There are going to be some significant changes to the blog.
- I now have unlimited cloud storage, so will be uploading lots of raw files for you to download. I will be starting by doing for ALL the cameras and lenses I currently have. I have already added several posts with this facility.
- In terms of my own 'personal' cameras, that will be my Leica T only. ALL other cameras will be treated as short to medium term review cameras that I will also be using for my stock photography work.
- I will be keeping one camera from various formats (usually the latest model) to test and to use to test lenses on. This will be, to start with, 1 X Sony FE, 1 x Fuji X, 1 x m4/3, 1 x DSLR. The models will change depending on what gets released and is dependant on my new concept of reader demand which I will outline below.
- I will from now on, be constantly working with and reviewing the latest releases. I will no longer be building my own system in various formats, though I will be keeping various lenses and camera bodies to use for testing. (See Above)
- From today onwards I will be asking YOU what you want to me to review and that will determine what I buy.
- Soundimageplus reviews will continue to be what they always were, long term user experience with production models.
- As indicated above, all reviews of lenses and cameras will be accompanied by folders of raw files available for download. These will be based, in the main, on real world shooting situations, but will include comparison test shots where appropriate.
So why the changes?
There are two kinds of review sites. The ones who get invited to the camera company junkets and who do quick reviews on the spot and / or get sent cameras by the companies who courier a few pre-production samples around the world to sites, who then have them for a short time and have signed non-disclosure agreements. More often than not these have unfinished firmware and kit lenses attached and the reviewers are under time pressures to get the review finished and published. Often these reviews are published the same day a camera is announced and are often, at best, only a minimal appraisal of how a camera or lens will perform. I have never based any of my purchasing decisions on such reviews, particularly as they are often accompanied by less than inspiring photography, dictated by the conditions under which they have to operate. And in many of these cases those samples actually give a false impression of what a camera or lens is capable of. Oddly enough, considering how much companies spend on this, they often do the product few favours.
The second kind of review site, which are the ones I'm liable to take more notice of, actually go out and buy the gear they review. Mirrorlessons is a classic example of this. This means that production models get reviewed, there is no 'relationship' between the reviewer(s) and the manufacturers and the review can be put together over a period of time. This gives a much better idea of how gear performs in the same kind of time frame that all of us would use it. Not just a rapid, pressured assessment with an unfinished camera cobbled together over a few hours or a few days.
Why do this?
It's become clear that most of my gear is somewhat transient anyway. Plus there is no particular camera / lens combination that I have to own to do my job, shooting stock photography. I shoot with different gear all the time anyway and with my processing, stitching and / or upsizing workflow anything from 12MP is fine for producing image files that I can offer for sale. I do sell a lot of pictures taken with my phones after all. So my thought was, why not make this 'official?' Why not make it the case that I use whatever I'm reviewing? This has the benefit that my desire to produce real world and genuinely work related reviews that reflect how I would use the gear, becomes a reality.
The reviews would then not be something to be seen in isolation and I would be 'testing' the various lenses and cameras in a professional work situation. In much the same way that someone like Mike Kobal writes about the gear he's using on jobs. And since I'm shooting new images pretty much every day, my idea is that this becomes true 'reality testing' and a genuine user experience that reflects long term use. For example the links below are to all the posts for some of the gear I'm currently using.
A new way to support this site. My Version of Crowd Funding.
Up to now I've been including a Support this Site section. But it occurred to me that why not make that support specific to the gear I buy and review? Below is a poll on seven new items of photographic equipment just available or about to become so, that I would be interested in reviewing. And below that are seven donate buttons for each item.
This is a form of crowd funding, but what I'm attempting to achieve is not the whole amount to buy the item. I'm looking to fund the price of the item minus my tax allowance minus the amount I get for resale. For example, if I buy a camera for £1000. I might reasonably expect to sell it on after a few months for say £700. The loss of £300 can be set against my tax bill, so in effect my loss is £240. So once I achieve that £240, I can go ahead and get the lens knowing that I'm not going to loose money on it. And that's all I'm looking to do, not make a profit. If contributions exceed the amount I loose on a specific item, I will transfer those funds to something else, so I can buy that. Please note - the amount you choose to donate can be anything from $1 upwards.
This has the benefit in that it is reader driven. I'm also open to any suggestions that you might make for gear you would like added to the list. You can let me know this via the comments section or the various social media sites that publicise this blog.
So changes to how I operate the blog and what I write about. The major changes are lots more raw file samples to download and more user defined content. So instead of just reading about what I fancy using and buying, Soundimageplus readers get to help decide what gets reviewed her and gain access to large quantities of raw file samples, so that you can see for yourselves whether or not the image quality is what you are looking for. You also get reviews from someone who has no brand allegiance or any connection with any camera or lens manufacturer. As always reviews will be honest and independent and with no fanboy bias. (Apart from the fact that I seem to be a fanboy for an awful lot of different brands!!)
- Lots of raw file samples for download
- Archive of review posts over a period of time
- Real World testing in real time
- The 'tests' are actually conducted while I'm carrying out my professional work
- You get to decide what gets reviewed
- Crowd sourcing / funding of gear
- More user interaction and participation