|What's in my bag||http://tinyurl.com/RonMartGear|
Copyright (c) Gary Parker
I had shot digital cameras before, but the XTi was my first SLR since the AE-1 and it changed my life in a hurry. For the first time all that I had learned in the past made sense as I was able to look at the EXIF metadata on my images and see what went right or wrong. In no time flat I was shooting the way I always wished I could with film and I was hooked. Like most photographers I quickly spent way too much money (story here), but I shared my passion with friends at my high-tech job via email. Those emails became cumbersome to keep re-writing so I decided to archive them here and the rest is history.
From those humble beginnings my photography club at work grew and my accomplishments as a commercial photographer grew even faster. Within 2 years of buying my XTi all of my gear had paid for itself and a nasty divorce, and this “hobby” helped me to survive the roughest time in my life. With the support of my beautiful wife and the enthusiasm of my youngest son, I was encourage to follow my dreams. I put a portion of my goal-oriented passion as a programmer into my photography and accomplished more than I ever could have imagined. With commercial success in magazines around the world and the support of my club members and students, I have been able to build ronmartblog.com into a resource for photographers and photo editors in over 190 countries around the world. I’ve saved my readers over $2,000,000 USD from my discount coupon codes and I’ve earned the trust and respect of readers like you.
I’ve angered many current and former partners for telling things like it is rather than giving a rubber stamp press-release like review that many others often do, but I feel a sense of obligation to share both what I like about a product and what could use improvement. Furthermore if something sucks, I’m going to come out and say it.
I don’t do that to be mean or hurtful, but if the truth hurts then so be it. There’s too much crap to buy for photographers these days so if they can’t come here and get an honest opinion where will they go? Personally I know of few other places that offer the candor I do and I think that is why this site has become so successful around the world (go compare sites on alexa.com to see just how big).
Despite the great success of my blog, I still don’t have enough donations or loyal shoppers using my links to quit my day job – but it’s getting closer every day. As a result I work from 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM on Sunday through Thursday to bring these articles to you – while still working a 50+hr/week high tech job. I shoot commercially or do training on the weekends and I have a wonderful wife that gets my undivided attention the rest of the time. It’s tough and I can’t go on like this forever, but when you donate, buy a product, use a discount coupon code or share an article it gets me one step closer to realizing my dream.
I love what I do and I thank you for visiting. Just by taking a moment to visit this page you are helping me, and I appreciate it!
FAQI posted a comment but I didn't see it show up and I had to do that stupid verification crap. Why?
Sadly there's tons of people paid to post spam on blogs to help their SEO results. As a result I have to moderate all comments. To avoid the annoying word verification, simply log in using one of the supported types like Google or OpenID and you'll find the experience more pleasant. It can take up to a week or two sometimes for me to sort through the spam, so please be patient. I will post respectful comments and often times I reply.What comments do you reject?
Mostly obvious spam but competing site links and rude comments are rejected as well. I also delete duplicates so if you get a delete it is most often because you accidentally posted multiple times.This site is unreadable, can you change the color scheme to black text on white?
I wish I could, but I can't at this time. In the meantime you can view the RSS feed via readers and get a different color scheme, but some images and text will look funny.Are you paid to write articles or by sponsors?
No, I choose what I write and how I write it without given anyone a chance to pre-reader it. At this time I'm not accepting any paid advertising either. I do make money if you purchase using links found in my articles or when you use my codes.I found a typo in your article. Who's proof reading this stuff?
Thanks, please contact me. Sadly, I have no staff and with my hours it's one draft and then publish. I hope to change this in the future when the blog becomes my full-time job, but I’m not quite there yet.Those are insane hours, don't you ever sleep?
Some say I don't, but I do. It's typically about 5 hours per day and I rest up on the weekends.When do you actually shoot?
All the time when I'm not at my day job - especially when I'm reviewing camera gear.Do you still to shoot professionally?
Yes, I still have paying clients but I'm very selective as to who I work with. With my limited time my rate is priced make it worth my while and it must be a job I'm excited about doing.Do you still teach?
Not as much as I'd like, but I do private training and portfolio reviews. Contact me if you are interested.What gives you the right to review products?
I use products and I have an opinion. This blog is my mechanism for sharing that opinion. You are welcome to use my opinions or ignore them, but I try to give honest advice that I'd give a friend.I have a product I want you to review.
I get lots of requests to review products, but I don't have the bandwidth to review everything. Feel free to contact me with your product idea and if it sounds interesting I may review it.You sure seem to like a lot of products. Are you just saying good things to make money?
No, but I will say it's a lot more fun to write about products you are passionate about than ones you hate. So this does mean that more times than not if I'm writing about a product it is because I liked it and I want to tell you about it in case it's something you might be interested in too.Does that mean you don't review crappy products?
I try hard not to, but when it happens I either toss the product or if it is really bad then I write about how bad it is. Here’s an example of a product that I hated.Are you a pro photographer or just another geek with a camera that shoots as his hobby?
I get paid to shoot and I've been published in magazines all around the world. I consider that to be sufficient to earn the title as a pro photographer. With that said, there's various levels of pro photographers and I'd not begin to put myself in the same league as some of my favorite photographers.If you aren't as good as your favorite photographers then why should we listen to you?
As someone who has programmed computers for over 20 years and earned multiple patents for his work (much of which is probably on a computer you've used), I'm able to pick up things very quickly at a deep level. As a best-selling author I've also been told I have a skill for taking complex subjects and explaining them in a way that makes sense to non-geeks. I try to apply that skill on this blog and hardly a month goes by where people don't acknowledge that skill. Hopefully you agree.I love your reviews but I think your photos suck.
Ha, ha - that's photography - it's subjective so for every fan we often have a matching hater. You can't please everybody, but also keep in mind that you see my worst work on this blog. Why? Because I have limited time and when I review camera gear I want to show unedited photos so you see what they would look like if you took them. This shows the warts of the camera and my screw ups, but naturally that's not my best work. There's also work I'd love to share with you but I have some work that I'm not at liberty to share and lots of great work that - like many people - haven't found the time to process yet.I love your photos and want to see more as well as your advice on editing.
I get this one a lot, but again there's just not enough hours in my days to do activities which don’t have a benefit to the business model of this blog. Please continue to support this blog so that I can give this blog 100% of my energy. It gets about 15% now, so imagine what it would be if I gave it all of my heart and soul!Do you only care about making money?
I believe in capitalism, not socialism. If I sacrifice my sleep or time with my family then I do feel strongly that I should be compensated for that effort. I blog because I love to educate and write articles that people love. However, I do focus on writing articles that have the ability to help me reach my goals. This is why my tutorials and book reviews are at a minimum and my gear reviews are more necessary than I'd like. If people would donate more then that wouldn't be necessary, but sadly I get about as many donations in a year as a street musician would get in about 15 minutes.The Internet is supposed to be free. I don't like you making money.
All of the content on this blog is free. I won't make a penny off your unless you donate or you make purchases using my links (and even that fails part of the time). If that offends you then I'm sorry, but nothing in this world is really free.Why don't you have links to RAW files in your camera reviews?
It cost money to store raw files and I don't have the financial resources to do that. If you have a file in particular that you want then contact me and I'll try to send you the raw file for your PERSONAL USE ONLY. You must delete it after viewing it and not make any changes or save it to your system.I want to help you out by using your links, but you don't have one for the product or place I want to buy. What do I do?
Contact me and I can provide a link, or you can make a donation that you think is fair. Thanks for your support!I can't afford to donate or buy anything right now, but I'd like to help you. What else can I do?
Please share links to your favorite articles on your favorite forums, social networks, etc... Driving traffic here is just as valuable as a donation because you help my site ranking and search engine results. Make this blog one of your home pages and ask your friends to do the same!I found a broken link, missing image, typo, error etc...
Please leave a comment on the article with details and I'll see it - thanks so much for reporting it!Where are your discounts?
Pay close attention to the bar at the top of the blog under my logo. It has links for my discount coupon codes and more.
About Real World Sample ImagesI sometimes am asked, “what do you mean by ‘real world’ sample images?” Some have even taken a poke and said “does that mean photos that suck?”
The truth is that as a consumer one of the things that has always annoyed me is when I see the images from a camera on a web site that look fantastic, but when I get it home and use it under normal everyday conditions the photos just don’t have the same “oomph”. As a blogger I began to investigate “why” there were these discrepancies and I discovered three things:All of the images I feature for all my camera reviews are only impacted by the in-camera processing which is also what you see on your camera’s LCD (even when you shoot RAW). There is NO post-processing and what you see is what you can expect to get. While I do try to get some images in nice settings so you can see what a nice photo will be like, I also work hard to stress the camera to see how it performs under difficult situations (i.e., backlight, mid-day sun highlights, tungsten lighting, indoors with high ISO, etc…).
- Some sites doctor their photos so what you are seeing is an edited image that used the camera in question, but that’s not an image you’ll really ever get out of the camera. To me this is useless.
- Some sites only show you photos taken in beautiful surroundings and lighting conditions. While these may be real images, they aren’t the type of image the average person will be taking. This leads to massive disappointment when you get home and are shooting around the house in very difficult lighting and non-ideal locations and think “gosh, this camera sucks compared to what I saw on the web”.
It’s my opinion that real world shots really tell you what you want to know about a camera and keep you from being surprised when you get it home. It does mean that I have to take some criticism for shots that aren’t always cropped perfectly (what you see is EXACTLY what came out of the camera), and I show image failures. However, my goal is to be the place that you can trust for a REAL assessment of a camera and a place you can trust.