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Profile for Brian Needham > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
Brian Needham (Leeds, England)

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Toni Erdmann [Blu-ray] [2017]
Toni Erdmann [Blu-ray] [2017]
Dvd ~ Peter Simonischek
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a wonderful film that repays several viewings, 15 July 2017
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This is a wonderful film that repays several viewings. The nude party scene (not what it sounds like) is touching and hilarious. It has hidden depths. It is a slow burn but massively repays your patience.Fantastic performances.


Mozart: Operas Box Set [Blu-ray]
Mozart: Operas Box Set [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Soloists
Price: £34.99

4.0 out of 5 stars but I have this Figaro blu ray and it is regarded by some as the finest opera recording available, 15 July 2017
Haven't bought the box set, but I have this Figaro blu ray and it is regarded by some as the finest opera recording available. It is worth the money on its own. Fantastic cast with no weak links, and even Don Basilio (the late and lamented Philip Langridge) is of top rank. Dorothea Röschmann is sensational in the show stopping Dove Sono and Porgi Amor and Rinat Shaham makes a cheeky Cherubino.
You can't go wrong with this.


Planet Earth II (4k UHD + Blu-ray)
Planet Earth II (4k UHD + Blu-ray)
Dvd ~ Sir David Attenborough
Price: £29.99

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Have only watched half of this so far. Many ..., 11 Mar. 2017
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Have only watched half of this so far.
Many scenes are visually stunning as you would expect. But the consistency is not entirely even, and there are some oddities - blue shadows in the Arabian ibex section, and in the coat of the jaguar for example.It's as if the white balance has gone awry.
Not too much of a distraction though.
Will watch the standard blu ray later for comparison.
The series itself is tremendous for nature lovers of course.

Added May 26:

Have now watched many times and keep seeing detail I missed originally. It's brilliant.
Just one question, does anyone know why the colour of the flamingos' legs changes from red to yellow?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 13, 2017 8:34 PM GMT


Le nozze di Figaro - 4k Ultra HD Bluray (Blu-ray disc) [2016]
Le nozze di Figaro - 4k Ultra HD Bluray (Blu-ray disc) [2016]
Dvd ~ Wiener Philharmoniker
Price: £24.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An excellent cast and, 11 Feb. 2017
The first, and so far only, 4k ultra hd blu ray opera available, this is an absorbing and enjoyable, if rather serious, rendition of Mozart's masterpiece. An excellent cast and, as the previous reviewer noted, a thoughtful tempo.It is vocally excellent, with few quibbles from me, even though I have been dazzled by the Royal Opera's tremendous production a few years ago with its stellar cast. Luca Pisarone has progressed from playing Figaro to the Count and while he does not have the air of menace combined with a pomposity just asking to be deflated of Gerald Finley in the role, he is a still centre for the ensuing madness. Anett Fritsch wins hearts with the big set-pieces and Margarita Gritskova (Cherubino), adds sparkle and energy.
I suppose we should be grateful that for once, if I can put it delicately, this production realises that a certain maturity in some of the cast is no bad thing; in fact, it's something of a throwback to the early modern age of opera in that respect.
Picture quality in 4k is excellent, especially in the well lit scenes, and sound fine, although it doesn't come out as 7 channel stereo on my system.


Lowepro Lens Trekker 600 AW III Bag for Camera - Black
Lowepro Lens Trekker 600 AW III Bag for Camera - Black
Price: £199.00

3.0 out of 5 stars I was surprised how comfortable this was as a backpack with a d810 and ..., 2 Jan. 2016
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I was surprised how comfortable this was as a backpack with a d810 and 2.8 400mm attached, lamp shades reversed, and a few accessories in the pockets, including a x2 teleconverter. Not too heavy, but a long trek would be be too much, I think. Still, ideal for moving between hides in a bird reserve or around the headland at Flamborough, for example. I feel much happier with the padding between lens and ground, rather than carrying it in the open with the strap(s).
I plan to use it as hold baggage on a trip to Europe, full of the accessories, while the cameras and lenses sit in the cabin, then it will be perfect for short transfers when I get there.


Nikon D800 Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)
Nikon D800 Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nikon d800, 28 Mar. 2013
Thanks to all the reviewers for their valuable contributions. There's much I agree with. I've had mine for few months and it certainly has required some self-education and training sessions, but on the whole I've found it paid dividends. Initially it was eye-opening to see how much detail the sensor captures; you can't always tell from the viewfinder or in live view the finally quality of the image, but stored on the computer the depth is tremendous, even cropped. I think many are finding focus sharpness difficult to achieve, but perseverance will achieve results. The AF can struggle with uncontrasty subjects, and I still find AFC mode slow, but for landscapes there is not much of a problem. Am about to try it out with wildlife in a couple of months.
Would like to thanks Steven Robinson particularly for his comprehensive review, but can I ask what he means by turning AF recompose time to off, as I don't understand.
Each lens I've used needs exploring to establish its potential and limitations and it will take time, but used with a separate spot meter and following the basic rules this camera will actually enhance your skills by making you think about what you are doing, which can only be a good thing.
Am using with aputure coworker remote, which I recommend.

EDIT
just to update, have used camera extensively for landscape, wildlife and micro shots and it has performed brilliantly in pretty well all conditions, mostly taking large fines rather than Raws. I took nearly 1,000 pix of wild bears in Finland in all kinds of light and they have come out magnificently. Even a half-hearted overhead click at a passing white-tailed eagle a huge distance away cropped to a satisfying portrait (using a Sigma 50-500).
No problem with high-speed hand held shots.

This camera has revitalised my interest in photography.

Further edit after about 15 months of use

Have moved on to wildlife photography in a fairly big way, particularly birds, using the Nikon 300mm f4 lens and a 1.4tc. A few technical things that have cropped up along the way: Battery life is hugely improved by turning off the image review in the top menu. The picture controls in the shooting menu make a huge difference. See the Nikon digitutor web pages for details. I am now using neutral with extra sharpening for birds, particularly on or near water. A very natural colour. If you turn on live view and press the lock button just under menu on the rear left of the camera you can preview the effects and scroll through the various options.
In controls menu f2, under multi selector centre button, highlight playback mode and choose zoom on/off, then medium magnification. This enables you to immediately review a picture's focus point and see whether you have nailed the focus, simply by pressing the centre button when reviewing it.
In my view it is vital to select the rear Af-on as the focus button. (controls, f13). You focus with this, then release the button to lock focus. Provided the subject doesn't move or you don't, it will keep focus. I have learned to use autofocus mode c, and single servo for best results (not any of the other tracking options), but I do use focus tracking with lock on ((autofocus a3) with the short setting to reduce the time the camera takes to refocus when something comes between you and the subject.
These are all things that have emerged in the last few weeks, so you can tell how much of a learning curve this has been.
Finally, have found a lens master gimbal head and the Giga T pro II remote trigger essential.


Kettler Sinto P Exercise Bike Upright - Blue / Silver / Grey, One Size
Kettler Sinto P Exercise Bike Upright - Blue / Silver / Grey, One Size

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars early impressions, 10 Feb. 2012
The other reviewers have given a good overview of this product. I've only had mine a couple of days, but my initial thoughts are:
Assembly
Took far longer (2 hrs plus) than my last bargain-basement bike and the instructions could have been slightly clearer. Some words with the diagrams would have been good. Found it quite hard at the end putting on the handlebars and think I used the wrong screws for the plastic collar that holds them on. Have two left over so made a profit. Was always worried that damaging a vital screw would make the whole thing useless.
Quality
Looks very solid, runs well and quietly, seems sturdy.
Computer
A bit irritating to switch from user, calories, distance, time etc. Not too user friendly but lots of features. Calorie count seems lower than the roughly equivalent programmes on the old bike but it's only an estimate anyway. Looks good.
Weight.
Was quite heavy to bring up to a first floor flat with aid of grumpy deliverer.

Looks a good purchase at the moment but we'll see how long it lasts (it'll be used virtually every day).


La Sublime Porte / The Sublime Gate: Voices of Istanbul
La Sublime Porte / The Sublime Gate: Voices of Istanbul
Price: £15.84

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars mesmeric music, 2 Feb. 2012
Played on a high-quality SACD player this has a haunting quality that will repay listening to over and over again. Even the breathing of the woodwind player can be heard and the vocal colouring is exceptional. Very high-quality recording indeed, even when transferred to the iPhone. A revelation.


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