Collecting Cameras

I’ve finished updating my camera reviews

Kodak Retina IIc

For months and months now I’ve been updating all of my camera reviews. It has been both delightful to revisit old cameras and photographs, and tedious as hell to do the update work. I’m happy it’s over.

My film-camera reviews have become the cornerstone of this blog, together driving a great deal of search traffic here. My goal for this project was to strengthen the reviews and make them more visible to search engines, so they continue to bring traffic here for years to come.

Here’s a list of all of my camera reviews, if you’d like to visit any of them.

Here’s what I’ve done to each review:

  • Enlarged all images. For the first few years I set images to be 500 pixels wide. It fit the template I used then. I reset them all to be 1024 pixels wide. WordPress templates automatically scale images wider than the text column to fit the text column. For this template, the text column on a regular post at Web resolution is a weird number, something like 682 pixels. If I ever switch to a template that has a wider text column the images will automatically scale up to that 1024-pixel limit, avoiding me having to do this all over again someday.
  • Added more photos. I generally write a review after shooting a roll or two. But I used many cameras several times after the review and had more good photos to share. I added them.
  • Improved many photos in Photoshop. In my early reviews, before I had good editing tools, I shared images exactly as they came back from the processor. I brought many of the photos into Photoshop and made them better.
  • Uploaded some photos I’ve never shared before. Especially in my early reviews, I found some good photos that for whatever reason I never shared online before. I processed them in Photoshop and uploaded them to Flickr so I could use them.
  • Updated my impressions, for many cameras. I had more to say about cameras I’ve used a lot.
  • Edited the text. Especially my early reviews needed a once-over to improve readability and flow.
  • Added links to related reviews. Search drives a lot of traffic to my reviews. I hope searchers click some of those links. But those links also help create a structure in my site that I hope helps search engines recognize me as a camera-review authority, leading to better search placement.
  • Improved search-engine optimization. I used the Yoast plugin to help me add keyphrases and meta descriptions, and set key reviews as cornerstone content. I hope this also leads to better search placement.

When I started this project, I didn’t envision how long it would take. By Christmas I wondered when it would end. So I counted up the reviews to go and realized if I just leaned into it I could finish them in the few days I had off over the holidays. So I did.

You’ll see posts linking to the updated reviews on Tuesdays and Thursdays through about the middle of February. I share updated reviews in various Facebook groups on those days — it’s been a great source of traffic, and has netted me a few new readers.

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14 thoughts on “I’ve finished updating my camera reviews

  1. Wow, that’s a serious amount of work. I have to say, I’ve read (and enjoyed!) a large number of these reviews since you’ve been republishing them. You can rest assured there is a guy sitting in an office by Heathrow Airport who has been slightly less productive over the last few months. So don’t ever think you don’t have an impact on people’s lives!

  2. Sounds like a major commitment Jim, congratulations for completing! I read most of your reviews and it seems in the last couple of months three out of four cameras have been Kodak. You must have (and have had) dozens!

    So what’s the plan for the future regarding camera reviews? I’m assuming every camera you currently own now has a review (or more than one review) on the blog? Will you be seeking out any new cameras, then reviewing them?

    • Thanks Dan for recognizing that this was indeed a major commitment. I wanted to make sure I positioned those reviews as well as I could to be attractive to search engines. I also did want to revisit some cameras I used a lot to add more impressions, to make the reviews more valuable.

      I do intend to keep reviewing old cameras. I just won’t be keeping most of them anymore. I do own a few cameras I’ve yet to review. I’ve been given several over the last few years and given my focus on Operation Thin the Herd and on updating these reviews, and a strong desire to keep shooting the cameras I already love, my pace of reviews has slowed.

      Many of the cameras in my to-review queue are old box cameras. Now that I’m developing my own film fairly reliably I will turn to those next. I’m thinking about leaning into medium-format cameras for a while in my reviews.

      • I think a series of reviews of the same camera can be very interesting. Not on a predetermined schedule or anything, but just as and when you’ve returned to a particular camera to use it again, and perhaps found more depth to the experience, because of how your experience as a photographer has evolved since the last time you used and reviewed the camera.

        There are a handful of cameras I keep coming back to – the Lumix LX3 comes to mind – that I kind of re-review every now and then to recap on why I keep coming back to it and how great it is!

        I completely understand about investing time in posts that will gain you readers. I know it can be frustrating writing a post that takes ages then hardly anyone reads or comments on it!

        We always have this balance with personal blogs, between wanting to write interesting stuff that people will want to read, but not changing our writing just to try to get more views for the sake of it. The tightrope between authentic and still reasonably popular and likeable, I suppose. Guess it’s the same in the offline world!

        • Every time I use a camera and write a post related to that, I have an opportunity to add info and color about the camera and the experience of using it. But what I really want is for my official reviews to be the gateway into the blog, and so I’ll likely occasionally add info to the reviews from my ongoing use of the cameras I’ve kept.

          I’ve fallen on both sides of the tightrope you describe. I’ve written some posts simply hoping to get pageview sugar, and other posts not caring whether it alienated my whole audience but daggone it I wanted to write about whatever the post was about. I’m not going to say I won’t do these things again but I believe I’m entering a phase where I’m realistic about what this blog’s prospects are,.

        • Any post where I seem to include “lens” or “film” in the title, or that mentions a specific lens or film camera, seems to very well compared to most of my posts!

          What do you mean about being realistic about the blog’s prospects?

        • Given the current state of gathering attention on the Internet, my blog is probably as popular as it’s ever going to be. I will probably add readers at a slow rate and lose them at an even slower rate but the number of readers I have today is the order of magnitude I will likely have unless something changes about where the big audiences are on the Internet.

        • OK I see what you mean. I think we might see an increasing backlash against the more fleeting and superficial nature of social media though and a return to “old school” blogs and forums, where years of archives are kept, and people converse in long sentences, rather than single words and strings of silly emojis…

  3. Well done Jim!

    Many of your reviews in the past years were either a good starting point for further information grabbing as they made me curious or finally convinced me in trying new (old) treasures. So far … thank you for doing this incredible job ;)

    Don‘t forget … after the job is before the job. Keep on lifting all those treasures ;)

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