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Site updates & Tamron Challenge Winners

By dpreview staff on Nov 23, 2011 at 23:32 GMT

We've successfully migrated dpreview.com to its new web servers. And, now that most of the teething problems have been ironed out, we're confident that the errors and degraded performance that some users have been experiencing over the last few weeks are well behind us. Dpreview is a big, complex site, and our old servers were beginning to show their age. The fact we were able to move to an entirely new platform (AWS) with almost zero downtime is a credit to the development team who work hard behind the scenes to keep the site running.

We used the server migration as an opportunity to simplify and optimize some of the older site code. This should help to keep things running more smoothly, and faster, and allow us to dedicate more of our development resources to building new features and improving visitor experience, rather than fighting a constant battle with our ageing servers.

New feature: Print View for news and articles

We realize not everyone likes to read white text on a black background, so we've introduced a new Print View to the news and articles section (we're working on a plan for the reviews, but that's a far bigger task). When you open any news story (such as this one) you'll see a 'Print View' link in the bar at the top of the page (the one with the social networking links). You'll find the same link on articles (though in this case it's at the bottom of the page).

Print View Print View - for reading and printing

News system update

As part of the server migration we've moved our news sytem to our CMS (the same thing that runs articles). The biggest change for users is the use of tags and categories. Click on any category (the colored block on the homepage under each story). or pick one from the updated news menu, to view all stories in that category (for example http://www.dpreview.com/news/category/NewCamerasAndLenses) or click on any tag (shown at the top of the news story page) to see all stories with matching tags (e.g. http://www.dpreview.com/news/tag/casio). There's also a tag browser at http://www.dpreview.com/news/tags

We also thought we'd mention again a little-known feature that answers the small number of angry emails we get every day from people who don't like seeing the homepage cluttered with 'fluff' (articles not directly related to hardware) or firmware updates. The news filter on the homepage allows you to hide certain categories permanently from the homepage feed, so you can keep your blood pressure under control by never seeing the offending stories.

By default the news filter allows you to restrict the homepage to a single category. Click on Advanced mode and you get more options... ...Uncheck the categories you don't want to see and click 'Make Default' and you'll never see them again!

Tamron Prize Challenge Winners

We recently ran a prize challenge, sponsored by Tamron (link), and the response was amazing, with just over 3000 entries and over 72,000 votes. In addition to the winner of the public vote we decided to award our own extra prize to the 'Editor's Choice' winner, as picked by Simon Joinson, Editor of www.dpreview.com. The winners (who both receive Tamron lenses as prizes) are shown below.

Public vote winner: City Tower (Torun, Poland) by user Goami
Editor's Choice Winner: Lone tree, Sunset by user dejavu66

We learned a lot from our first Prize Challenge, and we'll be implementing several changes before the next one.

Comments

Total comments: 52
00112233
By 00112233 (Dec 1, 2011)

There is no doubt dpreview is one of the best photo websites around, but nothing is perfect...... I recently submitted an entry in the challenge "Stone sculptures", I thought it would be interesting because it was a full color photograph of a granitt sculpture from the famous Vigeland park in Oslo, Norway, and I have been disqualified on the grounds that it is B&W! Well of course it looks grey, granitt stone IS GREY but the photo was taken in full COLOR. And I thought you could your thing?!?!?! It was really dissapointing to get disqualified on the wrong premisses by proffessionals that is supposed to know their job.

2 upvotes
Ted8
By Ted8 (Nov 30, 2011)

Thank you dpreview for your decision to get involved in this challange.I am just trying to see and understand what makes a great photograph.When I saw the winner I was very puzzled by what I thought were very good photographs and the one that won.I was in this contest and there were many pictures that I liked better than mine but I was pleased with the votes that I recieved. Please continue your good work to make the challange a judge of photographic talent.

0 upvotes
Florian Nanu
By Florian Nanu (Nov 29, 2011)

Maybe the best way to be fair with all the works in a contest is this :

Only the one who participate at the contest can vote !

ps Gzz for a special tree dejavu66 :)

0 upvotes
SW Anderson
By SW Anderson (Nov 29, 2011)

Hmm. I was a little quick on the draw. For some reason, the headlines didn't appear when I first landed on your main page. When I went back to it just now, there they were. Someone either responded to my previous comment with amazing speed, or I mistook a glitch in rendering the page for a design change.

0 upvotes
SW Anderson
By SW Anderson (Nov 29, 2011)

Your site is overall excellent. That said, I really miss headlines on the main-page news items. Please bring them back.

0 upvotes
guinness2
By guinness2 (Nov 27, 2011)

Congrats to the upgrade and succesfull migration. Being IT Pro I can appreciate the effort you needed but let me friendly comment: to avoid angry e-mails :-) on one side and blood presure increase on the other side, next time please warn us kindly before. Well done, anyway.

0 upvotes
madeinlisboa
By madeinlisboa (Nov 27, 2011)

Am I the only one to notice it? Dull colors and tone, disregard for the rule of thirds and probably blown highlights? I don't know which is better or worse. There were much better photos than these in the Challenge.
Note for the immediate critics: this is not spite, it is what I honestly think and actually see.

0 upvotes
sherwoodpete
By sherwoodpete (Dec 25, 2011)

Disregard for the rule of thirds.

This should surely be seen as a virtue. Too many shots slavishly adhere to this constraint regardless of whether or not it is appropriate.

0 upvotes
draxx01920
By draxx01920 (Nov 27, 2011)

Congrats to all participants!

dejavu66, that is one strong photo. gives me goosebumps.

goami: congrats for being voted by the public!

1 upvote
filip31
By filip31 (Nov 27, 2011)

congratulations

0 upvotes
Morderator
By Morderator (Nov 27, 2011)

congratulations to the winners, :)

0 upvotes
Ralf B
By Ralf B (Nov 27, 2011)

Congratulations to dejavu66 for the deserved win and to DPReview for the constructive action taken after the crystal-clear feedback given on the voting result!

0 upvotes
Peter Mackey
By Peter Mackey (Nov 27, 2011)

Editors choice is a worthy winner, congratulations,
The less said about the public vote the better.

0 upvotes
Man Mac
By Man Mac (Nov 26, 2011)

Congratulations to dejavu66, well done...

0 upvotes
sjunne
By sjunne (Nov 25, 2011)

Regarding the news filter. How to turn it off? I'm running Firefox 8 and with this browser the news filter menu is stuck regadless which bottons I press. It hides the first article on the main page - always. Is this a feature or is it only annoying? I would say the last. Please turn it off, make it easy to turn off or make it work on reasonably old (?) browsers.

0 upvotes
chongseng
By chongseng (Nov 25, 2011)

Congratulations to dejavu66! Now this is Photography! To the 'public vote winner', open your eye!

3 upvotes
CAClark
By CAClark (Nov 25, 2011)

The public winner while not without merit certainly seems hard to justify as the clear winner (the editors choice certainly shows it). I think any contest that relies on public voting is going to be a lost cause in real terms, simply by virtue of how many people I have seen recruit voters on facebook and the like. While I'm shocked I didn't win (lol) I was nearer the top of the list than the bottom, without harvested voters, but I really would prefer to see contests where notable prizes are at stake judge by a panel of suitably qualified people.

2 upvotes
Ugo78
By Ugo78 (Nov 25, 2011)

I think that Tamron worked out very well this difficult situation.

0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Nov 24, 2011)

Editors choice is really well deserved, congratulations to dejavu66.

3 upvotes
taotoo
By taotoo (Nov 24, 2011)

Congratulations on sorting out the tamron challenge problem. The side-by-side is a delight!

Well done also for introducing the black-on-white option. However the user shouldn't need to click a 'print' option in order to view legible text. Also the line lengths of the print option are out of control - perhaps the page should be of variable width.

While no doubt your developers have done a great job sorting out the technical stuff, I feel you have neglected the user-interface/design aspect of your site. This is more than just adding tags to news articles, it's about fundamental issues that can only be solved by a competent third party. PLEASE consider employing one!

0 upvotes
h2k
By h2k (Nov 24, 2011)

Thanks for introducing ever new features to the site navigation. You keep amazing me; while every one else is doing standards, DPR comes up with a lot of unusual, interesting ideas.

I don't like white-on-black so much, so i happily clicked the all new "Print view" for this news item. In the following, i may sound like complaining, but i am not, just musing:
- Now it all looks toooo white-out to me (i'm on a huge screen)
- the Print view doesn't show comments (which some may see as a grace, i understand) and side bar
- the Print view opens in a new tab or window, thus robbing you of your browser history of that tab or window.

I understand that newspapers' print views do open in new tabs or windows too, but that's a different situation i feel. Here on DPR i'd love the "print view" to open in the same window as the news article itself; and actually i don't need it as print view (with side bars and comments removed), i'd rather see it just in more or less reversed colors).

1 upvote
Greg VdB
By Greg VdB (Nov 24, 2011)

I'm glad I didn't get involved in the Tamron Challenge, but in the end think DPR did a good job at handling the situation (considering that asking friends to vote breaks no rules).

In future price challenges, I'd actually like to see this system repeated: one winner by popular vote, and one 'Editor's choice'. Winners by popular vote are usually eye-candies, but there's nothing wrong with that, and the voting in itself gets people involved. 'Editor's choices' on the other hand can go to photographically more inspired pictures that require more time to appreciate but stay interesting for a longer time.

Of course, 'vote rigging' as it happened this time around should be avoided, and this could be done easily by implementing an additional rule where votes are only allowed by people that have a minimum of [insert high enough number] recorded votes in finished challenges.

1 upvote
Cerebrus
By Cerebrus (Nov 24, 2011)

I now have a lot of blank space on both sides. My display is at 1680 X 1050. Two thirds of the screen is taken up by the normal text, and I have two grey areas on each side, which are empty.

Zooming in Firefox 8 only increases text and image size, the grey space still remains at the same percentage. The top bar ( News, Reviews.... Forums etc) gets squashed into two lines as I zoom.

IE however, lets me zoom in, expanding the entire page. Grey space is still there, just out of view on both sides.

I will try to upload a image showing my problem later.

0 upvotes
Iskender
By Iskender (Nov 24, 2011)

"now that most of the teething problems have been ironed out"

OUCH! That's no way to treat children! Please reconsider your actions, or at least your mixed metaphors. :)

1 upvote
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Nov 24, 2011)

i love mixed metaphors

0 upvotes
taotoo
By taotoo (Nov 24, 2011)

Not a patch on ironing kids' teeth though

0 upvotes
Joti216
By Joti216 (Nov 24, 2011)

Good job DP-review.
Great decision on the Tamron Challenge.
made me happy to see the rightful winner get the price.

0 upvotes
mjdundee
By mjdundee (Nov 24, 2011)

Maybe you should consider a Canon lens for the next public vote winner.
They are available as really nice looking coffee cups as well.

1 upvote
Jim Lowell
By Jim Lowell (Nov 24, 2011)

Regarding 'angry' emails about the bloated fluff on the home page you say.."The news filter on the homepage allows you to hide certain categories permanently from the homepage feed, so you can keep your blood pressure under control by never seeing the offending stories."

Why did I have to download over 2 MB's of fluff on the home page before I finally found that link to turn off the garbage????

Are you serious?

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Nov 24, 2011)

I'm not sure a popup on the splash screen of our homepage saying 'click here to turn off loads of our content' would make terribly good sense...

3 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Nov 24, 2011)

the homepage is no bigger than it was in the good old days before all the bloated fluff.

0 upvotes
jasonasselin
By jasonasselin (Nov 24, 2011)

fluff....? geeze what, are you paying for your internet in megabytes? calling articles you are not interested in, "garbage" is called being ignorant. They are well written articles that us photo enthusiusts rely on to not be bored all day long. i guess you just speed read tech reviews then stare at the wall the rest of the day?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Nov 24, 2011)

Jim, are you serious?

0 upvotes
Jim Lowell
By Jim Lowell (Nov 25, 2011)

Simon claims the homepage is no bigger than the good old days. Its 2 megabytes of html and other "web stuff" eye candy now. It hurts here for speed, takes forever most often to open and is not what it used to be. I like the reviews tho, and that is what matters.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Fred Briggs
By Fred Briggs (Nov 24, 2011)

I like the new Print View in terms of appearance - it gives much more of an online magazine feel to the articles. However, I don't like having to click on the Print view button to get it or the fact that it appears in different places for different items.

I'm also not too keen on the fact that it opens in a new window which then has to be closed after reading.

Could we not have a preference which could be set one way or the other so that you just get your preferred view as soon as you click on an article link.

Maybe it could then simply open as a refresh of the current window just like it does now when you click on an article link. I realise there may be technical reasons why that doesn't happen now, but I think it would be much slicker if it could be done.

Some people are just never happy are they?

Fred

Comment edited 11 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Nov 24, 2011)

one day you will have that option - this is a stop gap

1 upvote
Fred Briggs
By Fred Briggs (Nov 25, 2011)

Thanks - good to know that you have longer term plans to enhance the user interface further. I've seen use on smartphones mentioned, but I think optimising for tablet use would be a better target to aim at.

1 upvote
jeffharris
By jeffharris (Nov 24, 2011)

Just hit the Reader button in Safari

1 upvote
cfh25
By cfh25 (Nov 24, 2011)

Does the typeface have to be so small? I guess you're trying to make it suitable for use on a smartphone, but this is ridiculous.

1 upvote
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Nov 24, 2011)

actually small text is even worse on a smartphone

0 upvotes
olyflyer
By olyflyer (Nov 24, 2011)

Hit "CTRL +" to enlarge and "CTRL 0" (CTRL zero) to restore.

I like the small typeface but I guess it depends on your vision and the screen you are using.

0 upvotes
Mike Sandman
By Mike Sandman (Nov 24, 2011)

Thanks for the Print View feature. It vastly improves readability.

1 upvote
IcyVeins
By IcyVeins (Nov 24, 2011)

I'm glad you gave an additional award to the photo with the highest LEGITIMATE score. Did you choose this as the "editor's choice" winner for that reason, or because you liked it the best and the vote score was just a coincidence? Either way great contest and hopefully the next one has something in plae to prevent people from riggint the results.

1 upvote
Rolo King
By Rolo King (Nov 24, 2011)

I prefer the editor's choice by a long shot too. I'm always doubtful of contests where the public's vote determines the result but I won't accuse anyone of cheating without having any proof. Thank you for having an Editor's Choice.

0 upvotes
Harveydad
By Harveydad (Nov 24, 2011)

We should have only Editors Choice as winners of all DPR photo contests, including the Challenges. Voting always leads to shenanigans, or at least the appearance of such.

0 upvotes
pcarfan
By pcarfan (Nov 24, 2011)

If by cheating you mean asking ones buddies to vote for the images, it's pretty obvious the winning entry did that and I don't even think he/she refutes that. This is true of many images in the top in this challenge. I actually consider this cheating, and therefore would never do this. But, this behaviour brings in many new members to the site and bringing in new members is really the reason why DPR and others host such challenges. Therefore, I do not expect any site hosting such challenges including DPR to take any actions against the cheaters and shoot themselves in the foot in the process. It is highly commendable, DPR at least chose to pick the image that legitimately won the challenge as the "editor's pick". It almost looks like DPR has a consions and did something, BRAVO!...If by "changes" to the next event, they mean catch the cheaters, I'd be shocked.That would mean they care more for the existing members than just the newcomers, and that would be something.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Nov 24, 2011)

actually we're probably going to get around this issue by removing the public vote entirely.

8 upvotes
Pennyanne
By Pennyanne (Nov 24, 2011)

good idea, simon. Heaven, there seems to be enough dodgy voting etc in the ordinary challenges (i hardly enter for this reason) so imagine how much worse it must have been with a very desirable prize dangling at the end of it.

1 upvote
leno
By leno (Nov 24, 2011)

Actually they are keeping the public votes because public partisitation is always good for websites trying to keep their profile high.

0 upvotes
draxx01920
By draxx01920 (Nov 27, 2011)

public voting is indeed muddled if the contestants would be "recruiting" votes. On the other hand, it is a good way to promote a site.

I would have to agree that proper judging be done if we want to really highlight skills and talent.

As for advertisement, we can always share the links to our entries and help drum up awareness for the site.

More power to everyone!

0 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Nov 23, 2011)

ironically, as we posted this, the site started acting up again. More apologies.

0 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Nov 23, 2011)

and... it's fixed.

4 upvotes
Total comments: 52