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15+ Reader Comments on “Request for Feedback: How Best to Partition my Publication Offerings”

diglloyd publications, March 2019

What follow are comments on yesterday’s post Request for Feedback: How Best to Partition my Publication Offerings.

I thank those who wrote to offer their viewpoint. In the interest of working through to the best plan by speaking to the viewpoints, I here include many of the emails I received.

The core issue I think I really face is this: I compete with free stuff. Quality or not, that is plenty good for 99% of people buying cameras. My core reader base is that remaining 1%.

Knut K writes:

1) I do find having a combined format + manufacturer grouping very appealing. That would mean putting Nikon 35mm format DSLR‎ + mirrorless together but not Fuji 4/3 and Fuji medium format.

2) People with niche interests are at risk of being pushed out of useful subscription options. I for example am only interested in Pentax. I clearly run into a dilemma when I find Pentax to be bundled with a lot of stuff I'm absolutely not interested in and when I furthermore notice that my area of interest (Pentax) is not receiving updates despite Pentax churning out 2-3 lenses every year.

DIGLLOYD: I see Nikon and Canon as special cases because they have provided a clean and compatible path from their DSLR lenses to their mirrorless solutions. But I don’t see that it makes sense (or that time allows) re-reviewing DSLR lenses on mirrorless and there ought to be no difference in performance anyway (I have yet to see any).

Grouping Nikon and DSLR mirrorless (ditto for Canon) together would mean that DAP would be gutted—a possibility—but then Pentax becomes unsupportable on its own (there is near-zero demand). It would also raise the issue of where things like all the Sigma DSLR lens reviews would go. I can’t think of an organizing principle that would satisfy everyone if that were done.

Pieter K writes

I just bought the Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art based on your published photos and review. My best lens. period. The first lens I have that is overall good at f1.4.

There are more good review sites, but your field work photos and observations stand out. So your observations are important to me. The full sized jpegs are also very important. Still $100 is my limit. Your site stands out in a world of FAKE-news and (sponsored) reviews. I can imagine it is difficult to find the right path to make enough money. But this is my position as a costumer.

DIGLLOYD: this speaks to the cost issue for some, and the need for some entry beyond an all-or-none or similar offering.

Stuart M writes:

I would welcome a flat all in one subscription and wouldn’t mind sponsorship as long as you retained editorial independence. Ads are fine with me unless embedded in video then they are a pain.

My interest in photography has waxed and waned over the years . It waxed with the discovery of the Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4 which I purchased along with the Sony A7R III.

I subscribed specifically to get all your reviews on Zeiss lenses as it’s a lot of money and your offering is unique. No one likes to waste money on stuff they don’t need so I went for the a la carte options from your subscriptions. Now and again I find something of interest that is off limits but not worth purchasing another subscription for.

My interest wanes when there are no prospective purchases to get excited about. Sony is driving my interest at the moment. My interests are birds in flight, nature , close ups , landscapes a little but not street photography or portraits for which I would use my iPhone and that complements my serious photography very well.

I have migrated from Canon to Sony and I agree DSLR is dead in the water. Why have I kept subscribing ? The websites I’ve bookmarked are Mark Galer, DP review, Sony Alpha Rumours and Photography Life but yours is the first one . Mark Galer is very good for the how to, DP review is nowhere near as good as it was -they seem to be drifting and just going through the motions-there seems very little passion there nowadays. But your offering is unique.

The articles are quite challenging but that is a plus point , I love it when you savage a dodgy lens. I must admit I keep reading to validate my expensive purchases and there was some alarm when it seemed the Zeiss Otus was no longer king of the hill.

What would I like more of ? More shoot out comparisons . Surprisingly there are very few comparisons of image quality Sony A7R III vs Sony A9, and I would love someone to have done a proper job on that .

I would like comparisons between your current favourite lens in differing focal lengths to new challengers . I am only interested in the best that I can afford but medium format is a stretch for me . Different genres of photography would be welcome . You have done some good still lifes- bowl of fruit for example and it would be nice to replicate what you do here in the UK . More reviews of longer lenses -the Sony 400mm f2.8 for example .

Your thoughts on the photographic industry are always interesting and refreshing. Also post processing would be good . I have Capture One as I don’t want my photos to be held hostage by Adobe and don’t like their subscription model but mastering it is very difficult.

Anyway I am grateful to you for opening my eyes to the merits of the Zeiss Otus -it reignited my interest in photography and I have learnt a lot from you . Thank you

DIGLLOYD: all points noted. Regarding comparing Sony A7R III to Sony A9, that could be done for image quality, but when it gets to sports and such, doing so becomes far more time/experience intensive to do well—not sure that’s viable.

There is a flat all in one option already and has been for some years. Any existing subscriber can login and the flat $200 yearly fee is there. Any existing subscriptions can be layered and spread out over the yearly subscription (no time or value lost).

Rainer U writes:

For me as a working pro photographer your site is a wonderful source of information. I subscribe to it, in order to get the informations I need when I ponder about new gear. So, it would make a lot of sense to partition along the lines of applicability, linked to brands where it makes sense.

For example: as a Nikon shooter I am of course very much interested in everything from/for that brand. Now that they are blending DSLR and mirrorless together, you should, too. Same for Canon.

Sony mirrorless would be another chapter including every lens you review for that system (Zeiss Batis and Zeiss Loxia, Voigtlaender). It does not make sense to include Batis and Loxia lenses in diglloyd Zeiss, because their "application pattern" is totally different.

Another chapter would be medium format. If I ponder to invest into medium format, I shall be happy to subscribe to this one because the application/format comes first, the brand comes second. If I ponder to switch to Sony mirrorless, I shall subscribe to this one to get all the needed information including all lenses available (Voigtlaender and Zeiss Batis and Loxia).

Other chapters could be Fuji X or MFT, if you want to dive further into these systems.

If I need advice on workflow/software issues, I shall subscribe to this one (MSI). Probably many subscriptions in that partitioning order will vary over time, for example if I switch from Nikon to Sony, I shall drop the Nikon subscription. But, on the other hand, if I am not sure where to switch to (f.e. Canon mirrorless or Sony) I shall subscribe to these two until I make up my mind.

A full subcription to everything should of course be possible, too, for those who want it. I hope I could make my point clear. This degree of differentiation will probably make work a little harder for you in terms of paperwork and billing, but as the camera market becomes so diverse, you should, too.

DIGLLOYD: this runs long the lines I am thinking, the most important question being how diglloyd Advanced DSLR would be split up if Nikon and Canon DSLR lenses are pulled under those brands, particularly where Sigma DSLR lenses and Pentax stuff would go. It gets confusing even to me.

Lefteris K writes:

a) First of all, thank you for your suggestion to use “Picture Element” as a print lab. Fantastic results.

b) On partitioning, may I suggest a new section with content focused only on Image Editing (ACR, Photoshop etc). Not “tips and tricks”, but “best practices and problems”. Better to separate it from the camera/lens section.

c) Finally, I noticed that the only thing that almost all functions (Exposure, Shadows, Vibrance etc) of image software do, is to change the R, G, B values of pixels. Nothing more, nothing less. Given this, one could argue that “correct exposure” is a far more important subject, since “chaning exposure afterwards” only changes RGB values towards white or towards black (an intervention far different than what light produces during exposure).

DIGLLOYD: I love writing about other stuff besides reviews, but this has been increasingly tough given the pressure to keep subscriber content fresh.

I think that workflow and similar would fit very well under Making Sharp Images — all things shooting through “post” to making fine images. BTW, I consider MSI the most important publication I offer for photographers looking to hone their skill set.

Exposure: yes, this is why I have often recommended RawDigger. I should probably go into using it in Making Sharp Images, as well as techniques in the field for optimal exposure.

Michael E writes:

Probably, you need to get on the sponsor bandwagon like most others, so you can have some certain income. Perhaps you can balloon up your offerings so it is even more incredible than you already have, by just clarifying it more and more.

Perhaps B&H or someone wants to help you sell their stuff and become a household name. The people who don’t like you having ads have to get over it. Anyway, if you present all of the good stuff equally (but truthfully), what’s to complain

Of course, if you try to please the advisers that’s a slippery slope from there is no coming back from. There is the problem as I see it. Who would be so open to allow you to tell the truth about products?

OR... perhaps you can sign with any company who wants whatever they want to use from the collection. If they want to just only use what they want, so be it. We all would soon know it and also still be subscribed to. In other words, help them sell whatever they want and gear your offering around what a company needs. Comparisons, comparisons, etc. The good stamp of approval... something like that.

DIGLLOYD: B&H Photo is already very helpful both in loaning gear and in income from ads. Other World Computing (OWC) is just as critical (ads). Some users really dislike the ad presence, but I have kept ads out of the subscriber pages. Sure I’d love to eliminate the ads (much cleaner look), it is just impossible from a financial standpoint.

The benefit of using B&H is that I am not tied to any brands.

As to other things.. yes there might be possibilities I have not thought of. Endorsements would be acceptable to me only on the basis of being the product I would gladly prefer and buy with my own money.

Roderick writes:

I have subscribed for some years, initially to parts but recently to ALL.. I appreciate your approach to testing and keep a continuous watch on your Blog. I read most items fully even if they are not on the makes I use. Thus I hope to be continuously informed about developments so will be ready to change technique or equipment as designs and my needs change. Technical knowledge is always useful.

The current partitioning is not a problem to me. The small tweaks are fine to me. I can see however that the burgeoning mirrorless offerings from the industry will overload this section before long. In the past I guess many users had strong brand loyalty so might not subscribe to makes they did not intend to use – ever! Partitioning by brand then acceptable.

Now people may feel the need to follow all the mirrorless cameras before choosing one brand. Partitioning therefore not acceptable. Furthermore as the number of lenses from independent makers increases, and they are issued with minor tweaks for different mounts, all followers of MIRRORLESS will want all of them. This makes logical partitioning difficult.

My own position is that I use a Nikon 850 and by preference Zeiss lenses. However declining eyesight and three replacement leg joints have driven me to use AF lenses of longer focal lengths for field work as I cannot focus accurately enough on the high megapixel sensor, and cannot get down for plant close-ups. I watch the mirrorless field, but so far have no plans for a change – yet.

DIGLLOYD: partitioning is purely a financial issue as everything is available, and the worst case is the one fixed price for all publications. What I’m trying to do is to make some subsets more palatable on a cost basis so that someone interested in, say, just Nikon does not subscribe at all—and I have received comments to that effect (“I only am interestd in Nikon”). Obviously $79.95 for everything would be great, but I don’t see the volume X the price working out.

Jason W writes:

Limited access partitioning is frustrating but for me but acts as a gateway to convert to all-access. I don't know if that's a common experience, you'd have to examine membership histories to know what's going on, but I think it's an important point worth exploring. If limited access subscribers rarely become all-access subscribers, then perhaps partitioning would be critical to maintain these subscribers who want to remain in their silos.

Alternatively, if limited access subscribers convert to all-access at a notable rate and ultimately form the backbone of your subscriber base, well, your plan should be built around that.

As someone who has been both limited access and full-access, I know limited access partitioning at this moment would limit the value of your site. I originally came to diglloyd because I was buying camera gear and wanted advice, but I seldom do this anymore.

I tune in now because I don't know what will end up being interesting, and it's the surprises that present the value. I want to keep my finger on the pulse of the industry, see real-world applications and also follow lifestyle articles to live vicariously while I am on lunch break.

DIGLLOYD: there is decent conversion rate to “everything” access. At this point I would say that my “everything” subscribers are the backbone that makes it all work and I would greatly prefer one simple pricing model. But I don’t know how to reconcile lower pricing with access to everything—I cannot see that working (sales volume X price = revenue). I find that all-in subscribers are mostly professionals and similar.

There are a good number of one-offs but less than in heyday years where things changed so fast. That is, someone just wants to know about some new camera or a few lenses. Some of those convert to all-in, but some people see it as research-and-buy and thus some years go buy before subscribing again—that’s tough on me becuase my fixed costs don’t change.

Jeff C writes:

I consider your work the best analysis resource on the internet for honest opinions and self-education. When it comes to subscribing to Diglloyd.com, for me, it's all about price and where I fit into the world of photography.

I perceive value accordingly and in tiers. This is how I rank the various offerings:

Top Tier (ranked highest on down.)
• Medium Format
• Leica
• Zeiss

Secondary Tier
• 
Mirrorless
• Advanced DSLR

Tertiary Tier (Educational)
• Making Sharper Images *
• Infrared

I'm barely hanging in there content wise. As a Canon shooter, which I am considering jettisoning, your focus on the top tier has been, unfortunately, slowly losing my interest. I blame this entirely on Canon's marketplace ineptitude and quality. Until recently, Canon has been a desert.

As I said before, your abilities are amazing. What keeps me coming back is seeing your amazing travels (minus the biking accidents), and hearing your insights on various lens at the secondary tier level. I'm hoping that knowing where my head is at will help in your decision process.

I took a class with Vincent Versace in February where he made this comment about pricing: "I make my money by nibbling on your ass instead of taking it out in one big bite." Also, when I worked in a music store 30 years ago, the owner would say to me: "Half a loaf is better than none.".

Having said all that, I know you are considering creating subscriptions based on gear. I totally get it from an ease of workflow perspective for you. However, I would ask you to consider looking at the financial level of your customer base and the pricing of the gear; Then build subscriptions accordingly. Price wise, $70-$75 a year is about my max range unless I'm in the market for a new $3500 camera or $2500, Then I would consider going up to $100-$130 while I shopped. As a long time subscriber, I thank you for your time and all your amazing efforts.

DIGLLOYD: the gear I review these days rarely is under the $3000 mark for a camera and a lens (just look at a Sony A7R III or Nikon Z7 camera body).

As perspective, here in California, sales tax is 9.25%, or $277 tax. Cable bills are easily well over $100/month, ditto for cell phones. People pay those without blinking.

For continuing subscribers at $200/year (everything deal), the cost is thus quite a bit less than sales tax on about the cheapest system and about the sales tax on one or two lenses. On higher-end systems the subscription cost is a rounding error, and I see that there is not much price sensitivity on the high end.

Categories like APS-C and Micro Four Thirds draw very little subscription interest. My feeling over the years is that buyers of such systems simply are not the kind of buyer (generalizing here) that are willing to subscribe, or even more fundamentally, prepared or interested in the advanced-user information. Since it takes just as much work to review a low-end camera or lens, I have abandonded the low end.

Edo V writes:

Your strength is the thorough lens reviews. You mention aspects that nobody else reports (as far as I know). I would happily pay $50/year just to learn about the lenses, or $99/year, which is what I pay for a subscription to two magazines from a Dutch consumer magazine.

Personally I cancelled my subscription to your site because you mentioned somewhere that a 16MP sensor was capable of yielding a 1 meter wide print, with a good lens and Prime (DXO), which I use. I knew enough and stayed with Micro Four Thirds and saved a lot of money, and did not renew my subscription, thereby saving more. Such observations are valuable, and you read them rarely elsewhere.

But I wonder if there is a market for your work. You do not get mentioned often or at all on other "review" websites (usualy opinionated amateurs who do not understand the difference between sharpness and resolution, or bokeh and depth-of-field, etc.). Perhaps a some marketing research would help, especially with a shrinking market?

On the other hand I would guess that with the recent breakthrough of mirrorless and smaller cameras, the upcoming higher resolution sensors for 24x36mm and the new larger-format cameras, there is a need for somebody who sifts the wheat from the chaff and who calls a spade a spade.

Your recent remark that a 24x36mm sensor can be as good as medium format (mentioned in connection to that gorgeous BW panorama) is of great value to somebody who is pondering what to buy. Comparisons and advice would be most welcome to many?

On a personal note speaking as a geologist and petroleum consultant. Running a business on your own is not easy for a technical-oriented person who speaks up and does not tolerate fools in his line of expertise, and who operates in a shrinking market. Networking is the key, but if that is lacking in your mental make-up (as it is in mine) you may well have a problem.

DIGLLOYD: while I greatly enjoy one-on-one interaction with people, I’m an unabashed individualist with little sense of marketing or sales. But I do feel that I have a good sense of what people are looking for by subscribing, based on a decade of hearing feedback.

One “flaw” I have is not holding back from criticizing poorly done aspects of a camera. I know this has cost me business as some people integrate their choice of camera into their ego (Leica and Fujifilm X user come to mind).

Jon L writes:

Regarding the restructuring. I think makes sense to roll all of the image formation, post-processing technique and workflow into MSI. Apart from the recent stuff on focus stacking, MSI has been relatively moribund. I have continued to subscribe to it because the information in there is timeless and I refer to it often. Further, one might anticipate future cross-platform / platform independent changes in image processing (such as “Enhance”, etc.) or other issues NOT related to system-specific bodies or lenses etc that would reasonably be covered here. Things like tripods and other things currently under “Various” in DAP as well.

Moreover, having a partition focusing on technique would seemingly justify a higher fee than you currently charge for MSI alone; I would suggest at least the same as if not more than DAP is now.

With most of the interest in mirrorless and Medium format, DAP will likely have relatively less new content, but remain a valuable source for this of us who remain at that level. Pulling technique out would likely justify a modest decrease in the cost of DAP as the amount of new content diminishes.

Gear-wise, I find the Zeiss partition stands open its own feet. That, plus there likely will be a way to use Zeiss lenses on nearly every 35 mm platform (NOT medium format as you have shown) justifies maintaining its separate identity at an appropriate price. I guess the real question here is Zeiss for mirrorless bodies. Are you going to be testing with Batis, Loxia and future designs for each mirrorless system? Seems that would be a lot of work if you plan to subdivide mirrorless into brand groupings. Might pull Zeiss for mirrorless back into Zeiss and increase the price.

Makes sense to keep medium format separate.

Mirrorless: depends on your subscriber base:
• Already switched to mirrorless or thinking about it?
• Committed already to a system or considering which system to buy in to?
• How many are subscribing to the total package vs. isolated parts?

If you subdivide mirrorless into Manufacturer Groups, you might consider group packages such as : Sony (or Canon or Nikon)+ Zeiss + MSI for a slight discount over individual prices.

As an amateur, I subscribe to the entire package, but use DAP, Zeiss and MSI 80% of the time. Follow mirrorless as I may eventually go there (again, a specific demographic: how representative am I of your subscribers?). I don’t look at Leica, IR or Medium format as I ill never go there. I buy the whole package because the cost covers the individual components I am most interested in. Any excess is good for you and supports your free stuff. (I have learned a lot from your pages).

DIGLLOYD: I definitely intend to discount bundles/packages so that someone interested in, say, Mirrorless can just get all mirrorless at one price. But there are also those who just want Sony or Canon or Nikon or L-mount.

Making Sharp Images (MSI) is more relevant as ever, and I consider it my most important publication for a photographer looking to improve technically. I agree it needs some love (additions). I agree that it should be soup to nuts for shooting through “post”.

Reader Kevin S writes:

I don’t really have skin in this decision, since I subscribe to ‘all’, but thought I would give you my reasoning on the question, as I often have to make such structuring type decisions in my day job.

I think that the partitioning of content should be determined by the main boundaries between communities of interest/usage, and it’s clear you are thinking this way as well. But this is getting increasingly complicated as the number of mounts proliferate, most of the mirrorless mounts have many options for adapting, and third party lens makers extend their range of supported mounts. I know you are not generally a fan of adaptors, but the pace of change in this industry is so rapid that it’s not practical nor necessary to ‘sell and replace’ a whole quiver of glass when the next shiny new camera development comes along.

I believe it will take a long time for DSLR makers to really replicate their range in mirrorless-specific lenses, and even longer for most folks to convert their arsenal to all mirrorless glass. This is reinforced by the excellent mount adapters fielded by Nikon and Canon. So I believe it is important to keep the major mount-centered brand lens content together by brand – i.e. Z/F, RF/EF, and FE/E. The DSLR camera content could just go with the workflow content over to Making Sharp Images, since at this point it is more about users getting the most from the current DSLRs than about very many people shopping for new DSLRs.

Since third party lens makers are (by necessity) expanding their range of supported mounts (Sigma comes to mind foremost), and there are more of them coming out of the woodwork, I think this content should be separated into one or more transversal partitions spanning the range of FF-capable mounts they support. For me, adapting Zeiss manual focus lenses to mirrorless Z (or RF) is a wonderful long term solution (when not hiking too far). This would encourage many people to subscribe to one or more of these to supplement their main mount subscription, i.e. one ‘vertical’ mount brand sub + 1 or 2 ‘horizontal’ 3rd party lens subs. Zeiss and Sigma could be separate partitions, or even grouped into one as I expect many folks will be shopping between them for high quality lens options. Other partitions could be bargain brands (at a low subscription price!) and niche brands.

The easy ones to separate out, as you point out, are Micro Four Thirds, Fujifilm X (APS-C), Leica, and Medium Format as these are largely standalone communities of interest. Pentax is harder to place – it could be standalone as well, treated like the major FF-capable mounts, or even lumped with the DLSR camera content in Making Sharp Images.

I find it easier to think through this graphically, so attached is a slide with the suggestions above laid out in a table. Something like this could also be used to explain the structure to subscribers.

In any case, those are my thoughts – hope some of this is useful to your thinking to make a more future-proof structure for your treasure trove of content.

DIGLLOYD: I agree on the area of interest/usage point, so long as it doesn’t also raise confusing ambiguities (confusing to a newly arrived potential subscriber).

The clean Nikon and Canon transition are head-scratchers: I doubt I would re-review those lenses on mirrorless (no meaningful difference) and yet I can see that mirrorless users would be interested. And where to position Sigma DSLR lenses and what happens with Sigma mirrorless lenses? I don’t have a good sense of it except that in the past, tying a lens to its native-mount publication (and/or camera mounts) made an excellent organizing principle.

I don’t see Micro Four Thirds and APS-C as having much gas left in the tank,or Pentax either, so one option is to drop 'em in somewhere reasonably related, not to create small mostly archival areas.

The graphic below just confuses me so I cannot see new readers understanding it.

Suggested partitioning of content from reader Kevin S

David R writes:

My one comment on this is that in connection with mirrorless, I would distinguish between full frame mirrorless on the one hand and APC and Micro 4/3rds mirrorless on the other.

While I haven't gone mirrorless yet (still shooting NIkon D850 and D500), once I do, I want to see reviews not only on Nikon FF cameras and lenses but also on Sony, Canon, Panasonic, Leica. I see a significant difference between those interested in FF and those interested in less than FF.

Large Format, whether mirrorless or not, should be its own category (and is one I would likely subscribe to as well). The difference between the exotic Phase One, Hasselblad LF and the 1/5th the price Fuji, Pentax and Hassy lesser LFs remains very interesting. I suspect we will soon see higher MP FF from the lower end and I would very much like to hear your thoughts on those versus the second-mortgage FF cameras out there.

DIGLLOYD: I don’t have any plans to continue APS-C coverage—there is just no interest and that level of buyer just does not subscriber. Micro Four Thirds is hanging in there but not much better. So those two will likely just fall by the wayside unless something compelling shows up in MFT.

Already I partition as David R suggests, the change is that everything in 35mm format is going mirrorless and that is the gist of the organizational challenge.

Nick C writes:

Hope all is well, and appreciate the candor in asking your clients for feedback on your digital offering.

Lowering the price is nothing but a race to the bottom that serves no-one. Partitioning the offering is, as you say, given the confluence of technologies and brands, an increasingly meaningless proposition. Heck, I don’t consume much on your site, but it’s a pain in the ass trying to figure out what to subscribe to.

Perhaps an all-inclusive, $20/month subscription to all content is a palatable option to more people than $200/year, which then has to be manually renewed. I would wholeheartedly subscribe at $20/month on a recurring plan, set it and forget it.

I have converted a business through my consulting services from a one-time sale to a monthly subscription model at a fraction of the one-time cost, and business has increased substantially.

One more item that I’d like to address, the B&H and OWC products grid peppering your site is an incredible annoyance. I spent some time devising custom ad blocking rules to get rid of that. I have no idea how lucrative that is for you, but at least for us paying folk it’s an unnecessary battery drag. As always, appreciate all your work and am happy to continue subscribing, whatever your model might be.

DIGLLOYD: lowering the prices is a losing proposition as I have never seen it drive meaningful volume.

As for partitioning, the issue is that while all-in-one is BY FAR the best solution, it dissuades new customers who find the price too high and/or want only one specific area or brand.

The problem with montly is that I cannot guarantee any particular area will get coverage (depends both on my time and industry developments). And it drives a behavior of wait-subscribe-abandon-repeat each time a particular are of interest arrives (and doesn’t encourage regular visits). So while I could see a 6-month subscription, I can't see month by month working.

As to ads, there are no ads on subscriber pages, so we are talking just about the public and free-to-all blog. And those ads are absolutely critical: B&H loaners are what makes reviews possible as well as income from B&H. OWC is also essential, as much or more so. I would have to quit tomorrow and do something else if I lost these advertisers.

Colin H writes:

As a self-employed photographer I appreciate your conundrum. Pricing is the hardest thing I do.

I currently subscribe to Advanced DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras. A few years ago I think you used to segregate by brand and I just subscribed to Canon and that worked fine for my needs. I had been subscribing to just DSLR until my recent renewal when I added mirrorless because I can see that is where the industry is going and I wanted to get your take on Canon mirrorless as I use that DSLR system. I’m sure I will look at reviews you write on the inevitable Sony pro mirrorless cameras (because I can with the subscription) so I can keep up with them, but at this time I have all my money in Canon and will probably stay there because the switch would be too expensive.

Honestly I’m not “thrilled” about having to pay for the mirrorless subscription but I am because that is the way you have the offerings structured. In some ways it seems like if I am paying for a DSLR Canon subscription I shouldn’t have to pay for a Canon Mirrorless subscription, too. On my own I probably would not pay to subscribe to a Sony-only “channel” at this time because I am not that interested in the system.

So the current structure works OK for me. If you change it my main interest is being able to compare Canon DSLR bodies and lenses to Canon mirrorless offerings and how existing Canon lenses will work new mirrorless offerings using the adapter(s). This is something I would like you to write on now whenever you get the Canon R and an adapter back in your hands as that would be the way I would move into that system (by buying a mirrorless body first with an adapter and updating lenses later). So I need legacy glass to work as well on the mirrorless as it does on the DSLR.

I guess from your point of view you have to buy two Canon bodies (for example) so you can test DSLR lenses on a DSLR and one mirrorless body for mirrorless lenses so your costs essentially double? If that is the case you are loosing money on the current mirrorless subscription set up and charging for each brand might make more sense.

I realize you write about a bunch of different optic and camera brands, but I’m never going to buy a Zeiss lens for my Canon cameras so I’d appreciate you allowing single brand photographers to be able to subscribe to just their brand no matter what the camera body or lens mount.

DIGLLOYD: I never segregated by brand for DSLR or mirrorless, excepting Zeiss DSLR lenses and Leica, both of which are high-end specialty.

Colin H’s concern about “have to subscribe to two things” is well noted, but perhaps a special case due to the transition strategy Nikon and Canon have both employed (excellent manufacturer-supported lens adapters). But I am thinking out at least a year, and how long are DSLR lenses on mirrorless relevant? Plus I can’t see value in re-reviewing. And I don’t know how to handle Sigma and other-brand lenses for Nikon and Canon (and Pentax). Thus DAP is a good fit—DSLR stuff. But I acknowledge the thought process as valid.

Oren G writes:

1. Merge Zeiss DSLR Lenses with Advanced DSLR. Best way of maintaining an offering that will be attractive to those who retain interest in this declining sector of the market, also would be consistent with a general move toward unifying material relevant to each platform. OK to move asides on workflow and technique into a separate workflow/technique product along with the current Making Sharp Images content.

2. OK to merge Leica SL into a new product aimed at the L-mount platform, with the Leica M / M-mount lenses / Leica fixed-lens material remaining in a separate product.

3. For Mirrorless, consider five "branches", with separate subscriptions but attractive bundle discounts: Nikon full frame, Canon full frame, Sony full frame, L-mount full frame, Everything Else (i.e., N/C/S smaller-than-full frame, Fuji APS-C, Pentax if they ever show up to the party, m4/3, all fixed-lens other than Leica).

4. Medium Format as-is makes sense.

DIGLLOYD: worthwhile ideas, but doesn’t merging Zeiss DSLR Lenses with DAP just dilute out the perception of what is? Seems just confusing.

Ronald G writes:

My thoughts are to split mirrorless up by brand and leave the rest alone other than rebalancing prices. Especially do not waste time splitting DSLR if no one cares anymore.

What would increase value for me would be if each section ended with a definitive summary and conclusions section. I do not have your skill in examining images. Thus your opinion is more valuable to me than providing me with images. Especially, product comparison opinions. This is not a suggestion to change what you are doing, but rather to do one more thing per section. If I am seriously interested in some point I'm willing to examine images in detail. But purchasing decisions are not necessarily in that category. I'd much rather your opinion to guide the purchase than the raw data.

DIGLLOYD: some kind of split-up for mirrorless is what seems to make more sense to me. I cannot see gutting DAP and merging areas that have worked very well so far (e.g., Canon and Nikon in DAP vs Zeiss DSLR Lenses).

Point noted on conclusions. Sometimes this is tough (bad sample lenses) but I have been putting more conclusion type stuff into each page.

David T writes:

I love your web site. It’s about the only photography web pages I read, except for photographylife.com, which does a really nice job with the aesthetic aspects of photography, and bythom.com who has some unique insights into the industry.

I view your work as _easily_ worth the $200/yr subscription. I don’t even give it a second thought in signing up each year. Well worth it!

I’m well past the GAS phase of life, and spend much more time shooting than reading about it, BUT there are some lenses that give such special results that they get me excited to shoot with them. And you are really, really good at pointing out these lenses, and also identifying the problems that one needs to work around. I don’t always agree with some conclusions, but always find your views worthwhile, high-integrity, and no BS, no fan-boy stuff.

I’m still shooting my Nikon D810, and find it to be an image-getting machine. If I can imagine an image, and if the light is there, it will catch it. (A Nikon D850 would be nice, but not enough difference for me yet.) A number of Zeiss lenses of the classic series I’ve bought on your good reviews, and I still love them.

Keep up the great work, and for me, I’m basically in for the long term. Divide it up how you like, I’ll plan to subscribe to it all. Thank you for your diligent efforts. Much appreciated!

DIGLLOYD: very different motivations among my reader base.

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