Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Review #2: Popular Photography magazine, September 2007 issue

  • Encouraged by the release of our first review, we now boldly go with our 2nd review! This time the victim subject is the September 2007 issue of Popular Photography and Imaging (Pop Photo), a print photography magazine.
  • Review Note: Some of the material in the print magazine is accompanied by content on their website. This review only covers what is printed in the magazine!

  • Cover picture/story: The covery picture is a big Tiger head, that goes with the cover story of taking animal pictures in zoos and parks. (six pages)

    2007 Editor's Choice Best Buys
  • Twenty five items are featured in this segment. Obviously this is an editors choice so it is their opinion, so you can't argue with it. But if I was picking, it wouldn't be the same list. The selections of the first three bullets include a short paragraph explaining why they chose each individual model
  • Four DSLRs are featured, one from each C, N, O, P
  • Six non-DSLR digital cameras, three super zooms and three ultra compacts
  • Four lenses from Tamron, Nikon, Sigma, Tokina
  • Seven kit lenses (bundled with the entry-level DSLRs) as a group
  • Four 50mm primes (C, N, P, M/S) as a group

    Reviews in this issue
  • Review #1: Ricoh GX100 (three pages long including ads). A very short-format review, it would have been much nicer in my opinion if this was a 10-page review that went into more detail and showed results in detail. But I'm not the one printing the magazine :) It is clear from the content of the review that the Pop Photo reviewer liked the design and the handling of this camera. They do point out some of its pros/cons, but given the length of the review, it is nowhere near as detailed as the dpreview review or the reviews by GX100 users such as Amin S (check the dpreview Ricoh forum). For the more technically inclided readers, they include their Certified Test Results, the vital specs of the camera, and short one-paragraph comparisons with the Canon GINO (G7) and the Nikon P5000.
  • Review #2: Sony 11-18mm f4.5-5.6 DT lens (one page review)
  • Review #3: Printer review: Canon Pixsma Pro9000 vs Epson Stylus 1400

    I am not listing all the ads, only cameras and lenses, and anything else that I may think might be of interest. Unless otherwise indicated, the ads mentioned below are one page long.
  • Samsung NV-series (two pages, inside front cover)
  • Nikon Mentor series (two pages)
  • Sekonic L-758DR digitalmaster (a light meter)
  • Stunning Nikon (two pages)
  • A coming soon ad for I like this ad!
  • Panasonic co-sponsoring the 14th annual Pop Photo photo contest (two pages)
  • Sigma 18-200 DC OS lens
  • Canon imageAnywhere
  • Sony Digital Days (two pages)
  • Tokina 12-24 F/4 (aka AT-X 124 AF PRO DX)
  • Aggressive Sony ad: "Your pictures are stable. Our competition is shaking". Well, perhaps Sony knows something about their upcoming cameras that we don't :)
  • Tamron 28-300 F3.5-6.3 Di VC (Vibration Correction). This elusive full-frame lens gets promoted!
  • Panasonic TZ-3 (The ad says Introducing, what is this a grand opening six months after its release?) :)
  • Pop Photo branded credit card (!) with promotional 0% rate. Gearaholics watch out!
  • Microsoft (Vista) sponsoring some Mentor Series. Expect blue screens ;-)
  • Back cover: Pentax Photo Gallery with the message "Peddling Inspiration". While I liked the Pentaxian ad, this "peddling inspiration" is just plain silly. The rest of the ad is okay, but "peddling inspiration"? Come on! :)

    Practical Advice
  • Step by step how to turn your panorama into a 360-panorama
  • Filters vs Photoshop
  • Reader Q&A section
  • Real vs Fake - spotting fake memory cards, batteries and such
  • Deconstructing a b+w pea shot (two pages)
  • A few other topics as well, such as 3 ways to polarize properly
  • These are spread throughout the magazine, but if you are not an expert, they can be useful pointers and starting points!

  • Your Best Shot monthly winners pictures
  • Landscapes after dark (five pages)
  • Also pictures in some of the other articles mentioned above such as the Zoo article and the Filters vs Photoshop

    Nice segments
  • Towards the back of the magazine buried among the advertising are some cool (in my opinion) features:
  • A one-page story that looks back at the topics in Pop Photo 25 years ago and 50 years ago (page 104)
  • Photography releated quotes by various people (page 127). Eight quotes there including Ernest Haas and George Bernard Shaw
  • The page before the inside back cover is a "back story" feature, a picture that tells a story, this one with the subject of cattle families in Alberta, Canada. Shot with a Kodak DCS 520.

  • Plus: Practical advice, some nice pictures, some nice ads as well, good ideas on Editor's Choice, good idea to review the Ricoh GX100 (but a very short review printed)
  • Minus: short and light on the reviews, the majority of the pages (around 75 out of 130) are advertisements.
  • Recommended if you like to have a physical magazine in your hands and browse through pictures, ads, and articles. Do not expect in-depth or advanced expert advice.
  • A plus if you like to look at various ads from various manufacturers and retailers since ads are the majority of the content!
  • Credit should be given to Pop Photo for kicking out a lot of the "iffy" bait and switch retailers/advertisers.
  • Dollars and Sense: It is cheaper to get a subscription than purchase individual issues. Usually 2-3 individual issues cost about as much as an annual subscription (12 issues).
  • The Internets: Some of the stories from the magazine are also posted on their website.
  • (Master of the Obvious) Overal Rating: Recommended for people who like magazines.


    Richard Alan Fox said...

    I have been reading this magazine for so many years that the twenty five years ago feature seems almost like yesterday.
    Before the maturity of the web and sites like Dpreview photo magazines were must haves to keep up with technology and prices, now I am not sure of the point of these magazines except for the addicted in a non web situation.
    I still subscribe to Pop Photo and get a good half hour of commute reading from each issue and will remain a subscriber until death do us part.
    The high point of Pop Photo in my opinion and memory was the cover photo by Peter Gowland of a model wearing the Rudi Gernreich topless swimsuit, now that was photography. Today for some reason we get no cheesecake just softcore camera fetishism.
    The difference between the softcore approach of Pop Photo and the hardcore of Dpreview is the measure of relevance to the reader.

    1001 noisy cameras said...

    Thanks for your comments! The Internet has indeed changed things up, and most of the print magazines have been struggling on how to adapt.