Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Macfilos Readers: Which countries are in the top ten?

Macfilos Readers: Which countries are in the top ten?

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Macfilos has an international readership, with almost every country in the world represented on the table. Unsurprisingly, it’s the English-speaking nations that grab the most Macfilos readers, although there are some notable omissions from the top ten. Let’s take a look at the list.

Macfilos Readers: The top ten countries

Given that Macfilos is based in the United Kingdom, it is rather surprising that 26 per cent of Macfilos readers live in the United States. Frequent contributions from Keith James, especially covering the San Diego area, can only enhance this figure.

Only 21 per cent of Macfilos readers hail from the UK itself. The real surprise, though, is the number of readers from Germany — a full nine per cent of our total readership. Again, this is largely down to the enthusiasm and dedication of our German author, Jörg-Peter Rau. Our association with Messsucherwelt (Rangefinder World) also helps in attracting readers to both sites.

After Australia comes Canada, with a similar four per cent of Macfilos readers, while the remainder, with the exception of Hong Kong, are European nations: France, the Netherlands, Portugal and Italy. Is it a coincidence that Portugal figures high in the chart (higher than the much larger Spain) when Leica has a factory in that country? Readership in Wetzlar might well be boosting our German figures, too.

Hong Kong is by far our largest “market” in the Far East, accounting for three per cent of total Macfilos readers. The high level of English knowledge among Hong Kongers is an obvious reason for this, although anecdotal evidence speaks of the extraordinary popularity of photography in the region. This is certainly reflected in the number of photographic retailers in just one area of Kowloon, the bustling urban centre of Tsim Sha Tsui, which is a magnet for any visitor with an interest in photography.

Over the years, we have hosted many authors from the United Kingdom, but the one who stands out is Leica beta-tester Jonathan Slack whose insightful reviews of the latest and greatest in the Leica firmament have boosted readership to a remarkable degree. Jonathan’s expert reviews of equipment have a worldwide audience. His latest article, a review of the new Leica M6 film camera, has been top of the charts for the past week.

Germany, home of Leica, home of many Macfilos readers

The high percentage of readership in Germany may be surprising at first sight. But it is, after all, not only the biggest nation in Europe but also the Heimat der Messsucherkamera, the home of the rangefinder camera. In a 500-km radius around Wetzlar, there are many active Leica users and, I suppose, quite a few collectors as well (increasingly competing with competitors from the Far East). By the way, not all of them are dentists, lawyers or consultants, but undoubtedly part of the explanation is that there is considerable wealth in Germany.

Furthermore, Germany has become much more internationally minded over the last thirty years or so than many assume. Keen on learning languages for centuries, Germans who speak and read English represent a high percentage of the population (with major losses for French along the way). For the youngest, we see increasingly the Scandinavian effect — they are watching films and series in English, they consume English-speaking YouTube channels, and even read the occasional book in English. At school, by the way, they learn explicitly British English to this day but with less doggedness than one generation earlier.

It’s encouraging, too, that Peter Lott, a German reader from Central Franconia, in response to J-P Rau’s article on Lotte Eckener said, “it’s crazy that I, as a German, have to find out about Lotte Eckener on this extraordinary English website. I have never heard of this photographer before. Thank you very much for this contribution, Jörg-Peter. Learned something again”.

Macfilos Readers: Australia, where Leica does excellent PR work

Australia was an early success for Macfilos and now comes in fourth place, whereas their neighbour, New Zealand, does not make the top ten, probably because of its relatively small population. Much of the success in Australia is down to the enthusiasm of local authors, especially John Shingleton and Wayne Gerlach in New South Wales.

Next to our Australian contributors, who might well attract a specific Australian readership, the old Commonwealth connections might be an explanation for our strong readership Downunder. But apart from this, Photography seems to be a topic of great interest in Australia. Leica and everything related to it must have a good name there. It is likely that the excellent media work of Leica Australia contributes to it — just watch their YouTube channel. If such content as Nick Rain’s wonderful “Take Better Photos” tutorials can’t arouse interest in photography in general and Leica in particular, what else could?

Macfilos Readers: The King’s English

In light of these results, we can perhaps expect a lobbying campaign to adopt American English as the standard for Macfilos. However, one of the jobs of an editor (or, more precisely, a sub-editor) is to adopt a style and common standard. It would help no one if we allowed free rein in spelling; there has to be one standard.

It is the editor’s job to translate all those references to color and neighbor to British spelling. The other is to expunge those references to apologize and organize. It’s a tough job. It must be hard for even the most anglophile American reader to believe that the Brits actually spell manoeuvre that way. And talking of vowels, did you know that facetious contains all five vowels in the correct alphabetical order? It’s even spelt the same way in British and American English.

However, our insistence on British spelling is a matter of method rather than madness. It isn’t that British spelling is in some way better; it is just an alternative. But we need consistency and since we are based in Britain, it’s sensible to stick with British spelling. We are in good company since the majority of publications around the world adopt the local spelling conventions, even if a particular author normally uses spelling common in another region.

As for “-ise” and “-ize”, both are correct in British English, and It’s a mistake to assume that one is British and the other American. Some national publications in the UK also adopt “-ize” which is almost universal in US spelling. It is also the preferred usage in Oxford spelling. My excuse is that I don’t like the look of the letter Z which I find rather ugly. ISE is more to my liking, so that’s what you get, and as long as we are consistent, it doesn’t much matter. We can just hope that many of our world readers think British spelling is quaint. Perhaps the secret of our success in the USA!

Of course, choice of spelling is only one aspect of achieving consistency. For instance, the only reason we use f/1.4 rather than f1.4 or F1.4 or F/1.4 is that it is our adopted style. Nothing wrong with the others; it’s just that we stick to one version.

Macfilos Readers: The bottom league

Bottom of the list of Macfilos readers come the least-involved countries in the world. We have just one reader in each of sixteen states, from the Turks & Caicos Islands to Eswatini and Afghanistan.

But if you are out there and are a solitary Macfilos reader, why not get in touch and let us know a bit about yourself and your interests in photography? What’s it like to be the only Leica fan in the village?

Macfilos Readers: The comments

One of the outstanding aspects of Macfilos is the flourishing comments section. Our readers show great insight and knowledge and add enormously to the debate whenever an article is published.

Quite often, the comments are more interesting and informative than the article itself. But which articles have produced the most discussion?

On the right, you can see a list of the articles which have stimulated the greatest number of comments over the past three years. We will probably never again surpass the interest generated by William Fagan’s Swiss Roll series, but the coverage of the Leica CL and its demise speaks for itself.

If you would like to revisit any of these stories (and perhaps make a further comment), here are the links:

Macfilos Readers: Becoming an author

I started Macfilos in 2008, and for many years it was very much a one-man band. Initially, the main topic was technology, with a bent towards Apple — hence the Mac+Filos — but gradually, the photographic content took pride of place. Now we enjoy the efforts, photography and output of a strong bunch of contributors from around the world.

Have you got something to say, maybe a travel story, a camera or lens review or, perhaps, just general musings on your own brand of photography? We do need a few photographs to illustrate any article, but they do not need to be of exhibition standard or candidates for immortality.

Get in touch if you feel you have something to contribute. We will edit your story and, if necessary, rewrite sections and add suggestions. If your native language is not English, don’t worry. Just write in your own language, and we will translate. You will certainly enjoy being part of the Macfilos authors’ community and will appreciate the informed but polite comments. We’re a friendly lot.

I am grateful to Jörg-Peter Rau and Keith James for additional text to enhance this article. It is very much a joint effort.


Read more from the authors mentioned in this article

John Shingleton

Wayne Gerlach

Jörg-Peter Rau

Keith James

Jonathan Slack


15 COMMENTS

  1. For me, the index of success here is the wide international appeal of this site! Where would we be without the insights of Farhiz Karanjawala or Wlliam Fagan or Jean Perenet or …

    At the risk of being silly: from the lens of Leica we see the world!

    • Thanks, Kathy. I think we have a good balance of topics, from travel to vintage cameras and all the Kate’s stuff. We also really befit from our international contributors, as you say, and from the enthusiasm of our regular commenters. Thanks to everyone for helping make the site a success.

    • As I was saying… we have readers all over the world! Hope all is well with you in Zambia, Richard.

  2. Continuing great work Mike. There is much to be said for the ability of a mutual interest to bring enthusiasts together from all nations. The onward march of the ” international language ” merely aids ease of understanding. Richard

  3. Thank you back for hosting, organizing and publishing. It’s much appreciated.

    The diversity of readers and writers is indicative of what an inclusive platform this is and that’s healthy in a world where we need to keep reminding ourselves that asking questions, listening and reading can only make us more appreciative of a world that maybe different from ours but no less significant or interesting.

    I also love the breadth of topics even if not all of them are relevant. I may be vintage myself but own no vintage lenses and own no M camera either, but there’s always something to be learned.

    So thanks to all again for making MacFilos a great place to keep returning to.

  4. Interesting numbers, Mike, and all done without the aid of social media or PR, just relying on great content. The Swiss Photos thing really took after our mutual friend, Phil Coomes, Picture Editor at the BBC, put it out on the BBC website and it reached a million hits on the first morning alone. We estimate that after it had appeared on other websites such as New York Times and CNN, which followed the BBC, the story was seen by 5 or 6 million people worldwide, but I don’t know how many of those people clicked back to the original story. However, the spread of countries from which we received contacts/responses was far greater than the countries on your ‘top 10’ list above.

    I suppose I should apologise on behalf of the Irish people on our not making the ‘top ten’, but we are proud to be in the 23% for the ‘rest of the world’. I have written 50 articles for Macfilos in addition to the Swiss Photos item. The ones which pleased me most were those about my father’s photography and camera, which included my first ever article for Macfilos in 2015. The other one I really treasure, far more than the Swiss item, is the Grubb and Parsons article from 2017. This has now become a sort of ‘standard text’ on the topic which will appear if you google that name combination. It has also been referenced in a very ‘heavyweight’ publication (372 pages in hardback) on 19th Century brass lenses. A picture from the Macfilos article also appears in the book, along with a photo of one of the lenses in my collection. The book is unlikely to have an update or new edition, so Macfilos is there for ever and 100 years from now if someone picks up the book, they will be able to read about something called Macfilos and some fellow called Fagan. I should add that the same article also appeared in the Photographica World magazine of the Photographic Collectors Club of Great Britain and also in the magazine of the Irish Astronomical Society. Other articles of mine from Macfilos have appeared in the magazine of the UK Leica Society and in the Viewfinder magazine of Leica Society International, where they would be read by people from over 70 countries. So Macfilos material has filtered out across the globe in various ways and in one case, at least, is likely to be there for ever.

    As I have said before, none of this would be possible without yourself and your immense drive and good humour.

    William

    • Thank you William. If it were not for contributors and supporters such as you, there would be no Macfilos. It would have fizzled out years ago. So many thanks.

  5. Fantastic article, Mike. Your discussion of the demographics of Macfilos serves as an inspiration for all the writers who have contributed to it. I first became a reader –and later a writer — through your coverage of the Leica CL. Now, although the CL and all of its lenses are gone, I find myself looking forward to each issue; and finding something to which I can easily relate or benefit in nearly every posting. As for the CL, few got hurt thanks to the outstanding resale values of the Leica components. I now have a Fujifilm X-T5 with weatherproofing, IBIS, a 40-megapixel sensor, and five Fujinon lenses for about the same investment and the same total weight. I’ll take this kit on cruises to Australia and South Africa this year, and I won’t be surprised if I run into other Macfilos fans.

    • Thank you, Steve. It is certainly surprising the extent to which the CL grabbed a loyal following. It reminds me on a way of the X1 and it’s continued popularity long after it was discontinued. As for Fuji, I have always thought of Fujifilm equipment as similar in many ways to Leica when it comes to brand loyalty and manufacturer involvement. I’d like to do more of Fuji but we depend on our contributors for this. Thank you for your continued support. Mike.

  6. Hopefully one day we still get a smaller and lighter L-mount body although the fact that the 2 recent (smaller and lighter) Summicrons were released with any form of Marketing and without even making the lenses available to YouTube influencers does not exactly give me a confident warm and fuzzy feeling…

  7. Leica camera blog Macfilos should be required reading for any camera enthusiast! Thank You Sir, love the ride you take us on.

    • And thank you, John, for your support over many years. When attempting to widen readership we should never underestimate the importance of regular readers who have been in almost from the beginning. Mike

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