The Best of 2019

As is traditional with many of us, I like to offer some kind of end of year review of another 12 months of blogging, this being my fifth calendar year of publishing 35hunter.

I’m going to keep this one simple and feature just two “Top 5” lists.

Top 5 Most Read Posts

The longer you have a blog, the more posts you have out there, like tiny evangelists, trying to encourage and recruit new readers.

This greater volume of content also of course gives existing readers deep archives to plunge back into as and when they wish.

In fact one of my favourite aspects of blogs is finding a new one myself, then discovering dozens, even hundreds of older posts I can enjoy in the archives, rather than just sitting and waiting for the author’s next new post.

Here then are the five posts on 35hunter with most views in 2019.

Why A Pentax Espio Should Be Top Of Your Compact Film Camera Wishlist

Published February 2019.

Although I haven’t shot film since mid-2017, I thought enough people still do to make a look back at my own favourite 35mm zoom compacts worthwhile.

The Pentax Espio range (aka IQZoom in some territories) impressed me more than any others, and it seems this post resonated more than any other I published this year (with over 10 times the page views of the next most read post that I wrote in 2019!).

How I Shoot Film Simply Without A Light Meter

Published July 2016.

This ones seems a perennial favourite, and has gained more reads in total overall than any other single post on 35hunter. By miles.

2019 was no exception, and it finished up in the number two spot.

Lens Love #4 – Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Sonnar 135mm f/3.5 M42

Published May 2017.

Seems people love gear posts, and this one about the admittedly pretty fantastic Zeiss Sonnar 135/3.5 which I wrote two years previously, was the third most read in 2019.

Lens Love #1 – Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 M42

Published March 2017.

Another lens post, and another German M42 classic. Get a good one, and it’ll hold its own with virtually any other vintage 50mm lens. They focus brilliantly close straight out of the box too.

Lens Love #3 – Ricoh Rikenon 50mm f/2 PK

Published April 2017.

Have you spotted a pattern here?

This time the rather unloved and often overlooked (in favour of its Pentax-M 50mm rivals) Rikenon 50/2 gets some attention, and in my view remains a great 50mm option for Pentax K mount bodies, or adapted to other DSLR or mirrorless cameras.


Top 5 Posts I Wish More People Had Read

Given that only one of the top five most read posts above was even written in 2019, and all five were about gear, you won’t be surprised to hear there were plenty of the 223 new posts published this last year that didn’t have as much exposure as I would ideally have liked.

Here then are five I would love to give a second chance at a few minutes of your attention.

Seven Steps To Simplification – My Seven Year Photographic Journey

Photography – Finding Happiness In Less

How To Blog Quietly

Photography At The Speed Of You

How I Photograph

I hope you get something from them.

Onwards to 2020!

I wonder if this next year I can manage to write a few new posts that get more views than the perennial gear related posts above!

Thanks for looking.

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7 thoughts on “The Best of 2019”

  1. Dan, I really like that your year end wrap up included posts that you wish more people had read. I read all of those, but only one of the most popular posts. Thanks for all the great inspiration.

    1. Thanks Jon, and for being a devoted reader!

      The way I see the most popular posts long term is as a way to capture the attention of potential new readers. They may arrive via a search for a Pentax Espio or Carl Zeiss lens, but then decide to stay because they like other posts. It’s all good!

  2. Well I ended up spending more time than I anticipated in your blog reading the old posts 🙂
    I even went back to your 5 50s test, and wanted to share that I lucked into a Pentax-K 50mm f/1.2 lens for basically free this year… and I have to say it’s so good that I’d probably sell all my 50s to keep this one. Bigger and heavier, but the smoothest lens you’ll ever experience… in every sense of the way.
    The next one I’d keep is the Pentax-M 50mm f4 macro… and when I saw you had one at the time of your 50s test, I thought you *had* to test it along the others at f4. I think it would blow everything else away – it’s not just for macro, it works great at any distance and the sharpness and lovely colors and contrast are matched only by the 50 1.2 in my opinion. Plus if f4 is your most used aperture… what better than shooting f4 wide open 🙂
    Keep up the good work!

    1. Chris, thanks so much for reading and your kind words. I’m pretty sure we met on Pentax Forums about 18 or 20 months ago talking about the K10D and the old 6MP CCD DSLRs…

      How did you manage to get the 50/1.2 for nothing?? I’ve not seen many for sale and they’ve usually been ridiculous money, hundreds of pounds.

      I did love the 50/4 Pentax-M macro and as you say you can use it as an all round 50mm lens, not just for macro. I’m not entirely sure why I sold it, other than I’d decided at one point I only wanted one lens mount and M42 was my favourite, so all my remaining K mount lenses were sold.

      I have had an eBay search set up for months for a Pentax-A 50/2.8 macro, and a few have come up, I’ve just been reluctant to buy another lens. The A version would be more useful for me with my DLSRs (K100D, K-m, K30), I just find M lenses a bit fiddly these days, and don’t use them on any other cameras (I used to have a Sony NEX too).

      I’m sure the right one will come along one day.

      1. A guy was selling a film camera with 7 lenses on facebook and when I saw it was nearby where I work, I thought it would be worth taking a look. He listed 5 lenses but I could see 7 in the picture. When I get there, half the stuff is full of fungus (it used to be his father’s), so I ask him if he will sell only some items. He said just make an offer for all of it or he will throw it in the trash! And I saw there was the K 50 1.2 on the LX – though it did have fungus as well. So I offered 100 bucks for the set, not knowing if any of it would be useable except an M 50 1.4 and an M 50 f4 (my 2nd…). Some lenses cleaned up nicely where I can use them, and the K 50 1.2 is one of them – it has fungus growth (that I killed with sunlight) on a few elements but it’s mostly on the edge so at least on APS-C it doesn’t affect anything. The pictures are absolutely beautiful. Only one lens is a complete loss, and sadly it’s the K 24 2.8 which is a great lens but this one seems to have balsam separation. Another gem that was unlisted is the M 100 2.8, a lens I would never have bought myself but now it’s one of my favorites, it’s an absolute gem of a lens – stunning sharpness and gorgeous colors. I’d say its images are as good as the K 50 1.2!
        Now I am selling some things and have my eyes on a couple of DA lenses since I’m not planning to move to full frame: the DA 35 Limited and the DA 21 Limited. Looking at pictures of the 35 Limited makes me realize this might in fact be the best SLR lens ever produced, as Mike Johnston once mused. I can’t wait to see what it can do on my K10D’s CCD sensor (I have an idea since I’ve been doing flickr searches.. lol).

      2. What a great haul! Did you clean the lenses yourself, I mean did you disassemble them? Or just clean them externally? I didn’t know sunlight could kill fungus!

        I’m trying to think if I’ve had the M 100/2.8, I don’t think so. I had a Takumar 105/2.8 for a few years and that was wonderful. Just reached a point where I wasn’t really using M42 lenses much, and when I did, it was on an APS-C digital body, so I didn’t need anything that long. Cracking lens though.

        I’ve got the DA 35/2.4, which for the price is tremendous. The Limited series are beyond my usual budget, though I’ve considered the DA 40/2.8 on and off as it’s very compact and I think would make a lovely companion to my also small CCD DSLRs, the K100D and K-m. (The latter having the same sensor as its big brother the K10D, as you probably know.)

      3. Hi Dan,
        I only cleaned the outside. I actually went and bought a set of JIS screwdrivers but haven’t had the courage to open the SMC-M 150 3.5 to clean it… or the others, which aren’t really that bad, the M 150 is the only one where it affects the image in any visible way. So I’m selling it cheap on pentaxforums – in fact I sold that LX for the amount that I bought the entire lot for plus another lens – and found a super cheap DA 35 2.8 Limited for the amount that I had in hand! I am super excited, it arrives tomorrow! The first camera I’ll mount it on is the K10D… it’s been called the one of the best lenses ever by any maker in any format, by none other than Mike Johnston… of course that was 10 years ago. I have the DA 35 2.4 already – it was the only lens I ever bought new, and in fact in 2013 I paid for for it than I paid now for this used Limited… the DA 35 2.4 has been used so much that it’s missing 1/3 of the filter threads and has a small scratch on the front element but it keeps putting out gorgeous images. I just agree with the 35mm focal range. But the one I was really saving up for was the DA 21… which I had briefly some 3 years ago on a trade, that was undone after a few days. I didn’t like it much then, but let’s see if I like it better next time I get it. These lenses are selling sometimes for less than 150 dollars here in the US, which to me is crazy cheap for how good they are. People are buying K-1 cameras and dumping their APS-C lenses I guess. Which is good for those of us who stay with APS-C 🙂 So I’m selling a bunch more stuff and let’s see what I end up with. I’d actually prefer to get the SMC-M 20 f4 as my wide angle prime, but those are selling for at least twice what the DA 21 sells for these days!
        The M 100 2.8 is supposed to be pretty similar in quality to the Takumar (and early Pentax-K) 105 2.8.

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