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Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III - review »

FERDY CHRISTANT - SEP 21, 2014 (10:18:35 PM)

On last year's trip to Tanzania, I enjoyed the magnificent combination of a D800 and the new 80-400mm I purchased before it. However, coming from a 150-500mm on a crop sensor (D7000), which effectively is a 750mm,  I did notice the loss of range in specific situations. This can be partly compensated by cropping photos, since the D800 produces huge images, but this only works when you shoot sharp down to the pixel level, which is very hard.

For this reason, to get back some range, I started investigating converters. Nikon carries a 1.4 x, 1.7 x and a 2 x converter. I started out greedy, investigating the 2 x option. However, having read a lot about it, it probably would bring too many focus issues and too much loss of light. Recommended by many, I went for the safe and conservative option of the 1.4x converter, where the 3rd edition has only just been released.

Besides my primary reason of getting more range on the 80-400mm I also was thinking of a 2nd advantage, it would also increase the focal length of my 105mm macro lens, which I use a lot. This would make it a sweet win-win deal. I needed that justification, as the price at 550 EURO is incredibly steep. 

Now, if you're expecting before and after shots in this review, I'm going to have to dissapoint you. I was in the process of doing that, but the more I tested this thing, the more frustrated I became. I ultimately returned this item, asking for my money back. Instead of a detailed review, I'll tell you what happened instead.

I received the package on wednesday, but only got my hands on it after work. It was already dusk, so the light I needed to test it was fading. I figured I'd just do some very slopping testing, seeing if the thing fits, and the effect of the focal length increase. 

I first attached the converter to my 105mm macro lens. Whilst attaching it, I couldn't help but notice how delicate of a process this is. With this I don't mean that it is difficult, just scary in that it comes so close to the back of your expensive lenses. This is not something to attach with haste.

With the converter added, I started doing some macro shots of in-house objects. I was very impressed with the increased focal length, 40% extra is a lot more than I imagined. Note that this converter does not magnify more, it increases the focal length. For macro this means that I can keep more distance than before, whilst still getting the same magnification results. Very useful for insects.

Next, I took a shot of a car way down the road, focusing on the license plate, on my 80-400 without converter. Then I did the same thing with converter. And again I was deeply impressed. I was expecting a little more range, but the 40% makes an enormous difference. My first impression of the converter was very good. To add to that, Nikon is very conservative in mentioning whether auto focus works on your lens with this converter attached. I found no issue with it, even on my "slow" 80-400mm during dusk, at focal length 400mm (or 560 with the convertor), I could auto focus in fading light. Awesome. The thing fits, the extra range is great, and everything seems to work.

It wasn't until friday that I could do some serious testing. I've spent about half a day in our garden, trying combinations with or without converter, on a tripod or by hand, on both lenses. The thing is, I can't make a sharp photo with it. Not even close.

At first, I thought it was just me. I must be doing something wrong. But I tested over and over again, excluding all parameters. As an example, I've used my macro lens handheld at a well-lit spider in our garden, and there was no wind. I create 10 shots of it in sequence. Normally, I would miss a few of them, but I will always know when I hit it (the focus and sharpness), and in these favorable conditions, I would hit at least half of those 10. Reviewing my shots, not one of the 10 images is sharp. I don't mean a bit off, I mean way off, also in cases where I was sure I got it. 

I then tried the same thing using manual focus, perhaps the converter screws up auto focus? No, same result. Next, I tried manual focus on a tripod, zooming into live view. You can't get more sure than this. And the result did not get better.

I was still thinking it must be me having a shaky day, so I then did the same sequence without converter. And bam, I am back to my normal performance. Sharp images where I knew I hit it. Predictable behavior. 

I repeated the macro test 2 more times fully, as I really wanted this converter to succeed. But the results were the same. More testing using the 80-400 showed disturbing focus and softness issues, particularly from hand, and slightly less from a tripod. 

By this time I was sure of it, this converter does not only not meet my expectations, it ruins my photography. Predictable focus accuracy and acceptable sharpness are key in photography. If that part does not work, extra range will not do anything. 

I ultimately had to let go of this toy and return it. I'm very dissapointed that at this price point, it is such a failure. What I am still not sure about is whether I received a faulty converter, or whether it just sucks this way in general. I'm not going to be able to find out, since I asked my money back. I don't trust a 2nd copy will fix it.

Reading more reviews about this still-new converter, I see mixed ratings. A majority seems to like it, yet a sizable minority has also returned it. I am thinking that perhaps one day I will give a converter another try, to be sure whether my experience was incidental or structural, but if I do so, I will be doing it from a store. 

Ultimately, I cannot recommend this product for now, all I recommend is that you test it thoroughly before purchasing it. It is a great product in theory, the range increase is a lot better than you may think, but whether it works in practice is something you will have to find out yourself.

Gitzo GT2531EX 6x Carbon Explorer Serie2 - review »

FERDY CHRISTANT - SEP 20, 2014 (12:05:37 PM)

A popular statistic in photography is that people on average buy 3 tripods before buying the one that works for them. It is very difficult to buy the right tripod for yourself. They are nearly impossible to compare online. Height, weight, sturdiness and flexibility have to be experienced in real life, not from a web page. 

Another reason is the hunt for the perfect tripod, which does not exist. Requirements often conflict with each other. Here's 2 examples of such conflicting requirements that apply to my personal needs:

  • Folded, I like the tripod to be short enough to fit into a suitcase, so that I can travel with it. Yet unfolded, it must be very tall, since I am very tall myself (1.93m).
  • It must be very light and flexible, yet still be able to support substantial weight (heavy body + heavy lens)

A purchase becomes even more complex if you're versatile in photography styles, for example wanting to do both macro and tele photography.

The two before

Before reviewing this new Gitzo, a quick look on the 2 tripods before, both of which I still own. I started out with the Manfrotto 055XDB, as part of my total switch to the Nikon system a few years back. I was then still at the beginning of my photography hobby and did not have a clear picture of my actual needs. The Manfrotto is extremely stable, and very usable for top heavy setups. In combination with the Manfrotto M393 gimbal head, operating a very heavy combination can be done with the touch of a finger. It is absolutely awesome for that purpose.

The trouble is, it turns out I don't do that kind of photography very often. I would love to hide a full day in the bushes to do some birding with such a setup, but in reality my agenda does not allow such devotion. As for the type of photography I do quite often, macro photography, this setup is not usable. It weighs a ton, can't get very close to the ground, the leg locking system is slow, and it is overall too inflexible. I accept these limitations, and will not sell it. I consider it something lasting my entire life for occassional use.

The 2nd tripod I have was more of a travel choice, it concerns a GorillaPod. Although easy to transport, I'm not particularly excited about it. Sure, you can do things like hanging it on a tree, but I find little practical use for that. And for normal positioning, such as in landscape photography, I find it very hard to level it properly. To me, the Gorillapod is the choice in situations where I really don't want to bring a tripod, in the sense that it's easy to bring, and still better than nothing.

Note: I am leaving out one more "tripod", a bean bag that I occassionally use. 

The new Gitzo

So let's talk about the 3rd tripod, the Gitzo GT2531EX Explorer. I have spent a great deal of time investigating options, both online and in stores, to arrive at this choice. My main requirements were for it to be light, flexible enough for macro photography, quick to set up and sturdy enough for some heavier gear. As secondary requirements, I had the wish for it to fit into a suit case and for it to be tall enough to match my own height. These secondary requirements were nice-to-haves.

Before continuing, note that I bought this tripod along with the Gitzo GH2750QR Serie 2 Off Centre Ballhead, which looks like this:

Let's have a practical look at some of the qualities of this combination:

Weight

Compared to the Manfrotto (2.9KG, much more with the gimbal head), the Gitzo is at least 1KG lighter, more due to the lighter head on it. This makes a substantial difference in carrying it around. It is still by no means feather light, just a much more managable weight. Besides weight, the carbon fiber material is also more comfortable to handle, it's not as slippery or cold (on cold days) as the Manfrotto is. What can I say, once you experience carbon fiber, you will never want to go back.

Speed

The speed at which you can set up a tripod to me is essential. Not just because of personal impatience, it just shouldn't block the creative process of photography. Furthermore, in situations where I do not photograph alone, I experience time pressure, and a tripod that does not cooperate only increases frustration.

Coming from the Manfrotto leg system where I have to unscrew and rescrew each joint of each leg, I was now facing this:

And it is spectacularly convenient. Using my large hands, I wrap my fist around all three locks, twist in one go, extend the legs and twist each joint again. As I have long arms, I can do all of this whilst standing up straight. It takes 3-5 seconds to handle one leg, which is fast. I'm very happy with this locking system. 

This isn't all there is to say about setting up this tripod of course. In particular macro setups, where this tripod excels at, you'll also want to set up the off centre column and the off centre ballhead. The speed of that highly depends on the situation you find yourself in, but even after a few field trips I'm already getting better at it.

This feature of the tripod alone I consider a killing feature. It severely increases my acceptance of bringing and using a tripod at all. It takes away hurdles.

Flexibility

Flexibility is what this tripod is all about. As you can see from the opening photo, the vertical column isn't between the 3 legs, it is next to it (off centre). Consequently, you can position that column as it is (vertically), but also horizontally or diagonally. This means you can bend it into very strange positions, and when combined with the off centre ballhead, basically in virtually every position. 

In the above shot from the field, you can see how I used to centre column horizontally. As you can see, this doesn't mean the camera is positioned sideways. Due to the off centre ball head, you can still position it horizontally. 

The 2nd part regarding flexibility concerns the leg angles. Where most leg systems have predetermined angles in which you can snap the legs, this tripod allows you to set them to any angle. To lock them, just use the big black levers on them.

All in all, the combination of the off centre column, flexible leg angles, and an off centre ballhead make this tripod as flexible as it gets. There really is nothing more to wish for. This includes bringing the tripod to the ground level, it can be placed entirely horizontally. 

It is important to know though that this doesn't just make it a "macro tripod". It does its job equally well on flat surfaces and in normal positions and heights. 

Heavy gear

Such a light, speedy and flexible tripod may bring some compromise as to what it can endure in terms of heavy gear. To my surprise there is hardly any compromise here either. In the photo above, the combination of a D800 and Nikkor 105mm already is a pretty heavy combination, especially with the weight being off centre. But the tripod deals with it flawlessly. There is no creep at all.

Let's put that test to the extreme:

Here I am using a heavy 80-400mm. In a way, this tripod isn't really designed for this use. I expect it to fail. But it hardly does. In this very top heavy arrangement, there is some creep. After locking position, the ball head will tilt downwards slightly. But not as much as I expected, in fact, I expected the whole thing to tip over. Note that I am testing with the normal plate here. I also have a long quick release plate, which would balance the lens better, probably removing almost all creep. 

As said, I'm surprised by what the combination can carry. The tripod has no problem with it either way, it is the choice of (ball) head that matters in this case. 

Max height

So this gitzo scores extremely well in my primary requirements (weight, speed, flexibility, ability to handle heavy gear), what about my secondary requirements?

My main purpose for this tripod is macro photography, but it would be nice that in normal stand up conditions, I don't have to strain my back much to look into the view finder. With the center column fully extended upwards, and using live view with some distance, I can stand up normally without aching my back, again I am 1.93m tall.

That is good enough for me. A centre column is of course less stable than the normal tripod legs themselves, but I figure this compromise is good enough for many people. Only when you require wind-tested stability in an upright position and are very tall yourself, this may be a critical point to review.

Fits in suitcase?

Folded without head this tripod measures only 54cm in length. A small travel suit case, the one you may take on a weekend trip, measures at a minimum of 50-60cm. This thing will likely fit even in the smallest suitcases, and most definitely in normal-sized suitcases. 

Durability

Is there really nothing bad to say about this tripod (not taking into account the price)? I have yet to find any issue with it. The only small concern I have is in its durability. Although I cannot test this in a few weeks only, I noticed that the leg locking system works with grease. I wonder what will happen over time when sand mixes with it. I don't know the answer to that, time will tell. I do see that some high-end Gitzos have special weather-proof features, assuming this one doesn't have those, I wonder what that means.

Conclusion

I started out this post by saying that the perfect tripod does not exist, and that requirements conflict with each other. After having used this tripod for a few weeks now, I'm coming back to that statement partly. Whilst there is some compromise between features, in this case they are tiny. I am deeply impressed by how this tripod finds a balance in weight, speed, sturdiness and flexibility with such small downsides. As such, I don't consider it a macro tripod per se, it performs well across many situations. I cannot find any serious feature that it lacks. 

Finally, some words on what this means to me personally. Basically, I don't like working with tripods. They slow me down and make me less flexible, plus I have to carry it. For this reason, I hardly ever brought one.

But the advantages of a tripod in particular situations are enormous. This tripod has build a bridge between those two opposites. Whilst I still rather not bring one, if I bring one, I love working with this one. Instead of bringing a tripod along 1 in 20 trips, I now bring one in 1 of 2 trips, and that is entirely due to the qualities of this tripod.

At the same time, I also recognize that the constraint of a tripod also brings good things. Whereas I normally am a too rushed photographer, a tripod forces me to think more about composition and light. Instead of making dozens of so-so photos, I may make less, that are better, or at least better prepared. 

To end this review: Yes, I would 100% recommend this tripod. It is quite frankly awesome. If you hate tripods, this will make you hate them less. If you like tripods, this is probably one of the most flexible and versatiles combination in this price range, and perhaps any price range.

JungleDragon general site update - September - I »

FERDY CHRISTANT - SEP 5, 2014 (01:23:41 PM)

We're in the first week after the 3 month summer games we held at JungleDragon, a series of contests that has brought about thousands of new photos, hundreds of new species, and many new members. The sharing pace seems to continue after these contests, and I am hoping that it lasts.

Anyway, here's again a small series of site improvements.

New notification: added to list

I have implemented a new notification. This one is sent when somebody adds one of your photos to a list:

This is great additional feedback for photo owners, as well as a way to promote the lists feature. Like any notification in JungleDragon, it can be enaled or disabled from your personal notification settings. There's 13 notification settings currently, making the notification engine quite complete by now.

Smarter map zooming

On geotagged photos, you are able to jump to the map of that country, checking other photos geotagged in the same country. Before, the country would be zoomed in on a fixed zoom level. This works well for small countries, yet zooms in too deeply for large countries. This is now implemented in a smarter way, the zoom level is based on the size of the country:

See above. Before, opening a large country like the USA would zoom in to deeply, yet now it fits dynamically.

Lighter "More" buttons

The "more" buttons that you see on several pages are now styled with a light color. In particular on mobile and tablets, the dark color would conflict with the equally dark footer.

Windows 8 tiles

JungleDragon now has basic Windows 8 tile support for users of Window's Modern UI:

Above you see JungleDragon's tile pinned below a Twitter tile. The Twitter tile is a real W8 app, whilst JungleDragon's tile is a pinned website. When pinning JungleDragon, you can select from one of 4 tile sizes.

I also tried to implement notifications to enable live tiles, but getting it right cost me so much effort that I let the idea go.

Flip-ahead browsing

Another W8 related improvement is flip-ahead browsing. Flip-ahead browsing is an IE-only feature (that has to be explicitly enabled by the user) within Window's Modern UI. 

What does it do? When enabled, the browser will intelligently try to break up your site in sequential pages. Instead of you having to hunt for a "next" or "more" button, the browser will find it for you, and also prefetch that next page. As a user, this allows you to flip through a website like it is a magazine. JungleDragon is now actively giving IE hints on next pages, allowing this:

Note that on the right middle of the screen, there is a next arrow. This means that flip-ahead browsing works for this page. You can click it to go to the next page. If you have a touch screen, which is likely if you're using Modern UI, you can simply swipe from right to left. 

I really love this feature. It's a real shame that it is IE only and has to be enabled by the user. 

Anyway, that's it for this update. Enjoy!

As a web developer, I am very much aware and pro-active in performance tuning websites. JungleDragon uses many techniques to optimize for a speedy experience, both in the back-end and the front-end:

  • On the back-end, the most important database queries are tuned to the bone.
  • Images are large and retina-ready, yet still light in file size
  • The number of HTTP requests is minimized
  • Static resources are compressed and heavily cached
  • Resources are loaded in a smart order, avoiding blocking requests where possible

But...there's always room for further improvement, and I found quite a spectacular one that I will be telling about in this post. Last week, this A List Apart article popped up into my RSS reader. It details 3 relatively new techniques of prebrowsing. I had heard of the term only once before, but this article triggered me.

Prebrowsing is smartly loading resources up front, based on a prediction of what the user is going to do next. The article discussed 3 ways to do this:

  • DNS prefetching
  • Resource prefetching
  • Page prerendering

Having studied the article in detail, it had me thinking of how this possibly can be applied to JungleDragon. I have taken a deep dive into these 3 techniques, and now I am using all 3 of them. I'm not going to repeat the article here, rather I'm going to share how I've implemented them, and what the effect is.

DNS prefetching

Many websites use secondary domains to load resources. For example, one can have a img.mydomain.com to load images for the site. For browsers to load images from that sub domain, it needs to resolve the domain, translating it into an IP address. The way this occurs is complicated, it depends on the browser's strategy, browser cache settings, and DNS cache across many hops in the chain.

Resolving a domain can take from 1ms to several seconds, depending on these factors. Without cache, say a "fresh" resolve in practice will likely take a few dozen ms at least. DNS prefetching aims to do this resolve action upfront. Here's what I placed in the head section of every JungleDragon page:

<link rel="dns-prefetch" href="http://static.jungledragon.com">
<link rel="dns-prefetch" href="http://media.jungledragon.com">
<link rel="dns-prefetch" href="http://fonts.googleapis.com">

This prefetches the domains for JungleDragon static resources (JS, CSS), photos, and the header font. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to objectively measure the performance effect of this technique. For example, Chrome has its own intelligence in DNS pre-fetching regardless of what any web page does. When starting up Chrome, it will automatically DNS prefetch the 10 most visited sites you use.

If my theory is correct, this should avoid the high cost of DNS lookups in those cases where it wasn't cached. This should be a saving a few dozen ms or more. But as said, it's hard to measure. It is cheap to implement though, and a proven technique on websites such as Amazon.

Browser support: currently Firefox and Chrome, and perhaps a few smaller browsers. 

Resource prefetching

A more spectacular performance improvement may be found in resource prefetching. A resource would be a file (JS, CSS, img) in this case, although it can be used for pages as well. You would use this technique when it is very likely that a user will need that resources on the next action or page. By prefetching it, it will instantly be ready when that next action occurs. 

With resource prefetching, you are giving the browser a hint, not an instruction, to load that resource. It will typically be loaded during browser idle time, thus the preloading in no way blocks current page loading and rendering. 

I found a very interesting case in JungleDragon where using this technique makes sense: slideshows. In a slideshow, it is extremely likely that users will navigate to the next image. Have another look at the opening screenshot of this blog post. That's the JungleDragon slideshow. It features one big image, followed by 9 small thumbs. 

In the before situation, navigating to the next image would start loading that next image only on the spot. The next image was not loaded yet, thus there is a wait time. That wait time even in good conditions may be 2 seconds or more. Whilst that is not a huge delay, it is still a bothersome delay.

In the after situation, all 9 large images are prefetched, as it is very likely that they are needed later on. As said, this prefetching is non-blocking, it delays nothing on the current page. Here's a small video demonstrating the slideshow with prefetching enabled:

As you can see, next (and previous) images load instantly. That's because they're ready before you clicked on them. It is a dramatically different slideshow experience because of this. 

How is this done? It's as simple as inserting prefetch links like these:

<link rel="prefetch" href="http://media.jungledragon.com/images/1234.jpg" />

You just point to the path of the resource to load. In this example, it means I have 9 of such statements, pointing to the 9 images to prefetch. For the widest possible browser support, you shoud include those links in the head section of the document. In particular IE needs this, other browsers don't care where in the document the prefetch links are. Furthermore, it is very much possible to dynamically inject such links in the DOM using javascript. I can confirm that it works.

Any prefetching article will warn developers not to overuse this technique, as it may consume a lot of bandwidth that isn't actually always used. I agree with that, but I find the slideshow scenario a perfect example of where this technique does make sense.

Browser support: currently supported by most modern browsers. Note though that these are browser hints, not browser instructions. For example, Chrome is much more aggressive in taking the hint, opposed to Firefox, which prefetches more slowly. 

Page prerendering

The 3rd and last prebrowsing technique is the most powerful, but also the most controversial and risky. With page prerendering, currently only supported in Chrome and IE11, an entire page with all its resources is prefetched and prerendered. It is as if a user is previsiting the next page entirely. The browser has that next page fully ready, it's simply hiding it until the user actually decides to visit that next page.

This technique is controversial because:

  • Bandwidth misuse in case the user does not visit the page you predicted
  • It can skew website statistics
  • I am not sure, but perhaps it also messes with ad mechanisms
  • If the preloaded page contains malware, you're actively taking away end-user control

This technique is to be used with great care, so let's see what it can do for JungleDragon. JungleDragon has no ads and serves no malware, so that risk is not applicable. Bandwidth misuse is the only potential risk. I decided to give this technique a try as an experiment, and the results are so awesome that I am going to stick with it.

What is the use case? JungleDragon on many pages shows a list of things. A list of photos, a list of members, a list of tags, and so on. In these lists of "things", a fixed amount of entries are shown per page, followed by a "more" button to load the next set. 

And here is the very simple idea: why not preprender the page behind the "more" button? What would that do? Before we dive into the risks, let us first check the performance benefit. In this video, I'm navigating these "more" buttons on lists of photos, members and tags:

This is quite incredible. Normally, when loading a new page of thumbnails, you would see 24 grey boxes, followed by a few seconds of the images loading one by one. With prerendering, performance is instant. Note that this concerns 24 retina-size thumbnails, appearing in a snap. As if you're navigating locally, without network. That's because we are in fact navigating locally, all network work has been done already because of prerendering. 

The 2nd part shows me navigating lists of members. As the user avatars come from gravatar.com, this usually is a page that slowly builds up, since it makes many requests to gravatar.com. With prerendering, it is instant. And finally, you can see that the list of tags also loads instantly.

What I'm doing here is a pretty aggressive form of prerendering, so let us see what any negative side effect may be. The main concern in this case is what happens if the user does not use the "more" button. In that case, I have prerendered it needlessly and bandwidth is wasted.

The heaviest use case are lists of photo thumbnails. The bottom line here is that the pre-rendering on average adds about 400KB in bandwidth costs, for loading the images of the next page. On mobile, I load smaller images, so the costs is far less. The loading of the extra 400KB, whether needed or not, is non-blocking, thus there is no wait costs, only bandwidth cost.

I find that number, 400KB, to be very acceptable. Note that despite being image heavy, JungleDragon image pages even with prerendering enabled is still below the average web page size of the world (1.6MB). After a first visit to JungleDragon, a full image page with prerendering drops to only 800KB, due to heavy caching. 

Given the extreme performance benefit and the very reasonable non-intrusive side effects, I'm going to keep this prerendering experiment for now.

Wrapping up

DNS prefetching, resource prefetching and page prerendering are extremely powerful techniques that when used with care, can dramatically speed up select parts of your web site and application. They are little known features of the modern web, so I hope that my article on applying these techniques in practice inspires you to investigate these techniques as well. My recommendation for now:

  • DNS prefetching: always use it. Easy to implement and no negative cost.
  • Resource prefetching: use in select cases of highly likely "next actions"
  • Page prerendering: use in select cases of highly likely "next actions"

In all cases, be sure to measure the effect of your experiments. And to make matters just a little more complicated, note that some browsers cancel prefetch actions when using their inspector window.

JungleDragon general site update - August - IV »

FERDY CHRISTANT - AUG 22, 2014 (01:26:02 PM)

Another week, another series of JungleDragon site updates, such has been the rhythm for a while now. This week is no different, so let's see what changed this time:

Style upgrade for activity feeds

I changed the look of items in the activity feed, which are found on many pages inside JungleDragon:

In the new look, the items themselves do not have a background of their own, they simply lay on the page, which has a general background. I find this less distracting and boxy. The text has a light shadow giving it an inset effect. Padding has been improved and made more consistent. User avatars are slightly rounded, but not much.

List guidance

In JungleDragon it is possible to make your own lists of photos, and include any photo on it (by you or others), based on a theme of your choice. A good list has at least these qualities:

  • It has a proper title and description
  • It has a specific weight, a minimum amount of photos
  • It concerns an original dimension of photos, and interesting topic

JungleDragon will now actively guide list owners in creating a useful list by providing guidance:

It concerns the block in red. It will only be visible to the list owner, and only when signed in. As you can see, essentially it is a todo-list where items taken care of are striked through. If the list meets all 3 conditions, it will dissapear. 

The idea of more proactive quality guidance will eventually also be applied to individual photos, but in a different way. 

Promotion awards and notifications

At JungleDragon, moderators decide which photos shine on the homepage, by means of photo promotions. I made some changes in this area. The first change concerns karma. As of now, if your photo is promoted, you will receive 100 karma points. More importantly, your image will also receive 100 karma.

This karma reward on the image itself, means that your image will appear "higher" in several areas of JungleDragon:

  • On the popular photos overview
  • Inside tags
  • On species pages

Getting your photos promoted is now much more rewarding, it goes beyond being listed on the homepage. Note that user and image karma for promotions is only rewarded:

  • When it does not concern a self promotion
  • When it is the first time the image is promoted, not during repromotions

The 2nd change regarding promotions is that it now also shows up on activity feeds:

This means it is now fully transparant which moderators promotes which image. This activity item does not appear on the general community feed, it only appears on the feed of individual users, moderators in this case.

And the 3rd change is that a new notification is linked to the event of images being promoted:

Above is a test email of the email that a photo owner would receive if his/her photo is promoted. This email is only sent when the promoter and image owner are different persons.

That's it for this week, I hope you appreciate these changes.

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