REVIEWS

Welcome to my review section. I try to share my thoughts about photographic equipment here.

Most of the items I write about, I don't own any more, as I have already sold it, or had it borrowed or rented in the first place. I often borrow, rent, or, if it's cheap enough, temporarily buy items, test it and then decide, if I should buy / keep it or not and send it back / sell it. During this process, I take test - pictures and try to find the shortcomings and strengths of items. These impressions are, what I write about here.

So, if you have questions regarding a specific item, don't hesitate to write me, but sadly you have a good chance, that I can't answer it, simply because I no longer have it...


IMPORTANT:

Maybe, what you find here will disappoint you.

To make a long thing short: These pages won't show you any MTF - curves, line pairs, distortion patterns, photos of test charts or any other scientific test results. They won't even show you meaningful comparisons between similar products. If you want something to rely on, look elsewhere and stop reading here.

OK, you read on, so you don't expect the aforementioned. Why don't you? And why don't I do these things? You read on, so we probably both know already. Because I can't? Partly. Technically, I think, I'd probably be able to do tests one could probably call "scientific" under "lab-conditions" and probably even get comparable, probably even meaningful results. But on the one hand, this would mean a lot of very boring work with equipment, that I would, at least partly, have to buy first. Both of this I don't want. I'm lazy and poor. Or was it the other way round? Maybe the reason for the second could be the first? I don't know. That should be another article about...

But on the other hand, why should I? There already are numerous, very very good sites on the web providing exactly this kind of information. They are called photozone, dpreview, the-digital-picture just to name some of them, and there are many others, too. They do their reviews in a way and quality, I never could or want to. And this is, why noone, including myself, needs or really wants another site with reviews like this ... especially not the one, I could or would create.

But I still built this review section and am further adding to it, so what the h*** am I doing here? I try to provide information, that really matters to me - and in some cases, you can't get elsewhere on the web, as far as I know. I am a photographer, not a computer guy. I want to take beautiful pictures. Not primarily accurate or technically perfect pictures, but beautiful ones. And for taking pictures, often other things than scientific values are relevant.

To start at the beginning: The one and only, first priority, leading by a huge margin, must-have (you get the point) attribute of a piece of photographic equipment is to actually HAVE it! I'm just a normal guy with a normal job, earning - at least my boss keeps saying that - normal amounts of money and I'm a hobbyist. I'm into photography for about 25 years now, but I don't get paid for anything regarding photos oder photographic equipment, even though I think I should. Of course, the huge € 2.000 - lens is the best in it's class. It might even be the best value for money in the long term, because you can use it for 20 years or more and it will always be great and functioning. But I simply don't have these € 2.000,- and if I really have it some time, I buy my next car with it, not a lens. So, first of all, what you find here, are reviews of things at the affordable end of the product range.


Then the question is, what REAL photos am I NOT able to do with the € 30,- ebay - lens? How good is it? What are this lens' shortcomings and how do I avoid it? OK, it may be visibly soft at full aperture in the extreme corners, but the Canon L is, too. For example I never use wide-angles wide open and there never is something relevant in the extreme corners. So, isn't what really matters, how it is at f8? Don't get me wrong, I really like to know, how my lenses compare to others, even in the corners wide open. But when it comes to buying it, what really matters to me are other things. If a lens is as good or at least good enough at the settings I actually use, but costs 1/10th of the Canon L - what should I buy the L for? Should I pay € 1.500,- for the one occasion in five years, I'm happy having the lens, that is a bit sharper wide open? In reverse, how often have I really ever thought "Damn, I have to delete this photo, it just isn't sharp enough."? And then, how many of these photos would have been useable for what price with a different lens?

I'm a hobbyist. I don't earn my money with my equipment. If something breaks, I would get really, really mad about the item and the photos I could not get now. But it's not a real bad loss for me, all that I'll miss are vacation shots or other things concerning my hobby. Also, I treat my equipment well. A full time pro might throw his lens from the drivers seat back to his trunk or to the floor, because he has to get away fast, he might get pushed to a wall with his lens by the other paparazi while trying to catch Brad Pitt, he might fall in the water while trying to photograph that speedboat - race better than anyone else, to sell his pictures well. I don't. I transport my equipment in a photo - bag with thick cushioning all around, I clean my lens with a proper micro-fibre cloth, I keep my lenses away from dirt and sand. I have never wrecked a Iens because it wasn't built tough enough. Of course I have already lost lenses or cameras because of defects, but not because they weren't tough enough - this always was due to internal or electrical / electronical defects ... or sinking it in deep water, but that's another story and would have killed all equipment. I simply don't need the ultimate build quality.


And honestly: Do I even really need an autofocussing 24mm 1:1.4? Isn't f2 fast enough and can I maybe focus manually with a wide-angle?

Of course, scientific facts are relevant for my pictures. If the distortion of a lens is extreme and difficult to correct, it makes my horizons wavy and I hate it and maybe cannot correct it. So when I need some science - maybe just to know exactly, what settings not to use - I simply look at other pages, where I think one could use some information they provide and look at my photos. I don't care, if the resolution in the center is 3.800 line pairs or 3.500. But it's important for me, if the center is sharp looking. I try to tell you, what really matters to me: What an item CAN do and HOW to use it properly.

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.