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C. Rabe (Twickenham United Kingdom)

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Sony External Flash Unit HVLF43AM
Sony External Flash Unit HVLF43AM

5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!, 23 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Flash photography is still a mystery to me. My previous experience was always with onboard flash, which quite frankly, made me hate using a flash.

Considering that, not quite sure why I felt the need to get a "proper" flash, but I am glad I did. Being able to move flash off camera, bounce light, diffuse light, add gels, etc, etc, has opened up a new world of photography.

I won't even try to go into any technical details, as I would probably be making things up, such is my understanding of flash photography, but I can say that the item is a quality product, with more features than I know what to do with. Literally.

It is big, and I am rather glad I didn't think of getting it's bigger brother - it's nearly as big as my a65! Perhaps a slight exaggeration, but it is very big.

Even reading the manual, which is actually clear, I was still scratching my head. That is purely down to my poor understanding of the basics of flash photography.

Got some rogue flash gels to go with it, and having some fun. But now it's made me want a 2nd!

72mm TO 77mm STEP UP RING
72mm TO 77mm STEP UP RING
Offered by Dragonfly Optical
Price: 8.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Just OK, 23 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In time I will invest in something more expensive.

It does what it's intended, but I frequently struggle to my CPL off! Panicked first time, but learned you need to be gently, patient, and try as much as possible to distribute pressure. And of course, try not to over-tighten initially.

I would recommend spending more, especially if changing/removing filters quickly is critical.

PicknBuy Pop Up Flash Diffuser with Orange, White and Blue Filter compatible with Nikon, Canon, Fujifilm, Kodak, Konica & Minolta, Lecia, Panasonic, SONY (mostly support see desc) and more
PicknBuy Pop Up Flash Diffuser with Orange, White and Blue Filter compatible with Nikon, Canon, Fujifilm, Kodak, Konica & Minolta, Lecia, Panasonic, SONY (mostly support see desc) and more
Offered by PicknBuy
Price: 5.55

4.0 out of 5 stars Cheap and cheerful, 23 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As I now have a "proper" flashgun, in the form of the HVLF43AM, I didn't want to spend a lot on something for diffusing the onboard flash.

The white does a great job of diffusing what can be really harsh front light form the flash, and instantly makes a photo look better.

Not used the blue and yellow for much of anything, and not sure how useful they would be for correcting light colour in varied lighting situations, but they do at least offer some creative options, though limited.

Build quality? Well, it's cheap of course. Canon/Nikon/etc users can attach the product directly to the camera shoe, but us Sony users have a small bit of extra plastic, which doesn't fit very well to the shoe, and the product is very loose. Having said that, while it gives the impression it may fall off, I don't think it actually will.

In a nutshell, does what it's supposed to, at a cheap price, so nothing major to complain about.

Marumi DHG Super Circular Polarising 77mm Filter
Marumi DHG Super Circular Polarising 77mm Filter
Price: 70.74

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant CPL filters, 4 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
While I am relatively new to the world of interchangeable lenses and filters, I have learned the value of this brand very early on.

I initially bought cheap filters, which was fine for poorer quality glass I guess, but as my lenses got sharper (and more expensive), I found out how much they can really mess up the quality of decent glass.

Played around with the idea of some of the more established, and despite knowing the down side of cheap filters, was not going to pay the cost of something like the B+W. Read some good stuff about Marumi, and thought I would give it a go, and boy am I glad I did.

Still relatively expensive compared to the cheap ones, but reasonably priced I think. Though when you stick them on your lens, and notice how little your image quality is degraded, it becomes very much worth it.

I only have one 77mm, which I alternate between my several lenses, using an adapter for my 72mm lenses, and will one day purchase a proper 72mm (as sometimes can be a pain to get off the adapter).

No doubt a 5 star product.

Samsung SMART NX300 Compact System Camera with 45mm 3D Lens - Black (20.3 MP, CMOS Sensor) 3.3 inch Amoled
Samsung SMART NX300 Compact System Camera with 45mm 3D Lens - Black (20.3 MP, CMOS Sensor) 3.3 inch Amoled
Price: 432.62

13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars By bye Samsung, 3 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It pains me to say I am looking at leaving the system. It has so much going for it. The interface, the picture quality, the size, the speed!

So what's the issue? Samsung's quality control! The first two NX300 cameras I got with the standard 20-50mm kit lens, had definite faults in sensor and touch screen.

I then decided to have on more go, but picked up the kit with 45mm 3D lens this time. The camera itself was fine this time, but the lens had a small chip/bubble on inside element. I ignored this initially, but after not having had it long, and with no much use, a lot of dust particles had also built up in the lens.

This is when I decided to have a look at the effect on pictures. The largest new speck was visible, but I was able to dislodge it. But this is when I noticed that the original chip/bubble was actually the worst offender on picture.

As I could not return the lens itself, I had to return the whole kit. And by this point, I have kind of had enough!

All these issues on top of the huge number of bugs in the system are just too much, and take some joy out of things.

I have picked up a Sony A65, and while it's bulkier, uglier, less intuitive, the SIO sensitivity pales, and the image quality isn't as good, if the darn thing just works, then that will be good enough for me.

I really wanted to stick to NX. It was the best system for me on paper. I am still desperately tempted to try "just one more" camera, but I am tired of returning things.

Samsung SMART NX300 Compact System Camera with 20-50mm Lens - Black (20.3 MP, CMOS Sensor) 3.3 inch Amoled
Samsung SMART NX300 Compact System Camera with 20-50mm Lens - Black (20.3 MP, CMOS Sensor) 3.3 inch Amoled
Offered by MrTronics
Price: 472.00

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too soon for a review? Not really, 4 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I want to do nothing but sing this cameras praises. I really do. I love the NX1000, despite some issues, and want to love this one just as much, but it's kind of hard right now.

I'll start with the problems:
First camera had an issue where the captured image would go all garbled - example at [...]

The replacement camera feels a bit sluggish in comparison to the first, having to sometimes tap the touch screen multiple times to get a response.

Another way it feels sluggish, is on the first camera, using the instant touch AF, I could pretty much instantly take another photo once the review image had gone. Now on the new one I am having to wait until the processing has finished before I can take another. This adds about a couple of seconds. This may not sound like much, but it has made what was a really useful feature to me a bit useless.

The next problem is not really anything to do with a faulty camera - Video!

NX1000 (and I assume NX20/200/210) had a video mode dial. In there you got a proper 16:9 view of what will be captured, and FULL control over settings.

On the NX300, there is no video mode dial, so you have no way of getting a 16:9 preview until you hit record!

At first you may think you get full manual control over video, as in each respective PASM mode, you will get control over aperture, shutter, etc, but you WILL NOT get control over ISO - it's auto and that's that!

There are ways they could address those two issues, but one can't buy a camera on the hopes that they will, and I am posting this as a warning to those it would bother.

Focus still struggles a bit in dimmer light.

Focus still has a tendency to "pump" in video mode, though this seems less of a problem with the 18-200mm zoom.

Are there positives?

I will take the positives from the first camera, despite it's frequent screen/capture corruption issue:

Image quality is fantastic. They really have improved the sensor noticeably.

Focus is fast and accurate. Though this can depend on lens as well (Why do we only get the 20-50mm option here in uk???)

MUCH improved ISO usability - dodgy ground going over 3200 on NX1000, while on NX300, ISO 6400 still very good, and 12800 still surprisingly good as last resort.

Handling - it's a bit bulkier than the NX1000, and makes it much easier to hold, and the video record button is better placed to prevent accidental pressing.

Feels better balanced with some of the bulkier lenses - 60mm macro and 18-200mm zoom.

Video is better overall, despite those issues above, and you now get half speed slow mo at 1080p (if you set frame rate to 25 fps).

At this point, I am unsure as to whether I will keep the replacement, or send back as faulty as well. And then do I get a replacement or refund? I have now invested in several lenses for the system, costing a ton... so I will likely try yet another camera.

Maybe the sluggishness is all in my head, but am positive the first camera was far more responsive. The touch screen is definitely less responsive...

So, if you get a camera without problems, and are not too worried about those annoying video decisions of Samsung, then you will likely be over the moon with this camera.

I am now partly sorry that I did not just go with NX20, despite the nice improvements in general speed and image quality.

I may re-rate this review at some point, but for now, it's 3 stars are very deserved (in my case)
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 2, 2013 8:00 PM BST

Samsung 18-200MM F3.5-6.3 ED OIS Lens
Samsung 18-200MM F3.5-6.3 ED OIS Lens
Offered by DB Technology srl
Price: 557.74

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I like it, 11 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First thing to note: it's pretty heavy.

It does throw the balance of the NX1000 off completely, but I guess that is just part and parcel of trying to get a decent sized lens with OIS.

I did try the 50-200mm, but the OIS was awful for video, which was a large requirement for me. The OIS on this lens is not perfect by any means, but far better than the 50-200mm.

If you are trying to keep the camera pointed at a particular subject, it does a very good job of keeping things steady when zoomed, but if you are trying to track a quick moving subject moving about a lot, you are likely to encounter some skipping when the OIS can no longer correct (hard to explain exactly what I mean). I really need to test slow/medium panning with the OIS on, even if that is something that should probably be done on tripod with OIS off.

I have thus far been happy with the quality of images and video taken (though to be honest the NX1000 is probably not the best choice for video. That title I think belongs to Panasonic)

The zoom is infinitely smoother than on the 50-200mm lens, which had a tendency to stick on the short end of the zoom (50mm) and ended up with the camera being twisted all ways in order to zoom out. On the 18-200, there is a comfortable amount of friction, though still just a bit more than I would like at the short end of the zoom (though nothing bad and I imagine it will improve with use)

Manual focus ring is also smooth, though after so many years of compact and bridge cameras it takes a bit of getting used to manual focus - this is just me though and no fault of lens.

Focus seems much better on this lens over the 50-200mm as well. Though maybe that's just placebo?

There are switches for iFn, auto/manual focus, as well as a little lens lock switch (very useful as this thing when on your camera around your neck WILL extend out with the weight).

Just a quick not on the iFn functionality of these cameras. Personally, I was doubtful, but am actually finding it very handy for a number of things. One thing especially, which I have not seen mentioned ANYWHERE, is the (i)Zoom capability. At first I thought this was a digital zoom, but what it actually appears to be doing is using a lower pixel count and using the full sensor for that pixel size. So if, for example, I set iZoom to 1.4, the picture size is dropped to 10 megapixels, and you land up with a much larger magnification, and it seems without loss of quality (apart from the pixel count drop), unlike a digital zoom which simply crops. It can go up to 2.0, but it drops down to something like 2/3 megapixels (camera not with me right now to check)

I do need to do more testing on this iZoom functionality. To note though, it is ONLY available using the iFn button on the lenses, and is unfortunately not available in video mode.

It is indeed great having a single lens that covers a decent range. Or course, it will probably suffer slightly in comparison to lenses which are not as ambitious, but it certainly makes up for this in versatility.

I really did not want to spend this much on a lens, but I would say it is almost worth it.

Almost? Well, I think it belong more around the 400 to $450 mark, and I paid 540 (less than a week later dropped another 20 :( )

I am really hoping that the NX300 will be out before my holidays in April. I would love to pair that camera with this lens on my holidays :)


UPDATE 11/02/2013
Well, just after writing this review, i went to check it was displaying and noticed that Samsung are currently offering cashback on all their lenses! Effectively meaning I got this for the 450 I thought it was worth :)

However, in my eternal desire to justify more tech, I convinced myself that I was prepared to pay the 550 anyway, so would take the cashback from this and put it towards another lens - in this case the 60mm macro lens, which itself has 100 cashback, and so will cost me only 250 to get :D
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 4, 2013 1:20 AM BST

Samsung NX 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED OIS lens
Samsung NX 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED OIS lens

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably OK for most., 11 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I had fairly limited time with the lens.

I am no pro, but can probably offer some insight that may be useful.

For picture taking alone, I would have been quite happy with the lens. For the price, it was definitely worth a try as it is CONSIDERABLY cheaper than the 18-200mm lens.

The problem? I do a lot of video, as well as photo, and the OIS on the lens really isn't up to the task. Pictures I took ranged form great to good, though the "good" ones were probably more down to my own incompetence, as still learning the system.

I had to end up getting the 18-200mm, which is really unfortunate cost-wise, but a much better all-rounder (will probably be the lens attached to my camera on hols), but the OIS is leagues better (though still not perfect)

Reasons to get this over the 18-200mm:
You don't mind changing lenses often.
You are not really worried about taking video
You really want to save a lot of money

Nikon 1 J2 Compact System Camera with 10-30mm and 30-110mm Double Lens Kit - Red (10.1MP) 3 inch LCD
Nikon 1 J2 Compact System Camera with 10-30mm and 30-110mm Double Lens Kit - Red (10.1MP) 3 inch LCD
Price: 372.97

1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No proper Pal support?, 4 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I had fairly limited time with the camera. I didn't spend any longer than it took to deplete the barely charged battery.

Why? Because they do not properly support PAL. So no 25/50 fps video recording. It does have a setting for clicker reduction, which locks the longest shutter speed at 1/100th. Which just isn't ideal.

For frame rates, you get 30p or 60i. that's it.

Up until now, I have taken it for granted that cameras sold in EU will have this...

The fact that it can do excellent photos and videos is kind of nullified for me due to this, and it's going back.

Silly omission by Nikon, as I could have happily adopted this platform.

Sony MDRMA900.AE Home Headphones
Sony MDRMA900.AE Home Headphones
Price: 277.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 6 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am no audiophile, but I know what I like the sound of and these headphones are just for me.

I really did want to go wireless. I tried some Sony wireless which were dire, and picked up someone elses tele. I also tried some Turtlebeack PX5's, and while these did sound decent and I had no problems with the wireless side, they just had no bass whatsoever, and high pitch sound could be quite grating.

Anyway, I bit the bullet and tried these, though they were out of my preferred price bracket.

I tried a number of headphones in stores, prior to getting these from Amazon. There are some awesome sounding cans out there, but I wanted something open backed, as my ears tend to get hot, and finding decent open cans is hard.

I am coming from Sennheiser HD555's. They were comfy enough, and used to think they sounded good, but after using the TB PX5's, they always sounded muddy every time I used them again.

Anyway, on to the MA900's. I love them to bits. Audio, in my opinion sounds crystsal clear. I think it may be what some describe as clinical sounding, but for me this is the sound I was after.

While I think they sound brilliant for music, most of my use has been gaming, for which they are just phenomenal. Paired with the surround headphone feature of my amp, it's a step up over a surround sound system for positioning.

They have a large sound stage. It really does sound like everything is around you rather than right in your head. And several times I have had to take them off to tell whether I was listening to heaphones or speakers.

A warning about the open-ness of these cans though - they leak a ton of sound! On day one testing, I had it only relatively loud and my other half could hear it quite clearly from the living room.

Another area where these excel is comfort. They are light as a feather, and the pressure on head feels just right for me.

Despite looking rather delicate, I don't think they feel as flimsy as they look, but in comparison to my old hd555's, I do take care when handling them.

Over all, I am extremely pleased with these headphones, and while over budget, I do not have any regrets.and would buy again.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 20, 2013 4:50 PM GMT

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