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Ed Alexander "fromZtoA" (Scotland)

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London Overground: A Day's Walk Around the Ginger Line
London Overground: A Day's Walk Around the Ginger Line
Price: £5.49

5.0 out of 5 stars The walking sidekick gets annoying, along with the namedropping, 20 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you've found Sinclair a bit heavy-going previously, this is an accessible read that opens up a London that all casuals can see and get. The walking sidekick gets annoying, along with the namedropping, but don't let that put you off - very enjoyable read for those who love London.

Sony MDR-ZX110 Overhead Headphones - Black
Sony MDR-ZX110 Overhead Headphones - Black
Offered by amy's Schätze
Price: £10.65

4.0 out of 5 stars very decent budget sound if you can bear the pain, 20 Dec. 2015
Not very comfortable at all - the band tension is too tight and the earpads are far too small. But for the price, the sound and build quality is actually excellent. Cord could be longer if you're on a PC, but ideal for mobile use.

Sony NEX5NKB Compact System Camera Zoom Kit - Black (16.1 MP, SEL 18-55mm Lens)
Sony NEX5NKB Compact System Camera Zoom Kit - Black (16.1 MP, SEL 18-55mm Lens)

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 5N comparison with 4/3 and FF, 10 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Firstly, the battery takes 4hrs to charge. And then an additional 24hrs for the internal battery to remember date/time and menu settings. This makes the camera appear faulty - it's not, just sony not spelling it out - see below.

Secondly, the shutter wouldn't release after full battery charge. Removing the lens and re-attaching dropped the shutter and all OK after that (apart from date/time and some menu items which wouldn't stick until the internal had been charged from the main battery 24hrs later). Not a good start. Most of this unexpected "fault" is alluded to in the Instruction book - on page 84!

Excellent dynamic range and no noise at 100asa. For an APS-C sensor at this end-of-line price - utterly amazing. 11/10.

Fragile - about average for a £360 camera - at the full launch price of £600, not great. One bump would probably kill it. It's not a NEX7 or Fuji X-Pro. But at this new low price, can't expect more. 7/10

Very poor initially - but only takes a day or so to get the hang of it. But the touchscreen was switched off within 30 mins. 5/10

Despite sony's claims for use in bright sun, the screen is no better than any other I've tried - i.e., useless in bright conditions. The EV1s viewfinder is looking like a necessity.

Kit Lens
The 18-55 is pretty good for a kit lens, but as expected suffers from tragic edge resolution. Centre is great though, and with some cautious Photoshop smart sharpening (50/1/lens blur) - it's not bad at all. Legacy lenses/FF lenses/A-mount lenses via an adaptor would solve this - many examples of 5N users doing this on the web. 6/10

Comparison with Olympus E-30 and 12-60 f2.8
The old olympus 12mp sensor is much better than my EOS 5D mk1, and the Zuiko 12-60 is I think the best zoom lens ever made. But the NEX 5n, even with the average kit lens, beat it by a big margin. Not the 12-60's fault - just the sensor in the E-30 is no match for the 5N in terms of dynamic range and sharpness. For the Canon, the 24-105L is a match for the sony 18-55. Maybe I just got a bad example of the 24-105, but the cost/performance ratio of the Canon combination is the lowest between these 3 cameras, comparing jpgs from the same view. This is the effect of sensor technology moving in big jumps over the past 4 years.

Comparison with Canon EOS 5D mark 2 and Zeiss 35mm f2
Pitching a mid-range point-and-shoot against a full frame pro camera and a top-notch lens is unfair - but here's my opinion.

1 Build, user-friendliness, viewfinder, precision, openness of images, etc - clearly the canon/zeiss wins.

1a Dynamic range of sensor - Nex5n wins. Lens sharpness - as expected, Zeiss wins, but with specific caveats (relating to landscape photography only - see below).
1b Securing depth of field is one of the main factors in landscape photography. FF for the same equivalent APS-C focal length needs approx. 2 stops more - i.e., f16 on FF is only f8 on APS-C.
1c An IS lens definately helps when hand-holding. And this is where it gets tricky with FF and non-IS lenses - to achieve the same depth of field as an APS-C sensor, needs 2 stops slower shutter on a FF. This can make the difference between hand-held on APS-C... and needing a tripod on FF to give a guaranteed sharp image. Or a higher ISO, which on the Canon is an issue beyond 400ASA in terms of noise and photoshop processing, even in 16-bit.

With a proper lens/adaptor (Zeiss M-fit 25mm f2.8 Biogon, or 24mm f1.8 sony zeiss, for example) this cheap and sometimes cheerful P&S would provide superb results - and I think nearly rival the EOS 5D mark 2 for IQ (I know the 5N is 16mp compared to 21mp, but 16mp seems to be the sweet spot when using legacy FF lenses on an APS-C sensor). But IQ is only one factor - the Canon provides images with an analogue feel, which the sony just can't match - I recognise this is subjective, though. Still, at a fraction of the price, the NEX5N is a total bargain.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 23, 2012 3:00 AM GMT

Bose ® Companion ® 20 Multimedia Speaker System
Bose ® Companion ® 20 Multimedia Speaker System
Price: £179.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars surprisingly hi-fi-like sound quality - but beware spotify, 20 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My first imac powered external speakers, and naturally a big improvement over the built-ins.

But - and I'm digressing here I know - as I use Spotify premium mostly, I was hugely disappointed with the sound quality compared to the same tracks on iTunes. Simply, the sound from iTunes through the Bose Companion 20s is vastly superior to Spotify - the sound comes alive, is dynamic and crystal clear (OK, after a very minor tweak to the iTunes equaliser settings). So, although this is not a criticism of the speakers as such, and may not be relevant to a lot of users, the Bose do show up quite badly low quality sources that just aren't apparent when using the built-in speakers.

small form factor - excellent detail and bass - good stereo imaging - reasonably well-made - can go way loud without too much distortion - control pod useful.

slightly sibilant treble - messy cable clutter - crap 3.5mm soundjack, which crackles when touched - shows up the inadequacies of Spotify premium big-time.

note - the comparison is with the same tracks from iTunes imported into Spotify premium via the Spotify Import Playlists option - tracks from Spotify themselves also sound equally dead. A Spotify sound equaliser, (a much requested feature), may help solve the sound quality issue at a later date.

The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD] [1969]
The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD] [1969]
Dvd ~ Gillian Hills
Offered by NextDayEntertainment
Price: £9.49

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Alderley Edge mystic, 19 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Several reviewers have already laid out The Owl Service more elegantly than I can. I can only reiterate - this is, along with Potter's Pennies From Heaven and Burnham/Ray's Children of the Stones, a shining moment in independently-minded british tv broadcasting from the 70s (OK first broadcast in 1969 in mono but I saw it last in colour in 1978). It has aged well - good yarns never go out of date, whatever the age of the supposed "target audience". They think we're all remedial now and can't handle complexity of narrative and theme, let alone ambiguity.

There's a welcome little booklet with the double dvd, and a superb period interview with its much underrated writer, Alan Garner, in the extras. Kudos to network for bothering to include these items.

I thought the original film grading could have been much improved - lots of underexposed / overexposed scenes that could have been recovered with modern digital processing - maybe this is part of the charm for some though. And it's not PC - slightly too much flesh is shown for the weather conditions. Depth and breadth is what you get if you look past these flaws though.

Trivia - the father/stepfather played by Edwin Richfield is also the very annoyed government minister in Quatermass and the Pit (took me a couple of nights to remember where I'd seen him last.)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 14, 2014 12:55 AM BST

Savage Messiah
Savage Messiah
by Laura Oldfield Ford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.99

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a london exposed as a no thank you, 6 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Savage Messiah (Paperback)
A staunch walk through londons sleeping, despised by the likes of BoJo. A past and present some choose to ignore, as if, something better is happening elsewhere, just round this corner, it'll be all right, don't look left or right. A book Boz and his illustrators would have appreciated and understood. Highly recommended if you are interested in Londons calling.

London / Robinson In Space [1994] [DVD]
London / Robinson In Space [1994] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Patrick Keiller

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those who like this sort of thing..., 2 Sept. 2010
...London and Robinson in Space remain the defining documents of Britain in the 1990s. If you like hollywood blockbusters or buddy movies, perhaps like the customer who rated L/RiS 1 (miaow), then clearly this twinset is not for you. For everybody else with a brain and an interest in the politics of place... if you've not seen them... it'll change you.

The Jonathan Meades Collection [DVD]
The Jonathan Meades Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jonathan Meades
Price: £13.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious effigy of a time past, not so long ago..., 28 Aug. 2010
Meades does topography like no other. Well not like Betjeman nor Auden and so, so much good transpires that is new, even though now 20 years ago, later, we discover what we have lost in this short time under Major/New Labour. There is no downside, despite the loss of breadth as others have said. Meades is pithy and angular and buffonishly clever where others are dried-up sticks with umbrellas sticking out of their anoraky rucksacs - uck.

My favourite scene - Get High - the divers, where the camera stops panning as they enter the water: a second later the droplets from the splash slo-mo'd, backgrounded with Out of Africa soundtrack.

You're not likely to see this kind of quality anytime soon on Sky (let alone the blinded BBC) so as an old self-proclaimed sage on these matters take it from me - this is apogee.

Childhood's Hill
Childhood's Hill
by Marjorie Wilson
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a powerful poem to edinburgh's 20th century, 11 April 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Childhood's Hill (Paperback)
If you are aware of Edinburgh's hidden suburban life, Childhood's Hill will be of great interest to you. If you are fascinated by time, place, memory and insight into the 20c's lifespan, seen from the edge, here also is value. Just a memoir, yes - but deep enough to bring you from afar to this endlessly fascinating city of Edinburgh.
Comment Comment | Permalink

Psychogeography (Pocket Essentials)
Psychogeography (Pocket Essentials)
by Merlin Coverley
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a very useful introduction to a particular area of p-g, 30 Oct. 2009
Despite Pilgrim's mostly accurate (but rather unkind) review, this is an engaging introduction to psychogeography's London/Paris-centric literary aspects. If you take it as a good analysis of this one facet, you'll be more than well enough rewarded. Time for "updated and enlarged" Mr Coverley?

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