Olight S10 Baton Review

I’ve always had a bit of a thing for torches. In recent years, I’ve taken quite a liking to ‘tactical’ style torches, which tend to have great build quality and good design, and can be really bright for their size and weight. I’ve had a couple of really good ones from Fenix, and they make […]

Civilian Labs Air Manila MacBook Air Sleeve Review

From a recent spending spree at Heinnie Haynes, the Civilian Labs Air Manila leather sleeve for my MacBook Air may be the only item that won’t get as much use as I’d hoped. And it isn’t the sleeve’s fault at all – it just doesn’t fit where I hoped it would.

When the first MacBook Air was unveiled, Steve Jobs produced it from inside a manila envelope, highlighting how amazingly thin it was. The Air Manila sleeve is a leather sleeve designed to look like a manila envelope.

Civilian Labs Air Manila (7)

It’s a bit brighter in colour, in an orange-yellow ‘mango’ colour. It’s quite a bit thicker than an envelope, too, as it’s made from leather, with a good layer of padding to protect your expensive computer. There’s velcro to keep it closed, but the twist-string closure is there too, completing the envelope look. There’s a really nice quality feel to the whole thing. It even smells nice – it seems like they’ve added a bit of mango scent to the leather. If the bright colour is too much for you, it’s also available in black. I usually go for everything in black, and really don’t like yellow and orange, but the bright cheery colour just seemed right for this.

Civilian Labs Air Manila (1)

It feels like it will provide good protection, and it looks great. The only reason I probably won’t get much use out of it is that it doesn’t quite fit into the bag I bought at the same time. The Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger is roomy enough for the MacBook Air, but not for the Air in the Air Manila sleeve. The sleeve adds a bit too much width.

Given the price, which makes it cheaper than most leather sleeves, and not much more expensive than many non-leather sleeves of much simpler design, it’s easy to recommend the Air Manila. As long as you have space in your bag.

More photos of the Air Manila:

A Brief Sony NEX-6 Update

Following on from my earlier posts about the NEX-6, I’ve had it a couple of weeks now. So, how is it?

Pretty good.

The only shots that haven’t gone entirely well with it were some fairly close-up product shots I tried for work, which I didn’t quite get the focussing right with. I often struggled to get good shots of that type with my Nikon D90 too, though, and the little kit zoom is probably a very unsuited lens for the job.

It’s really nice to have a decent camera in my coat pocket. It means I take shots I wouldn’t have bothered with before, which was a lot of what I wanted from the NEX. The picture effects are quite fun to play with, and I’m using the monochrome modes a lot. I’m especially keen on the Rich-tone Mono setting, which combines three shots into one.

It’s just as quick for me now to grab the NEX when I see a potential photo as it is to grab my iPhone. Things might be different with a newer iPhone – the 4S and 5 have faster camera apps – my iPhone 4 still takes a bit of time to be ready to shoot. Even then, though, the difference in time wouldn’t be much, and I’d be pretty sure to get a better photo.