"I have to say that I am in awe of your thoughtfulness and intelligence
as they're reflected in what you've done. I'm sorry I hadn't come
across your work before."
Director Of Graduate Studies In Photography
Yale University School Of Art
are an exceptional writer and photographer but what is most important
is that I have never found any bias in anything you have written about.
That says a lot in this day and age."
- Elliot Stern
Founder and Director
Blue Ridge Workshops
"In the din of the Internet's noise, Sean Reid is one of a handful of
voices worth listening to."
- Kent Phelan
"The best and most detailed account
(of the Leica M8) I've yet read from a photographer's point of view is
on the Reid Reviews site."
- Peter Marshall
Photography Guide, About.com
"Reviewing photographic equipment isn't as easy
as it looks. Not only does it take writing skill, and a critical
sensibility, but for the review to carry weight and have value its
author must have significant experience with similar and previous
equipment. Sean Reid has written equipment reviews for The Luminous
Landscape for the past two years, and unfailingly they have
been well-researched and comprehensive. Sean writes with both
style and insight, and bases his opinions on his years as a
photographer, and not simply from the perspective of a technologist, as
is too frequently found on the Net. His site is free of
advertising, and well worth your support. I was particularly taken by
his article "On Small Sensor Cameras". It is a
unique perspective on how different digital formats are redrawing the
face of photography."
- Michael Reichmann, Publisher
The Luminous Landscape
Welcome to ReidReviews.com,
an on-line magazine of
reviews and essays by photographer and writer Sean
Reid. Each year, there will be at least twelve new
articles about the tools and practice of photography added to this
site. As of winter 2015 there are well over three hundred thirty articles on
this site - many of them very extensive. There are no press releases, news summaries or
the like but only reviews, essays and other writing about photography.
writer naturally brings his or her own experience and perspective to
the articles he or she writes. My writing is heavily
influenced by my experience working as a professional photographer for more than twenty-five
years. I'm primarily interested in cameras and
lenses as tools for drawing, as I believe that photography really is a
branch of drawing. As the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson once said in an interview, "My photography is just an instant drawing...I never quit drawing. The camera is a way of drawing."
I'm also guided by the photographer
Andre Kertesz's observation, "I see the thing, I feel the
thing, I make the thing". So when I review a camera
or a lens, I look primarily at how it presents the world to the
photographer (via the finder), how it works as a
tool in the hands, and how it draws the kind of picture we call a
There are at least
two kinds of review content on this web site. There are
reviews of cameras and lenses that are receiving wide attention from
many photographers (and reviewers) as well as reviews of equipment that
is of great interest to more specialized groups of
photographers. I have written quite a bit about
rangefinder cameras and lenses and that equipment will continue to be
an important focus of this site. I also give a lot of attention
to compact cameras that are designed for serious photography.
There are also essays and other types of articles to be found here that
are not necessarily about equipment per se.
I did my first professional photography work in 1984. While I am primarily a "fine art photographer" (a strange and clumsy term that suggests one makes pictures of paintings, sculptures and the like) I also do professional
architectural and documentary wedding photography. So I sometimes
look at the performance of cameras and lenses in those
contexts. I obviously can't write about every piece of
photographic equipment and so my focus is really on tools that, I
think, deserve some attention from serious photographers, professional
or amateur. Sometimes they are fairly new to the market,
other times they might be quite old and found only as used
equipment. In either case, if I decide to write
about a lens or camera, it's because I believe it's worth reading
about. I was a film photographer for two decades (and
a B&W exhibition printer for a few years)
but I now
work entirely with digital capture. As such, almost all of my camera
reviews are of digital models. The individual reviews obviously discuss
specific cameras and/or lenses but all of the reviews also look at more
general aspects of photography that can be relevant no matter what
camera and/or lens a photographer uses.
My own photography frequently
illustrates the articles on Reid Reviews and the site sometimes
features articles about my own photographic projects.
I am primarily a black and white photographer (except for a few
projects and certain work that I do for clients) and so many of the
general (as opposed to technical) illustrations on this site are in BW.
Sean Reid has been a
commercial and fine art photographer for more than thirty years. He
studied photography at Bard College under Stephen Shore and Ben Lifson.
In the late 1980s he worked as an exhibition printer for Wendy Ewald
and other fine art photographers. In 1989, he was the first American
photographer to receive an artist-in-residence grant from the Irish
Arts Council in Dublin, Ireland and his work is held in their
collection. That same year he gave a guest lecture at Dun Laoghaire
Institute of Art in Dublin. In the early 1990s Sean met occasionally
with Helen Levitt to discuss and edit pictures he was making in the
subways of Budapest and New York City. These were exhibited in New York
in conjunction with performances by Jens Nygaard's Jupiter Symphony.
Sean's work for clients
is often of weddings and architecture. His editorial work has appeared
in magazines such as Motorcyclist, Rider and The Robb Report. His
personal work is primarily of people in public places -- especially in
rural New England where he resides.
In 2004, Sean began
reviewing cameras and lenses for Luminous Landscape. The following year
he began Reid Reviews, a site -- of equipment reviews and essays
on photography -- that accepts no advertising and is paid for entirely
by subscribers. Sean also serves as an unpaid consultant, advisor and
sometimes beta tester for several camera and lens manufacturers.
simply, I think your sections on 'drawing' and and on 'sunny day
lenses' are the best writing about photographic lenses that I have read
- whether in magazines, journals, books or the various sources online.
Few professional writers about photography ever attempt such a full
consideration of the range of lens performance characteristics and the
different ways in which they are photographically significant. Some
discussions in photographic communities online circle around the
subject, but don't achieve the focus, rigour and articulacy that you
have managed here. Your
article is what all writing about photographic lenses ought to be like,
yet it's astonishing that next to none of it is. Interesting though
Irwin Puts Leica lens book is, it would have been so much more
interesting, and so much more appropriate to its subject matter, if it
had been written as you have written here...I found the article
incredibly useful and interesting. A great help in clarifying and
firming up what I have experienced and half-understood about how
different lenses work."
- Simon Pulman-Jones, England
"We all owe you a vote of thanks for such a
massive and thorough piece of work. What a concept-- a "lens test" that
is really about the pictorial effect of how lenses draw their images.
Lines per millimeter and MTF graphs have their place, but your article
really gets to the heart of the matter in the way that photographers
can relate to instantly."
- Peter Klein, USA
is a really excellent in depth review. I particularly like how you
guide the reader not to look for winners, but to use it as a reference
for their own needs. I think it may turn out to be a reference classic
for working photographers seeking how to judge lenses in real world
use.. I for one will be returning to it."
- Jim Watts, USA
read your substantial paper with great interest. I am an amateur
enthusiast in photography and optics. Your
concept first surprised me, because I have had an impression that few
photographers in North America and possibly in Europe like to discuss
lens characters as expression tools. Among Japanese photographers,
amateurs and professionals alike, there is a long tradition of interest
or even addiction in appreciating various image characters of optics.
For instance, Shoji Ohtake, one of the most influential photographers
in Japan writes a regular column titled Lens Physiognomy for a major
camera journal. He says that for each of his representation he selects
the right lens from his huge collection.
was impressed by your pragmatic and well-organised approach in
reviewing the lenses. Your observation is keen and relevant to
essential aspects of photographic imagery. Your rhetoric is straight,
logical, and free from jargon. These are rarely met in review papers on
similar tests, which tend to be too technical or too subjective.
should also tell you that I myself have evaluated lenses mostly in
B&W for the same reason as in your reviews. Few people have
understood me. All in all, it is a marvelous paper.
- Mikiro Mori, Japan
very informative, even enlightening, work. It not only provides visual
evidence of comparative lenses' performance, it also gets right to the
most important factor of lens evaluation - how the image looks to the
photographer. Long ago I stopped reading test charts of lenses since
none of my clients ever published any. It is always the look of the
finished image that counts."
- Richard Weisgrau, USA
hope your tests become a benchmark for other reviewers to pay more
attention to the real needs of photographers..."
- Phil Fogle, USA
think that your approach is what photographers have been asking for.
Your article was spectacularly successful. I didn't think a review
could be any better than yours on wide angles for the R-D1, but you
topped it with this one. Thank you for all the hard work that went into
- Bill Marshall, USA
advertising. A subscription is currently $32.95 per
year. To get an idea of whether or not my writing will be
useful to you, I'd recommend reading some of my existing reviews on Luminous-Landscape and Imaging
Resource which are linked in the site's article index. Together,
they can provide you with a good sense of how I approach reviewing
Wondering what other
photographers have thought of Reid Reviews? Take a look at
some reviews of the site at About.com,
of Photography, Rangefinder
Forum, and Imaging
list of current articles on Reid Reviews can be found at the site's table
one-year subscription rate for the site is $32.95. Once your
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refundable. The best way to sample my reviews (to
decide if you'd want to be a subscriber) is to read my freely
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*Important*: Before Subscribing, Please Note the
The subscriber section of ReidReviews.com
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We strongly recommend using the newest version of Flash
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When you subscribe, please enter your name exactly as
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Flash Bug In Macintosh Safari (New, Noted October 27, 2015)
Macintosh Safari, which used
to be my normal
browser, seems to have a bug in its Flash support that causes scrolling
(with the up/down arrow keys for example) to work poorly. Mozilla
Firefox does a particularly good job with Flash on Mac and, I would
assume, on Windows as well. I recommend using it to read this site. Get
Article IndexThe Reid
index can be found here. It includes links to all of the articles on the site but one must first log in to the site before clicking a link on the index page.
Our Policy On Advertising
Reid Reviews believes in the
significant value of clearly separating reviewing and advertising. The
site has not ever accepted - does not and will not accept - advertising.
Our content is supported by readers alone. It is a simple exchange -
the people who read the content pay for its creation.
pay for much of the content one reads on the web and in print. Reid
Reviews, by very conscious choice, does not work that way.
As many readers know,
an independent site in many senses of that word. We hope that our
readers can appreciate the value of this approach. As a society, we are
barraged with advertising (on the web, on
televison, on radio, on buses, streets, etc.). Reading Reid Reviews is,
we hope, an oasis from that.
purpose of advertising, ultimately, is to convince us that
we need to buy whatever product a manufacturer wants to sell us.
Advertising in photography has long perpetuated the myth that owning
certain brands and certain products will magically make one a better
photographer. But we all know, of course, how false that myth is.
Viewing RR On An iPadApple's
iPad and iPhone devices do
not support Flash and so this site cannot
be accessed directly on an iPad or iPhone. Subscribers have, however, reported that Puffin works well for reading Reid Reviews on the iPad. One reader recently wrote:
"I would recommend an app
called Puffin. I use it to read RR on an iPad with no problems at all.
It's a paid app but a trial version is available with some limits."
Some Reid Reviews subscribers have also reported success using an app called Photon to read Flash sites on the iPad.
With both Puffin and Photon, however, I find that scrolling is very
difficult. Some seem to have found the trick but I have not yet. At
this point, for most people, the iPad is not a good device for reading
a Flash-based site like RR.
allows Reid Reviews to
maintain a degree of content security (imperfect though it may be)
requiring subscribers to install security keys on their
computers. Having recently looked at the various alternatives to Flash,
we've found no even partially secure options that don't require the
reader to install special software and/or use security keys on a fixed
number of computers. In its current Flash format, Reid Reviews can be
read on most modern computers that include a monitor resolution of at
x 670 pixels and which have a high speed connection to the Internet.
The only software needed (for a Mac or Windows computer) is the free Adobe Flash player that many
computers already have installed. So readers can access their accounts
on computers at work, at home, while travelling, etc.
Ad Blocking Software
software (such as "AdMuncher" for Windows) can reportedly
interfere with the functioning of Flash based sites such as Reid
Reviews. Of course, Reid Reviews has no advertising (pop-up or
otherwise) but at least one reader has reported that "Admuncher" was
blocking the articles on this site. The solution, reportedly, is to
make reidreviews.com an exception in the ad-blocking software.
reports that adding this site to the "white list" for "Mackeeper
Security" eliminates interaction problems created by that program.
A Possible Bug In Macintosh
Readers using Snow Leopard may find that they need to reinstall some
of their system fonts. If you log into Reid Reviews and can see
pictures but no text, be sure to reinstall Arial fonts. Some Mac OS
upgrades can be especially temperamental about this. One reader noted
that he needed to use "Font Book" to move the Arial fonts from
the "user " to the "computer" area. Why do some Macs lose
certain fonts with an OS upgrade? I wish we could tell you. Obviously,
they shouldn't be.
Screen Magnification in Macintosh OS-X Lion and Later Operating Systems
Once enabled in system
preferences, OS-X Lion and later systems should allow one to magnify
the entire screen view using keyboard commands. See this article for more information.
Computers and Font Smoothing
I work primarily with Macintosh computers but
also periodically check the site functionality on Windows machines.
For significantly improved readability of Reid Reviews and many other
sites on Macintosh computers go to System Preferences > General and
do the following. Uncheck "Use LCD font smoothing when available" and set "Turn off text smoothing to font size 12 and smaller".
More Details: Macintosh OSX, and later Macintosh operating
systems, anti-alias fonts in such a way that some (such as
myself) find it more difficult to read text. Without any
special smoothing, the text on the Reid Reviews site should look like this.
For a further discussion of this issue and some proposed solutions, see
article. In particular, Mac owners who find it hard
to read the smoothed fonts created by OS-X might want to try
downloading the free Tinkertool
and using it to disable font smoothing up to, say, 18 points. This
change can make most Mac text much more readable to those of us for
whom smoothing causes eyestrain, etc. That true not only for this site
but also for thousands of other sites on the web.
The articles on Reid Reviews are displayed
using Arial as the font. It's a Sans Serif
font that some argue is less readable in print, than a Serif
font would be, but more readable on screen. Opinions vary
widely on this topic and several of the studies cited to support the
use of Serif fonts have been heavily challenged and
criticized. Readers who are interested in this topic might find this
article, for example, to be of interest.
It is important that one have the
Arial fonts installed, on his or her computer, to view the
site correctly. If those fonts aren't installed, one may observe
various layout problems in the articles on the site.
on the forum site.