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Macfilos Top Posts of all time: 20 out of thousands


At the end of last year we reviewed the top ten posts of 2022 and the response was encouraging, with many readers looking back at the archives to see what had floated our collective boats during the year. With this in mind, this article lists the Macfilos Top 20 posts of all time. Again, there are few surprises other than the appearance of a car text in 9th spot. As with our last list, it is camera gear and reviews that tick most boxes for our readers.

We will start in reverse order, with the 20th most popular article on Macfilos and end with the all-time champion which attracted over 100,000 views.

Check out the comments (the number is shown again in the comment icon in the bottom right-hand corner of every post. Often the comments form a spirited discussion which can be even more interesting than the article itself.

20: Long-term review of the Leica M10-R

19: Reviewing the Leica Noctilux f/1.2

18: Minolta CLE: A blast from the past

17: Futile demand for a CL upgrade…

16: Exploring the Zeiss Ikon ZM and its lenses

15: We now know the answer…

14: Living like a Vampire: Leica Q2 Monochrom

13: Reviewing the Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-70

12: Leica Q2: Is it the perfect travel camera?

11: Comparing the Leica M6 and the M7

Now for the final Top Ten:

10: Making the case for the Leica Q2 Monochrom

9: A year with the Jaguar I-Pace. A car, a car!

8: Things to come: M11 rumours

7: New from Leica in 2023 and 2024

6: Obituary of a giant: Farewell to Erwin Puts

5: Checking out the Leica Apo-Summicron 35 f/2

4: The definitive Leica M11 review

3: A professional evaluation of the Leica Q2

2: Looking forward to Leica in 2021

Finally, we come to the most-viewed article on MacFilos, William Fagan’s brilliant unravelling of the mystery of the Swiss Roll. William found an abandoned film cassette in a 1930s Leica he had purchased at auction. Developing of such an ancient film — eventually it turned out to be from the early Fifties — presented many challenges. But this paled to insignificance in the quest to identify the locations and the individuals recorded on the film. With the help from readers all over the World, William solved the mystery — except for two important facts… The series of Swiss Roll articles attracted well over 100,000 page views, an all-time record for Macfilos and one we are unlikely to repeat.

1: The saga of the Swiss Roll

In addition there were three subsequent updates of the Swiss Roll story which you may care to browse:

First update on progress

The facts as we know them

These snaps have a word-wide audience

If you want to read some of the world-wide media coverage, feel free to start here:

New York Times



Daily Mail

The Irish Times

Watson (from Switzerland, in German)

I hope you enjoy browsing these past articles. In the interests of accuracy, I should mention that the title of the article is rather misleading in that all these stories were published in the past four years. Macfilos has been running since 2008 but we changed platforms in 2018 (from Squarespace) and it appears that the page-view counts from the previous ten years were lost. However, readership has increased dramatically since we moved to WordPress and began to develop closer relationships with our many contributors, so I wouldn’t mind betting that these articles do in fact top the charts for the 15-year existence of Macfilos.

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  1. Fantastic list of articles, that one. Including a few that I missed at the time and will now have to go back and read.

    Congrats on the continued growing of the blog, Mike. And my thanks to all contributors who provide us with such great material to peruse. Photographically and written.

  2. I agree on the diversity of the subjects, it is truly one of the strengths of Macfilos, interestingly enough it does not show very much in the Top 20 though, the Top 20 is really except for one post mostly Leica. Many thanks to Mike and to all the contributors for all the food for thought over the years!

    • Thanks for your kind comment. My one was only coincidentally about a Leica. The real story lay elsewhere. it would have been equally interesting if the roll of film had been found in a Contax or a Rolleiflex or some other make or type of camera from the period. Mike took a well thought out decision some years ago to concentrate on Leica cameras, so the the fact that the preponderance of the most read articles since 2018 are about Leicas is not surprising. However, I think we can say that even the Leica articles are done in a diverse way. If I am not mistaken, Mike took a ‘straw poll’ here before deciding to concentrate on Leicas.


  3. Wonderful rating of the posts on Macfilos, Mike.
    On opening I said to myself, I bet #1 is the Swiss Roll. I was right! Congrats William on having the most read post on this wonderful site 🙂

  4. Bravo! This is a wonderful collection and it’s nice to revisit them and enjoy a second or third time. One of the things I enjoy about visiting this “Hawker” food court of macfilos articles, is the diversity of subjects from travel to war memorials to cars to…you name it. I hope that diversity of topics continues way into the future.

    Thanks again to all the contributors.

  5. Thanks, Mike. It is great to see friends such as Jono, Joerg-Peter, yourself and others here. Jono’s material appears elsewhere not only on his own website, but also on the Leica Forum, Leica Society International and other outlets. Which is bringing me on to the wider impact of Macfilos beyond the shores of Macfilos Towers, as it were. With the ‘Swiss Roll’ story this was already the most viewed story on Macfilos when our mutual friend and fellow TLS member Phil Coomes, who is the BBC Picture Editor, decided to put out a summary of the story on the BBC website. This story emerged in the middle of the Covid Pandemic and, somehow, it struck a chord with people who could not move very far from their homes. By the end of the first morning the story had scored one million hits on the BBC website and by the end of the first week that became two million hits. Based on proportional interest, mainly through the New York Times and CNN, we estimate that the story had at least 5 to 6 million views around the world.

    I see that your stats go back to 2018, but the two stories that have brought me the most satisfaction and also a largest spread of contacts around the world are both from 2017, I think. One is related to Grubb and Parsons and the optical firm of that name. It not only deals with 19th Century Irish brass lenses, but also dives into deep space and features the world’s first ship with a steam turbine. This article comes up on Google searches about Grubb and Parsons, the Newcastle based optical firm. Extracts and photos from the Macfilos article now appear in a standard text book on the subject of British and Irish brass lenses of the 19th Century. Likewise from 2017, was my article on the Vest Pocket Kodak (VPK) from World War I which has also attracted a wide range of interest from various quarters. People still ask me how I got good photos from the 1915 VPK and I always reply ‘by running into the bushes’. You may recall that the film got jammed halfway through the roll of 8 images and I had to dive into bushes to unblock the jam in low light!

    My favourite article for Macfilos was my first one (2015?) about my late father’s camera, a Super Baldina, and the photos which he took in the West of Ireland in the 1930s and 1940s. I think it might have actually appeared under your name. You may recall that many of my father’s photos featured images of the large sailing boats called Galway Bay Hookers. One net result from that is that my father’s photos are now on the website of the Galway Bay Hookers Association. And, to bring the story fully up to date, only two days ago I was asked to provide a set of those images to the National Museum of Ireland.

    So, you will see that the influence of Macfilos goes around the world and into the most unlikely places. I say this not to blow my own trumpet, but to pay tribute to you, Mike, and what you have created. Macfilos not only has an excellent community, but its contents have gone far and wide beyond the boundaries of that community. That is all thanks to you for having the foresight to create Macfilos and then to work so well with those of us who write for the site. Working with you is a pure pleasure, Editor Mike.



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