We’re Making a Few Big Changes to Our Reviews

In an effort to keep the site fresh and adapt to how content is being delivered, The Phoblographer is changing the way that we’re doing reviews.

The Phoblographer is making a few big changes to our reviews from now on. If you’ve been a fan of the site, you know that we tend to do things much differently than lots of other publications. And today we’re taking that even further.

We’re Still Not Going to Pixel Peep

When I started the Phoblographer, it was to be a purposeful slap in the face to all the folks who pixel peep way too hard and troll on forums. We aren’t for a second deviating away from that. I purposely use this language because I still believe that no one goes to look at images that they see in the news and tries to pixel peep them. We don’t do the same for wedding photos, for beautiful portraits that we see in editorials, and we sure as hell don’t pixel peep the ads that we see. Images, when shot, are meant for a viewer to observe the whole scene. This philosophy is part of the core of who we are and it has influenced a number of other sites, influencers, YouTubers, etc. To balance this out, we’ve been taking a closer look at the type of content people post on Instagram and other places and are going to continue to adjust our standards accordingly.

To that end, we’re also considering getting rid of our Chromatic Aberration section in our lens reviews. Practically speaking, this can be fixed with a bit of software correction.

We’re not giving in. If you want to pixel peep, please go to DPReview or Imaging Resource where they do a fantastic job of this. The Phoblographer refuses to step into a lab to do tests because real photographers don’t do that–professional, semi-professional or hobbyist.

But We’re Now Posting Higher Resolution Images

In order to cater to higher resolution demands of modern screens, especially retina displays, all of our images are posted at 3000 pixels on the long side. This is enough to give us longevity with our content. Can you pixel peep an image like that yourself? I guess you could. But we’re not at all going to condone it.

Printing is Now Our Standard High ISO Test

These days if you look at the high ISO output of so many cameras, it’s all good. Nerf the noise, export the photo and programs will do a good enough job where the images look just fine on desktops and phones. But we’re going to start holding manufacturers to higher standards now in hopes that the effect rubs off on others. To that end, high ISO images will be printed in my office on Epson paper and a Canon PROGRAF 1000 printer. These images will be printed from Capture One or Lightroom at 17×22 inches. An ISO 6400 image looks nice when you put it against pixels on a display but when you print those images, you’ll see a much different story.

Our high ISO testing will now specifically involve printing higher ISO images in addition to what we can get when the images are placed on a screen. Not many camera manufacturers make sensors that can deliver clean, useable results at ISO 6400 and printed at such a large size. By doing this, we hope to get readers back into printing and all the tactile things involved with holding your own images. Our aim is to also hope that manufacturers start making even better products.

Every Product That Claims to Have Weather Sealing Will Be Held to Those Claims

For a long time now, we’ve always done build quality tests. But if a product is being billed as weather sealed, splash resistant, moisture resistant, dust resistant, etc, we’re going to surely hold manufacturers to those claims. Years ago, we did the two tests that you see above and below. Obviously, every camera and lens won’t be tested in the same way. But if you spot something like our Canon RF 50mm f1.2 L USM Review, you’ll see that we’ve been pretty thoroughly abusing products in our tests. We’re going to coordinate with manufacturers when we do tests like this.

In the past few months we’ve spoken with manufacturers about this and they’ve responded with “Well, how much weather sealing do you need?” Which I think is a terrible response in a day and age where Apple, Google, Samsung and others are creating phones with cameras that can convince someone to not buy an ILC.

Capture One Pro is Now Our Standard for Testing RAW Files (But We May Sometimes Use Lightroom)

Ilford Delta 400

For years, our standard for testing RAW files was Lightroom. But in internal conversations amongst the staff, we’re realizing that we like Capture One Pro a whole lot more. As a result, the entire staff is equipped with this program on their computers and it will become an even more integral part of our workflow. Lightroom we feel can’t give us the full potential of RAW files and Capture One does a better job over and over again. Want to see the difference? Check out our Canon 6D Mk II review where we show off how Lightroom and Capture One both handle the RAW files.

In addition to this, we’re working closely with Capture One to ensure that we can continue to keep doing these tests. That doesn’t mean that we’re fully eliminating Lightroom from our testing, but Capture One is now our standard. Don’t know Capture One yet? Then I suggest you head over to our YouTube channel and check out our many tutorials.

We’re Considering Bringing Back Sectional Comparisons

Our reviews are all broken down into sections. But for a little while, we were experimenting more with our reviews and decided to look for a more standardized way to judging products. Here are three examples in our Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art review, our Pentax K-1 review, and our Sony a99 II review. If we do this, each parameter of a lens or camera review (with consideration for bags, lights, tripods, software and more) will have comparison against similar products that we’ve tested within the section. These will be added to the table of contents that we’ve been putting into a lot of our reviews as well. Then a final star rating will be delivered. There are a total number of points that a product can receive and the overall rating will be based on those points.

Again, this is just a consideration as I feel like folks come to our site because it’s more personal and less numerical. But it’s just something that we’re considering in the evolution of the site.

We’d love to hear from you in the comments.