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Philip Edwards (North Wales. UK)
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Oxford Street Twin 2-Way Radio 3Km Range Walkie Talkies for Supermarkets, Shopping Centres, Festivals and any Outdoor Activities
Oxford Street Twin 2-Way Radio 3Km Range Walkie Talkies for Supermarkets, Shopping Centres, Festivals and any Outdoor Activities
Offered by Oxford Street
Price: 18.56

3.0 out of 5 stars Good facilities but a limited transmit/receive range., 4 May 2014
I bought a pair of these unbranded (but made in China) walkie talkies for use in work when testing our Fire Alarm each week. Found they work OK in open air and have a range of approx 400 metres (This was with one person sitting indoors and one person outdoors). When both persons went indoors we lost the signal. I tested them at home and found they work well for communicating between house and bottom of garden (approx 150 metres). The buttons on the front feel a bit soft and flimsy but they work OK. There is no Side call button, the call butoon is on the front - which is a bit better than the side call button type, as there is less chance of accidentally pressing it. You can change the call tones to any one of about 10 I think. The instruction book provided tells you how to do this. The print on the instruction book is a bit small (I wear glasses for reading so I could read it easily enough). The instructions are in good English and easy to follow. There is a volume control. You can silence the call received sound. You can silence the call transmit sound too. I did this as there are quite a few different sounds emitted when calling and receiving which can get a bit confusing and disruptive to people around you!They came fitted with a basic set of "AAA" Alkaline batteries, but you could use rechargeables. (Each unit takes three "AAA" battereis). I ended up sending them back to Amazon for a full refund as they were unsuitable for the use I wanted them for, but in saying that, for the price, they are very good, and do work well in the open (I would say up to 500 metres with both parties in the open). In built up areas, they seem to work for about 200 metres. Around the house, they appear to work for about 100 to 200 metres. For this kind of use, I would recommend them. (Incidentally, I am full of praise for Amazon as they were very efficient in refunding the amount I paid for them).

Phil Edwards.(Mr). North Wales.


Sony Cyber-shot HX200V Super Advanced High Zoom Camera (18.2MP, 30x Optical Zoom) 3 inch LCD
Sony Cyber-shot HX200V Super Advanced High Zoom Camera (18.2MP, 30x Optical Zoom) 3 inch LCD

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Versatile Camera - but you must learn how to get the best from it!, 26 Feb 2014
Review of the Sony HX200v

I bought the Sony HX200v in November 2013 (I managed to find one with the updated 1.01 firmware installed which fixed the noise control selection problem on earlier models). It was an upgrade from my Sony HX1 (which I still have – and use).

At first, I could not get the HX200v to take clear, crisp images – they looked OK on the camera’s monitor, but when uploaded onto my computer, they were “blurry”. I persevered however, and after reading many reviews and “hints & tips” from HX200v owners I can now say that 95% of my photos come out sharp!

With a bit of perseverance, the Sony HX200v is capable of producing excellent clear and crisp images. It does produce excellent “snapshots” using the “auto” settings (I find “Intelligent Auto” produces better images than “Superior Auto”). However, if you want to get the very best images from this camera, you definitely have to “learn” to use it – mainly by taking snaps using different settings. Also, (as is typical with many small sensor digital cameras) the Sony HX200 produces much better images when the daylight is good – it is possible to obtain crisp images on dull, overcast days, but it’s a bit “hit & miss.” Experiment with changing the “ISO” settings too – it’s not always the case that this camera needs to be always set to the lowest 100 “ISO” setting. I’ve found it is capable of producing excellent images with the ISO set at 200, 300 and 400.

As the Sony HX200v has so many excellent inbuilt facilities, I won’t go into them here - you can easily find detailed and technical information about these on the Internet. However, there is one facility the Sony HX200v possesses which is worth a mention. This is the in-built “Unsharp Mask” image processing tool, which is accessed via the image review menu. What it does is place a rectangle on the camera’s screen which you can move and position directly over the portion of an image that you would like to sharpen. You then press the menu button and the Sony HX200v’s internal microcomputer sharpens the image in seconds. The image is then stored alongside the original. When you upload your photos onto a computer (or the photos printers in supermarkets) you see two identical images of each photo you have chosen to apply the “Unsharp mask” to. When you enlarge the images side by side, you will immediately notice that the “Unsharp Masked” image is noticeably sharper than the original. To get the best out of the “Unsharp Masking” facility it’s a good idea to experiment by taking snaps with the camera’s megapixel setting at different levels (from 2m to the full 18m) and the “Noise Control” set at the three different settings (“low,” “Medium” or “High”). After a few goes you will soon see which combination of megapixel and noise control settings give the best images. (I have found images with the mega pixel set at 5m and “Noise Control” set at “Medium” look the best - after using the “Unsharp Mask” facility.”)

(Incidentally, the noise control on the HX200v is much better than that on the Sony HX1 – which I definitely need to process after almost every shot).

Finally,

The HX200v is a lovely camera to hold, and use. (whereas my HX1 feels a bit cramped). The HX200v’s body is nicely contoured to make it feel very comfortable in your hands, and the lens barrel is nice and big to aid a good grip. When using this camera it feels like you are holding an SLR!

The Sony HX200v has an auto facility where the view on the screen changes to the viewfinder when you move your eye to look through it. If you prefer either one or the other, there is a button on the right side of the viewfinder, to manually lock either the viewfinder view or screen view. (personally I thought this button would have been better placed on the left side of viewfinder as it is on my HX1, which I find a little easier to reach).

The Sony HX200v is much faster at taking and processing shots than my Sony HX1. (especially when taking multiple shots).
The Sony HX200v has many more special features than the HX1.
The HX200v’s menus are quicker, easier and nicer to navigate through than the HX1’s. Also, the HX200v has a very handy built in help guide which you can press whenever you need help with a particular choice of setting.
The lens magnifies at 30x (plus the clear image zoom which doubles this to 60x).
(the Sony HX1 only goes from 20x to 40x). It is possible to obtain some extreme magnifications with both cameras – depending on what megapixel size you set the camera to. On the Sony HX200v you can achieve 56x magnification at 5megapixels, and as much as 76x when set at 2mp. Both settings produce excellent images in good light. (Although it is possible to hand hold the camera and achieve good sharp images at the higher magnifications, it is better to mount the camera on a tripod).
The battery life is much better.
The Sony HX200v has an in-built battery charger, which is fine, but ties the camera down for a couple of hours whilst it is charging, so it’s is a good idea to have at least one spare battery. You can also buy an independent charger for the camera – a charger for the Sony HX100, or HX1 will do as the Sony HX200v uses the same battery.
There is no CD manual for the Sony HX200v (Sony doesn’t provide a CD or written instructions anymore). You can easily download (for free) the full instruction manual from the Sony website).

Having also tried out (for a full day) the Sony HX100v, I feel that although both cameras can produce identical images, the Sony HX200 looks, feels and is the better camera, and is worth anyone upgrading. (Try to get the Sony HX200v model with the updated 1.01 firmware). (You can find which firmware is fitted by going into the Menu. scrolling down until you reach a “Suitcase” icon. Press middle button on 4 way control on camera and scroll down until you reach a “spanner and hammer” icon. Press the middle button on four way control and scroll down until you reach “Version.” Press the middle button again and you will see what version firmware the camera has fitted). Incidentally, even though the Sony HX200v has 18mega pixels – which produce excellent images – I feel the camera produces slightly better images if the 10mp, 5mp or sometimes even the 2mp settings.

I can thoroughly recommend the Sony HX200v.

Phil Edwards.
North Wales.
Feb 2014


Doro PhoneEasy 606 Sim Free Mobile Phone - Graphite
Doro PhoneEasy 606 Sim Free Mobile Phone - Graphite
Price: 40.11

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Case to Slippery to Hold!, 5 Jan 2014
I purchased the Doro Phone Easy 606 (after exhaustively reading many reviews on line). I am a Maintenance Engineer for an Industrial property Development Company, and although I have an all singing & dancing state of the art phone, I wanted a good rugged, simple phone to use on sites. The facilities on the phone are very basic (which is what I wanted. The phone is easy to use (big buttons, clear text and good sized screen). However, (in my opinion) there are three very bad design faults on the Doro PhoneEasy 606.

1. The phone casing is very slippery to hold and could easily be dropped. (Doro should have coated it in a thin rubber, or dimpled covering.

2. The phone is a "clam-shell" design (I wanted this as when closed it would protect the screen and would prevent accidental dialling). However, the design of the two halves of the clamshell is such that they fit together a bit too snugly, making it difficult to open the phone to use it! (I don't know how an elederly person would manage) (I'm 61 by the way).

3. Lastly - again due to the "clamshell" design of the phone, I find it is out of balance when opened. I have fairly large hands, but find that even I cannot use the phone with one hand to text someone. The phone just overbalances forward and due to its slippery smooth casing, it feels like it is going to fall from your hands. I have to hold the phone with two hands to text.

I told the firm I bought the phone from this, and obtained a full refund.

That is my honest appraisal of this phone.

Phil Edwards.
North Wales.

(Please excuse any spelling mistakes!)


30cc PETROL LEAF BLOWER, VACUUM, MULCHER - UNBEATABLE VALUE!
30cc PETROL LEAF BLOWER, VACUUM, MULCHER - UNBEATABLE VALUE!

59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 30cc Petrol Leaf Blower/Vacuum., 15 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am a maintenance person for a property development company. Part of my duties include removing leaves/litter from an office site in the middle of a town. I was looking for a good leaf blower/vacuum that would meet the following criteria:-

1. The machine would need to be petrol powered due to the large area it would need to be used over.

2. It would need to be as light as possible as I would be using it over a period of approx 1.5 hours.

3. It would need to be reasonably quiet in its operation.

4. It would need to be powerful as sometimes the material it would be collecting (mainly leaves and cigarette butts), is damp.

5. The machine would need to be easy to start and use, as I would be training others to use it in my absence.

After researching several Petrol powered leaf blowers/vacuums, I ordered this machine from a company called "M.J.Tools," - through "Amazon." The machine arrived well packaged and within three days. This was excellent! I could not find a "branded" name on the machine - except for the "M.J.Tools" logo. I guess the machine may be manufactured in the far east (China/Japan/Korea?). This was not necessarilt a bad thing as some excellent machines are made in these countries!. All the parts were present. I was initially disappointed to find the machine's casing and suction/blower tube was made of a hard plastic. I assembles it with reasonable ease - although the tube was a bit tricky to push together. A couple of the smaller nuts and bolts were a bit fiddly to secure as the bolt heads had been made with an "anti - removal" slot. I changed these bolts to ordinary ones - in case the machine needed to be dissasembled at some time in the future. The machine hhas a set of hard plastic wheels near the end of the suction/blower tube. The carrying/use handle is on top of the engine.

The bag is slung under the machine. I had great difficulty in locating the strap on the front of the bag - which was supposed to hook on a catch just under the suction/blower tube. I found that the plastic buckle on end of strap had been stitched onto the strap the wrong way around. The buckle was angled outwards and no matter how I stretched the strap (which would not stretch much as it was made from the kind of nylon car seat belt type of material) it would not stretch enough to slip over the locating catch. I did manage to force it on in the end. (I later decided to put a piece of nylon cord through the end of strap and tie the forward end of the bag to the tube itself - this was easier, and lifted the bag clear of the floor (more on this later).

I mixed the (40 to 1 mixture) fuel (the machine (like most petrol driven blower/vacs) has a "two stroke" engine) in the special container supplied. This was easy enough, but when I shook the container as directed in the instructions, I found the containers cap leaked droplets of fuel out. When I gently tightened the cap, the threads stripped. (I cured this by putting some cling film over the top of container, then screwed the cap on until tight. This worked OK.

I took the machine outside to see how it felt to hold - and to start it up. I immediately found that the machines leaf collection bag hung very low - catching on the ground as I moved the machine around. Also, although the wheels supported the machine well, I was concerned (as found later on) that they held the end of the suction tube to high and at the wrong angle to the ground. Also, the wheels prevented one from "swinging" the machine from side to side when in use. I persevered.

The machine started very easily - much easier than the previous machine I's used. the noise was reasonable and no worse than the previous machine I'd used.

I put on a set of ear defenders and safety goggles and went out to try the machine on the office site mentioned above.

I immediately found that the end of the machines tube was to high from the ground (due to the wheels), and at the wrong angle (due to the length of the tube being too long) to the ground to make it as efficient as it could be in picking up leaves or cigarette butts. I had to either rev the engine much higher or tilt the machine at a higher angle to enable it too collect the leaves. Revving the engine was out of the question due to the location, and holding the machine at a steeper angle was too awkward and tiring. I was very dissapointed. The one very positive aspect of using this machine was that its blower element worked very well indeed. The blower was activated by simply moving a lever on the side of the machine. Even at a low speed, it easily blew leaves and litter into a pile. The machines engine speed could be altered very easily, as it has a finger trigger type throttle lever right where your index finger is on the handle. The bag is easy enough to empty too. However, I was dissappointed with the suction side.

I must point out that I was using the machine to collected leaves (and cigarette butts) from hard concrete paving flags and tarmac surfaces. I do not know how the machine would perform in picking up leaves etc, from a grass surface.

After using the machine like this for over an hour, I was exhausted. I did not think that I could leave the machine for anyone else to use as it would prove too difficult to pick up leaves etc.

I tried the machine again the following week - in the hope that I would find that I had been using it incorrectly in some way. It was the same. Very inneficient in use - unless one held it at a steeper angle.

As I have an engineering background, I took the machine into my workshop and looked at it carefully. after careful deliberations and measuring, I decided to make some alterations. I cut three inches off the end of the suction/blower tube (which included removing the wheels). I was careful to cut the tube on a much steeper angle so that when being carried, the machine naturally hung at a more level angle with the ground - and about an inch above the ground. I smoothed the edges of the cut tube, and applied some heavy duty tape to protect the cut end of the tube - as it would now being catching the ground occasionally.

I knew by making the alterations, I would be invalidating the guarantee.

I tried the machine out the following week and it worked perfectly. I have trained up two other people to use the machine and they have reported that it works fine.

In conclusion,

This blower/Vacuum is an excellent machine. (much better than the previous "branded" machine I usd to use) - but only after I had made some drastic modifications! If the manufacturers had spent a bit more time at the design stage, they could have produced a world beater! Without the modifications I made, unfortunately I feel that I cannot personally recommend the machine.

Phil Edwards. North Wales.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 3, 2013 9:47 PM GMT


Sony Cyber-Shot DSCHX1 Digital Camera - Black (9.1MP 20x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD (discontinued by manufacturer)
Sony Cyber-Shot DSCHX1 Digital Camera - Black (9.1MP 20x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD (discontinued by manufacturer)

2.0 out of 5 stars Sony HX1, 3 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought the Sony HX1 as an upgrade to my Sony H5 (which itself was an upgrade to my Sony H1. Both cameras are excellent (so I expected the same quality of build and ease of use - and good images from my next Sony camera). Before deciding to go for the HX1 I had read many, many reviews, so I expected the image quality to suffer from "noise." However, some of the example photos I saw on various sites on the Internet looked very good, so I thought there is scope to take some acceptable images. I bought the camera through Amazon. The HX1 arrived quickly, and in excellent condition as advertised. It looked a very nice camera indeed, with a very similar control layout to a typical SLR. I immediately inserted the battery, memory card and switched on! The startup noise was as horrendous as described in many reviews - even my wife looked surprised! I can only desccribe the startup noise (and button press noise) noise was a kind of tinny synthesizer twang. I quickly delved into the menu and cancelled the noise altogether (I later tried the medium and low settings, but they were just as annoying). I have left the startup and shutter noise off. I took a few indoor shots which proved dissapointingly "noisy" and very softly focussed. I tried adjusting various settings, which didn't seem to make much difference. The "easy" mode gave about the best indoor results. I decided to wait until daylight. Over the next few weeks I took many outdoor photos with the HX1 (in various weather conditions). Whils the photos were not too bad viewing at base size on the computer, if cropped or enlarged they became noisy, and almost all were softly focussed - nowhere near as clear as my H1 and H5 (even at their basic settings). I went on the internet looking for hints and tips to improve the image quality on the HX1. The various "tweaks" have improved the images to an acceptable level, but again, nothing to compare with my H1 and H5. I'm going to persevere with the HX1, as it is a nice camera to hold, and to operate. The battery life is good, and the menues easy to operate - the settings menue does take about 2 seconds to access. The 10 images per second mode does take 17 seconds to write to memory, but I personally didn't find this a problem. The shutter button is very sensitive - you only have to rest your finger on it and very, very carefully put slight pressure on it to get the camera to focus. In good daylight the HX1 focuses very quickly indeed. Understandably(as does my H1 and H5) it "hunts" a little in poor light. I will update this review when I've had some more experience of the camera. As present though, I feel that I cannot recommend the HX1 as a "good" camera. P. Edwards. North Wales.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 2, 2013 1:17 AM BST


Visionary WETLAND 8x42 Binoculars
Visionary WETLAND 8x42 Binoculars
Offered by T2 Enterprises Ltd
Price: 67.89

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for price, 6 Jun 2012
I would agree with the the three previous reviewers. I recently bought a pair of these 8x42 roof prism binoculars for bird watching at my local nature reserve, and have found them to be of excellent optical quality,giving very clear, crisp and bright images almost to the edges of the lenses. The field of view is reasonably good at 6.3 degrees (330ft at 1000 yards). They are excellent for bird watching, and general use. As the images are so bright you could also use the binoculars for general star gazing. I have quite big hands, but have found these binoculars comfortable to hold, and because the magnification is only 8x, whatever you are looking at remains steady in the field of view. The centre focus wheel is large and just of the right resistance to make focussing smooth and easy. (There is a tiny bit of play in the focus wheel of my pair - but this doesn't concern me too much). As on almost all binoculars, the right eyepiece focuses individually. Again this focus is adjustment wheel (just below the right eyepiece) is large, knurled and just of the right resistance to make focusing easy, but stiff enough to hold the lens at the position you choose. The rubber eyecups can be screwed out to various distances to make viewing comfortable for spectacle wearers. The objective lens covers are easy enough to peel off with one finger, and are held captive to the binocular by a little rubber strip. The eyepiece lens covers are joined in middle by a rubber link, and they can be attached to the binocular strap to prevent you losing them. They are a little stiff to peel off. The binocular strap is thin and not very long, but as the binoculars are fairly light (but heavy enough to make them feel solid and substantial in your hands), the strap doesn't dig into your nexk when carrying them for long periods. The case is made of a soft lightly foam padded material, again with a short strap (which is not long enough to go over your neck and shoulder). I don't think it would give the binoculars any protection if they were accidentally dropped onto a hard surface. (this is the only reson I've given a rating of 4 stars instead of five!)(I put the binoculars in my large camera bag, so don't use the case). Finally, the binoculars look very professional, feel vey comfortable to hold and use, and most importantly the optical quality is excellent. Normally I would recommend anyone to try a binocular in your hands (as I managed to do before I bought these), but now I have used them, I think they would be comfortable for most people - young or older. I have no hesitation in recommending them. Phil Edwards. North Wales. UK.


Raynox DCR-2025PRO 2.2x High Definition Telephoto Conversion Lens
Raynox DCR-2025PRO 2.2x High Definition Telephoto Conversion Lens
Offered by Lovely Gifts
Price: 165.02

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Lens!, 2 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought the Raynox DCR-2025Pro 2.2x lens through Amazone in mid May this year. I had agonised over whether to upgrade my Sony DSC-H5 digital camera to a Sony HX1, or buy the Raynox lens. As the H5 has all the features I need, and takes very good photos, I decided to keep it and go for the Raynox lens. (All the reviews I'd read gave the lens a good write up). I tested the lens on my H5, and it does give very clear and crisp results. It appears to actually reduce the "purple" fringing which I sometimes get when taking photos against a bright background. I have also tested the lens against a Sony HGD-1758 1.7x teleconverter which I own. The Raynox does indeed produce clearly observable better images. I tested the Raynox on a Sony DSC-H1, and a Panasonic FZ7 camera. It produces exellent images on both cameras (The Panasonic FZ7 images are particularly crisp). The body of the Raynox appears to be made largely of a hard plastic and is much lighter (350 grams) than the Sony VCL-HGD 1758 (530 grams). I don't know if the Raynox lens elements are made of glass, but whatever these are made of, the quality seems to be superb. The threads of the lens and its adaptors are made of plastic, so you need to be careful when attaching it (to prevent any risk of cross threading). All in all, I am very, very pleased with the quality of the Raynox, and obvioulsy with the excellent photographic results the Raynox 2025Pro 2.2x lens gives, and would recommend it as a well worth accessory for people who own any of the above mentioned cameras. If any readers would like to see some of the images I took with both lenses, I would be happy to provide them - Just contact me through Amazon. Kind regards, Phil Edwards. North Wales. United Kingdom.


Panasonic DMC-FZ7  Digital Camera (discontinued by manufacturer)
Panasonic DMC-FZ7 Digital Camera (discontinued by manufacturer)

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Panasonic FZ7, 24 Nov 2011
Although the Panasonic FZ7 is "old" by todays standards in digital cameras, it still represents excellent value for money, and is a great way to enjoy photography.

I recently bought an FZ7 (for 80.00 inc P+P). The FZ7 has full manual control over aperture and shutter speed. It's great for experimenting with different settings as you get to know the camera, although it also takes excellent photos in the "auto" mode. Battery life (with a 1428mAh battery) is excellent. You can download a free manual to store on your computer and print off each page as you need it. The camera is not too heavy to carry around all day. It has a comfortable hand grip for your right hand. The controls are easy to reach. The camera is only 6 megapixel so the imgages are very good - and virtually "noise" free in good light. The 12x zoom is great to get thos close ups of bird or animal shots. It also has a digital zoom which takes the magnification up to a massive 48x! but you will lose quite a bit of sharpness. You can adjust the sharpness, colour saturation and contrast - as well as the level of noise control. The camera also has an excellent anti "shake" system, allowing you to take sharp photos at 12x zoom whilst hand holding the camera.

I would totally recommend this camera to anyone who is interested in learning about photography. Five years ago I was bought a Canon 1000D SLR. It was a great camera, but I found its sophisticated controls overwhelming - and it did not have an anti shake system built in. It also only came with one basic lens. The price was over five times what I paid for my FZ7!

I hope you find this brief personal review of help.

Phil Edwards (Mr).


Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III Lens
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III Lens
Offered by BFT TRADING
Price: 129.99

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost as Good as a Tokina 80-400mm Lens!, 4 Feb 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought my Canon EF 75-300mm f4.0-5.6 III lens from an Amazon seller late last year. Used it on my Canon 1000D to take many photos of just about everything. It is surprisingly good. Yes it does "hunt" for focus in poor light (but so my much more expensive Tokina 400mm lens!). The lens isn't image stabilised (neither is the Tokina). My example has a nice smooth zooming action, and manual/auto focus. There is no focus lock on the barrel, so the lens does tend to "creep" open to it's full extent when being carried. It is a nice lightweight lens. I can carry the Canon all day with this lens fitted and hardly notice it. Photos with the Canon lens are crisp, with great colour rendition. I have not noticed any chromatic abberations yet. I find it takes clearest photos when at f8 to f16 range. (in otherwords, in summertime!). I will try and post some examples with this review. For the money, it is great value - and being a Canon lens, it is of good quality.

Regards,

Phil Edwards.
North Wales.


Tokina AF 80-400mm  F/4.   5-5.6 AT-X 840 D  Canon
Tokina AF 80-400mm F/4. 5-5.6 AT-X 840 D Canon

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Lens., 31 Jan 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought the Tokina 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 AT-X-840D lens from Amazon just after Christmas. I already had a Canon (not L series!) 75-300mm f4-5.6 III Ultrasonic zoom lens (purchased second hand rom Amazon in October last year). I have not had much chance (due to weather) to explore the Tokina's full potential, but couldn't resist carrying out a basic comparison test with the Canon Lens. Both lenses are NOT image stabilised. At 1,095 grams (2 pound 6 ounces) the Tokina lens is much heavier than the Canon's 495 grams (1 lb). With the Tokina fitted, my Canon 1000D DSLR weighs 2.2 Kilos (4 lbs 12 ounces). However the camera is still comfortable to carry long distances though. The Tokina lens came with a fitted lens hood, (which is a little bit fiddly to lock into place), You can reverse it and store it on the actual lens. (Hood for the Canon is an extra). The front lens (on both Canon & Tokina) rotate as they focus, however, the Tokina lens hood is fitted with an ingenious sprung rubber wheel, which you press down with your finger, to turn a filter (when fitted). Both lenses are easy to fit onto the Canon 1000D. Both "snap" into focus quickly. The Canon is a bit quieter, but has quite a bit of side to side "play" in the barrel when it's extended (this could be due to wear though). They both "hunt" for focus a bit - when the light is poor - or if one is focusing skyward on a distant bird or aeroplane. (the 1000D camera has a "focus lock" setting which is useful in preventing focus hunting). Where magnification, photo colour quality, and crispness is concerned, (bearing in mind the poor light in which I compared them), the Tokina wins - but only by a small margin. (there is little difference in quality when images are cropped). The Tokina appears to retain a sharper focus much further towards the edges of a picture than the Canon. Also the out of focus background (or "bokeh" as I believe it's called) is a bit more pleasing to look at on the Tokina. On both lenses, one can accidentally touch the focusing barrel as the lens focuses - you quickly get used to positioning your hand correctly. The Tokina has a metal tripod bush and "foot" to mount the lens and balance your camera. The lens also has a "lock" on the zoom barrel, which prevents the lens "creeping" when carrying. It is a bit fiddly to switch on and off. The Canon lens doesn't have a lock, and always fully extends when I'm carrying the camera on shoulder strap. The Canon 75-300 is a little easier to use (mainly because it's lighter in weight). When taking photos of distant subjects both lenses perform much better when tripod mounted. My final thoughts are that although the Tokina lens was quite a bit more expensive, and is much heavier than the Canon lens, I prefer using the Tokina. I am very pleased with its looks, its rugged "feel," and its very good performance.

Phil Edwards
North Wales.


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