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OT8. (Bristol UK)

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Logitech MX Wireless Performance Mouse (Tracks on Glass)
Logitech MX Wireless Performance Mouse (Tracks on Glass)
Price: £49.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great but left click breaks after time., 9 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ok so my review is perhaps a little unfair as it was heavily used.

MY USAGE --- I'm a photographer and designer so am working on editing images 10 hours plus a day 4 days a week from home, plus gaming and all the normal internet stuff.

Accuracy.. Point it at something and it stays there, no jumping around, change the sensitivity to suit.
Comfort.. It's very comfortable in the hand best mouse I've ever had.
Customisation... Lots of Buttons set things like a multi keystrokes "command + z'
3 Year warrantee... Needed

Left click broke twice in 3 years. Replaced under warrantee but took about 3 weeks each time now gone again.
Battery life is a couple of days with heavy use with the supplied battery. But as it uses AA batteries I have a 15 minute charge on my desk and use better batteries.
Chrome trip marks quickly and looks messy I'd prefer it if it was all black as that just rubs down.
Not great on glass still needs a good mouse mat for accuracy.
Wheel buttons click or tilt left and right are too fiddly and can't be assigned as they too easy to knock when using the scroll wheel.


Personally I am now looking at a gaming mouse for photo editing. The Logitech G700 looks great but seems to suffer the same problem with the right click micro switch. The Razer Mamba and the Mad Catz RAT 9 although a little more expensive seem to have very good reviews

Ups and downs (The Application series)
Ups and downs (The Application series)
by Ruth Minshull
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for anyone struggling in life.., 31 Dec 2012
This is a great book, it describes to a tee difficult people and how they affect us. The co worker who has to mention the boss is out to get you, the mother in law who says your a lovely person then slags you off behind your back. That neighbour who has to tell you how theres been loads of burglaries even though you yourself haven't seen or heard of any from any other source.

Of course it's easy to say well thats those types of people for you, you just need to be able to handle them, clear up and rumours they've spread about you and move on. But unless you know with some certainty what that type of person is really like and how to handle them or disconnect from them without causing more problems you'll end up with lots of ups and downs.

The author draws heavily on her study of Scientology and her own personal experience to explain in very clear layman's terms why we go along doing ok in life then suddenly take a nose dive and feel depressed or overly emotional for no seemingly good reason. She not only explains it but guides you into a full and clear understanding of how the emotions are triggered.

Having read this book and applied it I no longer suffer that uncomfortable feeling that I've done something wrong when I haven't and my life is much smoother as a result.

Visible Dust Orange VSWAB 1.0x Size
Visible Dust Orange VSWAB 1.0x Size
Price: £32.15

5.0 out of 5 stars I found these to be very good with VDust Plus Fluid., 5 July 2012
I've been using these for some time now and found them to be excellent with Vdust Plus fluid. Admittedly I've not used any other fluids so can't comment on how they work with those or make comment on how they compare to the green swabs.

I did try some cheaper ones at one point thinking I'd save a few quid but I used almost the whole pack of 10 in one go having all bits of fibre coming off them with lots of swearing and upset so returned to these. I am really pleased I did as I've never had to use more then one swab which means these are actually very reasonable priced considering you get 10 or 12 in a pack which even if you do it ever 6 weeks will last you a goo time. It's incredibly easy to do, take an image at f22 about 3-4 stops over exposed of a nice clean white shed defocused is bestt, Ideally if you can get an exposure of about 1/2 a second or more it works better as you'll not see any mark from the paper., You'll see every spec show up on the lcd. Then when your ready go into the menu on a canon and select sensor clean manually working with the camera face downwards so as not to allow further dust in look up and wipe the sensor once in each direction, having first placed 3 drops of fluid on the swab. Switch off then reattach your lens take a second image at the same settings and you should be done. You can get corner swabs but personally I've had no problems using just the one swab as long as you get it right in the edge.

Hoya 77mm Infrared R72 Screw in Filter
Hoya 77mm Infrared R72 Screw in Filter
Offered by i-SuperStore
Price: £104.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works for me this time.but didn't before.with different camera., 28 Jun 2012
This filter is typical hoya quality well built and correct in it's level of filtration, it was recommended to me by several people for infrared photography. If only it was a case of just screwing it on and taking infrared images I would give it 5 stars as I had quiet a bit of problems before I got what I wanted.

Infrared photography seems to be a bit of a mystery still generally, some modern dslr's cameras won't work while other older digital compacts will. Older Nikons seem much better than Canons but olympus and sony are meant to be great for infrared photography. The problem being is that modern cameras have an infrared blocking filter built in, normally you wouldn't need infrared in a photo and I guess they build it in as it must have some negative effect in normal images. To get past this built in filter and record the infrared light you need an infrared filter like this, which in stead of blocking infrared light blocks out the visible light. You then need a very very long exposures while the infrared light passes through the built in filter in the camera. Unfortunately these long exposures mean the sensor warms up and introduces noise.

I tried several cheaper filter from a well known auction site but they weren't blocking out the light properly and the resulting images were somewhat flat black and whites rather than proper infrared as we know them. I then tried this filter with my canon 5d mk2 a 7D and a 1ds mk2 the filter did block the visible light but the filter inside was too strong and the long exposures meant they weren't great quality. I got fed up and left all the infrared filters I'd bought in a draw and only recently picked it up again this time now with a canon 5d mark iii whilst the exposures are still 3 and 4 minutes and you have to set white balance off the grass the camera is much better at handling the heat of the sensor so the noise and photos now once converted look like proper clear infrared.

This filter does work for me in comparison to the cheaper ones which didn't but I guess it comes down to which camera you use, I am really pleased with the results now but I can't say it will work for you with your camera set up. Interestingly I tried holding a cheaper filter in front of an iPhone and an old compact and got pretty good results.

A further point of interest is that you can buy modified cameras which have had the built in filter removed and replaced with a different one which allows you to take infrared photos all the time. I think that would be the way to go if you were really into infrared.

The Flash Photography Field Guide: Shaping the light to suit your photographs (Photographer's Field Guide)
The Flash Photography Field Guide: Shaping the light to suit your photographs (Photographer's Field Guide)
by Adam Duckworth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.14

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great little book for all interested in strobist lighting, 26 Jun 2012
I bought this on a bit of a whim I like a little collection of books like this to show others what I am talking about but in reading it I am surprised how much an old pro with a fair bit of experience like myself can get out of it. Well and truly worth the money.

It's a nice jacket pocket size ideal for someone new wanting to take it with them as reference or alternatively reading on the tube on the way to work.

It's well written and aimed at all flash users you don't feel the author is either talking down to anyone or trying to appear clever. Whilst there are the normal chapters the author has also broken it down in to sensible page or couple of page long explanations of each element, triggers, soft boxes, single and multi light set ups and so on with clear simple to understand how to light different subjects.

As I say I have been surprised how much I have picked up from it.

Manfrotto 3 Section Background Support - Black
Manfrotto 3 Section Background Support - Black
Price: £55.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice and solid can also be used as a Boom arm, 26 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this to replace a similar unit which was lost, I was a little reluctant to spend £65 on what is a pole when I see there many much cheaper available but having bought poor quality items before and regretted it I concluded it just wasn't worth trying to save the money. I am very happy with this.

Incidentally as this pole is pretty strong you can use it with a spigot and clamp adapter as pretty good boom arm ideal for small flashguns on location.

Elinchrom D-Lite IT 4 2 Head Studio Kit
Elinchrom D-Lite IT 4 2 Head Studio Kit

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for the money, 16 Jun 2012
We Bought these for my father in law as a retirement present. I am a professional photographer myself and use more expensive Elinchrom Style RX and quadra heads but for the money and what most people would use them for these are excellent.

I read a lot of reviews and tested these and others myself and whilst there are some short comings the heads themselves give very constant light and performance right across the power range. I'll be a little more specific cheaper equipment tend to give one flash at say F5.6 the next at f 5.6 and a half. When you turn up the power it would be slightly blue compared to the lower power which would be slightly yellow or red. I couldn't really observe any of that with this kit. Generally you could never turn down enough on cheaper units for close ups of products or for using f4 or below whilst thats still true with these they still have an impressive 5 stop range compare that to a second hand bowens 250watt unit from 8 years ago which which only had a power range of 2 stops and its well impressive. A tip for getting even lower f stops F2.8-f1.4 is to use an ND filter which will knock the light off. The things that you don't get with this are air cushioned stands but then if your careful these things shouldn't matter. You don't get a second baffle in the soft box but then I'd much rather have these better heads. They feel a bit plastic but then everything does these days, I don't want bullet proof metal housings and they don't feel cheap full to bits plastic.

Things I really like about this kit are
I love the fact it comes as a kit with kit bags, you can pack it away or carry it in the car and its all there all safe.
The flash heads have a an intelligent slave sensor meaning they ignore the pre flash you get with on camera flash units so you can combine your speedlites or other flashes with these, ideal if you want a 3rd light as a fill or background light.
The power and control of the light, It's constant, controllable and powerful enough for most.
Relatively fast flash for stopping action, not super fast but reasonably quick and fine for portraits and still life.

What do you get if you pay more.. I often like to ask this question as there is nothing more expensive than buying too cheap and having to replace it later. You have to step up a long way to really have any bug improvements like double the price or more. The Elinchrom style rx range give you more control over light faster flash for freezing fast moving action and even greater consistency also it will outlast these in a professional studio being used daily.

You might also be considering bowens which I'll come to in a moment or some of the chinese cheap studio lighting my advice is don't bother some of its good but most is rubbish and if it goes wrong you can't get it repaired, you won't get pleasure in the same way you will with these. As for the Bowens older bottom end stuff I would say stay well clear of they lack power control maybe 2 stops and exposure tends to go up and down flash isn't fast like a speedlite its slow and you'll end up with motion blur, the newer and pro range of stuff are pretty good, the 400 400 kit looks pretty good for the same sort of money but they didn't have the intelligent flash slave for use with speedlites or the fan cooling which means they get pretty hot to say the least. they do offer battery units which are ok but I'd rather buy a phase inverter for the same money as it has so many more uses. What that is a 12v battery with a thing that converts it to 240volts, you'll need a pure sine wave inverter because of the electronics but if your anything of a DIYer then you can make it for Under a couple of hundred quid, then you can go anywhere plug a fan in with the lights or run a laptop.

Digital SLR Camera Sensor Cleaning Pads with Fluid - All APS-C Size Sensors
Digital SLR Camera Sensor Cleaning Pads with Fluid - All APS-C Size Sensors
Offered by Digipad
Price: £10.50

24 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars UTTER RUBBISH, Don't buy, 15 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I couldn't get hold of my normal visible dust swabs and bought these as others had suggested they were good and they are cheap. What world do these people live in these are utter rubbish.

With a decent swab and proper fluid it's a five minute job two whips in opposite directions and your done it's that simple. I do this every week. These took an hour used almost all the swabs and if I hadn't already made things worse with the first swab and had to carry on would have just thrown them away on the first go. I was livid at the company for selling such rubbish and could have called the prats who wrote positive reviews all the names under the sun, Ok maybe thats a bit unfair many who've written reviews didn't know better and thought thats the way these things are meant to work, its not these are utter rubbish.

I would have asked for a refund if it cost any more but you just end up picturing yourself with lots of hassle sending things back and in an argument with them asking why half the swabs have gone. They've gone because you've got £4500 camera body which you need the following morning and had to use them. As for the company that make these things I think they could be likened to a compost heap and these swabs would be the biggest weed growing out of it.

Yes they are cheap but if you buy these things having read a review like this then all I can say is your not thinking straight, at the very least it will take you ages and you won't get the results of the proper things at worse you'll potentially ruin your camera.

Edit.. Since writing this review last month there have been several comments one suggesting I was in some way connected to a competing company and my review should be discredited. I am not connected with anyone but interestingly the commenter has only made one review which is for this product suggesting that they themselves may in fact be associated with this company. Another making personal remarks suggesting I was inept and did not understanding the basic principles of sensor cleaning. I have 27 years as a photographer 8 using digital equipment. I shoot reportage weddings and using a lens changing bag with the rear caps off for speed this means I have to clean my sensor more often than most. Once a week is an untruth however every 4-6 weeks isn't uncommon for me. Whilst I accept my review was somewhat harsh with an element of comedy in it I do feel it was valid. I was very upset and concerned when I was using them compared directly to the easy of using the others before which I had no problems with.
This morning after the comments I looked at other reviews for this product again after all this is how I came to buy them myself, normally reviewers have reviewed several items however I observed that a 1/3 of the reviews to date for this product had only reviewed this item, this in itself seemed odd and makes me question the validity of the those reviews. Of the others although they have suggested they were happy with they have said it took a few swabs and a bit of time and most have suggested they have only used this product so have nothing to compare it to. If I had not had experience the easy of other products I too might have felt that it was normal to use several swabs and for the process to take some time, having removed the dust I might have felt happy. But from a long term point of view needing to clean my sensor regularly I still feel these are utter rubbish.

I see now a little tick box from Amazon so that others can see who has actually purchased items and this I hope will help with non genuine reviews.
Comment Comments (15) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 6, 2014 12:11 PM BST

Elinchrom Ranger Quadra RX 2 Head 'A' Kit
Elinchrom Ranger Quadra RX 2 Head 'A' Kit

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing bit of kit you won't be disappointed., 15 Jun 2012
I'm a professional photographer I do weddings, commercial photography and products photography and I wanted a powerful yet portable lighting system for location work. I've got two of these sets with four heads now and plan to buy another control unit.

I read a lot of reviews and have tried several solutions to my needs in the past. From using multiple speedlites with dozens of AA batteries to proper studio lighting attached to a pure sine wave inverter connected to a motorcycle battery (that set up is similar to that used in caravans to get mains voltage from a car battery). I got hold of a light weight 400 watt second chinese unit for about £400 which seemed promising and offered high speed sync unto 8000th of a second and I would have been praising that if it hadn't gone wrong after a month and taken months to send off and come back only to go wrong again. I've not seen anything on the market to compare to the quadra.

In terms of these Elinchrom Quadra units themselves my first impressions were thats small and neat but I wonder if it will break, and I still think that to some degree, the heads look bit cheap. It's not built to the same standards as the profoto b2's but it doesn't cost the earth either. The battery-control unit is smart about the same size as a large sandwich box. They are bringing out lithium batteries which will be smaller lighter (about 1/3rd the weight) and more powerful, if they are available as part of the kit when you're reading this then I would look into those. Mine came in a plastic suitcase style box with two heads two reflectors leads, a skyport trigger from which you can control the power of the unit, a control unit and two batteries I also got two plastic multi function caps which act as defusers-gell holders and protection whilst in storage.

The box is ok but really its not a solution to carrying the unit around. I would have thought personally elinchrom could have made more of a soft shoulder bag as the first thing you'll do is leave the big box behind in the car.

The heads are small, smaller even than a 580 exii flash but don't let that fool you they give wonderful light. They've there own mount and come with a basic 13.5cm reflector, with the multi function cap or a small optional deflector which pushes in the front they give an amazing light harsh but nothing like the light from a speedlite bounce this off a wall or a tri reflector and you've big soft light. They do a few softboxes to fit the smaller quadra mount but I wouldn't recommend it the bracket can't hold them and creep down, others have reported snapping caused by over tightening here. They make an adapter which is £65-£70 so you can fit larger proper modifiers but I wouldn't recommend those either for the same reason. What I did is use the speedlite to elinchrom bracket of I already had and with the aid of a lastolite quarda to easy box adapter plate for a couple of quid available here on amazon made my own adapters up which are much stronger and save the worry of breakage.

The cable are 2.5m and ok but I wouldn't pull the power pack to often by them, you might say well I wouldn't but trust me you will when you're holding the stand and big soft box and need to move things a couple of extra inches. the length of the cables does limit where you can put your second light without a cable appearing in frame. You can buy longer cables but then you'll loss power. Alternatively a second control unit is a better option but you're adding on to the cost.

As for the control unit you will need to read the instructions a few times but it soon becomes intuitive. There's things that I've not used as yet but could prove good like how it can learn to ignore pre flashes given off by on camera flash ttl metering so it could be worked with those. I guess I should have really read up and tested those before writing a review.

In terms of full flashes per battery I got about 350 which was more than the 200 stated, at half power I got fed up flashing so I think its safe to say theres loads of power with the two batteries for a afternoons shooting.

The real reason to buy something like this is because of the light and the control of the light. You won't over power the sun in my experience you need a good !200 watts to have any effect of turning day into night but theres plenty of power to shoot through a large soft box and see the results on an average slightly overcast day. it's a massive move up from a speedlite if you're working like that. Of course tube shape means there's a nice even spread of light within your reflectors. If you do products and aim for constant results you'll know how inconsistent some cheaper lights can be. Elinchrom are one of the best for this generally and this is the same, portraits look natural across the power range I haven't observed any colour shift or had any odd shifts in exposure. One thing I really love about the quadra is how you can turn the power way down to give a real blink of light for shooting at f2 or for close up jewellery photography. You'll often here about maximum power output but rarely about minimum power and yet its so important.

There's a few things I don't like about these but I am being picky, the fact you can control each light independently and the power isn't equal across the two lights. This can be resolved by an added control unit but its not cheap, alternatively if need you can use a ND gel filter in the multi purpose caps. or just move the light. Cost is another negative, yes I know professional lighting isn't cheap, I've a fair bit of it myself, but then this isn't the top end of professional lighting. It's good but just a bit expensive for the build quality.

Visible Dust VDust Plus Reinigungslösung 7.5 ml
Visible Dust VDust Plus Reinigungslösung 7.5 ml
Price: £17.84

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect and chaep in the long run., 22 April 2012
I've written this review to counter the muppet who must have emptied the bottle directly on his sensor. This is a great product safe on all modern camera sensors to date.

HOW TOO...2 drops on an a single orange swab is all you need. Apply the fuild to a new swab leave for a couple of seconds before whipping the sensor in one direction starting at the edge, turn the swab over so as to use the other side of the swab and whip in the opposite direct. Job done!

NOTES... Too much fuild on the swab will leave a fuild line, less is more. Don't worry if you use too much give it a moment and it will soon dry out, then just try again with the 2 drops on a new swab. Equally don't be tempted to whip the swab back and forth this just reapplies the dust.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE... As a professional photographer I regularly need to clean my sensors. I've tried a few few different fuilds and swabs most seem ok but often require you to use several swabs to get rid of stuburn pollen which requires a second third and even fourth dose of fuild. Which makes them expensive when you're cleaning your sensors every two weeks after some heavy weddings a couple of commercial shoots and a couple of portraits with lots of lens swaps.

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