretty much constantly have CP filters attached to them, 16 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Over the summer months my lenses pretty much constantly have CP filters attached to them. CP filters reduce some glare and reflection; and help to make the sky look darker - so unless you are in the studio they are a great filter to have on your body - though they do also darken the image slightly so they aren't necessarily the best things to use at night.

I bought the Hoya 67mm Pro CP filter to go on my 35mm F2 IS USM I could have stepped this up to the 82mm filter I generally use on my L lenses but felt that for the price it wasn't worth the hassle. Out of the box the filter was filthy and I had to invest some time cleaning it up; but once that was done and it was attached to the lens the first thing to notice is the smooth twisting movement of the elements. The polarizing effect works as I would expect; and as well as the far more expensive filter i use on my other lenses. In 1080p video mode on my camera the filter didn't cause any moire pattern issues which is sometimes a concern.


Duracell Ultra MN2500 Alkaline AAAA Batteries - Pack of 2
Duracell Ultra MN2500 Alkaline AAAA Batteries - Pack of 2
Price: £3.28

5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to get; should have come to amazon first., 16 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
AAAA came as a surprise when my Microsoft Surface Pen ran out of battery life. Despite never hearing of a AAAA battery I foolishly looked for them in boots and Sainsbury's before coming home to amazon and getting them the next day. Infuriatingly they are an add on item so you need to spend 20 pounds to get them shipped to you.

The battery itself replaced the one in my pen and is working fine 3 weeks later. The pack I received had a 3 year life before they were going to have issues.


Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Lens
Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Lens
Price: £379.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Wide-ish Stabilized Sharp lens for video and photography, 16 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I most take landscape and cityscape photos; and lightroom shows my goto lens is the 16-35mm f2.8l 2. I spent an age deciding between 3 35mm's wanting something a little sharper at times than the L zoom. I ended up getting a 35mm F2 IS USM (as well as an 8-15mm fisheye - i have a problem.) The Prime 35mm F2 side by side with the 2.8L is noticeably sharper especially at lower apertures and has less vignetting. Canon is as sharp as I would want it to be and the color is mostly excellent I bought the F2 over the 1.4 as I wanted the IS - there are times when I am out shooting landscapes or cities that I want to be able to shoot video and the IS that this lens offers is a big benefit for anyone shooting SLR video.

This was my second non L lenses and they are for the types of photography i don't normally do - a 50mm f1.4 for the odd portrait and street photography day and now this. The 35mm f2 is considerably larger than the 50mm but the build quality manages to feel inferior. This is mostly because the focus ring just doesn't feel as good as those on the other lenses I use - and in low light (and as a 6d user) manual focus is often when I'm fiddling with.

Its not the most expensive lens and it does take lovely sharp images with rich color and little distortion. If you are using it in the city (on an APS a 35mm multiples is roughly a 50mm which is a great focal length in the city. Its light to carry around - i think that is my favorite feature of these mid tier canon lenses - they are SO much lighter to carry than the L lenses. The aperture ranges is f2-22 so you can get bright images in low light or sparkly highlights on lights with your tripod. Through the aperture range the image quality is much more consistent than the zoom i normally use The IS does a great job in video in keeping movement in check.

Its only a 4* product because whilst the lens is great; I do think that the build is a little cheap feeling in places - this doesn't effect the image just you can feel the difference. I do think that canon should make more efforts on weather proofing - even if its just the gasket to increase the protection to your body on these mid tier lenses - which will help them stand up against the clearly superior sigma f1.4 35mm - which didn't have IS and that is the reason I bought the canon body.
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Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM Lens
Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM Lens
Price: £899.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Fisheye, 16 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The canon 8-15mm is a great alternative to the old 15mm fisheye. Its built like a tank L series lens. For me one of the biggest benefits of the L lens is the weather protection. When I had an APS-C 7d I oftentimes used the excellent sigma 4.5mm which is a circular fisheye for taking some amazing architecture shots; and the 8.5mm for those times i want to get really close to a subject. The 8-15mm lets me do both in one; I can take a 360 view from the front of the lens at 8mm; and then get wider than the 16mm can at 15mm. The lens vignettes between 15 and 8mm on full frame slowly. The difference between 15 and 16mm is noticeable; though as its fisheye so is the distortion on horizons and verticals; though lightroom has a lens correction that converts the fisheye to rectilinear - though you get a fair bit of distortion in the final image. at 15 and 8mm the image is sharp in the centre from f4 and upwards - given how wide it is you don't really need a wider aperture. I have put an image at 15 and 8 against this review; you can see these and a few others on my flickr (from my profile page.)

The big letdown on the lens is the two piece lens hood / lens cover. This is just flimsy and on more than one occasion has left the precious front element to run against the case inside my bag. This is an L of a let down for me and makes me think twice before putting it into my day bag.

For extreme sports people this is a great lens; for science the circular fisheye is great for taking sky coverage images. For everyone else its maybe a bit of creative fun - but when that 16mm isn't quite wide enough it lets you take a step back and capture some amazing images.
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AmazonBasics Apple Certified Lightning to USB Cable - 0.9 m (3 ft) - Black
AmazonBasics Apple Certified Lightning to USB Cable - 0.9 m (3 ft) - Black
Price: £5.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Build; Practical length, 16 Sept. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I remember when I bought my lightning equipped iPhone 5 (i think) and the very next thing i did was order 6 extra cables to make sure there was always one where I was going to be. These cables last ok; but a couple made their way back to amazon for replacement when the casing on the connectors failed. I think they failed as they were made from separate sections of plastic

Connectivity wise; the cable was able to charge and transfer data to my iPhones and iPads with no issue. To really test this lucky cable I took it with me on a test of endurance; 16 flights to 5 countries over 12 days. In that time It was plugged into power banks, hotel tv's, laptops, tablets, cars, trains and planes all over the place. The 0.9m cable itself is a great length for your desk, car as it is just enough to get away or around a laptop. Its not so great if you are using random hotel or aircraft equipment to charge your phone. The plastic covers of the cable have all held up to much travel and abuse.

The older cables did a great job; and amazon's support where i had issues was outstanding. the new cables look and feel classier and the price is still very good.


Sony KD-49X8305C Smart 4K UltraHD 49 inch TV (Android TV, 4K Processor X1, 4K X-Reality Pro) - Black, 2015 Model
Sony KD-49X8305C Smart 4K UltraHD 49 inch TV (Android TV, 4K Processor X1, 4K X-Reality Pro) - Black, 2015 Model
Price: £699.00

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice TV; nasty Android TV, 29 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
So Sony TVs still come with impenetrable naming conventions; KD49X8305CBU. In the range its towards the bottom of the 4k line; but the price reductions have mostly come by not supplying extras like the one flick voice control remote control and 3d glasses; both of which you can buy separately. The Remote is quite expensive; but you can use a sony app - TV Sideview on your phone that seems to do most of its features.

Taking it from the box is likely a two person job the KD49X8305CBU isn’t heavy; coming in around 10kg but it is BIG. In the box is a ribbon shaped stand; which is easy to attach; and as you would expect the back of the TV has VESA mounting sockets so you can mount the tv to the wall.

Also on the back are frankly the largest amount of connectors on a TV i have ever seen; 4 HDMI 2 Composite, an RF for over the air, 2 satellite screw in sockets, ethernet (there is also wifi 2.2 and 5ghz), optical out for audio, 3 usb socket, and unbelievably in 2015 a scart socket. The HDMI sockets are all side facing which lets you mount things closer to the wall. The ethernet and audio sockets are straight in though.

I would set it up before mounting it to a wall so you can get the cabling right. Once you turn it on you are walked through a setup wizard that works out how you are getting your over the air or satellite channels as well as linking to your google account so you can use the android tv interface.

You can tell the screen is high resolution even when its not on; as the tiny pixels cause a rainbow like you see on a dvd on the screen when its no powered on. One it is powered on the picture quality was a pleasant surprise; my Panasonic LCD tv was outstanding 3 years ago when i bought it, but is surpassed by the Sony. Blacks are very much darker; though this TV doesn’t have the local dimming so they can be a bit uneven. The color is great and the brightness works well to combat the reflectivity of the screen; though faced with light there are definitely reflections visible in the picture.

Used to making excuses for the sound from flatscreen TV’s for general TV watching the sound is excellent; the gravelly voice of DR House sounds just fine. If you want to get your netflix in surround sound the digital out will connect to an AV amp or sound bar to make it better - but its likely a tv you won’t need to use one with - i haven’t gone above volume 25 which is more than loud enough.

Fed a BluRay be it “mastered for 4k” or not the KD49X8305CBU does a great job upscaling it to 4k with the picture looking solid all the time. Using a reasonable media source like Netflix super hd or saved hd movies on apple tv the quality is also very good. Even Amazon TV’s streaming looks more than acceptable. As soon as you fall past an HD quality source the KD49X8305CBU struggles to upscale lower definition pictures - there likely isn’t enough detail and you get a bit of blockiness and a lot of false film grain.

There is no high bit rate media based 4k video at the moment; so its not really possible to push the TV to its limits yet. Streaming from youtube, amazon tv and Netflix. The picture quality from the streaming 4k range from as good as bluray for the amazon service to great on Netflix and bizarrely to awesome on some youtube videos.

The Smart TV features are supplied by android tv 5; and as I write the interview that is its achilles heal. I have spent a month struggling with an interface that stutters and bafflingly for me puts apps below randomly recommended content ( you can choose the apps but it doesn’t work with netflix or amazon tv so I get a random selection of content from youtube - rather than my subscriptions or recommendations.) Considering its from Google Android TV 5 has an atrocious youtube app it works but doesn’t update content in a timely manner. The TV had bbc, netflix and amazon tv installed when it arrived but you can download apps from the android app store - this includes games which you can play by linking a playstation controlled to the tv. . It’s easier to control via the Sideview App; which is free on phone / tablet app stores which allows you to use voice search - but the interface is no way near as good as the fire tv. Having been down on it there are some great features like photo share plus that let a group of people upload photos for viewing; and download ones they want to their own phones.

I have had 3 previous smart tv’s, one each from LG and Panasonic and now the KD49X8305CBU. None of these tv’s were ever updated so the interface was stuck and I ended up happily using a Fire and Apple TV. Sadly neither of those are 4k capable so Im hoping that running Android TV means it will get updated and developers will add apps to the store. Till media catches up with 4k you are left with streaming to get the most out of this TV; which requires; for the UK at least, a great internet connection needing at least 20mb/s for netflix 4k which most adsl won’t achieve. Till then you are left watching upscaled HD content which looks excellent on the screen.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 31, 2015 9:39 PM BST


Philips M2BTBK Fidelio Wireless Bluetooth Headphone - Black
Philips M2BTBK Fidelio Wireless Bluetooth Headphone - Black
Price: £199.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Who needs wires, 16 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Philips have upped their game with the Fidelio M2. Opening the box its clear they have invested money in their packaging which looks excellent, and something they should do for their personal products too. In the box they supply a small quick start manual, a micro usb cable (marked charge only), an emergency 3.5mm cable should the built in battery run out and a carrying pouch. Charging the headphones seems to be done in about an hour; and once charged I have been regularly achieved 8 to 10 hours of music and phone calls with it. The iPhone also showed the battery life of headphones on the screen when connected which I hadn't seen before and is a great feature for staying on top of the battery life of the headphones.

Connecting the headphones to my iPhone was a question of powering them on; by pressing and holding the big button on the back of the right ear. Then in the phone choosing bluetooth and pairing them. After that powering the headphones on they mostly always auto-paired back to my phone. Once it was connected to my phone; there was an obvious test to make and sadly phone calls don't work especially well. Everyone I spoke to on the headphones agreed that the built in mics on the iPhone 6 was better - and in a city centre I was deemed too quiet. Using the headphones with my iPhone 6 revealed one significant issue with my iPhone - i listen to music to drown out the sounds of the office whilst working - but regularly need to walk away from my desk leaving my headphones behind - often going far less than the 15m of so that philips say is the range. Coming back I would regularly start music for it to come out of the speaker on my phone. One day apple will support nfc and reconnecting will stop being power down headphones; power up headphones which feels silly.

My personal preference in sound quality is neutral and letting the sound that was recorded shine through. I have been alternating between B&W P5's and these headphones corded brother the Fidelio X2. I rate both of these highly and love their flat sound; though the X2's feel more energetic and engaged when listening.

Queing up the M2 bluetooth I was able to stream aac files from my iPhone (and laptop.) If you have an allergy to apple and access to a device that is compatible the M2's can play the high quality aptx and lesser sbc. On my first listen I was happy to find philips have resisted temptation to dial the bass up to 11; you can do that with the EQ in your phone if you must. I love the ethereal sounds of airs Alone in Kyoto which builds up layers as it goes; and where having a flat response really helps. On the M2's the detail is still there; even with the jump to wireless; the easy blending on mid to high tones is also excellent. The soundstage feels wide and in a quiet place they are a great listen. Plugging the cable in does make them sound even better though; so maybe its not just for emergencies. One thing that did frustrate me was that these headphones were a little too loud and didn't allow for a fine control over the volume that I have been used to with cabled headphones; sometimes I just need a little music to act as a barrier and that wasn't possible.

The build quality is excellent as you should expect from headphones at this price; the headphone cups are soft and with the band resist squeezing your head. They have a closed back design so not much sound leaks out; and having used them in the office for weeks to much gets in either. The headphones have a rocket switch that changes the volume; and pressing it using combinations changes track. The remains of the back of the right cup is a start / pause play tap button or hold it to power the headphones on and off - something because of the connection issues I had to do far more than I liked. These headphones are also quietly conservative; mat black rather than gloss plastic. It is a shame that the headphone pouch offers nothing more than scratch protection to the headphones though.

Amid the connection issues there was one big win - walking to work with corded headphones there were times I pulled the cord from my phone; or catch the cord on something - both of which were likely doing damage to the headphones or the phone itself. Cordless is definitely better in that respect; and the sound quality wasn't as diminished as i feared - and there was no hiss that i have heard on other BT headphones. I adopted a workflow to use the headphones which alleviated the connection issues - and hopefully apple will add nfc support and they will go away completely. ; That the sound quality lives up to the Fidelio brand save it back to 4*s.


iGADGET® Top rated #1 Heavy Duty Reuseable Hook and Loop Velcro Strap, Hooks and Loops Velcro Tape, Velcro Cable Ties with ideal length to use as Double sided Electrical tape for wire cable tidy 20mm x 180mm - 10 Pack Black
iGADGET® Top rated #1 Heavy Duty Reuseable Hook and Loop Velcro Strap, Hooks and Loops Velcro Tape, Velcro Cable Ties with ideal length to use as Double sided Electrical tape for wire cable tidy 20mm x 180mm - 10 Pack Black
Offered by iGADGET
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Its so bad i tend to use a small bag to keep ..., 13 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I travel a fair bit for work and my bag has more than the usual jumble of cables in it. Its so bad i tend to use a small bag to keep them in. I have been wrapping them up in themselves for a while which works well. The iGadget cable ties are quicker to use than tying a cable to itself; they are also really useful if you need to use the cable but don't need all its length ( this is especially handy in a hotel room and on a plane.)

The cable ties are made from what seems to be super tough velcro. They are about 2cm wide which is plenty; The length is a good compromise; its either too long for smaller cables or not quite long enough to wrap around things like a power brick. For the short cables it just means you need to wrap it more - and being velcro I just used two ties for my power bricks.

Use once plastic cable ties are great for semi to fully permanent cabling; these velcro ties are great for things you use more often. There are 10 in the pack; even my overloaded bag only needed me to use 6 of them which left a handful of spares for. They are good value even if only to keep your phone cable untangled in your bag.


DSLRKIT Pro Lens Vise Tool Repair Filter Ring Ajustment Steel 27mm to 130mm
DSLRKIT Pro Lens Vise Tool Repair Filter Ring Ajustment Steel 27mm to 130mm
Offered by DSLRKIT
Price: £21.90

5.0 out of 5 stars DIY Thread repair, 13 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I dropped my Canon 24-70 f2.8L; onto lovely soft concrete and despite the lens being built like a tank it dented the metal filter thread. I could just get a lens cap on it; but filters were out of the question. After getting an interesting quote from Canon to repair the lens i did some research on alternative ways to fix it. That led me to this lens rise; it took about 10 days to arrive; but once I had it it took about 6 minutes to fix my lens back to the point I could spin a filter into it. the vise made from steel; the handle and thread are solid and you have good control over the expansion. The vise has two thread grips that protrude out; a smaller one on the inside tract and a wider one on the otherside. A 180 degree turn of the handle opens the vice about 1mm.

Using the vice; I cut a piece of cardboard to protect the lens itself; and then opened the vice to the width of my lens. Span the handle down to grip the lens; and then carefully span the handle to open the vise. You have to open and close the vise and spin it around the dented area. The filter doesn't screw on as filter as before but I have erred on the side of caution for now.

The cost of the vise was less than 10% of the repair cost I was quoted so it more than paid for itself. 5*


Philips S9041/12 9000 Series Wet and Dry Shaver with SmartClick Precision Trimmer
Philips S9041/12 9000 Series Wet and Dry Shaver with SmartClick Precision Trimmer
Price: £189.95

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good electric razor, 5 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As you take the S9041 from the box there are 3 parts for the razor itself; the handle, the shaving head and a beard trimmer. You also get a manual; a charging cable. The handle feels exceptionally well made and fits the hand beautifully; it powers different heads using the philips click system. The shaving head itself snaps off and that lets you attach the included beard trimmer or you can get the (at extra cost) face brush (which is really great at cleaning your face.)

The razor head is the same as last years model; and that is a good thing - and the current head is far better than those of the past few years. The 3 blades can now each move independently in 3 axis to fit to cup and track the contours of your face. To help lift hairs there are ribbings on the silver part on the outer edge of each blade. In the mornings of a warm August the razor worked best when using it with a shaving gel you can use it in the shower (I never have as I always wondered where the hair would go when you do that.) The S9041 shaves close enough that you can't see any beard after shaving; but its not as close as a Fusion - in that you can still feel your hair. The downside for philips is that on my face the Panasonic ES-LV95-S 5 blade razors leave my face looking clean shaven but feeling smoother too.

Using the 9041 daily for a little over the last two weeks the battery held up - the handle shows you the battery life clearly via a battery display. I am happy to say it lasts more than two weeks as it had two bars still at that point (i had to charge it as i was travelling for business on the third week so couldn't do a full drain test before I had to complete the review.) When going away Philips include a great hard case which protects the razor well when travelling.

The 9041 is a great razor it feels nice in your hand and tracks nicely on your face. Its far less messy; and over time cheaper, than using a disposable razor system; it just have quite the same clean shaved feel. Its not going to get 5* because the I still feel the Panasonic gave a better shave.


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