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Clipper, Twinings, Dr Stuarts and PG Tips all have green tea out under their branding but is there a difference? I would say it's more in the way you brew your tea. Okay if you buy the finest macha green tea and stir in some manuka honey, then you may be able to taste differences. For the regular green tea drinkers the teabag goes in the mug of hot water for a few minutes (more than 5-10mins will brew it bitter) then an optional sugar/honey stir in and possibly a drop of milk.
Clipper have a great organic tea range and usually sell large value bulk pack of their tea. It's more economical to buy clipper from your local supermarket and it tastes good. The packaging looks quite unique with simple yet bold graphics & type design in green which draws in the eye. The box itself is made out of card. It seems recycled and has a rough 'natural' feel to it. Inside sealed in a sliver bag are the tea bag attached in couples for some reason. I guess maybe easier for one large pot of tea for more than one person.
If you over brew as I've mentioned you get a harsh bitter taste but a few minutes in hot water and you get quite a mild tasting and refreshing clarity. It's organic using all natural and organically sourced ingredients so you know what your drinking is high quality and good for you too. It has a bit of caffeine in but not a significant amount as coffee does. Clipper is a fair trade company that responsibly resources it's ingredients.
This sturdy and durable leather drawstring lens case is a must have for photographers with small wide angle or TS-E lenses (Tilt/Shift). I use it with my Canon 15mm fisheye in order to protect the body of the lens from nicks and scratches when in use. The lens cap for my fisheye happens to be a slip on cap which does clip securely into place so the pouch has extra usefulness in particular in this respect.
The base of the pouch is leather and therefore robust and hard to tear or puncture. This is what the front of your lens will stop against and being well padded offers good protection for the most important part of your lens. The rest of the pouch is made from a tough yet soft grey fabric which protects the length or body of your lens.
The pouch has a very nice quality to it. You can get all leather cases or hard cases but I see no need unless on an extreme holiday. The pouch fits nicely around other objects in your camera bag due to the material. It pulls tightly together when you do up the drawstring so your lens is unable to worm its way out.
All in all a great investment if you care about the ageing condition of your lenses.
My first DSLR was a Canon 400d which fitted nicely in an in-expensive Jessops bag without any bother.
My first full frame Canon camera needed something a bit bigger.
I browsed and found this exact LowePro bag for DSLRs on Amazon.co.uk and bought it for about £15.99.
It comes with Velcro separators that divide your bag into sections on the inside. To fit my large camera in I had to remove all of these. Even when I did I realised that with a zoom lens attached I would find it hard fitting my camera in and it would have to sit LCD screen facing down.
So I think I may have made the wrong decision buying this size bag. Never the less I still use it. It has a shoulder strap and two side pockets. Both have zips but only one is a proper pouch in a mush as it is an individual pocket you can store batteries or memory card in. The other takes you through to the inside of the bag itself in order for a quick route to what you may have stored inside the bag.
At the top of the bag there is a robust handle made partly out of rubbery plastic. This and the shoulder strap are very comfortable carrying around. The bag clips shut and is very nicely padded with soft material on the inside and so provides some protection against knocking. It has a very thin tuck-in pouch at the front of the bag also for loose pieces of paper. Personally I would have liked a few additional pockets too.
I would rate this bag well despite not being able to house my camera.
When shooting to CF cards I'm generally told that's a good idea only to only use a 8GB or 16GB a time. Therefore if the card somehow fails or gets damaged or lost that at the very least is just one portion of what you've shot. However with 8GB hold hundreds & hundreds of digital photos why would you even need a 32GB CF card?
CF is the standard memory card type for Canon DSLRs which are highly popular while SD cards are usually more for compact cameras. The 7D, 5D II, 550 D, 60D and all the other DSLRs in the Canon range all use it but why do you need so much capacity and is it reliable?
When shooting large fine Jpeg coupled with the RAW setting in some of the DSLRs suddenly you are recorded up to 30MB of information with every photo and if your sports or wild life photographer on a long days shoot this should about cover it. The other reason is video. Canon cameras record 1920 1080p HD footage and typically shooting 40 minutes of video will be about 16GB. If you want 90 minutes you will need 32GB. You also need the record speed of the card to be able to handle the mass amounts of information coming in.
This CF card has the minimum write speed of 20MB/s and a read speed of 25MB/s or 133x speed. So it should be able to handle all the information you need it for in terms of photos & video. It comes with a standard plastic card case which is good for when you carry it around in your pocket. It doesn't come with any data recovery software and has a limited lifetime warranty of 10 years. It tends to work well in most weather condition excluding the extreme. I've worked with it in snow and I'm aware it has a maximum operating temperature of 60 degrees C.
This card very much satisfies my needs and I would recommend it to any photographer.
The Sandisk Extreme III 2GB is a mass storage device capable of storing approx 2GB of information. Photo's, videos or sound files depending what you are shooting with. Canon use CF cards as a primary source of media concerning their DSLR's. I use it when taking still images with my digital camera set to high quality. I an take around 500 images at 4MB each quickly and be safe in the knowledge that Sandisk won't loose my pictures.
This card is a extremely robust with high recording and file transfer. The card has a read/write speed of 20MB a sec so rapid continuous shooting works really well with this card even when shooting RAW with a digital camera. The Extreme range of Sandisk CF cards have a good working reputation of performing in difficult to severe weather conditions. Find yourself in conditions such as torrential rain or cold or heat and this should stand up to it's promise. I've shot on to this card in the Caribbean when the temperature was 40 degrees or so, and also in cold conditions in snow and it's stacked up very well.
It does come with memory recovery software and a un-limited warranty for an extra confidence boost when shooting to the card. It also comes with a small plastic card case but I tend to keep mine in a multi-wallet with my other CF cards.
There are 2, 4, 8 & 16GB Sandisk card in the Extreme III series also available but this one meets all my requirements.
This 4GB memory stick was the first USB flash drive I ever bought. It was on sale in WH Smiths for £8 at the time. Back then not much more than a 16GB was available but a handy 4GB storage device more robust than a CD was very much what I needed.
Since that time I've bought other USB sticks as you do need more and at larger capacities.
The Titanium Cruzer is extremely pocket friendly and feels solid enough to withstand dropping or carrying around for everyday usage without worrying about wear and tear. The feel and appearance of the stick is very slick. Stainless steel shell with a slider which allows you to reveal the USB port connector. This particular feature will wear a little bit over time though. Once you slide the connector out it should click into place until you release it again. However mine doesn't always stay in place as it should and so is pushed in again when trying to physically connect to the port.
When you connect to your computer a orange led light should come on which illuminates the slightly translucent plastic of the slider. This is a nice feature. It's fairly common place these days on Sandisk or Transcend USB sticks. The light also flashes continuously as long as your computer in switched on. It has a key ring hoop on the tip (back end) of the stick so as to attach it to a set of keys or something I imagine. It is small enough to be lost so this is a useful tool.
This USB stick comes with password protection encryption software available for use on the stick in case you have any sensitive material you want to safe guard. You can have so as accessing folders on the stock will prompt who ever is using it for a password. This is something I'm not particularly bothered about and haven't explored to the fullest.
Try not to knock it if it is plugged into the front of your computer tower as this will bend the connector and reduce the lifespan. I still find this Sandisk Cruzer Titanium to be highly useful to carry around in my pocket for when I need to store computer files, photos and information. I recommend it.
When I was first looking for a top video light I came across many cheap £50 top lights from China or India on Ebay.co.uk. After shipping was taken care of there would be an added cost of 30 pounds or so on top. Instead I decided to go with a reputable company that specialized in continuous LED lighting called Lite Panels. They've been around a few years. There products seem well made, reliable and long lasting.
I bought there Mirco light from Amazon.co.uk for £190 which may seem steep departure from ebay price but I figured if something went wrong I would be hard pressed to find someone accountable. If you buy cheap you usually buy twice. Some cheapers lights can flicker or are not properly balanced or have dead leds.
On the front of the package Lite Panels boasts winning a 'lighting of the year' award. The box was a cardboard sleeve with a polystyrene box which slipped out. Packaging was decent.
The LEDs are properly colour corrected for daylight light and the light take 4 AA batteries to run. There is a dimmer nozzle on the top which is extremely handy when subtly adding a bit of light a subject or scene.
The light seems to give you a good hour of constant lighting before a noticable dulling or brightness when the batteries begin to drain. The light comes with an AC adaptor so you can plug it into the mains power supply with you have access.
on the front of the light there are 4 notches in which you can slip in gels or diffusers to alter the light quality & colour. Lite Panels actually provide some gel and diffusion in the box for this purpose.
The light has a hotshoe adaptor for use in conjunction with a video camera or DSLR as this particular 'Mirco' version. I'm very pleased with the quality of light produced. Soft, diffuesed and well balanced. It works great bightening up faces, adding a bit of shine to eye on a overcast day. Also it incredibly light weight and parts of it unscrew making it ideal for over the should camera bags.
Overall I'm glad I bought this as it services me well as a continuous lighting source.
Keenes in a UK eletronic/photographic company that supply cables, DJ equpment, camera equipment and decent photographic lighting. I bought the Keenes 200w studio light for £53 last year from amazon.co.uk
I was wanting something powerful and compact and the light seemed to output around about the right throw and brightness I was looking for. It's hotshoe mounted so it would seem it was made to mount on a professional camcorder. This was quite frustrating at first as it doesn't come with the option to change to a pin so it may be attached separately to a light stand. I eventually got a adaptor from amazon which sorted that problem out.
This light generates a lot of heat so if your in quite close courters then have good air conditioning and be sure to switch it off 5 mintues to handling when you pack it away as the metal will be scorching hot.
The light bulbs seem to blow quite frequently unfortunately and are nearly £20 to replace including P+P. I'm not sure if this is a mains fault in the power supply maybe overloading or a flux. So this ins't necessarily fault of the light itself but I haven't got to the bottom of this yet.
As I've mentioned this is powered by plugging into a main power supply. So a wall plug or power generator.
There is a version of this light that comes with daylight balancing filter which is quite a handy accessory. I use diffussion paper and daylight gel which does the trick but annoying to assemble so I would be partial to buying the filter in the future.
I'm pleased with this light ultimately. I don't think it's the best solution out there by far, but for the price I think it just meets my expectations. There are a few annoying blips but on the whole it's very useful.
There are a few available options for 70-200mm lenses in Canon L lens arsenal. This is lower down the budget spectrum but none the less is a great true L lens that produces incredible imagery. The Canon 70-200mm series is probably the best optically constructed around. Some would say there are certain draw backs using this specific version, the cheapest in the series due to it's features but in the right hands this still can be a powerful piece of glass.
It's not as fast, as wide open lens you would like in low light situations but it is constant aperture. So though out 70mm - 200mm there will be no available light loss. At f/4 wide open the images look sharp but you may occasionally get AF focusing hunting problems. But this mostly occurs indoors again in low light situations. Outside in daylight there doesn't seem to be much of a problem tracking moving objects. At the 200mm end there is slight vignetting but no real loss of picture quality. nothing that can't be tweaked in Photoshop.
The build quality is great and it's weather proofed well. Feels robust and durable, without being too heavy for carrying around with you. With some preparation when shooting you can get around the fact that this lens doesn't have any IS. When using the lens fully zoomed in on a overcast day I would defiantly use and recommend a mono-pod or tripod for stabilizing your shots and movements. Also it would help to keep your shutter speed at 1/160 of a second at least and beyond.
Image quality in superb with tack sharp images, great tonal quality and colour detail. Contrast is spot on and let me say this is a perfect lens for wildlife and sports photography. You may feel in the future though you may want to substitute this lens for an upgrade in the series. Maybe a faster version with IS. benefits sometimes do out way the cost.
I wouldn't rule out upgrading in the future but I can capture some beautiful picture using this lens and at the moment I'm truly satisfied with its performance.
Canon's Luxury line of multi-coated, heavy, expensive lenses will set you back many hundreds of pounds and even thousands. But what solution is there for enthusiasts or hobbyists on a budget? Well this low budget telephoto zoom lens provides an answer to that question. I've got a 300mm L lens but I've also got this great cheap and lightweight lens for everyday usage. Out and about when I want to travel light and also it has a good zoom range of 75mm (a good portrait range) to 300mm (great for sports and wildlife photography). Having a broad zoom range means carrying less lenses anyway.
One thing about it being lightweight (only 480g) is the difficulty to stabilize your shots. If you've got a heavy item in your hands you get slightly reduced camera shake. At 300mm you really need a tripod as there is no in-built image stabilization (IS). A mono-pod would also be useful when out using this lens.
Build quality feels very plastic, but at this price and wouldn't be expecting a huge block of metal. A little care and consideration and you can keep it in good condition. But it does feel slightly flimsy.
It will mount any Canon EF camera but be-careful not to mix EF up with EF-S because it won't fit that range of Canon camera. To attach you simply twist on and line up the red dots.
The quality of the images this lens produces is really very good for a lens below the cost of 500
pounds. The images are quite sharp and remain so through out from 75-300mm. There is slight vignetting and loss of sharpness toward the 300mm end but this can be corrected in software. If you keep the aperture at a least f/8 and beyond you can increase image quality sharpness drastically I found. There is a bit of focus hunting as the auto-focus seems to bit slightly out-dated and slow to focus, especially in low-light situations.
I think you take pretty good images with this lens although if you are a serious photographer then eventually you will want to update to a 70-200mm L lens since they are superior quality and only a couple of hundred pounds more expensive.
The first lomo camera was developed by the Soviets in the 80s. After examining a robust and compact Japanese 35mm camera a director from a Arms/Optical factory decided to harness the technology and develop a Russian version for the public. The company - LOMO-PLC or Leningrad Optical Mechanical Amalgamation thus created the Lomo LC-A which had a fixed lens and took 35mm film.
A handful of Austrian students took a shine to the camera a decade later and popularized it due to its unique quality and refreshing style. It produced stylized dreamy imagery with vibrant and colour cast results that were often blurred. This charming and arty effect kept the camera's in circulation and soon Lomo societies were created to keep the word alive and celebrate the medium.
In the early 2000s Lomo shops first started making an appearance and by the end of the decade there is a huge online store with a range or different lomographic cameras. Now, years later there are even iphone apps that try and reproduce Lomo effect.
Okay so its a bit arty and a bit of a gimmick you say. Well in many respects your right it has a time and a place.
The particular model I bought isn't a still camera, it's a 35mm movie maker. It's part of Lomography's new available range which takes the style of the original and re-imagines it for moving image. It's essentially a small black box rather like some of the old Kodak brownie no.2 still cameras sold in the 1950s.
the Lomokino as it's called takes regular 35mm film roll which loads onto a film spool in the camera. It's black with a crank on the right hand side which operate the shutter and winds the film onward. It shoots at about 5 frames per second, so about 8 pictures per segment of film and 144 frames per 36 roll.
The camera settings aren't very dynamic but I say limitations allow for you to be creative yourself.
The shutter is 1/100 of a second so this will create a burred/movement effect if your quickly panned or in motion. There are 3 aperture settings- f/5.6, f/8 and f/11 for narrower depth of field. There obviously isn't a focusing ring because there isn't really a lens. It's more of a 25mm capture hole. So with focusing you simply push a button on the front of the camera which focus you up to 0.6m for close-ups.
Other features include a fold out viewfinder on top next to a hot shoe mount so you may attach a flash if needed. You have a volume indication meter on the left hand side so if you stop mid way through shooting you know roughly how many frames you have left to shoot. It isn't an exact representation rather just when the bar fills up with red you've pretty much run out of frames. The camera also comes with a standard 1/4 inch thread for use with a tripod.
Not everyone can get to a flat bed scanner, scan their film in and editing it together so they have provided a useful solution to this in the shape of the kinoscope. It looks like a mini SLR but the lens is actually a rubber eyecup so you may view your negative film in motion. You simply load your film into the back of the device and use the crank on the top to advance your mini-movie. I find this useful as I don't own a 35mm scanner plate or anything like that and I don't always want the hassle of going through that whole process each time I produce a roll of film.
-*Inside the box*-
The camera arrives packed away in the sturdy hard cardboard box nicely decorated with camera and Kinoscope both fully assembled and ready for use. Also inside the box are a mini flip-book and a booklet explaining the history and popularity of the Lomograph. The Flipbook consist of 380 pages. On all the right hand pages are image sequences and on the left instructions and specifications. on the last page there is a fold out diagram listing the part names of the camera. Adding the Kinoscope to your order will include the price by about 25 pound but it's definitely useful and you save money buying it in a bundle. I like the overall presentation of the box and the build quality. It stores the camera nicely and isn't the regular type of packaging that you want to store or chuck out.
Out of the box its a few short steps in order to use. First you load the film in the back. Wind the film on to the first frame and rotate the crank in order to work the shutter. It's boxy and isn't very ergonomic in it's bulky form. It can either gripped be on the left hand side or sat in the palm of your hand while cranking. It doesn't really have any significant weight to it so isn't cumbersome just square and awkward. you will shoot in-between 3-5 frame per second while using the crank. Top speed producing 5fps. This should produce 30-50 second segment of your 36 exp roll of film. You will need to be using film with an ISO of 100 on a small aperture if your out of a bright sunny day and a film with a ISO speed of 1600 indoors. Once your film is empty of shot and fully rewound then eject and develop.
I've order some lovely Fiji-Film Velvia to shoot with so I'm looking forward to those results. It nice to play around with this camera. In my case I'm looking for something specific for a film I'm making so it is a worthwhile testing period. I'm very happy with the camera. I like the images and I hope to get much enjoyment from using it.
I was browsing Amazon.co.uk a week ago when I spotted many of the USB flash drives had been massively reduced. This one in particular caught my eye. It looked cool and for about 4 pounds I bought myself one and it was received a few days later.
First thing I noticed was the physical size. It's less the half the size of my other USB sticks at a little more than 4cm long and as about as thin as my little finger. It's light as a feather and doesn't seem all that solid or durable. I wouldn't say the plastic could withstand a lot of pressure. There isn't a protective cap for dust or debris either. I will only end using it for storage at home so I'm not to bothered to be honest. It does curiously have a keyring hole though.
It's a 16GB storage device (14.9GB ) so you can store/back-up any photos, documents or other data by plugging it in to your USB port and accessing the drive through My Computer. The writing speed isn't quite up-to-scratch as some modern flash drives these days as when you upload your data, it copies to the drive at a rate of about 2.45MB per second. This can mean long waiting times when storing large files. Read/copy speed is 32MB per second so faster when accessing your data. When your using it there is no indication it's in use. Usually on USB sticks there is a small LED light that informs you of that.
I really can't complain at the price of this small thing. I'm sure it will last for ages but for constant use, on keyring and in pockets/on desks and sure there a limit to the material's strength.
This makes a great gadget-like addition to your tool box. It's small, it doesn't use electricity or rely on batteries. It's about the size of a large permanent marker and it runs on gas.
The Iroda Solder Pro 50 is a butane powered solder iron which heats up quickly to a workable point in about 30 seconds. It has a fold out hard wire stand attached to the neck so you don't have to lean it against something or rest it clumsily in a dish. It holds about 7ml of butane gas which lasts for about 30 minutes on a low setting. To higher the flame intensity there is a button you push up a L shape notch. Once you get it over the lip the spring should no longer be providing tension against the button allowing you to take the flame to full capacity.
The Solder Pro 50 has many attachable long lasting catalytic tips which heat up fast. These have different tips for precision and type of work your doing. You will only get 2 or 3 heads with a basic kit and further accessories did cost me more than I expected extra, on top of the Solder Pro. It would be nice if you could buy single attachment tips to be honest. For instance I wanted a blow-torch tip which basically gives you a naked flame but I had to buy a deluxe multi-pack which cost another 20 pounds so I could get it.
In the basic kit you will also get some solder and a special cap which clips on like a pen top. This has a ignition spark on the tip for setting alight the butane. The butane refilling itself was however a bit messy when I tried it. It's a visible gas tank at the top which you stick the butane can nozzle into rather like a refillable lighter. I've tried doing this differently a few times and each time my fingers get drenched with lighter fuel. It may just be a glitch with mine but it's very annoying.
It's great to use in addition to it's size. It has a great deal of accuracy and multi-use. It fits very comfortably in my palm and has a rubber middle for grip. I would very much recommend it as a tool. It's also a very cool gadget. Shame about the refill.
Satchler in a high-end professional manufacturer of video tripods and they are brand that have years of experience constantly releasing and improving their range. They are a brand most associated with quality and reliance within the broadcasting world.
With the rise of DSLR video and budget film crews Satchler has identified a hole in the market where quality and pricing isn't mutually exclusive. Previously only Manfrotto were really in this budget area. They have created this high quality affordable and sturdy tripod for filming work. It's a true fluid head tripod with pan/tilt functions and great resistance and motion is offered when seeking out those smooth transitional shots. For the price range, nothing else comes close.
It is available with either mid-level or ground-level spreader which extend into full splay with legs at a maximum hight of 169cm. It takes the weight respectfully of up to 4kgs which is perfect for mini-dv or DSLR owners after a broadcast feel. The fluid head has a simple 5 step counter balancing system which gives you a tilt range of +90 degrees to -75 degrees. This comes really handy when balancing not only your camera but a range of add-ons, heavy and accessories and still managing all that weight with ease. The lowest level it rests at is 78cm. There is no other tripod in this price range that does a better job with these features.
The head also has to brakes levers that tighten up and slack off giving you further stability. This are positioned very nicely and ergonomically for good grip and access. The Satchler Ace head plate attachment has a range of 104cm with 3/8" thread on top for camera attachment. It easily clips into place when you slide it in from the back of the head to the front. After a tightening screw on the side clamps it safely and it slips back off then slackened, after pressing a red button also on the side. At the back end of the head there are two insertion point for storing additional screw attachments for different camera threads. The tripod does actually come with an additional 3/8" & 1/4" screw stored in the plate which is useful.
There are several dials on the head which give you most the control you need for balancing and settings for tension/drag manoeuvring. The one nearest the base will control pan ease. So with this in mind you can pan quickly or slowly with more control and precision. You really need good quality panning when your film on a high-quality camera. The tripod shudders and you get micro-quakes which has happened to me in the past. I only every noticed when re-viewing the footage full screen. Bearing in mind a lot of the time it doesn't matter rather it depends on what you do.
It's great also with this tripod because you don't actually have to extend or detract the legs to get a completely horizontal level point (there is a level measure bobble on the head), its a bowel type head available for adjustment between the legs at the top base.
The weight is great. It's fairy light weight a glass fibre enforced composite material was used in it's construction making it 1.7kgs. In total with the legs it brings you to 4.4kgs.
The only other accessory (minus the panning bar) is a rather nice padded tripod bag. It's made of good quality material with comfortable strap.
The satchler Ace is extremely good value and quality for it's very reasonable price range. When you buy it you also buying peace of mind that your investing it years of experience and refinement. I'm not saying you can't get a good result from a cheaper Manfrotto or Velbon but if your on a budget but want strong, vesitile, well made equipment this is for you. You can pick a Satchler Ace up from internet for around 500 pounds.
There were the days of blue-tack and rolled sticky tape but now there doesn't seem to be any contest.
Glue dots are sticky adhesive dots which provide great grip for posters, Christmas decorations, collages and temporal attachments to walls and vertical surfaces.
As a Photographer working in a studio these are great to keeping rounded and unsteady objects from rolling off or toppling, in some instances from the table top. They don't leave much of a mess on the products themselves. When we photograph small fiddly items of jewellery they work best keeping little glass bobble ear-rings in position nicely. On walls unlike tape they don't take off the top layer of paint so perfectly effective and low or no damage created. It's best to keep the strip intact and not rip off as they cover the remaining dots from other contact. They really have multi-purpose.
You unwind the glue dot reel which loosely comes apart when you pull. Press the section of reel with the glue dot attached onto you surface and peal back. This leaves the glue dot in position and ready for use. If you stick it to the wrong place you can easily peel the dot back off and re-apply to the correct place with your fingers. They provide instant secure attachment and are acid free.
These boxes are available from craft-shops/hobby stores and come in packs of about 300 usually. This may vary and it's best to always check the packaging to be 100% sure.