How You Can Help The Phoblographer

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 14mm f2.8 review photos (4 of 8)ISO 64001-13 sec at f - 5.6

Dearest Readers,

In the past couple of months we’ve made lots of changes to ensure that you stay up to date with the latest news in the photo industry, are in the know about the hottest products, and stay inspired by absorbing the work of other creatives. And as a result, we’ve seen our traffic soar to some jaw-dropping numbers at nearly 1.5 Million uniques a month.

Thank you, we wouldn’t be what we are today without you.

Yet at the same time, we are currently experiencing growing pains. The Phoblographer runs on Cloud Servers–which ensure that we absolutely never have down time due to traffic surges and that browsing through our site is a seamless experience. But it’s expensive, and this month we’ve incurred our largest server bill to date.

Now we don’t usually do this, but we ask that if you can at all to please use the, “Donate to The Phoblographer” button on the sidebar of the website to help with these charges. Anything at all helps to ensure that we can keep churning out content to you: the reason why we’re here.

Thank you so much for reading and welcoming us into your hearts.



Chris Gampat

Editor in Chief

PS: I received a concerned email from a reader. For clarification, we’re not going anywhere and we’re not going to die. We’re just experiencing growing pains and would like some support.

Hey NYC: Would You Be Up For Getting Drinks With Us?

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Olympus EPL5 review images (4 of 5)ISO 3200

Hey NYC,

We want to do a meetup with people around the area. Specifically, we’d like to do that thing where people congregate in those things (I think you call them bars) and we do that thing (I think it’s called being social while imbibing alcoholic beverages) with our readers. Our NYC staff would be happy to meet up with you all, talk about photography, and other stuff.

We’re thinking either Brooklyn or Manhattan. But before we do anything yet, we’re also considering March sometime. First off though, we want to pool the readers and ask who would be game.

If you have suggestions, throw them in the comments.


– Chris Gampat

I’m Selling All My Canon Glass, and Going All Sigma

I’ve stuck to three lenses for a very long time: The Canon 35mm f1.4 L, 50mm f1.4, and 85mm f1.8. And I’ve loved them. They were great wide open, great stopped down, and overall have never failed me. But it’s time that I upgrade. In my personal opinion, Canon has been dragging their feet a bit and I haven’t been absolutely truly stunned by any of the lenses that they’ve made in the past year. With that said, I’ve decided to go all Sigma and replace each lens with its Sigma variant. Why Sigma? Though I’ve ripped into some of their zoom lenses in previous reviews here, I’ve absolutely loved their 85mm f1.4 and 50mm f1.4. I’ve been waiting for a very long time for a 35mm f1.4, and now it’s here. All of those lenses are all very well worth their weight in gold; and for my type of work (portraits and studio) I don’t really need to upgrade cameras. All of these lenses will be coupled with my 5D Mk II, and will take great advantage of the already excellent sensor. They all autofocus perfectly fine with the camera as well.

So why a full post dedicated to this? Because as I’ve stated in previous posts this year, I believe that Sigma needs to be congratulated on overcoming the myth of the third party manufacturer. To be honest, I never thought I’d see the day that happened. Their glass is wonderful, it autofocuses well, its affordable, and they have improved their quality control methods. In the end, it’s all the photographer who creates the images; but I’m at the point where I want more from my lenses. And at the moment, Sigma is doing that for me.

And now to be totally selfish, I’m selling each lens on eBay if you’re interested. You can check out the 35mm f1.4 L, 50mm f1.4, and 85mm f1.8 at the according links.

Browse Our Reviews Index Because You Seriously Have Nothing Else to Do on a Sunday Afternoon

1:1 image at MFD

Hey everyone, we’ve just updated our Reviews Index. There you’ll find every camera, lens, light, light modifier, camera bag, and photography accessory that we’ve reviewed. And trust us, there’s a lot of them! To boot, you can also find some of our camera comparisons too.

Head on over to The Phoblographer’s Reviews Index and feel free to browse through.

Today is the First Day of the Rest of My Life…

Dearest Readers,

Today is the first day in a very long time that I have been afraid. It’s a paranoid type of fear that resonates in the back of my mind just loud enough to almost be an annoyance. This is a very particular fear that will always be there; and it will be a blessing and a curse. This fear is one that I will have to learn to live with because today is the first day of the rest of my life.

Yesterday (November 15th 2012) was my last day at B&H Photo Video Pro Audio; a place that I’ve been happy to call home for a while. My tenure there ended when I started to look at trends with The Phoblographer: the site that was birthed out of frustration with my world at the time in many aspects. One night I sat in my bed and created it in hopes that it would help keep me (and others) afloat one day and that it would grow into something massive. I never expected it to get the traction that it currently has with just under 1 million unique visitors a month coming in to us.

And now is the time. I sit here at my computer surrounded by paperwork, coffee, and review units as I type this. There are many things racing through my mind: securing adequate funding for the site each week, securing adequate funding for myself each week, expansion of the site, what task I should tackle next, the posts that I need to edit that the staff here has diligently worked on, and thoughts of last night’s going away party with the greatest co-workers I was ever blessed to meet.

From this day on, The Phoblographer will be a primary initiative of mine with the day job out of the picture and changes to the site are yet to come. We started with bringing Profoto on board as an extremely valued sponsor; and we will continue to carefully tailor quality content for all of you.

Today is the first day that I need to start thinking about serious monotization schemes while balancing the editorial aspect, freelance work, a personal life, and personal projects to help me explore my creativity more. Sounds like a daunting task, yes? Well, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared, but once again this is a good fear.

At my time at B&H Photo Video Pro Audio, I was under two managers and surrounded by positive energy from people who helped me propel myself forward. There I honed my multiasking abilities, got work done well before deadlines, and discovered a lot about myself and just how much I am capable of.

This fear is necessary paranoia to always get things finished and always look for the next big goal to tackle. That fear will help to propel this site forward in many ways. I won’t be alone though: the entire staff is right here with me and we promise you the best.

With all of this said, I would be an idiot to not say that this is when we need you the most. Our server bill is quite expensive; and we would appreciate donations by clicking on the donate tab on the right hand side of the site. But more than that, when you click our banners or product links and then directly make a purchase (no matter what it is) we get a small commission on the sale. That commission is at no extra cost to you and it helps us to keep the site going and alive.

And without you, we perish.

The world of photography is booming, changing and evolving right now and it an extremely exciting time to be a part of it. We thank you for your continued support and we look forward to creating content for all of you and helping you grow with us.



Chris Gampat

Editor in Chief

Master and Commander of the Fleet of the Seven Seas

The Phoblographer

David Brommer: Is the DSLR Dead?

A good friend of the Phoblographer’s and long time photographer of the goth/punk/metal scene, David Brommer asks this question. Are DSLRs really dead? Trey Ratcliffe predicted and stated it a while ago; and our Reviews Editor Andy Hendriksen sold everything for the Olympus OMD. Even I’m down to only my 5D Mk II with a Fujifilm X Pro 1 and Olympus OMD EM5 myself.

In his post, David characterizes and breaks down the different types of photographers from his years of experience in the industry at not only B&H Photo, but other places as well. Then he goes on to break it down even further.

We recently saw Popular Science asking the same thing.

Personally: I believe that any DSLR made from now on needs to be full frame. There is no point for APS-C or Micro Four Thirds DSLRs because the mirrorless options just do so well. The industry is in a very curious spot right now; and with consumers grabbing more and more full frame options, it may be a really tough call at this point. That’s not to say that vision doesn’t count; it surely does. But with all due respect, clients often want to see a Canon or Nikon badge on your camera if you show up to a job; so there is some sort of, “looking the part,” that goes into this.

Luckily, $3,000 worth of lights can do it.

Let us know your thoughts below after reading David’s piece.

Photokina 2012: We Need YOUR Help!

Dear readers of The Phoblographer,

as you are well aware, photokina 2012 — one of the world’s largest photography-related trade shows — is about to commence very soon. The Phoblographer will be visiting the show this year on two days, Friday the 21st and Saturday the 22nd. In this time, not only do we wish to lay our hands on as many of the newly announced products as possible, but also would we like to take a look at the stuff YOU, our readers, are interested in.

In that regard, we would like you to help us select which brands’ booths we visit and which products we look at so that YOU get all the information you desire. So if there’s anything in particular that you would like to see covered in our photokina 2012 report, please let us know by leaving a comment on this post.

Besides playing with the latest toys, we will also have the chance to chat with PR reps from various manufacturers. So if YOU, our readers, have any questions about a specific brand and their products, again please leave a comment below with your question(s), and we will try to get them answered while we’re visiting photokina.

Thanks so much for your participation, and we’re looking forward to bringing you our photokina 2012 report soon!

No One Forgot About Our Contest With Cool-Lux, Right?

For convenience, we’re going to re-post the exact same text:

May is National Photography Month, and we’re partnering with Cool-Lux to give away two lighting kits. Want to enter? We want to see your best portraits and we want to know how you lit them.

Head over to their Facebook contest page to enter in, read the official rules, and all that good jazz.

And if you haven’t already, please show us some love too.

A Call To Help Another Photographer: Selling a Car to Pay Bills

I’ve done this before on this site. As a young man that has built a blog with a large following that comes in each day, I believe that every now and then I need to do some good for the world and help others. That’s what this blog is all about.

We previously helped a man sell his Leica camera in order to pay for medical bills. And tonight, we’re featuring another photographer who needs to sell his car to pay bills. This photographer would love to stay anonymous and lives in the NYC/NJ area. If you’re interested in buying their car, shoot me an email at chrisgampat[at]thephoblographer[dot]com and I will put you in contact. Hit the jump for the details.

Editor’s Note: I’m thinking of doing this each week. If you need help and have a story to tell us, feel free to shoot me and email. I will feature one each week.

Continue reading…

Contest: Tell Us How You Fell in Love With Photography; Three Chances to Win a Camera Strap from HoldFast Gear

We’re partnering with HoldFast Gear, the creators of the Camera Leash, Money Maker and Indispensible Wallet for a contest you’ll all be mesmerized with.

There will be three winners:

1st Place: Ruckstrap in Red Canvas (pictured in the middle)

2nd Place: Camera Leash in American Bison (right)

3rd Place: Money Maker in American Bison (left)

So how do you enter: All you have to do is head on over to their Facebook Page and leave a comment on their wall telling us about the moment you knew you fell in love with photography. While you’re there, we also recommend that you Like their page;

You’re limited to one entry per person and only those in the United States can enter.

Not familiar with HoldFast Gear? You may want to check out what everyone has been saying about them. Hell, maybe you can ask them nicely to be featured on their blog.

Contest Start April 15th 2012 at 6:30PM EST and ends April 21st 11:59PM EST. The winners will be announced on HoldFast Gear’s Facebook page on April 24th. Winners will have 24 hours to contact them or else another name will be drawn.

Good luck!

Three New Positions on Staff Are Open

Hey everyone,

We’ve filled in two new positions but we’re looking for three new faces to bring on. Exciting, huh? With the site growing at an astounding rate (especially within the past couple of days) we need to bring on three new people to help us out.

– One news writer

– One reviewer

– One educational/feature writer

News Writer: You find news stories that would be of interest to our audience, but we also pass some along to you. Right now, Felix and I handle the news and you’ll complete the tri-force. Requires you to post often throughout the week. You’ll also need tech savvy to put your own twist on the stories. We aren’t just cutting and pasting press releases here.

Reviewer: You’ll be assigned items to review. You’d better bet you’ll need to be tech savvy for this position. It will require at least two posts a week from you (longer ones than what a news writer does.)

Educational/Feature Writer: These stories are those that our audience will find interesting. We’ve been tweeting a lot of them recently. Some of them are our useful photography tips and others are our actual features on the site. You’ll need to write one longer piece and two shorter pieces a week.

– You ideally be located in the United States, however, I can make exceptions though they are extremely rare.

The ideal candidates will:

– Have great photography knowledge and be able to write well. While all articles go through my eyes and the Copy Editor’s, it makes it a lot easier on us to have polished writing and know what you’re talking about.

– Be able to contribute 2 at least two times a week

– Be able to review gear, write features, and write posting that teach new things to our readers.

– Be super friendly: which is something that we’ve prided ourselves on here since Day 1.

– Know how to use

– Meet deadlines well

– Communicate with myself and the rest of the staff quickly

– Be well versed in social media like Twitter, Facebook and Flickr

– Being able to answer, “Who, what, when, where, how, and why?” in every single paragraph written in the story.


Now here are the pluses that give you an edge:

– If you’re a current B&H and/or Amazon affiliate, we will allow you to use your links in your posting here on The Phoblographer. In fact, we let anyone use any affiliate link program. This is how you get paid in addition to gear hookups.

– If you’re located in NYC (or around it) you’ll be able to accompany me to meetings with vendors and you’ll get to bond closer with some of the staff members. Most of the staff isn’t in NYC though.

– If you’re familiar with The Phoblographer’s style of doing things (have been a long time reader and can figure out what makes us different than other places like DPReview) then you’ll have an even larger edge because you’ll meld in very easily.

– Familiarity with Photo editing products is required, video editing is a plus

If you think you’ve got what it takes: shoot me an email at chrisgampat[at]thephoblographer[dot]com with a resume, a cover letter, and a portfolio link, and then we’ll take it from there. In the subject line, please put: Application for The Phoblographer (Your name here: position applying for)

Please Welcome Andy Hendriksen to the Staff of The Phoblographer

Editor’s Intro:

Today, I’m extremely excited to bring a new face to the staff of The Phoblographer. When Andy Hendriksen applied to be a staffer, the entire staff was wow’d immediately by him. He’s a fantastic photographer that I personally believe puts many natural light shooters to shame, he’s an audio technician, and he can write.
Plus: he’s friendly. Andy has been writing for us for a little while now as a test and two weeks ago I sent him an email telling him that I believe in him, love his work and want to work even closer. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve also learned more about Andy’s personality via his emails and his input on decisions made by the entire staff.
Andy, I feel, is a force to be reckoned with. His knowledge is immense. Not only is the technical part of his brain highly stimulated but the artistic side blossoms and his eyes have a knack for knowing what is a kick ass photo and what’s not.
With that said, myself and the rest of the staff are happy to have Andy on-board and he takes over the Lead Reviewer position and helps you all to make better decisions about the products you’d love to use.

Andy’s Bio:

Andy has been taking photographs since he was a kid, but only recently, after moving to Los Angeles, did he realize his love for street photography. Andy is a dedicated Nikon shooter, with a love for all things tech and media related. During the day, Andy is an audio and broadcast engineer, a guitarist, and a coffee aficionado.
 You can find more of Andy’s work on his personal blog, along with his photography on 500px.

Contact Andy at: andyhendriksen[at]thephoblographer[dot]com

Please Welcome News Editor Felix Esser

Editor in Chief’s Intro

Felix is a guy that doesn’t give up; and as an Editor in Chief of a website that I grew from its infancy, Felix has always been a motivational figure in one way or another to me. I’m 25; and while still quite tenacious, aggressive, and blooming with perseverance, Felix, in my eyes, represents hope and openness. I told myself this year that I’m going to take The Phoblographer to a brand new height of greatness and I’ve even gone so far as to set year long goals for myself. One of those was bringing on a news editor.

What do I mean by all this? Well, Felix has actually applied to work for the site many times. And I told him many times that we couldn’t work with him but I also told him that I’d keep his application on hand. Then CES came around, and I chose to totally opt out of reporting on it. That was a huge mistake for the site and I accept full responsibility for it.

But Felix has come in as News Editor and has done an absolutely terrific job so far. In fact, he got us a mention in Pop Photo!

I’ve e-known Felix for a while though. Back when this site was still an infant, his website used to give us some of our best traffic. And I used to sit there looking at my WordPress stats saying, “Wow, I impressed some guy all the way in Germany? How the hell did I do that?”

As time went on, The Phoblographer grew. And I owe much of it to the traffic that Felix’s blog used to bring in.

Now, Felix is part of us. And to be very honest with you, I feel that the current staff has been built into a very great family that works well together, jokes around via emails, and is completely open and honest with one another.

With all of this said, I’d like you all to please welcome the newest member of the family: Felix Esser.

And now for Felix’s Bio

Felix is a massive gearhead and enthusiastic about all kinds of tech-geekery. He loves to share his passion for photography and photographic gear with others, which is why he enjoys writing about new stuff so much. In his main career, he is a doctoral student in historical linguistics — writing thus comes to him as second nature. During his few spare time between attending to his family, working on his thesis and writing for The Phoblographer, he uses Micro Four Thirds and Leica M digital cameras as well as film-based SLRs and rangefinder cameras with a number of different lenses.

Felix runs a small blog dedicated to photography, his pictures can be seen on his flickr account. You can also follow him on Facebook, where he regularly links to interesting articles from all over the web.

You can support Felix by using his links to B&H Photo when buying stuff.

“Facebook Photography: Helping Your Girl Get Duck Lips Since 2004”

As photographers, we all know the friends who take way too many photos and then upload them to Facebook; causing us to sometimes cringe at them. A great example is the girl that posts way too many photos of herself (or always in the same pose.) Vimeo users Neil Chan has parodied this problem in his video, “Pro-Facebook Photographer: Marc Huelet.” In it, Marc tries to talk all about the gear he uses: which ranges very greatly from high end professional cameras to the iPhone. But he brings up a much better point: that being that it’s the photographer that takes the images and no matter how great the camera may be, it will never replace the knowledge, experience and creative vision that an individual has.

If you’ve got a couple of minutes, check out the video above. Let us know your thoughts on some of the photos that you find on Facebook.