Adorama Learning Center Top 20 Countdown 2011

A quick look back at our most popular articles and videos this year

Over 500 new articles, videos, news items and blog posts went live over the past 12 months on the Adorama Learning Center, and were viewed by more than 5.5 million visitors, both all-time highs for Adorama's online photo/video/consumer electronics site, the Adorama Learning Center.

Here, in reverse order building up to the most-viewed post, is the Adorama Learning Center 2011 Top 20 Countdown!


20. Canon announces Flagship DSLR, Boasts 18MP Full-Frame Sensor, HD Video

Whenever one of the Top Two camera makers unveils a flagship DSLR, it's big news. Canon introduced the EOS-1D X on October 23, boasting a breathtaking top ISO of 204,800, a 12fps burst rate—while shooting RAW images—in-camera distortion compensation and more. At $6,800, this pro camera replaces both the EOS-1DS Mark III and EOS-1D Mark IV. Look for it to arrive in March 2012.

19. Buying Guide: Five Tripods for Travellers

The number of tripods that are small enough to fit in carry-on bags but big enough to handle substantial assignments continues to grow. If you are traveling by plane and plan to bring a tripod with you, weight—and especially size—count. Which models fit in your carry-on bag? In this June 6 article—just at the beginning of travel season—we talked about our favorites.


18. Depth of Field—AdoramaTV

Even though it went live last year (April 30, 2010 to be exact), Mark Wallace's clear, concise demonstration of how depth of field works and how it impacts on the quality of your photography made the list as one of the most frequently watched videos of 2011. Good ideas are evergreen!



17. Product Review: Olympus E-P3

It seems like everywhere you turned in 2011 there was a new MILC (mirrorless interchangeable lens compact) camera, but Olympus is the company that started the category with its E-P1. The third generation, introduced at the beginning of the summer, was led by the E-P3, which impressed us with its virtually nonexistant lag time and the fastest autofocus system we'd seen to date (July 13) on a MILC. And with Olympus's new 12mm f/2 lens, it proved to be a great camera for street photography (as you can see in the above example). In 2011, Olympus camera technology was the best it's ever been. What will the future hold for Olympus? Stay tuned.



16. Outdoor Speedlight Portraits—AdoramaTV

With the FlashBus tour building interest in portable flash photography, it's no wonder there was a lot of interest this year in anything having to do with controlling shoe-mounted flash photography. In this widely-watched AdoramaTV episode, posted on August 1, Mark Wallace shows how to master flash and ambient light exposure adjustments for portraits and beyond.



15. Speedlights vs. Studio Strobes—AdoramaTV

Thousands of aspiring stobists also watched this comparison between studio strobes and shoe-mounted flash (speedlights). In this video, posted on February 28, Mark Wallace compared power output, portability, flash duration, refresh rates, and cost among many other factors in deciding which kind of flash is right for the kind of photography you want to do.


14. 18 Gifts Photographers Will Really Appreciate for $100-250

Updated on November 15, our annual guide to gifts that only a reall photographer would love (and would love to drop as a major hint) got a lot of views. Apparently a lot of folks needed advice for something that would hit that $100-250 sweet spot and give their photographic friends something photographic that they would actually use.



13. 50mm Lens Shoot-Out: f/1.8 or f/1.4?

One of the most commented-about articles of the year, our comparison of 50mm f/1.8 and f/1.4 lenses revealed some surprising results that resulted in a lively debate. Is the humble 50mm lens actually an optical powerhouse? If so, is it worth spending the extra bucks for an additional 1/3 of a stop? A lot of people wanted to know! With the help of DxOMark Labs (the Adorama Learning Center is a DxOMark Labs Expert Partner), we compared two Canon 50mm lenses and two Nikon 50mm lenses, and analized the results.



12. Rethinking low-light photography

On March 1, we launched a month-long series of articles about various aspects of low-light photography. Our motivation? A new generation of cameras that are capable of capturing higher-quality images in lower light than ever before.  When a pro camera can shoot at ISO 102,800 and your average consumer DSLR can deliver outstanding image quality at ISO 1600, low light shooting deserved a serious re-think.



11. Best Low Light/High ISO DSLRs

What, exactly, are those high-ISO low-light superstar cameras we talked about in the above article? Well, we rated specific models based on DxOMark Labs test results. First posted in March then updated in November, we look at the best low-light performers among medium format, 35mm sensor, APS, Four Thirds and small-sensor cameras. It's a pixel-peeper's delight!



10. Buying Guide: Tripods for Photographers

Posted way back in 2005, in the early days of the Adorama Learning Center, our tripod guide gives you all the information you need to know about features and functionality of different kinds of tripods and each tripod type's best uses before purchasing a tripod. No wonder it's perennially popular among our readers; thanks for your support!



9. Nikon J1 Review—AdoramaTV

Nikon caused a major stir among photographers with the release of their first interchangeable-lens compact, the Nikon 1 series. Would the smaller sensor deliver good image quality? How about the focus system? The introduction of the Nikon 1 J1 and Nikon 1 V1 was one of the most talked-about cameras of the year. Mark Wallace's October 23 review of the J1 answered many concerns, and Joe Farace's in-depth look at the camera on December 13 provided results that were pleasantly surprising.



8. The Best Mid-Range DSLRs Right Now

Serious photographers demanded a guide to enthusiast-level DSLRs, and we gladly obliged in November with our short list of the best of the bunch (in our humble opinion, of course!). If you're looking for a DSLR in the $$800-1,500 range, many of your fellow photography hobbyists and enthusiasts found this to be a great place to do their buying research.



7. f/8 and Be There

You may have heard the expression "f/8 and Be There" before, but what does it really mean? Sandy Ramirez talks about how it's more than just a photographic technique; it's a philosophy for street, travel, and documentary photographers. The article struck a responsive chord for  thousands of readers.



6. Portrait Lenses We've Fallen In Love With

We really should give our Facebook followers a co-writing credit for this February 14 article. We asked "what is your favorite portrait photography lens?" The responses were all over the place and we dutifully reported on the results, accompanied by portraits shot by our readers with their favorite portrait photography lenses, which ranged in focal length from 35mm to 200mm. (Photo © Gonzalo Guerrero)



5. The Best Rugged Digital Cameras Right Now

Not too long ago, there were only a handful of waterproof, dust-proof, shock-proof and/or freeze-proof cameras available. Now there are dozens of cameras designed for accompany the most extreme outdoor adventurers. Our round-up of the best rugged compact cameras, posted on November 15, attracted quite an outdoorsy crowd.



4. HDSLR Part 1: Shooting Video with a DSLR—AdoramaTV

HD Video with a DSLR was one of the hottest areas where people were looking for guidance in 2011, and AdoramaTV brought you in-depth help. Mark Wallace's 4-part series covers all the bases for anyone looking to get started producing pro-caliber HD videos. With HD video recording now becoming a standard DSLR feature, it's no wonder thousands viewed this series, which also included episodes covering lighting for video, audio for video, and post production.



3. More Than Photo Supply Chain Shaken By Japan Earthquake

When the earthquake and Tsunami hit Japan in March, it caused widespread death and destruction. It seems almost trivial to write about how this would affect the availability of digital cameras. This article, which put the devastation in its proper perspective, was one of our most linked-to articles of the year. Similarly, our coverage of how flooding in Thailand in October seriously damaged camera and consumer electronics-related factories there got a lot of traffic.



2. The Best Starter DSLRs Right Now

Enthusiasts looking for a back-up camera body and point-and-shooters who want to step up to the greater flexibility of interchangeable-lens made our long-running guide to the best Starter DSLRs (updated on November 7) the second most popular article this year. A perennial favorite, this article serves as a short list of the top entry-level DSLRs available now. Complete with DxOMark lab test results for each camera (where available), the article has helped thousands of visitors make their decisions about their next camera purchase.

...and the number one most popular article of 2011 at the Adorama Learning Center is...

...drumroll please...



1. The 14 Most Influential Cameras of All Time

The most popular article in our top 20 list was...a list!

Not only was Jason Schneider's controversial, hotly-debated September 15th list of the 14 Most Influential Cameras of All Time the most popular article this year by far, it was also the most commented-on article we've ever run. People love a good debate and this one was epic! It's always fun to create a list based on certain criteria, and then watch and enjoy as it's second-guessed. The comments to this article are well worth reading!

For instance, many readers blasted Jason's decision to include the Apple iPhone, even though it has clearly influenced other phone makers to upgrade the quality of their on-board cameras and has traditional compact camera makers scrambling to stay relevant. Many also complained that the popular Polaroid Land Camera wasn't included—even though it was a closed system whose innovations were not emulated by anyone else and therefore didn't really influence other camera makers (Jason was following specific criteria here, and wasn't basing his choices on popularity). Some of the suggested inclusions were, well, a stretch. After all, how many other cameras were influenced by the design of the Linhof Master Technika or Speed Graphic?

In any event, we trust Jason's judgement. With five decades' worth of experience writing about used and collectible cameras and editing the world's most popular photo magazines, he is one of the world's foremost experts on cameras, we are confident that his choices were logical, if in some cases surprising.


Be sure to visit the Adorama Learning Center for thousands of helpful articles about photography and beyond!


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