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 […]

Photowalk Tiverton

Fore Street in Tiverton, reflected in a shop window:

Reflecting on Fore Street

We had a bit of a wander around Tiverton, from home, to the canal, then down into town. Then back up Canal Hill, which is big and steep.

By time we got back, we’d both managed new records for the number of steps taken in a day, as counted by our Fitbits.

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:

Exeter with the Sony NEX-6

We had a day in Exeter today, with my parents. I took my new Sony NEX-6 along, and it seems people may be interested in seeing what it can do. I’ll add a few more notes after the gallery, but first, the photos:

The indoor shots were all taken in Chaucer’s, an underground pub. It’s dark in there. In our alcove, we used a torch to read the menus. The NEX-6 still got reasonably good shots of the food, using the handheld twilight mode.

General Use

In general, it handled really well again. It fits fairly neatly in my coat pocket, and it’s small enough that it doesn’t feel too conspicuous around my neck. I do sometimes feel a little noticeable using my Nikon D90 and 18-200 zoom in the street. I don’t know how different it really looks from outside, but it certainly feels more subtle from where I am.

Rich Monochrome

It’s hard to say just how much I love the Rich Monochrome mode. It fires three shots, then builds the final image from them. I think it’s doing an HDR effect, really, but in monochrome it looks good. Smooth, rich tones, without the strangely unreal look that colour HDR shots have.

Most of my favourite shots to come out of this camera so far have been with this mode. I’ve liked doing mono shots before, but it’s always felt like work to do it in Aperture, and like a compromise on quality to do it in-camera. With the NEX-6, I feel like I’m getting the best quality, with the least effort. It doesn’t work with things that are moving much, but seems to be fine with smaller movements, even coping ok with people walking while it’s getting its three shots.


The pub we went in for lunch, Chaucer’s, was dark. Even there, though, it seemed to be able to get reasonable shots. The white balance looks way out in those shots, but they’re quite usable for simple foodie pics. Not photos I’m proud of, but decent enough snaps for those who think people might be interested in what they ate.

Comparing the NEX-6 with the NEX-5R

I had trouble making up my mind between these two cameras. The 6 has some nice extra features, but the smaller size of the 5R was very tempting. I got chance to see the 5R in Jessops while we were out. The size difference is less than I expected, and I’m very glad I didn’t decide to miss out on the 6’s extra features. I use the mode dial a lot.