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The Veho Muvi Pro DV mini camcorder is a marvel of modern tech. Utilising some pretty clever ideas to creat what must be one of the highest quality mini cameras available today. Ok so it doesn't have the superior quality of a GoPro HD, or the versatility of a dedicated DV camcorder but it does offera convenient and hardwaring option that you will be happy to keep wit you at all times. Just in case you need it.
I bought my MUVI for a mountain biking holiday to Morzine, figuring that I wouldn't get many chances to thrwo myself down an ALP on a borrowed £3500 mountain bike why not record the events for posterity.
Included in the box was the camera itself, 4GB micro SD memory card (only 2GB is included in the non pro version) as well as a number of useful mounting accesories, bungee straps, memory card case, instructions and two versions of USB to mini USB for charging and data transfer.
On the outside the controls are well laid out and simple, with switches for power on/off and VOX (voice activated recording) mode on/off. Up top is a dual colour LED to indicate power/recording status and a push button for start/stop recording. The Main body is metal and feels solid, you can see it is held together with screws and not glued like the cheap copies. This is a well made little camera.
A full charge via USB takes approximately 2 hours and completion is indicated by the charge light going off. Veho claim that the MUVI can sit in standby mode for 250 hours. In my experience, i prefer to charge it fully before any use to ensure maximum recording time.
In total, the Muvi or Muvi Pro can record for up to 2 hours on a single charge. More than enough for most needs i think. Though this is exactly the reason I have two, so i can record more when away from a power source.
Every 30 minutes the recording will save itself as an AVI file (about 800mb per 30 mins) to prevent you losing everything if power is lost before saving.
Now on to quality.... In every way you get what you pay for, AVI format is ok, its perfectly watchable on sites like youtube but if you're expecting 'high resolution' to mean high definition prepare your self for a shock. That said the quality is very watchable, contrast is very good for such a tiny pinhole camera and with a class 10 Micro SD card the frame rate is very smooth. I see no difference in frame rate between the regular and pro versions, buy the Pro if you need a 4GB card.
As far as the sound quality it is very very good when used indoors, where the VOX support allows it to start recording whenever 65Dbs or louder is heard, this is great for recording lectures or secretly recording conversations (if that's your thing) but when used to record downhill MTB runs the sound was completely lost to wind noise. Be warned it will sound like you came down the whole mountain shouting "Ooooooohhhhhhhh" and your friends will laugh.
In conclusion, this is a great bit of kit for biking, driving and general action sports where taking a more expensive or heavier camera is not an option. Its easy to charge and is self contained. Plugging into any PC (or iPad via adapter) allows you to empty the card and charge with no additional software.
At full price I would leave it alone, at half price (amazon) its a bargain.
Hope that helps.
First off. Please ignore any review you read of this lens that judges it by its materials instead of it's performance.
Nikon have pulled of an absolute miracle with this lens, this is something they've done a couple of times before with high quality, low cost lenses that they produce in the thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands. Get it right and do it once seems to work here.
The 55-200 is a DX only lens meaning it will not perform on a full frame camera without cropping the image sensor and producing dark edges (except bizzarely at 80mm but ignore that). This lens wortks an absolute treat with all small format nikon DSLR's and produces image quality that rivals some very expensive competitiors.
For a start it uses ED glass, Nikons 'Extraordinary low dispersion' glass, this ensures clear light transmission and reduces abberation and distortion. Secondly it features the AFS system, not the full time manual focus that lets you overide the auto, but a quiet. efficient silent wave motor that is fast, accurate and able to keep up with any camera body's follow focus capability.
And now for the piece de resistance. VR. What a joy VR is, nikon claim that it will allow you to shoot handheld at up to 3 stops slower (in shutter speed) without losing clarity. This works, so well in fact that it's hardly ever worth turning it off. This ability to shoot handheld in otherwise impossible conditions makes this one of the first lenses I grab on the way to shoot any long distance subjects. It is worth remembering however that VR will not stop motion blur, that is motion from shooting a fast moving subject at too slow a speed. Only blur from camera shake. Personally this allows me to happily shoot at down to 1/4 second instead of 1/60th. A huge step up.
Quality wise the glass is just as good as many higher priced lenses, it's not a pro lens but it is made to a very high standard. The construction is all plastic, to keep costs down so the lens feels light and easy to handle. Unfortunately the lens mount is also plastic so you MUST be careful not to grab the camera by the lens as you may snap the mount off. And that would be a terrible waste of such a fine piece of equipment.
The lens itself features two switches, one for Auto/Manual focus and one to turn VR on/off. Most people can just leave these alone and go shoot.
The manual focus ring is right at the front of the long barrel and is fairly sensitive, using only about a quarter turn from close to infinity. Clearly designed with auto in mind.
With a 52mm thread this will accept most standard filters and if your kit is this, the 18-55 kit and a 50mm prime your filters will be interchangable.
Bundled with this lens you should get a front and rear cap and a lens hood. The hood prevents unwanted light bouncing into the barrela and cuusing low contrast images or flares. Make sure yours comes with the correct hood as it is a bayonet fit and expensive to replace on its own.
I picked my 55-200 VR ED up for £99 with postage which was a bargain. Expect to pay up to £149, you'kll be glad you did if you're looking for an everyday telephoto lens. It's not tough enough for pro work but the quality is outstanding.
When I first bought my Sigma 17-70 OS HSM DC for my Nikon D80 I couldn't wait to try it out at a wedding. The 2.8 aperture promised easy shooting at low light and I was expecting it to blow my plasticy 18-55 kit lens out of the water.
The first thing I do with all my lenses is check accuracy of focus. Unfortunately, although the autofocus was super fast and silent (the HSM motor really does it's job) the lens consistantly back focused for me, that is the subject in the focus sensor was slightly out and the area behind it was sharp. Sigma were willing to fix this for me but required my camera too for a 3 week turnaround. If your buying second hand and you need this be aware that it may cost up to £50 to do this, beware if buying second hand without a returns policy.
The other misleading stat on this lens is the 2.8 maximum aperture. Yes it will shoot at f2.8 ( a whole stop more than f4) but it quickly starts to stop down as you go through the zoom range, by 20mm you're at f3.2, by 24 you're at f3.5. As you can see the advantage over much cheaper kit lenses is quickly lost.
I found that wide open at 17mm this lens was so soft it was almost unusable. I see little point in paying a premium for an f2.8 lens if it must be stopped down to f4 before it starts to get sharp.
With all that said there are some great positives to this lens....
First off, the OS (Optical Stabilisation is Sigma's version of VR) is exceptional, I could shoot hand held shots at 1/4 of a second and the anti shake trickery kept everything sharp and blur free. This really is a revelation, not quite as quiet as my VR lenses but very effective.
Secondly this lens is big. Big and impressive, with a 72mm filter thread and a reversible flower petal lens hood it looks intimidating and very professional indeed. This does mean that it looks a little odd matched to a small form DX camera but with a Full frame or DX with battery grip it really look the part.
Overall I would have been thrilled with this lens if the autofocus had worked better with my D80, idf you are buying new from a shop, try before you buy and keep trying till you get an accurate copy. When I used manual focus the images were crisp and sharp when at f4 or more.
If only that focus worked a little better.
This Nikkor 50mm 1.8 AFD is one of the first lenses I owned for my DSLR's. Its remains the cheapest lens I have bought so far and optically, although it has no stabilising trickery or high end super glass it is still my best performing lens by a mile.
Lenses can be broadly split into two catagories - Zoom and Prime lenses. A zoom lens gives you the most flexibility of composition in one lens by comprimising quality across the range and giving you the best it can at all focal lengths. A prime lens is fixed at one focal length (in this case 50mm), this does mean that to compose your shot you must move. Using your actual feet! This also means that each piece of glass is designed specifically for that 50mm and the result is quite frankly staggering.
Aperture is selectable between f1.8 - works in dim light, small depth of field, soft images and f22 - needs bright light, huge depth of field, super super sharp.
For those new to aperture and depth of field I wont go into too much detail but suffice it to say this lens will let you shoot in very dim light and/or throw the background of a portrait right out of focus offering a really pleasing proffesional effect.
On a full frame (FX) camera this lens will be roughly the same perspective as the human eye making it an ideal walkaround lens. On a DSLR (DX) it will be the equivelent of a 75mm or short telephoto lens. Perfect for portrait photography.
The lens itself is incredibly compact, my only complaint with it is that it can look a bit uninspiring when at a job, clients like to see a huge stacked lens with an 82mm filter or similar because that means you're a pro. Shame as this lens far outperforms many others 3 or 4 times the price. Nikkor has got it right here.
The front element does not rotate during focusing allowing the easy use of 52mm polarising filters. I use a 52-72mm step up ring so I only have to buy one set of 72mm pro filters to fit all my lenses.
As stated the lens is fixed length with an aperture ring near the mount to manually select the f number. There is a small lock button to fix it at f22, this must be selected when mounting a Digital SLR with aperture control for it to work. If you dont lock it at f22 you'll get a 'FEE' error until you remember to push the switch.
The 'AF' designation shows that this is an auto focus lens. AF is fast, near silent and very accurate, amazing performance for this price. The 'D' shows that with modern nikon digital cameras it will relay accurate distance to subject information for use with the metering and flash modes. A must if you want to use your camera on any P or auto modes.
Don't be put off by the small size of this lens, it really is a winner. I own £4/500 lenses and this is still my choice if I can only carry one, its light, accurate and fast at all light levels.
As an alternative, consider the Nikkor 50mm 1.8G lens. This is a larger digital only designated lens that has no focus ring. I looks more the part but is twice the price for no real gain.
If you are thinking about buying one of these, stop thinking, buy one immediately. You wont regret it.
The reason that snappy cameras tend to produce photos that look like cardboard cutouts is that the flash is so close to the lens that shadows all move away from the center of the shot. This is also the main reason for red-eye in photos. The flash is seen reflected in the eye.
The idea behind a flash bracket like the FL-BK is that by moving the flash away from the lens the light will look more natural more professional results can be seen instantly. You can see this on any news channel, every paparazzi will be using one.
In order to take advantage of this you will need a camera with an external flash. Typically an SLR with a hotshoe mounted flashgun.
The FL-BK features fittings for both the hotshoe of the flash and the camera body itself. Both are sturdy and once tightened will allow you to confidently hold it all in one hand. With the added advantage of looking like a pap and being able to get into various events and parties. Really, try it. Mount your camera and flash on one of these and just walk right in saying 'I'm a photographer'. You'll be surprised.
On the downside, the FL-BK does not incorporate a hotshoe extension cord meaning that unless you use a wireless flash system such as Nikons i-TTL you will need to mount a separate cable between the flash and the base, and then to the camera. Its not a big deal but worth considering. Is it worth it to move your flash so little?
For me, its a handy thing to have in the camera bag and know it's there if i need to carry a flash around on a cord but have a hand free, but i use it less and less. Opting for handheld flash placement for ease of use and versatility. That said. If you want one, i cannot recommend this one enough.
I picked mine up for £15 and it does its job, its weighted very nicely and the grip is easy and comfortable to hold. Finished in piano black it looks cool too and goes with my camera nicely. The screw mount for holding the camera can be moved along a slit in the base to fit different widths and preferences and the soft base holds the camera firmly and without damage.
If you see one of these cheap i'd pick one up, especially if your new using external flashes.
I've always suffered from chapped lips, its annoying and painful so I always used to carry a little tin of vaseline. My girlfriend swears by Carmex so I used hers. Then again. Then I stole it. Like the title says its addictive.
The packaging itself is very bold. A bright yellow tube with bright red logo and with matching top. The brand is picked out in white with easy to read black text on the rear. I suspect the choice of colours was at least in part to make it easy to spot. It's only a 10g tube and its great that i can easily find it in a large bag or on a tabletop. The tube incorporates a rounded applicator tip which dispenses a thin stream of balm. This can then be used to spread rather than a finger if you have dirty hands or are wearing gloves, making this a much better choice than a vaseline tin.
Carmex is available in two forms. When bought in a tub it is quite thick, almost waxy. Here the balm looks and feels like vaseline, but differs in its aroma and effect. The added menthol is really evident and is very pleasant. I have mentioned that is addictive, obviously it isn't really but i have found that using carmex rather than vaseline means i need to use it more often. It feels more waxy than greasy, and perhaps is absorbed more quickly. Maybe its just me, fortunately a tiny tube goes a long way and you can expect to misplace and replace your tube before you use it up.
Overall i would say this is a top product, i have one in my bag at all times.
All those years ago apple decided that sony had cornered the personal music player market for too long and launched the ipod. Little did we know that 'ipod' would become the new walkman. You never ask if someone has a 'personal mp3 media player' you ask if someone has an ipod.
Apples launch version was a chunky item, but even so it looked so cool. The use of a standard laptop hard drive meant that the ipod could be heard to 'spin up' on startup. Unfortunately this was also their main weakness and the cause of most of these breaking after a year or two of use.
This version was pre click wheel meaning the volume and jog buttons are physical buttons surrounding the main wheel (which actually spins rather than being touch sensitive) with the centre button used for menu selection.
Even with a tiny 5GB capacity this little machine revolutionised the way we listen to music.
The small dot matrix screen is easy to read in all light conditions but not a patch on later colour systems. Media is limited to music, with no capacity for movies although the drive could be used as storage for other files.
As this was pre dock connector, the first model featured a firewire plug for syncing with your Mac or PC, a system later dropped in favour of USB connectivity.
These days a player like this is obselete. Too large with not enough memory, but you can be assured if you have one of these, keep hold. Its value will one day great as this is a design classic.
Well done apple for defining a whole generation of personal media.
As someone who does not need to shave every day I would usually just pick own brand products or whatever is on offer when I run out.
This time i decided to treat myself to a whole new regime and as part of it I opted for the King of Shaves Alphagel.
This 150ml squeeze bottle is is green with a clear section at the bottom allowing you to see when you are running low. It stands vertically on its cap so any remaining gel is ready to use and at the right end of the bottle when stored.
The gel is designed for those with sensitive skin for two reasons. It is made with aloe vera and tea tree oil to sooth the skin and it is designed not to foam so you can see where you are shaving.
The gel doea just what it says, with a zesty mint fragrance it helps to wake you up in the morning and leaves you with a fresh menthol feel after. The gel itself is silky smooth and requires the merest amount to cover the face. It does not feel oily but is incredibly slick. With a new blade it offers virtually no resistance to the shave and makes the whole affair effortless.
To me there is a huge difference between this and own brand versions. In the future I will be picking this up, even with a price tag of up to £3.50 its absolutely worth it.
If this tripod was any more than the £1 that you can pick it up for I would say avoid it. At that price it's kind of ok that it won't last as it must be the smallest camera stand i've ever owned.
It's wrong to call Hama's smallest offering a tripod. With no adjustment possible except in a single plane. This stand is set up to work only on level surfaces.
The stand itself is made from lightweight plastic. With two hinged legs and a single leg that fold flat.
Once opened the legs lock back against a stop to present a level surface. A single screw thread hold a standard camera base screw that must be tightened by hand using a small plastic grip. The base itself does have a rubber insert to avoid scratching your camera.
It is a pretty flimsy plastic so only the smallest of digi cameras can be supported. The feet are rubberised but can easily come off and get lost.
After several uses the hinge on mine stopped tightening up and i had to tape it into a static position. As it was no longer convenient to carry i got rid of it.
In conclusion, maybe good for a webcam or other static role, but dont bother adding it to a serious kit.
I Received my Nokia 1800 as part of a deal from one of the 'phones with free gifts' websites. I have an iphone and rather than buying a new one, I could get a free ipad if i signed up to a new phone contract through buymobilephones.
After a quick phone call I was informed that this was the cheapest handset on the market. On auction sites they typically go for £10-15 brand new.
Naturally I was not expecting any wonders but when it arrived in a simple, tiny box. I was rather pleased with this little handset.
The box is a simple blue cube with a picture of the phone and 'Nokia' on the front. It contains, the phone, battery, very stylish mains charger, earphones and instructions. All packaged separately.
My phone is finished in a metallic silver though other covers are available. The first thing i noticed is that it is light and fits very comfortably in the hand. The full colour screen is small but bright and functional and the buttons consist of a 4x4 grid for the number keys, plus two menu buttons and call buttons with a 4 way navigation pad in between. This setup is familiar to everyone and the buttons make a reassuring click as you press them.
For such a seemingly basic phone they have packed a few surprises. The phone features a built in LED torch on top which is activated by a quick double press of the up key. As well as this, using the included headphones allows the decent quality FM radio to play throught the loudspeaker. Add to this a few simple games such as sudoku and solitaire and a talking clock that is frankly quite scary and the £15 price tag is starting to look good.
Although the 1800 doesn't set the world of gadgets on fire, and has no internet access at all, it does offer a sturdy, lightweight capable phone that is cheap enough to keep as a functional radio alarm clock, just in case you need a spare hanset.
Everyone needs a side, whether its 'Commodore 64 or Spectrum 48K', 'Sega or Nintendo' or now 'PS3 or Xbox'?
I know so many people who are hardcore fans, believing their chosen console is the king. The brand to end the console wars with its superior this and it's revolutionary that. These fans will not be torn from their belief, and why? .. Because they bought one.
It seems to me if you bought the Xbox. It's the best. If you bought the PS3, its the best. Hmm.
Personally, I have the PS3, now I would tell you I bought it because it's the best... or is it the best because I bought it?
No, it is the best, at almost everything. Graphically its more capable, it has way more tech built in, its far sexier and has a free online service that makes the subscription service on the Xbox seem laughable as a long term investment. With build in 3D Bluray capability its way ahead of the game for home media hub use. With seamless wireless connectivity without the need for additional cables, add ons or services.
On the flip side. The Xbox has kinnect, and if you happen to be lucky enough to live in a house with an enormous living room with even ambient lighting, this is something the PS3 can't offer. And it does look great. The technology works flawlessly in the right conditions and it is amazing. I wonder how long the romance with kinnect will last. I dont see how serious and complex games can work on this platform but it certainly is impressive. I would now recommend the Xbox and kinnect to parents of young children. The xbox is surely going to take over the wii market here.
The argument seems very simple to me and goes like this.
PS3 wins because it's a better machine.
Xbox wins because its cheaper.
Xbox fanboys, this is your argument, your one and only leg to stand on. The Xbox is cheap..... because it's not as good. That is how market economy works. So congratulations, you win. By saving money.
We are all constantly being told to drink more water. Hydration is good for you. Fact.
Drench is a relatively new brand to the bottled water market. With a clean no nonsense design the logo is big and clear in blue on white. The 500ml bottle is clear with a formed design to represent water dripping down it - a very cool touch in my opinion. Up top the screw top incorporates a spout with a flip open lid.
With the tag line - 'Stay hydrated, Stay drenched' this water really does the same job as any other brand. It tastes of nothing, and does it's job. Although it does contain trace amounts of minerals there are no detectable tastes at all.
Where this brand does win me over is the lid they have chosen. The hinge on the flip top is really stiff and secures the bottle completely. I have no fear that a bit of pressure will pop it open in my bag and ruin everything. This makes drench the drink (or certainly the bottle) of choice.
Bizarrely, Drench seem to actively discourage you from re-using their bottles. In the small print it actually says "We recommend you don't fill this bottle". I wonder what dangers a second use could bring?
All in all, its a win for me, even if it is just for the packaging.
For as long as I remember, if you want to tell the world your a skateboarder, or that you enjoy punk music, you have to wear vans. When I started riding bikes Vans were tough skate shoes able to stand up to anything. Recently I have seen the quality drop as popularity increases, often the case sadly.
I recently spotted these as part of a 2 for 1 in the Vans outlet store. Worth a gamble I thought and I'm so pleaed I did. These classic slip on shoes are so comfortable and seem as well made as any of the old school shoes.
Instantly recognisible as vans, the feature a bold checker pattern with a padded elasticated side and a classic vans sewn tag on the outside.
The sole is a waffle pattern, soft and sticky with good grip but quite thin. You can feel alot through these shoes, i use these just around the house as they're no good for skating or riding bikes.
The only downside of this shoe is that the sole surround is very white, and very sticky, so they do get dirty very quickly. Be prepared to clean them often if you like a shiny shoe!
You may already be familiar with the 'Street Surfer' or 'Wave' that gained popularity in 2010 for its radical design and snowboard like feel. This is 'Razor's' version. A cheaper alternative but still loads of fun.
The board works on two wheels, instead of a 4 like a traditional skateboard. Each wheel is set on a rotating caster which is angled towards the rear of the board. The board is split into two foot pads, these are connected by a strong spring in a rotating axle. With this configuration it is possible to propel the board forwards by snaking it from side to side. so that rear wheel follows the front in a wave pattern.
At first it may seem utterly confusing, I suggest learning with someone who can support you while you get your balance. It is in fact quite easy to pick up, and once you have your balance you can start to exploit this board's unique feature.
The twisting axle means that this board can be 'edged' into turns. Imagine a snowboard as it turns and slides the rear out, or imagine an oversteering rally car. The feeling of carving down a big hill is very similar to that of snowboarding or surfing.
This idea was first seen in the higher quality 'wave' by streetsurfer for around £90
At half the price this razor copy is a very good deal. It uses standard skate bearings and roller blade wheels so you can get spares once you wear them out. Construction is pretty good. It can take a beating as you fall off. The top surface can be a little slippy and benefits from adding more skate grip tape
Unlike skateboarding it is extremely difficult to ollie (jump) the ripstick or perform flip tricks. Some people do but be prepared to fall off alot if that's your aim.
For this money, you have to give waveboarding a go. Its a blast carving round town, but best used on downhill runs where you need not keep putting speed in.
Here i am just browsing dooyoo, looking for no particular thing and i stumbled across this junior tool kit. An absolute favorite of mine as a child that i had completely forgotten about.
What joy I had when i opened this one christmas. This is no toy set, these are real tools. Mini versions yes, but very sharp and most effective.
As a child i was not the victim of all the over protective, germ free, hermetically sealed upbringing that kids have these days and with this box of danger i learned to respect tools and build things that would last.
The box is very sturdily constructed with two hinged doors which reveal racks of tools, these racks pivot outwards to provide access to the tools and hold everything steady in transit.
The box contains:
Saw (yes an actual saw)
I cannot properly describe how fondly i remember this set as a child. It was twenty years ago and i'm amazed its still for sale exactly as it was then. The construction of each piece is of such a high standard. Or at least for 'toys' it is. Under supervision a child will be able to construct all manner of things. I remember having tons of balsa in my room and being told of for all the sawdust.
If you have a child aged 8+ i beg you to buy them this set. At £20 it is great value and i promise it will bring years of joy.
In fact i'm buying a set of these for my nephew right now..