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Pick of the Camera Reviews

(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 


Yi 2 - Best Budget 4K 

Gitup Git2 (My Pick)

Xiaomi Yi

Dazzne P2

DR02 D - Best Budget Dual Cam

Yi Ultra 2.7K
Mobius (also works as a Dashcam)
Polaroid Cube+
Sena Prism Tube

My favourite USB battery power Pack

This is the excellent USB power pack I use when I travel.

2 x 2.1amp outputs. 8400mAh capacity.

Two digit Led display shows battery level


What SD CARD should I buy?

If you want an SD Card for your camera - these are the ones I use and recommend. 

I'd strongly recommend not to buy any SD cards off ebay - I've heard about too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. My inbox regularly gets messages from people who bought a £150 camera then cheaped out and bought a £3 memory card on ebay - Then when it doesn't worth they blame the camera! It doesn't make any sense. Good memory is cheaper than it's ever been - see the links above.

A lot of HD cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB (cards over 32GB are usually SDXC rather than the SDHC standard used by 32GB cards. SDXC cards use the ex-FAT system rather than FAT32 - in short they are a different standard). - so don't just buy the biggest card you can afford - read the specs in the manual to see what it accepts.


RECOMMENDED CARDS (for action cams - see dashcams below)

CLASS 10 UHS-1 CARDS (For HD Cameras)


U3 CARD (For 4K cameras)




The SD card in a dashcam is re-written over, more frequently than in other types of cameras. Some manufacturers void their guarantee if an SD card was used in a dashcam. So, no surprise, there are special High Endurance SD cards made just for's some.


VERY IMPORTANT. These links take you to the product, however Amazon have three different ways of selling. There's Amazon Direct - This means that you are only dealing with Amazon themselves, then there's other sellers that use Amazon's facilities - these show as Fulfilled By Amazon and finally there's Market Place sellers that advertise on Amazon, but operate independently.  I strongly recommend that you only use the first...the Amazon Direct - Sold By Amazon option. Even if it appears that you are paying a couple of £/$ more it is more than likely you are comparing the price of a real item against the price of a fake.

To give you an idea of the extent of the fake goods problem. In a 2016 survey by Apple - 90% of the 'Apple' chargers sold through Amazon - using the other the two methods..which includes the "Fulfilled by Amazon" option -  were found to be counterfeit....90%! 



s-JAYS SIREN Armature Earphones Review


I picked up some new earphones at Costco the other day. 

I hadn't heard of s-JAYS but their packaging was very Apple-esque and oozed sophistication and quality. After attempting to research these earphones on the internet the only information I could find was that the Costco price was roughly half the rrp (Costco price £35.23 gbp) so  I decided to take the gamble and picked some up anyway. 

JAYS are a Swedish company however the UK is the first country to get the s-JAYS and Costco might be the first retailer here to sell them. The s-JAYS use some clever technology - according to s-JAYS themselves.. "They use the new JAYS technology Sirens. Sirens uses the same technology as the micro armature but in the same form factor as a normal dynamic driver. The Siren driver gives a much better overall sound then a dynamic driver and still it has a low price"

 Now that doesn't mean much to me - but it sounds like they are trying something new so good luck to them.

I also own the following earphones, Sennheiser CX-500, Sony MDR-EX71 and Shure E2C. 

Shure E2C 

Most expensive, uncomfortable, tickly cable down the back of the neck, probably the best sound quality - but couldn't live with them so got the Sennheisers instead.

Sennheiser CX-500

Good Value, sticky rubbery thin cables that annoyingly get twisted and curled up. Lack of bass. Upgraded to the Sonys.

Sony MDR-EX71

Comfy, light, easy to put in/take out. Strong bass. However felt that there was room for improvement and the rubber earpieces keep falling off, so I bought the s-JAYS.



The most versatile of the lot. The earpieces can be oriented one way so they can be worn over the ear or twisted the other way to wear as  standard (both options are comfortable). The cable can be routed around the back of the neck or normally down the front without any weird sticky out cable kinks. They come with a smart case, a variety of sizes of rubber ear pieces and a foam squeeze fit one. This is the same as the Shure earphones and similarly to Shure the  s-JAYS also come with protective wax barrier filters.

JAYS don't skimp on the extras, also included are a headphone splitter and an airplane adaptor. The headphones are attached to a good quality cable. A sensible length (not too long) extension cable is supplied which could be eschewed in favor of a volume box/remote wire if required. I think the plug may well be too thick for the mk1 iPhone - but adaptors can easily be obtained.

I find that the design of the earphones fit my ears perfectly whatever the orientation. With the appropriate size of rubber earpiece inserted in the ear, the opposite butt of the earpiece wedges comfortably against the inside of the other side of the ear, securing it in place. This of course might not work for everyone but given the lack of uniformity in ear shape  the fact it can be worn in two different ways means the design is very clever indeed.


Sound quality - Definitely the most naturalistic when compared to the Sony or Sennheisers.   In comparison, the Sennheisers are thin and tinny. The Sonys have more bass - but at the expense of clarity, they actually sound rather muffled when compared to the s-JAYS. I didn't even notice the Sonys were muffled until I tried the s-JAYS. The s-JAYS sound more open and expansive,  like listening to speakers rather than headphones. The s-JAYS are louder than the Sony or Sennheiser and this is important as I know that a lot of people find these others too quiet. I can't compare the sound quality with the Shures - I haven't used them for years as I just found them to be uncomfortable and really couldn't cope with the wire having to run down the back of my neck (I'm rather ticklish). The only significant negative for me with the s-JAYS is the difficulty in differentiating the Right from the Left earpiece. See if you can spot the near invisible R&L on the close up shot.

So in summary I'm going to keep using the s-Jays in preference to my other earphones. I'd consider the s-JAYS market position to be akin to that of a bridge camera. A bridge camera is halfway between a compact and an SLR - They generally give better results than the compacts but are a lot easier to use than the SLRs whilst still giving comparable results under the right conditions. This is the same position that the s-JAYS occupy. They are infinitely better than £10 cheapo in the ear phones, but are a lot easier to get on with day to day than the Shures or other canal phones whilst giving a comparable sound quality. I think that the s-JAYS might well be the first 'bridge-earphones'.  


Click HERE for JAYS Audio info page on the s-JAYS

EDIT - 21 Jan 2008. Until a couple of days ago this was the only online review available. You can now find a proper indepth review online - put together by someone who actually knows what they are on about  - you can read it here



Metal Gear Solid 4 Watch

My limited edition Metal Gear Solid watch just turned up at work.

Very nice watch - good quality, not a gimmick.

Mine is number 105/500.




Bag of eyes

Bought a bag of eyes from Wilkinsons. These are fun.




Home Cinema on the Cheap (720p is good enough)

To keep myself busy I've put together a video explaining how I assembled my modest home cinema set up. (If you are watching it, make sure you select the High Quality Feed from Youtube)


I don't feel that the lower end of the home cinema market is properly catered for by the specialist press. Its very easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest technology and this is inevitably what most of the magazines must focus on to have something to publish each month. However as interesting as the £8000 projector shootouts are - these devices will never fall into my price bracket.

Although the lesser models don't get much press - 720p projectors are generally more than adequate for home use. Its normal behavior to want to get the best model possible and at the moment thats 1080p - but 720p can be a lot more cost effective and under most situations will produce virtually the same results.

I sit about 9ft from my 96" screen. At this distance I am unable to discern the individual pixel structure on a 720p image. However if I sit at 7ft I can see the pixels that make up the image. So to me that says that a 1080p projector would be overkill for my situation as I couldn't make out the extra pixels on the screen. However if my screen was larger or I sat nearer, then a 1080p projector would be essential.

As far as DLP vs LCD or LCOS - for a budget projector I'd choose DLP every time. It may be a bit noisier, more picky about placement and you could potentially see rainbows - but the sheer quality of the image wins every time. The lack of blur on movement and the dark blacks mean that when it comes to budget projectors there is only one choice. Now when you get to comparing luxury projectors its not as simple or easy to call, but if you are spending less than £500 - just get a 720p DLP.

There is a lot of concern about the Rainbow effect (where areas of high contrast can lead to the viewer seeing rainbow after images). I admit that when I first switched on my projector I looked for these and did notice them on some black and white images. Now I don't know what it is - but after a year of on and off viewing I have great difficulty seeing them at all now. It may be because I've become immune or my eyes have trained themselves to ignore them, but just like those tiny red spiders that live on walls - unless you look really closely its easy to forget that they exist.

Projector bulbs - Theres a kind of person who knows very little about a lot of subjects. They were the people who used to go around telling people that "Plasma TV's need re-gassing every few years." This kind of person will always ask how much replacement projector bulbs cost and then when they find out will decide that projectors cost too much to run. These people are really just looking for an excuse to avoid buying something. Yes projector bulbs cost a lot - I think mine costs almost as much as the projector itself. However by the time the bulb fails the average projector will be really long in the tooth. You don't use a projector like a TV, its only on for a few hours a week at most. After a year and a half, my projector bulb shows 10% used. By the time it wears out I'm pretty sure I'll be ready to buy a newer model instead.

So have a look at the clip and if you want please share your thoughts and suggestions on doing Home Cinema on the Cheap.


Creative Vado Review and Sample Footage

Vado Out and About

I picked up a Creative Vado today. This might seem a bit weird, given that I already have the beautiful Sony TG3 HD Camcorder– but it does make sense, let me explain.

On my holiday there is a chance that I will end up going on a white water rafting trip. The instructions say wear a swimming costume under your clothes and pack a change of clothes as it is likely you will get wet. Now I don’t expect to get totally submerged given that this is the family friendly Cruise Passenger version of a white water rafting trip. but equally this doesn’t sound like a good place to take my £550 Sony Camcorder, so enter the Vado.

Vado box

You will probably have heard of the Flip Video and maybe even read good things about it. The Flip has been credited with capturing 13% of the US camcorder market in the year or so it has been available. That’s stretching the definition of camcorder a bit if you ask me, I’d consider these devices to be in a category of their own (video clip recorder?) Well at the time of writing, the Flip is not freely available in the UK, but Creative’s version (homage?), the Vado is (I think it only came out a couple of days ago).

The Vado takes simplicity to a new level. The box contents are: The camera, its battery and a couple of instruction leaflets. No carry case, no lanyard, no discs, nuffin.

The camera is roughly the size of a thin mobile phone (it reminds me of one of the Motorolas). It’s very lightweight and slips easily in a shirt pocket or could hang around a neck if a spare lanyard can be acquired from somewhere.

Inside The BoxVado 2



Controls again are foolproof, Record, Play, Delete, FF, Rev, Power. The USB plug pops out of the bottom on a flexible plastic arm and is held to the camera by a magnet when not extended. On screen control for recording, deleting and playing clips is completely intuitive.

The battery charges via USB in two hours, or three if you are using the Vado as a mounted drive on your computer.

Battery life will last long enough to fill up the internal memory which holds 1 hr in HQ (640x480) or 2hrs in SQ (320x240) both record at 30fps.

Vado 4vado

The LCD Screen is actually rather nice, its 2 inches and displays a full 640x480 image. One of the biggest selling points to me is the fact that the Vado has a standard tripod mount on the base. So combine one of these cameras with a Gorillapod and you have a cheap(ish) ‘stunt camera’ to attach to a car, bike  etc.

Stunt Cam

Possible downsides, well as expected there is no Image Stabilisation and apparently the inbuilt software (which is supposed to automatically upload clips to youtube) doesn’t work with a Mac. Splash or water-proofing would be a good idea, but it looks like it would resist the odd raindrop to me. The Youtube thing doesn’t bother me as I’ll be dragging/dropping and transcoding all my clips though Visualhub first anyway and then integrating them with the rest of my edited holiday footage.

The other year I went on a Wave-Runner (jet ski type thing) and took one of the Oregon Scientific ATC2K waterproof cameras with me.

Unfortunately when I got back home and put the SD card in the PC I found that the camera had been pointing in the wrong direction for much of the time so most shots were just sea rushing past. Therefore to me, a viewfinder or LCD screen is essential for one of these devices. Incidentally a friend later borrowed my ATC2K and attached it to his Motorcycle forks and it wasn’t long before its plastic custom mounting system snapped off (it doesn’t use a standard tripod screw).

You might think, why not just use your mobile phone camera instead, and that’s a fair point – but you might not want to drop your phone over the side of a boat any more than you’d want to drop a camcorder, and its pretty unlikely that it can be easily attached to a tripod mount.

Anyway, HERE IS A TEST CLIP taken with the Vado that I’ve uploaded on Vimeo (and HERE IS THE ORIGINAL FILE to download). I tried putting it on youtube, but it looks dreadful on there for some reason (perhaps it didn't like their transcoding techniques). I'm pretty impressed with its wide(ish) angle lens and decent low light performance - the indoor section of the clip is in the Printworks in Manchester and it is really pretty dark in there, the camera picked up more than my naked eye could see.

So overall - very recommended. Currently only available via DSG (Dixons Stores Group) in the UK for around £79.99 . is £4.95 cheaper than PC World (if you can find a way to get free postage) because for some reason Dixons is selling the Silver model cheaper than the pink one at the moment which might be a pricing error. This is top end of what these devices are worth - I think £50-£60 would make this an irresistible proposition.


Sony HDR-TG3 with a Wide Angle Lens

TG3 With Lens Attached

I briefly owned a Sanyo HD1000 camcorder. This camera has a particularly narrow field of vision so I also bought a wide angle lens attachment for it. It turns out that the lens was dreadful as objects off to the sides were totally out of focus. This was my first taste of separate lenses as I've always bought cameras that don't accommodate lenses. (No SLR's, DSLRs in my history). Despite the poor results this experience made me more aware of the potential of lenses and how they can be very useful under the correct circumstances.

When I recently bought the Sony TG3 I was aware that due to it's design this camera couldn't accommodate any lens accessories - but that's a small price to pay for a beautiful tiny camera with a built in lens cap (unlike the HD1000). The field of vision of the TG3 is considerably better than the HD1000 and pretty much on a par with all the other compact camcorders.

However, inspired by my experiences I made it my mission to seek out a way of getting a wide angle lens to fit the Sony TG3. I only intend to use this when absolutely necessary, when there is no other way to get the shot I desire. I have this niggling concern that on my holiday I will be stood in front of the colosseum in Rome and my camera will only manage to get two or three pillars in shot at once and I'll have no option but to pan left and right to give an impression of the majesty of the thing.

I only want to use a wide angle lens on very very rare occasions, just the odd shot here and there. The main reason for getting a TG3 was pocketability and I don't want to compromise this.

Anyway, I managed to find a 0.45x wide angle lens that is supposed to attach magnetically to a digital compact stills camera. It arrived today. Its not exactly professional quality - but it's good enough. The Lens comes in a small bag, and has two lens caps, one for each sides of the lens (these fall off a bit too easy) and a lanyard to attach it to your camera or camera strap. Also in the bag are two self adhesive magnetic hoops and the rear portion of the lens itself is magnetic. The idea is that you stick a magnetic loop to the lens on a camera and then magnetically attach the lens to this loop when required.

The LensSize Comparison

The first problem I encountered is that the area surrounding the lens on the Sony is slightly recessed from the front. The base of the lens was just a couple of mm too wide to fit in the recess and therefore would be unable to touch the magnetic loop. I solved this by stacking both loops on top of each other so that they were now level with the front of the camera.

Magnetic Loops 1Stacked loops

The only other problem is that the camera shows slightly less on the LCD screen than what is actually recorded. So when recording I can't see any lens infringement on the corners of the image - but when it comes to editing the vignetting is quite apparent in the corners if the lens isn't lined up absolutely perfectly. The solution is to zoom in a bit when using the lens .

The operation of the camera is un-infringed by the magnetic metal loop and the flash bulb is still visible (although it gets blocked if the lens is attached). I believe that the camera's aesthetics remain pretty much intact and the extra flexibility afforded by this modification is worth the slight disruption in the neat design. It is completely reversible too, the metal loop can be peeled off and the camera restored to it's normal state.

Attached 1Lens Front View

I wouldn't call it a 100% success due to the lens being visible in the corners of the image unless extra special care is taken. However I do think it's as near as I can get given the limited space available to mount a lens. It'll be good enough for me for the handful of times I'll need to use it.

TG3 Without Wide Angle Lens

TG3 Without

TG3 With Wide Angle Lens

TG3 With Wide Angle Lens

HD1000 With & Without Wide Angle Lens (for comparison)

HD1000 Wide HD1000 Normal

Click to Download a Sony HDR-TG3 Video Of Pachinko/Pachislo Machines With & Without the Lens Attached

Click to Download a Sony HDR-TG3 video of Wigan Park with and without the lens attached

(I slightly cropped this video in iMovie08 to get rid of the visible lens in the right hand corner- this was very easy to do).

I've now uploaded this to youtube and have embedded this below - but I suggest you double click on it then select the 'Watch In High Quality' button on Youtube to get a better image.


So now when I am off on my trip I can pop the lens in a pocket and if the situation requires it attach it on the camera to take in a wider vista. I'll probably also take a panning shot of the same scene without the lens and then decide which clip I prefer when I get back and start editing the footage together.

The lens was bought via Ebay and cost about £22 (a number of sellers have them at various prices). The lens is an M-Power Wide Lens 0.45x"

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