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since 23/08/2001


Canon 75-300mm f4-5.6 AF 26/10/2001

A good value lens

Canon 75-300mm f4-5.6 AF The Canon 75-300 USM III lens is a well priced lens aimed at the enthusiast photographer, the professional is catered for with the ‘L’ range. This lens was one of the reasons that I chose a Canon autofocus camera as I had read some very favourable reviews of the lens. In use the lens focuses quickly, smoothly, quietly and accurately in all but the lowest light situations (without using flash) - where it hunts around and will lock on to the subject about half the time. The only time I have had to resort to manual focus, via the very easy to use – if a bit small – focusing ring at the front of the lens (after flicking the tiny MF/AF switch), was for a flying display when the aircraft were in the distance. Once the lens was focused and the aircraft in the centre of the view finder, and after I found the tiny AF/MF switch without taking my eyes off the subject, the lens had no trouble keeping them in focus. The lens produces sharp photographs, with well represented colours - although they do not seem as saturated as I get using my T90 with the Canon 70-210 FD lens. It is not a particularly long lens when set to 75mm, although it almost double in length at 300mm, but it is larger than some of the new 28-200/300 superzooms. One advantage it has over most of those lenses is that it has a smaller filter size, which makes the filters at least half the price. I found the lens a bit light weight and ‘plasticy’ compared to my old Canon 70-210 ...

PhotoGlossy 25/10/2001

Cut the price of your photography today.

PhotoGlossy PhotoGlossy are a Guernsey based mail order company who specialise in a range of photographic consumables, for both digital and conventional photography. I first used them when I was trying to buy some Kodak Surpa professional print film. I had read in a photography magazine that Kodak were replacing their range of Portra films with a new and improved range. I wanted to try the 400 & 800 ASA films so I tried all the local camera shops, but none had any in stock. One shop said they could get some in, but it could take a few weeks. As I had intended to use the film the following weekend, I decided to have a look through the adverts in the magazine I read the article. There were a couple of adverts for companies doing mail order film and PhotoGlossy happened to be the first one I came across with a web site – The web site is clearly laid out and easy to navigate. It is split into two sections – marked Digital and Photo. The Digital section contains: Storage media - Smartmedia and Compactflash memory cards, blank CDs, zip disks and even re-writeable DVDs. Printer consumables - Inkjet cartridges (both the manufacturers own and after market) and printer paper from Hewlett Packard, Canon, Epson and Lexmark. The Photo section has: Single use cameras Films - (slide, print – colour and Black and White) from Kodak, Konica, Fuji and Ilford Batteries Books. The first thing that impressed me was the range of films they ...

Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Series 2 - Complete (DVD) 17/10/2001

Series 2. More of the same, only better.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Series 2 - Complete (DVD) This DVD contains all 22 episodes from the second series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, along with a collection of bonus material. As this opinion is on the DVD rather than the TV series I won’t go into too much detail on the actual series. For a more detailed history of Buffy the Vampire Slayer have a look at my opinion on series 1 (with series 3 coming out I need all the reads I can get, 3500 reads should earn me enough to buy it), or have a look at some of the excellent opinions on the TV series section of Ciao. *************** ************ Cast Buffy - Sarah Michelle Gellar Angel - David Boreanez Xander - Nicholas Brendon Willow - Alyson Hannigan Cordelia - Carisma Carpenter Giles - Anthony Stewart Head Jenny - Robia LaMorte Spike - James Masters Drucilla - Juliet Landau Note - Anyone who knows the TV series and doesn’t want to wade through my waffle (and there is a lot of it) should jump to the end of this opinion. *************** ************ The TV Series For those of you who haven’t seen it on TV, Buffy is a Vampire Slayer - that much you either already know or might have worked out from the title of the DVD. She is a teenager who’s destiny is to fight vampires and any other demons who cause trouble. Living in the town of Sunnydale, which is on a hellmouth (a portal between this dimension and one where demons live, which gives out mystical energy that attracts all things evil) there are plenty of opportunities for this. She has to balance her ...

Honda CBR600F4 09/10/2001

CBR600 - old faithful

Honda CBR600F4 In 1987 Honda introduced the CBR600, which is one of the longest running motorcycle models. Most bikes are redesigned and given a new model name, the CBR has had three major revisions and kept it name. This is probably because the CBR was the top selling motorcycle in most years since its introduction and although the latest looks vastly different from the first it is still, at heart, a CBR - which is a bike that is well built, reliable, practical, comfortable and at the same time one of the best sports bikes in its capacity. I have had a CBR600FP for two years. I bought it with 24,000 miles on the clock, to replace an earlier model, a CBR600FJ. I use the bike as my main transport so I wanted a bike that would rack up the miles while being reliable, comfortable but still able to chase sports bikes when the mood takes me. The bike is a combination of a good engine and a good chassis. The engine produces enough power that it can be ridden quickly using its mid range but needs revving to get the most out of it. The handling is good, although there is a slight feeling of something not quite right - sort of a loose feeling - from the front end. This may be just my bike and it is not particularly noticeable, most people who have ridden the bike have not noticed anything wrong. The riding position, although reasonably sporty, is comfortable over long distances. What does detract slightly from the sports bike feeling is you feel like you are sitting on the bike rather than ...

The Score (DVD) 08/10/2001

An enjoyable entertaining film

The Score (DVD) The Score Robert De Niro - Nick Wells Marlon Brando - Max Angela Bassett - Diane Edward Norton - Jackie Teller Without giving too much of the plot away, the story is basically a successful thief, Nick, is looking to retire from crime, run his jazz club and spend his nights with his girlfriend Diane. His fence, Max, comes up with one last big score. It is high risk, but big bucks. Max is convinced it will work as he has a man on the inside, which is Jackie. Jackie is working in the Montreal customs house under the guise of a simple caretaker named Brian. As everyone thinks he is harmless he is able to look around without arousing anyone’s suspicion. The plot is not particularly original, the basic idea has been done many time before – although it is usually a bank that is being robbed. There are the regulation close calls, arguments between the team with clashes of egos, the obligatory computer hacker and the not unexpected double cross. All this unfolds at a steady pace, only really picking up in the last part of the film. If this makes you think that you might give it a miss, don’t. What you would be missing is an extremely well crafted, well acted film. Although it is a reasonably slow film it holds your attention through out. The directing is impressive, as even though you know what is going to happen, it still keeps you on the edge of your seat. The film keeps your interest while you are getting to know the characters and see them ...

Canon T90 25/09/2001

The best Camera ever made

Canon T90 The T90 was introduced in 1986. It was a brave move on Canon's part to bring out an all singing all dancing top of the range manual focus camera as other manufactures were releasing autofocus cameras. Although the camera was discontinued in 1991 it is still a very sort after camera, with good condition bodies going for more than the body with a 50mm lens went for when new. With shutter speeds from 30 seconds to 1/4000 of a second, flash sync up to 1/250th, enough exposure modes to almost make the manual option redundant and a choice of metering options (centre weighted, partial and multi spot) this camera contains almost every feature imaginable except autofocus. It has a built in 4.5fps motor drive and with the 300TL dedicated flash gun you get TTL (Through The Lens) flash metering. The view finder has three circles etched in the middle. The smallest is the spot metering area (about 3% of the field of view). This circle is split across the middle horizontally. If you line this up across a vertical straight line and the line is split the picture is out of focus. When the line is complete it is in focus. The next largest circle is etches with a pattern of small triangles. When the pattern appears dark and the subject behind them is fuzzy the photo will be out of focus, when they appear clearer and the picture behind isn’t fuzzy then the shot should be in focus. The view finder is bright enough that it is easy to see it the image is sharp. There is a third, slightly ...

Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Series 1 - Complete (DVD) 07/09/2001

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Series 1 - Complete (DVD) “Into every generation, a Slayer is born. One girl in all the world, a chosen one, one born with the strength and skill to hunt the vampires. To stop the spread of their evil….” Buffy is the chosen one, the Slayer. This is not something she is happy about. It has already caused her to be expelled from her school in Los Angeles and to move the town of Sunnydale to start another school. The town is built on a hellmouth, whose mystical energy attracts all sorts of supernatural creatures. It’s Buffy’s (Sarah Michelle Gellar) destiny to fight this evil. She is helped, to a greater or lesser extent, by a few of her fellow students - Xander (Nicholas Brendan) and Willow (Alyson Hannigan), the librarian – Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) - who is also her official Watcher (her trainer and mentor) and a vampire with a soul – Angel (David Boreanaz). Through out this series the main adversary is The Master - not the one from Dr Who, but old and powerful vampire who got himself trapped in a church during an earthquake while trying to open the hellmouth, and is desperately trying to free himself so he can rule the world. Her other, less deadly, adversary is Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) - the self centred, self styled most popular girl in school. She starts out by taking Buffy under her wing, as she thinks that Buffy must be cool having come from L.A. This doesn’t last long as Buffy starts hanging out with the untrendy Willow and Xander ...

Planet Of The Apes (DVD) 29/08/2001

More monkey business

Planet Of The Apes (DVD) As has been stated by the director, this is not a remake of the original film. It does have a few things in common with the original – monkeys, astronauts, Charlton Heston and Linda Harrison (the actress who played Nova in the original). Much has been made of the make up, deservedly so. The faces look so life like and expressive that it is hard to remember that they are actors wearing masks. The actors were also schooled in the mannerisms of the particular ape their character is, which also adds to the effect. Impressive special effects – or an amazing exercise regime - have the actors leaping from trees, swinging through the jungle and their city in a fantastic, but just about plausible way. If you’ve seen a Tim Burton film before you would be expected weird, gothic buildings and sets– and you wouldn’t be disappointed. The city the apes live in is spectacular, with strange wooden buildings stretching up to the sky in a cross between a village built into a mountain and a giant tree house. I wish there had been more of this city in the film. I don’t want to give away the plot, so I won’t mention the story at all – also because there is so little to it that it could be summed up in one sentence. This was a disappointment, although not unexpected (I had been warned by friends). What story there is, is very weak, very predictable, so full of inconstancies and raises so many questions that you either give up on the film or ...

Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within (DVD) 25/08/2001

Is this the end for real life actors

Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within (DVD) This is the latest of the computer generated films. What makes it different from the films such as Toy Story, Antz, Bugs Life and Shrek is that they were computer generated cartoons – very high quality cartoons – but obviously cartoons, where as Final Fantasy is meant to look like a real film. The characters (actors?) and scenery (sets?) are not meant to look like drawings but real people filmed in real settings. The story is set about 30 years after a giant meteor crashes into earth. On (or maybe in) the meteor are a large collection of aliens who set about killing everyone and everything. A scientist, Dr Sid, discovers an energy wave that the aliens can’t penetrate, so the few remaining cities on Earth (or at least America) are shrouded in force fields of this energy. Most people stay within these protected cities. Some, such as Aki Ross - the heroine of the story - still venture into the ruined cities and wastelands outside. She is searching for items that can be used to defeat the aliens without destroying the world – which is what the military want to do. One of her missions goes wrong and she is rescued by a group of soldiers - whose leader, Gray Edwards, just happens to be an old boy friend. The soldiers have no time for her until she saves Gray’s life, they then come to respect and trust her. The squad then become involved in her adventures. These involve looking for the ingredients for this mysterious anti alien weapon, shooting a lot ...
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