FAQ for bobatkins.com
• What is bobatkins.com?
- BobAtkins.com is my website. It's been on the web in various forms since the mid-1990s which probably makes it one of the older sites on the web. The domain "bobatkins.com" has been registered since 2000, but before that the pages were hosted under other names, including "bobatkins.photo.net" and under several other ISP based web accounts.
• Who runs bobatkins.com?
- Me (Bob Atkins). Unlike some other popular photography web sites which are actually owned by "media conglomorates" (e.g. Dpreview is actually owned by Amazon.com, Photo.net is actually owned by NameMedia Inc.) this site is 100% owned and operated by me. I write all the code for the site, I write all the articles, I do all the testing and I do all the site maintainance. Whatever is wrong with the site and whatever errors you find are all my fault! The site runs on servers which are currently hosted by Hostmonster.com and the servers are (I believe) physically located in Utah. One advantage of a site operated by one person is that I can make site changes instantly. I don't need to run things through a committee, an editor and a site manager before they go live. 10 seconds after I write it, you read it. If someone points out an error, it's usually corrected within 60 seconds of me reading the message. If news breaks, you hear it a few minutes after I do.
• How popular is BobAtkins.com?
- Right now (09/08) the site receives about 250,000 unique visitors each month and the site serves around 1 million pages each month (which is close to 100GB of data) The Alexa ranking for bobatkins.com usually hovers around 50,000, meaning that 49,999 other sites are more popular than bobatkins.com, so there's room for improvement!
• What is bobatkins.com about?
- It's 99% about photography and of that 99% probably 50% is about the Canon EOS system in one way or another. There may be a few other personal pages hiding under the bobatkins.com domain, and there may be a few hidden pages archived from very old versions of the site, but they aren't linked to and are just there to prevent dead links from old search engine listings.
• Why do you concentrate on the Canon EOS System?
- Because I've been using Canon EOS cameras and lenses for 20 years and I like to write about things a know about! Though I've shot with most other makes of cameras from Nikon and Pentax to Konica and Yashica and I've tested and reviewed HP digicams, Tokina lenses and Sony and Olympus DSLR systems, I tend to concentrate mainly on Canon EOS because that's what I know best.
• What's your background?
- My main career was as a research scientist involved in the development of optical fiber systems at Bell Laboratories. My "sub-specialty" was in optical spectroscopy. I hold a Ph.D from the University of Bristol in the UK. I've been involved in photography since high school and I worked in a photo lab while in college. Since around the year 2001 when I left corporate research, I have been 100% involved in photography both on this website and as technical editor for photo.net. I've also written a number of articles for the Adorama Imaging Resource Center and, in the past, articles for magazines such as "Nature Photographer".
• How much time do you spend working on this website?
- I'd say that on average I probably spend at least 4 hours a day on work associated with bobatkins.com, often more. That includes weekends, holidays and vacations (where I take a laptop with me so I can check into the site at least once a day to make sure it's operating correctly and to answer any questions). The time is spent on correcting errors, updating old information, optimizing code to make the site run faster, writing new articles, testing cameras and lenses, answering forum and email questions and searching on the web for news and information. In addition to that I sometimes even get out and shoot some pictures for use on the site!
• How is the site supported?
- Since I spend so much time working on the site, it has to pay for itself. It does that through advertising and affiliate sales. However I try to make sure that the advertising is related to photography and I only recommend affiliate sales through companies that I myself have used and trust. So, for example I have affiliate sales for Amazon.com (who I usually go to first for whatever I'm buying), Adorama.com (who have a larger stock of esoteric photography items than Amazon do), J&R who sometimes have very good prices, B&H who are reliable and have a very wide range of photo products and Hostmonster.com who host this website and so far have been very reliable and responsive when I've contacted them. I also run a few ads for companies like Shutterfly and Snapfish, which I have used myself for printing and I've been happy with. I do run "Adsense" ads from Google, which advertise a wide range of photo services. I don't get to individually approve all the advertisers which appear there, though I can (and I do) "veto" some of them after they first appear if I don't think the company supplying the ads is very reputable. If you see vendor advertising here via one of the Google Adsense boxes, that does not mean I have approved the ad or that I recommend the vendor. Most are OK, but a few may not be and I can't screen all of them. In that case, "buyer beware" applies! If a deal sounds to good to be true, it usually is. No matter what an ad tells you, you're not going to get a price on a current camera or lens that's significantly lower than that offered by Amazon, Adorama, B&H etc.
• How can I help support the site?
- If you find the site useful and want to help support it, all you need to do is to click on one of the links to approved affiliates when you want to buy something. As I said above, when for something, whether it's a camera, a lens, a book or even non-photo related items, I usually check Amazon.com first and see what they have. Very often they have the best deals and on many of them offer free shipping. They also have a 30-day return policy and a 30 day price match on anything they sell themselves (i.e. items they sell directly, not items purchased from 3rd party sellers though the Amazon website). I've also found their customer support is pretty responsive if there are any issues with an order.
• What's the best way to find an article on this website?
- Simple - use the search box which you will find at the top left of almost every page
. If there's no search box at the top left of the page, there's a search link
in the header menu at the top of every page. This site is very well indexed by Google and the search box uses the Google database for this site. Most articles can also be found via following the drop down menus at the top of each page, and some articles are linked to directly from the list at the top of each page. However the fastest way to find something, especially if you are not quite sure where to look, is just to type a few keywords into the search box. That's exactly what I do myself when I want to locate something I've written but I can't quite remember where I put it! The search function is very good at digging articles out of the site which would be buried deeply by a menu system.
• Why don't you test more cameras/lenses?
- Mainly because it is very hard to persuade most manufacturers to loan me samples. Tamron have been very good about sending me new lenses to review, which is why you'll see Tamron lenses reviewed here. Sigma and Tokina have not been so cooperative. I review Canon lenses because I either own them myself, or I have been able to get lenses on loan from Canon. Canon have also been quite good about loaning me printers and P&S digicams for review. I don't have a Canon/Tamron bias, it's simply that I can only review equipment that I can borrow for a few days, and those are the companies who have been most cooperative. I'm happy to provide a fair, unbiased and honest review of any photography related product. Manufacturers are welcome to contact me if they have something which they'd like to see reviewed in this website.
• What's the association between BobAtkins.com and LensPlay.com?
- I also built and maintain the LensPlay.com
website, which is a database of lenses (mainly lenses which will fit on Canon EOS cameras) and articles about lenses. When I built it (which included writing all the software including the database coding), the server on which bobatkins.com was hosted didn't have the capability to run a MySQL database, so I built a new site on a server which did and I hosted it under a different domain name. Though I could now incorporate it into BobAtkins.com if I wanted to, the pages on LensPlay.com are linked to from a number of external sites and indexed by Google, so it makes sense to leave things where they are. Since it is hosted on a different server from BobAtkins.com, that means that in case of a server failure, both sites won't go down at the same time either!
• What's the best way to provide feedback on bobatkins.com?
- You can post in the Feedback Forum
here. I read the forums every day and try to reply to every message that's posted, usually within a few hours.
• How can I ask you a question?
- Again, the best way to ask a question is to post it in one of the BobAtkins.com Photography Forums
. Often you'll get a faster answer (and more answers!) than if you email me.
• Do you sell your photographs?
- Well, yes and no. By that I mean I do not go out of my way trying to market my images and I don't really try very hard to sell prints. However just about any image you see on the site is probably available for commercial licensing and if you really want a print of something you see here I can probably arrange for you to obtain one via one of the commercial printing services such as Shutterfly.
• How do I contact you if I don't want to post in a forum?
- You can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
with any personal or business related issues.