Rather incredibly (and by incredible, I mean difficult to believe), TOP turns four years old on Saturday. I think I've mentioned before that when I started doing this in 2005, my ambition was to keep it going for a year, and, frankly, at the start, I wouldn't have given a farthing for the chances of that. And yet here we are, still chasing the great white squirrel.
To date, there have been a few dozen shy of 3,000 posts, well over 21 million visits to the main page, and very close to 50,000 comments.
Now, I hate to do this to you, I really do, but you know what's coming: as I always say, it's time to buy yourself our birthday present. If there's something you want from either Amazon or B&H Photo, you must* buy it for yourself. Look, you have to do something to support TOP and help pay for all the good free stuff you enjoy, right? So if there's a book you want, or a lens, or a CD, anything, I'm sorry, but it's your duty; you really have no choice—your hands are tied—your obligation as clear as...optical glass. And if your spouse or partner, child or parent complains about you spending money, well, you can tell him or her in good conscience that you didn't want to buy yourself a present, but you had to, Mike forced you to.
Meanwhile, I'm going to take a couple of days off. I won't be slacking, however: I plan to use the time to finish up this year's "TOP Ten Cameras" list. This time, though, I'm trying something different. I know we all just love the cute way that the "top" in "top ten" matches the site's acronym, but let's face it, the concept of the "best" cameras is incredible (and by incredible, I mean lacking in credibility. Kinda silly, in other words). I'm planning to try a new format for it, too. Hope you'll be entertained, and possibly even enlightened.
Okay, mostly entertained.
And Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who celebrate it—what the heck, even if you don't.
Mike, TOP's Chief Artificial Coffee Creamer Officer**
*(I kid, of course. As I also always say, you're always welcome here whether you buy anything through our links or not. Especially if you are un- or under-employed, my thoughts are with you this Thanksgiving, and please keep your money for more important things. You can catch us when prosperity smiles on you again, as surely it will.
I'm very grateful for all the support we get from so many people. TOP has felt the economic downturn but is still surviving. More than 270 people "subscribe," i.e., give a recurring donation of at least 25 cents a month; a number of people have sent cash "tips"; somewhere between 1% and 4% of our readers have bought things though our links at least once; and various "Friends of the Site" have made donations in kind of everything from professional advice to equipment loans. Plus, we have some great advertisers. And let's not forget the many individuals who have written the guest posts or the great comments that add so much to the conversation. I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.)
Out-of-camera JPEG version