A word about supporting this site

I don’t run this site to earn money. I have a real job to earn my living with, a completely normal job. Since everything I write about here I have bought myself, for myself and with my own money from normal shops or ebay-sellers to actually use it, how much and what I am able to write about , depends on the amount of money that I can save and invest in equipment with good conscience. I share all this, because I want to, not to sell it. But when you find this helpful, maybe even as helpful as buying a magazine or book, of course you can support me, if you want. Your benefit is, that you help me being able to afford things to write about here.

You can use the “Donate” – button on the left to directly send a small amount of money (or a big amount, if you insist). You don’t need a paypal account to do so, every method is possible. If you decide to donate 99 cents, I’m thankful for it, because 10 people being as kind as you, make one new filter tested! The default currency is US $, but it works well with € or nearly any other currency, too.

But even more simple and without any cost or other disadvantage at all it is, to simply use this link to Amazon (or the one on the left) before buying anything there. For you it’s exactly the same as going there directly by typing the web-adress in your browser, you just klick this link first! It doesn’t matter, what you buy or where in the world you buy it, be it underpants, a pen, a cupboard, a lens or a Leica M9, be it in Germany, the USA, the UK or Australia: Amazon’s servers simply realize, that you came there through the link on my page and I get a small percentage of anything you buy FROM THEM. There’s absolutely no cost or other disadvantage for you, Amazon simply pays for my “advertisement” through this. I originally didn’t want to ever do any advertising personally. But then I decided to break this rule for Amazon. I’m a completely satisfied customer and buy everything from them. It’s the only shop in the world I would personally and on my private basis really rate a complete 100% in every regard. They have perfect service, even do call you back, answer emails with real, personal writing, extremely fast delivery even on Christmas-day, always perfect and completely new items, are never considerably more expensive than the very cheapest internet-sellers, have an extremely fast refund-system without being picky or having ever displeased me in any way and sell every good I have ever wanted to buy. They work on a completely different level than any retailer I have ever tried, and deliver it directly to me, without robbing me time and money to drive to the city or mall. I wouldn’t advertise them, if I wasn’t convinced, that it is OK to do so.

What this site is really about 

So...just another photo-site? No, not exactly, but yes, partly. Let me explain:

 

I'm a photographer. Not a professional, maybe not even very good. But as time went by, there have been one or two people, who actually liked some of my photos and a few of these few keep telling me, that I should show it to others. OK, among these are people who maybe could be slightly biased, like my parents, but it still seems to make sense to, when having a hobby creating art, show this art to some people. This is the first reason for my Homepage: I can show you my pictures in my Gallery.

And as I'm photographer, not a professional, maybe not even very good, but a hobbyist with passion, since I'm into this hobby for 25 years now, I gained some experience over the years. Taking pictures over this long period, I realzied three simple things:

Optical impression, the way pictures affect peoples feelings and moods, follows rules!

Photographic equipment is best, when it does what you want, while needing the least possible actions by yourself to get there!

The quality and characteristics of the medium matter a lot more than the quality of the camera and lenses.

But as simple as these three things seem to be, as complex are the things that are based on or related to these rules. This experience is, what I want to share here.

Why? Because I often look at photos or forums on the web and think: "Yes, I did this exactly like you for years, until I realized, that...", meaning: Because it would have saved me a lot of time and helped me a lot in getting a better photographer, if (and sometimes "when") someone told me. Why buy, develop, sort, scan and compare film with a color-reproduction, I don't want or like? Only because nobody told me before, how it looks....

Let's start at the beginning:

It startet all with my father, who was a very active hobbyist too, when I was young, and also very enthusiastic about equipment. He always had a camera with him as long as I can think back and over time built a collection of high-class equipment, mainly Leica, but also Hasselblad, Rollei and other "big brands" of that time. And like all children, I thought that everything dad does must be great. So I always wanted to take photos, too and when I was just old enough to realize the worth of cameras and how easy they break and how to take care of expensive things, he gave me my first camera: A Contax Quartz 139. At that time, as dad always had Leicas, I thought that the Contax had to be be a cheap, crappy "children's camera". Now I know better. Although I didn't know anything about composition, colors or anything other important for good pictures, the results weren't bad for some kid just holding his first camera and my parents realized this and supported me, mainly by paying the development of my films. After a year or so, I still used the Contax and, much more important to my parents, it was still working and even in good shape, so my dad allowed me to use his Leica R4, as he himself was only using the M - system. This was great! He had a winder with grip for it, which made the camera huge! And he had zoom - lenses, even if they were built by Sigma, but this gave me a professional feel and prior to everything else this very very professional look! I didn't care, that it was a real pain to carry and the camera as well as the lenses were much worse than the Contax - equipment. Today I realize this at once when looking at the old pictures, but for a kid just entering adolescence, the look and feel was much more important.

As I grew older, I met first friends, also being into this hobby. Especially one classmate was a lot more active than me, travelling by train, bus and bike and later by car, just to take photos, not for any other reason! This was great! I finally realized, that photography could be a real hobby, filling whole days, in contrast to being "something to do when travelling or being at family events". And while I had to be a much better photographer than this friend, because I had a Leica, while he used a Canon, he had been reading photo-magazines and books and knew about and taught me some absolute basics: The main, most important thing of all I learned, wasn't any rule of thirds or any other crap.

It really was the fact, that optical impression, the way pictures affect peoples feelings and moods, follows rules!

I learned, that specific compositions could directly effect the way, people looked at pictures and the feelings, pictures triggered in them. Later I further added the lesseons, that this is true not only for impression, but also things like how long they look at pictures, where people look first when being presented a picture, how three- or four-dimensional effects are being created on a two-dimensional medium, etc., but the main point was, that you can compose pictures in a way having effects on other things than "getting it all on one photo" or "getting it frame-filling". He taught me simple things like "You always need a an object / a foreground.", meaning, that you have to simplify your pictures, exclude everything unimportant and reduce them to the thing, you really want to show, he just didn't know, how to express that. But it was enough to bring me to another level of thinking about photograph - away from pure instinct, heading to aimed composition, to deliberatly arranging elements in order to create a specific effect in the viewer's brains. At this time, about three or four years after I got my first camera, I think I really started being a photographer.

But even when this friend knew a lot more about these things and I learned so much from him, just watching him kneeling down behind some flowers in the dirt or crawling on the floor to change perspective, or running and wheezing just to get to that beautiful windmill before the sun had sunk behind the horizon, I still had one big advantage: I had the Leica! And therefore I had to produce much better photos due to far superior equipment! Strangely, I didn't. OK, he knew these rules about composition, but even when I took similar or the same pictures, mine were worse. Was it, because he had a 300mm - lens, while I just had the 200mm? Hmmm, no, my pictures where less sharp, too. With time going by, I realized, that it really was his camera, that took better pictures. In that case, equipment really mattered. That was not because it was of superior quality, but because I had to focus manually, I didn't focus right in almost every snapshot. It was the AF, that made the difference. This was the second huge learning during my first years in photography:

A camera is best, when it does what you want, while needing the least possible actions by yourself!

I learned, that the quality of your equipement matters only in the rare cases, when you get everything adjusted in perfection. Every camera produces better results than the ones affected by a minimal user-mistake. Every lens is sharper than a lens, focussed just in front of your subject. Every camera meters better than one being adjusted to a different film's ISO.

So finally, when I was fulfilling my civilian service, what, at that time, every man in Germany had to do after finishing school (or going to the army, which was no option for me), and earned my first - very modest - amounts of own money, I saved for and bought a Canon EOS 50E with a Sigma 28-70 2.8-4 and a Canon 75-300mm. Actually this was exactly the same equipment, the aforementioned friend had. I use this camera (not the lenses) untill today, among others. It's really a great camera with eye-controlled AF. But the point, that really makes it great today, is, that it doesn't get between you and your shots! The AF with eye-control works intuitively, the meter is just great and never needs any corrections and it even has a built in flash, so you just don't have to care about anything. And what should I say? It worked! My photos got better with every roll of film because I could focus on the pictures and learn abou composition instead of caring about technical stuff. This was my start into the EOS - system I mainly use untill today and my start in being a real photographer.

Later, when I realized, that I was shooting more and more and the cost for developing my negative-films exploded, what was especially bad, as my parents had stopped paying or it. So, someday, I decided to switch from negative- to slide-film for cost reasons. At the day I got back my first ever slides and looked at it on my new projector, I learned the third and last of the big lessons building the basic structure of my photographic understanding:

The quality and characteristics of the medium matter a lot more than the quality of the camera and lenses.

My slides looked so much better than any print from negatives I ever had shot! My slides had vibrant, saturated, sharp and still neutral colors and looked so "alive", that it seemed like a completely different ... well ... medium! I realized, that you get consistent colors with slides and that you actually see differences between films, and so on. But that's another story. What's important is, that I learned to focus primarily on the medium! That's the reason I use medium format film today and that I also still use 35mm film today - the quality of 6x6 film and the colors of any film can't be reproduced with digital. And I learned to save me a lot of time and worries: When I see, that I can't print big enough because I need more sharpness, I will never look for better lenses, that produce 5% higher resolution than mine, but for a bigger medium that easiy doubles it.

So, finally, this closes the circle. There is a lot of experience I made in 25 years related to these three simple rules:

Optical impression, the way pictures affect peoples feelings and moods, follows rules!

A camera is best, when it does what you want, while needing the least possible actions by yourself!

The quality and characteristics of the medium matter a lot more than the quality of the camera and lenses.

That's what it's all about: Sharing experience, because I wish today, that someone did (or I would have read it), at the time when I didn't have it.

I have already tried all sorts of film and know, how it looks, so I decided to tell you. So you can pick the one you want or at least only the three, between which you most likely will find your favourite. There are lots of technical review-sites on the web, telling you everything about resolution and sharpness in the corners of the frame, but nobody seems to tell you, if and when the Canon EF 16-35L is worth the aditional € 1000,- over the Cosina 19-35mm. Of course, the Canon EF 24-70 2.8 L II is a great lens, but who tells you, how much your neck hurts after schlepping it up the mountain for 5 hours and how much lighter the 28-70 3.5-4.5 feels after that?