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Dominic Thurmer (UK)
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Vax Air Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Vax Air Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Price: 299.00

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great vacuum, but an all rounder?, 1 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I seem to have become an addict to buying vacuum cleaners over the years, I think I'm looking for that special tool that turns a everyday task into something with the least hassle possible. So in the long line of handholds, uprights, drag along, rechargeable units enter this Vax. If you have doubts and think you might send it back pay attention to the complex boxing it comes in. I've never really understood your rights should you partly damage or near destroy the box as I did in the frenzied excitement that was the unpacking my new toy.

Simple click together 2 parts, handle to base, battery 1 on charge and battery 2 into unit and away you go. My first reaction is how light and consequentially manoeuvrable it is. You step on the front end of the base to release the handle from the upright position. The power button is next to the front head rotating brushes button. These brushes can be engaged/disengaged as required. The rotating brushes are a real bonus I think the combination of these and the suction make it a serious contender for a great unit. It certainly gives a turbo type boost to the suction rate.

We've hard floors and large rugs and it handles both well. Hard floors though don't really give any vacuum a workout/test as even the most basic unit can pick up debris that has little to no resistance in fighting back because there's nothing to cling onto! Carpet on the other hand presents a bigger challenge and I'd say with the rotating brushes its better than our mains powered unit at picking up dirt. The suction is good but I wouldn't describe it as overly powerful, most plug-in mains powered machines overcome the fact that the suction part of the head doesn't butt up flash with corners or edges of rooms/objects but the suction is so powerful it drags dirt into the head anyway, I've noticed with this unit it's not the case and where the suction isn't sitting directly over some larger dirt/items, that object won't budge without some vigorous coercion.

The attached hose is a bit of a let down, there's no real range, I guess the manufactures feel you can just hand hold it as you go up stairs, the disassembling of the handle to become part of the hose isn't the quickest or best method I've come across. In hose mode you see how the suction isn't as strong as a mains powered machine, I'd put it at half the rate of my Bosch GS-50 Power Silence. In fact its so week I wouldn't bother trying to clean the car with it, where I only use the hose and the shortness and lack of power would really would be an issue.

The unit only has 2 tools, the classic brush and small nozzle with small retracting brush. It can only carry one at a time though, so small is the unit that there's no space for the second item storage.

Emptying is easy it has a release catch at the bottom of the unit bin to open the trap door, most units these days do tend to have the catch mechanism at the top/handle end which is a lot easier. The collection part is big enough to cope with a whole house clean and comes away/reattaches easily. The filter is recommended to clean every 4-6 times the Vacuum is used. I found the twist action to access the washable filter a little tricky but no great issue although maybe hadn't aliened the groves properly as second time it was a breeze.

Vax have been cleaver in providing 2 lithium batteries. Firstly Lithium is where all manufactures of any rechargeable battery product should be going. They hold a charge almost as an ordinary battery so if you go back to the unit after a few days/weeks its fine to use, With 2 batteries 30-40-50 mins run time is almost irrelevant as you always have a completely charged battery ready to go. The charger is intelligent and once the battery is charged it turns the charge off. If 40-50 mins run time is critical I'd suggest your Vacuuming routine demands a bigger better machine.

There's no doubt though this second included battery has pushed the price up to the 300 mark. (dropped Aug 2014 to 289) It wouldn't surprise me if individually these batteries would retail at over 100 each and the price is the reason I've tried to cover a fair bit of detail. Its expensive and I had to really think about was it worth the money to buy it. So far I'm delighted but wont be getting rid of my main mains powered unit. I use it 90% of the time though which is a good indication of its ability/convenience/practicality. For me it's a 4 star review with price the major downside. At 199.99 it would be perfect match of value and compromise on the power it lacks for certain tasks. It may well be the price shifts down a bit in the coming months so worth keeping an eye out. Vax isn't an iconic brand but this and a recent carpet washer/cleaner means I'm thinking of getting their Vax U90-MA-R Air Reach Multicyclonic Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner too, and so the cycle of wanting bigger and better continues.

Any questions feel free to ask, Dominic.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 11, 2014 8:08 AM BST


Silverline 456988 Cable Puller Heavy Duty 2 Tonne / 2.5m Cable
Silverline 456988 Cable Puller Heavy Duty 2 Tonne / 2.5m Cable
Price: 19.92

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for tensioning steel cable, 19 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Just built a 3 section Steel wire rope bridge and this tool was the difference between one man job and an army of helpers. The ratchet system allows you to take up strain before locking the wires down. I used additional chain to get a longer reach, Its easy to set up, I found releasing the tension slightly fiddly but no great issue.

This wont drag your yacht up the beach or your 4X4 out of a hole but for some DIY tasks its a really good/useful tool. Under 20 as well. I've attached user photo to see how it helps certain tasks. Think of things like Zip wire where you need a final tensioning before its set,

Dominic


DJI Phantom 2 Vision Aerial UAV Drone Quadcopter with Built in 2.4 GHz Camera
DJI Phantom 2 Vision Aerial UAV Drone Quadcopter with Built in 2.4 GHz Camera
Offered by Hihi Electronic
Price: 769.00

71 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great entry level quad copter for video and photo production!, 17 Jan 2014
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
DJI Phantom 2 Vision, with a few updates from original post. Apologies for the lengthy read, for the shortened version read the sentence below.

This Phantom is technically dead now unfortunately so do not buy without looking at the new DJI Phantom 2 vision plus with 3 axle gimbal and new camera, both issues I question with this V2 original. Available April 2014, retailing at around 910.00.

Review,

I bought the standard and original Phantom just before Christmas but it was clear by the time I added a gimbal and some sort of FPV system plus a camera I'd have spent more than the Phantom 2 vision which had only just been released, so as its video and photography I want the Phantom for It made sense to send it back and buy the Phantom Vision 2 as a complete package.

I'm slightly surprised that listings on Amazon (partners) are coming in often at 900 to 1200. This seems to vary week to week though. The system complete is clearly available for around 830 in most model shops and suppliers across the country (Jan/Feb 2014) so check your price before you buy. It's an expensive bit of kit regardless of what price you pay. I'm a photographer looking to expand into video and this flying camera clearly adds a different dynamic, that I think will deliver a USP to videos I'm hoping to produce this year.

So far I've managed 9-10 flights and here are my early days thoughts on the DJI. There's a limited amount of set up out the box, mainly the app that you download to your phone, a quick compass configuration when outdoors and once the battery is charged you are set to go. I have to say as a non RC flyer I found it very nervy taking this machine out, a few horror stories of the Phantom just flying away don't help. Winds so far this month on flight days (Jan 2014) have been around the 10mph rate, never before have I paid so much attention to the weather/wind reports when I want to fly.

It manoeuvres well and providing you keep the camera facing the way you are the remote joystick responds as you'd expect, left is left, forward is forward, I mention this because if you send it away then pan round with the camera and head back to where you started the controls are in reverse, the original Phantom has a switch that overrides this but this Phantom V2 does not although I think if you connect the craft and go on-line there is an option to turn this feature on. It means the learning curve is slightly greater if you've never flown before. but I understand keen RC flyers take this in their stride.

The return to base fail safe with GPS lock adds reassurance, if the controller signal is lost then the DJI will return home to the point it took off providing you have calibrated it accordingly! that means you wait at least around 30 seconds with system on, satellites calibrated and the system warming up before you take off. Much of the flying experience is demonstrated on YouTube and well worth viewing, the V2 just starting to get a decent array of videos to watch.

I personally feel the light system for communicating the crafts status is not as intuitive as DJI think it is, a combination of flashing or solid green/red and orange lights all have different meanings, they supply a card for quick reference, but at this price a message on your app or LCD screen on the remote controller with a code or detailed text I think would be better.

I've now flown it now over 325 meters high (an update from this original post) losing both Wifi and Remote control at that point, the reassuring return to home message on your phone is great but visually it takes another 100-150 meters descent to actually see its getting closer, You can retake control once in range. for checking direction and steering accordingly although the red and green lights are helpful its the screens phone app telemetry that is a really good method of establishing craft direction, an important issue for steering as mentioned. It's very difficult to judge distance against a clear sky when high up and over head but the temptation and resulting images it takes are stunning so its natural to push it up as far as you can. Knowing too what direction the phantom is facing helps recover it back to base because if you've panned round (as mentioned) you could be sending it away not bringing it home.

So to photography! The camera that comes with the V2 is permanently mounted to the craft, it has no sound capability which is pointless when flying but I still think would have been useful for pre flight dialogue (Update, no it really would be pointless). The view is a classic wide Go-Pro type with an adjustable 140/120/90 degree option. I personally often find it too wide for video, especially the 140 degree angle the horizon can look just way too distorted, this is especially evident to when the craft moves forward and creates a slight jerk, the horizon bending compounds the distortion at the edges of picture. A classic Go-pro type image will tend to have a centre/close to camera image, with background setting the scene, here the scene is the picture and your eye draws to the distortion as the craft moves but it's great for that illusion of being at 10,000 feet when only 100 feet up. Those bent horizons you get depending on the angle of flight/camera draw away slightly from a professional image so the 90 degree option might be better for some filming. Its worth knowing that Adobe now profile DJI in LR 5.3 (RAW files only) meaning distortion gets a really good correction (see side by side image in customer pics).

The massive plus is the camera view via your smart phone for shutter release and framing while recording video and for the angle the camera sits as it flies. I'm not so sure its useful to use as a means to fly the DJI, i.e see where you are going through the eyes of the craft. 14 MP is a decent size but as you know size isn't everything. Video shoots at 1080 60i, slow motion possible at this recording although having learnt Hollywood is mostly shooting at under 30 frames per second I realise the frame spec of the camera on the DJI is as good as I'll need. I'm happy(ish) with the picture quality, vibrant strong colour and good contrast creating great looking video. If you are thinking remote steady cam, I'd suggest get expensive Jib with dolly as a better investment! The photo quality is ok but suffers from softnes due to the wide angel lens around the edges of the picture.

Update: So just took the Phantom out (Sat Feb 22nd)to do some aerial photography for a friend who has a livery (stables) in Kent. Winds were higher than I'd want at 15mph +/- Phantom flew perfectly though, I was able to hover and compose with no drift or issues around flying, I did have issues around taking pictures. I set the camera to 90 degrees for less distortion with final image but I think I've discovered that the 140/120/90 degree options are relevant to video only and don't allow a partial zoom when taking pictures. I had wondered how the lens was cropping, be it an optical zoom or digital. The answer is neither. The Image on my phone suggested I was framing fairly tight to the buildings but when I got home I had masses of additional countryside added around the main buildings I was focused on, aka 140 degree mode. I retested back at home setting the camera to the 3 options but all the static images had exactly the same field of view.

I've had another issue develop where my scandisk 32g cards are no longer recognised by the camera, I've had to drop down to a 16GB card while I search out an alternative although I'll likely stick with these. I've no idea why this would happen, I can't even format the 32s as it doesn't recognise they are even slotted in. Also a bit of a pain is the linking with the app. Its a slow, hit a miss affair at times, now this could be a combination of things the phone (Galaxy Note) playing a part, but often the Phantom 2 wifi connection is listed but takes ages for the phone to see it and connect. Ages when you are in a cold field waiting to fly being 2-5 mins and it happened again today (1.4.14) took longer to connect than I actually flew.

I've since noticed after the craft tipped over while landing recently while the blades were spinning one of them has split, now needing a replacement' I'm seriously thinking of taking a yoga mat that will roll up yet be a decent landing area as often I've found the areas I'm flying from are not so suitable, either wet or long grass. I've posted a picture from today's short photographic flight too.

Update, Another flight today and really looking at the images there's a general softness around 10-15% of the whole image, evidence really of the quality of components used. The other problem I have had on occasions is as soon as I've linked to the wifi signal and open the camera tab on my phone its already recording, nothing I do stops it, you can't take photos or change any settings so I have to come out of the app, reconnect (several times) before I can start recording as I want. This might be the system is responding to "record when signal is lost" an option in settings I'll need to play with, but its been a little frustrating as its happened several times at different events. Lightroom is a blessing without the recovery of detail, reduction in noise, sharpness, contrast, etc, etc. the image was/is in reality heavily distorted and in a world of quality DSLRs average. I've sent away for a 60by88cm print ironically as often the case, in the flesh an average photo enlarged can look good, my friend loves it regardless, also note the images are 4:3 not 3:2 ratio.

Extras to consider are a dedicated carry box at around 85, make sure you get the Vision 2 version as the controller profiles bigger than the original because of the WiFi booster box and camera holder. Prop guards attached will mean in most storage boxes the Phantom wont fit so extra cash required for an even bigger storage case at around 125.00! Prop guards do offer some protection to both the blades and to a lesser degree to someone/animal who gets in the way of the craft while the blades are rotating, or if like me you are stupid enough to start flying in the lounge only to then have it strike the wall and rip wall paper off and damage another prop. After this and my previous tip over I may well think of using them regularly. If you hit a wall the blade concerned could stop rotating for a fraction of a moment which could make the Phantom crash or the prop to undo and fall off, a prop guard could allow you to bounce off the obstacle, this though isn't definite as it depends on several factors, speed, height, solid obstacle or not, etc. etc, hence the word "could" used several times.

The video I've shot so far is a little jerky, the single axle gimbal helps but the acceleration is so rapid you need to learn to slow the flight of the phantom down and reduce the hard acceleration and gather smoother at source images rather than relying on a post production program alone. A twin axle system for DJIs own camera systems seems an inevitable upgrade to come soon! The jello effect seems eradicated by DJIs mounting system. I have now purchased from DRONExpert (Netherlands) their 2 axle replacement camera Gimbal as side by side comparisons with the single axle Vision original show it producing much better results for stable looking video, this is a substantial additional cost and begs the question is the Phantom 2 with its included 2 axle gimbal a better option than the Phantom 2 Vision with its single axle gimbal but included camera. If you are into RC DIY and can fit a FPV system etc, then the vision looks a good option especially if you own a GO-pro already.

A few people have said if Apple designed a quad this is what it would look like, true its sleek and clean looking in design but I can't help but think if Hasbro designed one, it too would look like this! It does feel/look like it sits between executive toy and semi pro consumer kit although looks add nothing to the final results of the camera the size will. From the point of view of photography and video I'd say this is the very bottom of the rung in terms of what it produces. Unless you are slinging a decent DSLR or pro-consumer camcorder such as the Canon HG30 in the air results will be affected by the quality of a small sensor and relatively cheap camera system, Gop-pro or Vision. It's a small craft and suffers from air/wind movement. I've noticed DJI never use a Phantom to film their Phantom when air to air video is required looks like they use a Spreading Wings S800 EVO? DJI produce a gimbal in excess of $2500 just to put everything in context.

This is a very expensive bit of kit, by the time you had hard storage case and extra battery you'll have over 1000 invested, so to smash or lose it would be total disaster but from what I've read and experienced it's easy to fly for a novice which means for the likes of me I'm more likely to push on and see if I can get it doing what I want it to do video and photography wise. If you have a camera already such as Go-Pro and just want to record your flight then the original Phantom is a fantastic buy. A 1 star review here talks about it landing itself! Sounds like the fail safe GPS mechanism has saved a lost craft, 1 star is ridiculous without more detail and I'm always suspicious of extremes be it a 1 star or 5 stars from reviewers with no other reviews! I've had a few quirky issues that get in the way of flying on occasions but others report loads of flights with no issues.

Its not a toy either, in cost and in potential harm it could do some one if it hit them from a really high fall or smack in the face full speed flight.

Any questions please feel free to ask I'll post video soon, pics now up.

Dominic
Comment Comments (13) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 2, 2014 7:36 PM BST


KOMPUTERBAY 128GB Professional COMPACT FLASH CARD CF 800X WRITE 75MB/s READ 120MB/s Extreme Speed UDMA 7 RAW 128 GB
KOMPUTERBAY 128GB Professional COMPACT FLASH CARD CF 800X WRITE 75MB/s READ 120MB/s Extreme Speed UDMA 7 RAW 128 GB
Offered by KOMPBAY
Price: 82.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Great value compactflash card, 21 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Had no problems with this card after a 20-30 or so outings, I use the same brand SD version as second card in camera, the huge capacity is a real bonus especially when shooting HD video too. Transfer times are fine for me, I've noticed no buffer issues, Top end cards command top end prices so for many of us this is a realistic alternative giving well over 1000 Raw files @ 36MP.


KOALA PRODUCTS Seat Box XL Box Frame Fishing Trolley
KOALA PRODUCTS Seat Box XL Box Frame Fishing Trolley
Offered by Koala Products
Price: 29.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than just a seat box!, 6 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought that for the flexibility in axle width and handle height so i could attach a heavy duty pressure washer that had lost its wheels. you too might be drawn to product in order to utilise that flexibility to carry a specific load other than what it was designed for! All I'd say is for whats its designed for its spot on study yet flexible with the god send that is pneumatic tyres (unless you get a flat!), if you are going to expand its use into other areas rather than using a conventional sack barrel note the min width of the wheel base is wider than many standard doors, dragging these sideways is almost impossible! At the price a great bit of kit.


OP/TECH 1" Tripod Leg Wraps
OP/TECH 1" Tripod Leg Wraps
Price: 28.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More money than sense?, 6 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There does come a point with your chosen hobby when a certain purchase demands you step back and consider "do you have more money than sense" when you buy what is basically padded leggings for you tripod! but sometimes the quirky things can give more satisfaction than the extravagantly expensive ones. For me these pads have given a little revamp to a piece of equipment that I've had for years, never had a problem with and never thought its so cold to handle i wish it had its own trousers to keep me warm! If you do lug it on your shoulders as per the photo its ideal! Pay attention to how to attach the pads i tend to ignore all instructions meaning i occasionally miss a key part of a products setup! Measure too your tripod legs i assumed mine (Manfrotto Neotec) would be larger than 1", they weren't! I think these are the equivalent of a product that sits between go faster stripe and a spoiler on a car, the trade would argue function and practicality while the consumer tends to lean towards the aesthetics!


Spike Choker - Accessory
Spike Choker - Accessory
Offered by GreatDeals4you
Price: 2.58

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good cheap alternative to the real thing!, 6 Nov 2012
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:1.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Spike Choker - Accessory (Toy)
I used this for a recent photoshoot, see uploaded image. My only gripe would be for packing the item was folded in two, meaning a slight crease was evident in the plastic collar and the spikes made it impossible to bend it back the other way to flatten it out. The size is one size fits all with limited shortening options meaning with shirt sizes 14-15.5" it will hang fairly lose. For a cheap product with instant results though you can't go wrong. I think i might use it on a dog next for that vicious street look! Pics to follow!.


Zenus Masstige Stripe Leather Diary - Galaxy Note N7000 - khaki - ZGSNTSL2DMDKB
Zenus Masstige Stripe Leather Diary - Galaxy Note N7000 - khaki - ZGSNTSL2DMDKB
Offered by thebookcommunity_fba
Price: 52.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Just what i was looking for, 8 Sep 2012
I've not long owned the Galaxy note but already tried half a dozen case/protector options, working i guess price wise from the bottom, up! Recently though i had a see the light moment when i decided after decades of carrying a wallet it really did make sense to ditch a seperate cash/card wallet and combine my items with my phone case! Enter the Zenus leather wallet case. Beautifully designed its the most expensive option I've seen but put into context of the phone it protects and the function it serves well worth it. But there's another big issue for me manufactures/retailers seem convinced by placing the word "wallet" after the description that we'll be fooled into a false sense of masculine security when in reality the word "purse" gives a truer description of what the product looks like. Anyone using the note and old enough will already in the back of their mind be thinking Dom Joly and "HELLO" each time they pull the phone out to answer it! The last thing on top of that you need is then that people will be judging your man bag/purse as a representation of your metro-sexuality! This gets over those (maybe my) anxieties by a classic if somewhat retro looking wallet with a 100% male looking piece of kit!

As to the function, all the buttons are easily accessed as too is the pen, not so on other cheaper units, it takes three credit cards or two with a driving licence, if you do double them up they sit so tight its difficult to remove them. Cash! well 4 or 6 notes folded in half max really as more add too much bulk meaning the unit wont close as well or lay as flat as it should! It means its really a stripped down wallet but this all goes nicely with me redefining what i take out each day. Using the phone too out n about might cause an issue if you open the wallet and fold it back on itself then the contents become visible to others, if you just open it as say a book and hold to your ear it doesn't feel right but its no big issue. The clip is magnetic although from the pics it looks like a popper, its not! I've had no issues with magnets causing problems with the screen. Its a robust unit, well built so take that into consideration when spending this amount of money on it. Having synced my Facebook/email accounts the phone is accessed 10x a day plus in out of jeans, open close, etc, if it lasts 2 years i'll be delighted with it.
Dominic


Neewer Ggs Iii Version Pro Rigid Optical Glass Lcd Screen Protector For Nikon D700
Neewer Ggs Iii Version Pro Rigid Optical Glass Lcd Screen Protector For Nikon D700

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars better looking than Nikons version., 20 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Nice bit of protective kit, once on, the screen blends into the body of the camera as its black on black, both sides are protected with plastic film in transit, I've never really thought to protect the top LCD but at this price and its included why not! Really good value for money @ under 7.00 (2012). My only slight concern is unlike the plastic version supplied by Nikon is that it didn't click on as easily as you'd expect i guess because its more rigid! I do remove regularly to put on screen shades, so over time it will be interesting to see how the unit copes with an on off world it needs to live in. Well worth the money though, looks great. Does what you need and if you've spent a thousand plus on a camera why even think about it!


DJ Light Dual Twister Moonflower LED Light DJ Lighting
DJ Light Dual Twister Moonflower LED Light DJ Lighting

5.0 out of 5 stars Good unit, strong light, 31 Dec 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We've got this unit set up in a bedroom as part of a light show in a sensory room/area! It looks like its much more sophisticated when set up in conjunction with a music system i.e plugged in! We use it as a stand alone item and from a range of 10-12' up on a wardrobe it delivers two areas of flashing small 4" LED circles as you see in the picture. I expected them not just to appear/disappear in a sequence but move as groups around the room in a sweeping random/motion! It may just be we haven't fully utilised the set-up procedure but regardless i'm really please with the system, Djs might find they get much more from the lights especially if you can access the back control panel during operation, for us this isn't so easy as unit backed into a corner of the room, for strength of light and impact plus ease of set up i'd rate this higher and better value than a disco ball which we also have set up in the same room. Its slightly more expensive but delivers more impact for your !
Dominic


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