2.01.2017

"First Impressions Review!!!!" "Hands On Review!!!!" "First Preview !!!!!!!" "Image Gallery !!!!!!" "Our Experts Intuit Camera Performance Under Glass !!!!!" And much more.


"Our long wait for the ultimate large-to-medium,  format uber-camera is over. We were able to glance through thick plate glass at a clay prototype of the latest GXRXD-1001.5 and come to striking conclusions about its possible capabilities." We think it will be a paradigm shifting, mind-bending tour de force for photographers everywhere. A must have. 

"Join us for a manufacturer's sponsored love fest of the latest miracle from Zarcon Cameras as we shove their sponsor money in our pockets and introduce you, via a lovely video presentation, to our ephemeral tester, Bob Smith, for a hands-on romp with a pre-pre-pre-production version of what might just be the last camera you'll ever need." 

"Now, I do what I call "REAL WORLD REVIEWS" where I do absolutely no scientific or repeatable testing, make no measurements, have no metric for any objective evaluation, and actually just figure out the results from a handful of shots I made with the new camera, a third party kit lens, in exasperating light, taking snaps of my cat and my large and dour drinking buddy. I've had the camera for 48 hours now, part of which I spent unconscious, and I'm ready to make all sorts of recommendations to help you rationalize spending money you don't have."

"I am self-appointed camera expert, Chip Gobsworth, and I'm here to explain why the cameras I like to use are the only ones any sane photographer could even think about having in their bag. We'll start with a brisk discussion of nano-acuity and move on to bokeh homogenization before we tackle gamma ray interference patterns and their effects on the outer 97th circle of confusion in our imaging. My credentials? I have photographed (successfully!) over 1,700 test patterns and charts, 512 brick walls, and, literally, millions of kitty whiskers. I used to work in some vaguely technical industry and hold a vaguely technical degree in something totally unrelated to imaging, optics or photography. I once saw a book of landscapes by Ansel Adams. It was okay."

"Join me and many other retired sales executives, lawyers, doctors and landed gentry as we look at new cameras through the nostalgic lens of our past camera experiences. Read along as I compare everything new to the Leica camera I owned in 1977 and the Hasselblad camera I bought in 1985. Compare dozens of very similar landscape photographs that we'll use to show the massive differences between 36 megapixel cameras and 42 megapixel cameras. Come along for the ride as we take 24 well heeled amateur photographers along with us to the unspoiled landscape of some nice canyon somewhere. We'll mark the spots we used to take our "teaching" photographs so you can put your tripod-mounted camera in the very same spot. You'll know you're doing ART when your photographs look exactly like ours. Plus we drink ancient, single malt Scotch while parsing the differences in tripod heads that sell for under $2,000."

"Take a look at the photo gallery from our rigorous pre-test time with the Dyno-flex 12000. Enjoy over 75 haphazard, handheld photographs of coffee cups, in various stages of consumption. Inadvertently body shame my chubby girlfriend or boyfriend. See how cool it looks when you shoot extreme close up portraits with the wide angle kit lens! Check out the camera's performance shooting in AWB, handheld at a 1/5th of a second, at ISO 120,000. My oatmeal never looked better!!! Our gallery is chocked full of colorful fences, old cars that should be in Cuba, my girlfriend looking bored, coffee cups, shadows of myself on concrete and a blurry shot of my dog running away from me. You'll marvel at the Dyno-flex 12000 performance!"

"We were thrilled to find that the Reguro-D113 is able to nail focus on a fast moving Hyundai while shooting at 15 fps. A huge improvement over the previous model which could barely handle 13.5 fps under the same conditions. But let's talk turkey here! While the camera, sensor and lens were all absolutely perfect, and the images sublime, we had to ding its pre-preview 60 points for two very important omissions: First, Horrors! No in camera raw converter!!! And two, the internal GPS is only accurate down to one meter. Let's move on to BIF."

Is anyone else dead tired and annoyed by all the silly ass previews and specification regurgitations at blog sites and camera review sites all over the web? Do we really need to give credence to the most cursory look at a not yet released camera, with pre-production firmware, no less? Should we pay any attention to the (typically) crappy images that are supposed to be examples of this latest super tech but which really look like first year photography class rejects? I'm exhausted at the hyperbole. I'm exhausted at trying to pretend that the (mostly) children who write this garbage have more experience and understanding of photography than my dog. If they don't have any real news to talk about perhaps they could spend a hell of a lot more time shooting and experimenting with all this "breakthrough" gear before they sit down at some beleaguered coffee shop and pound out crap on their laptops just to fill the space between the click through ads...... I'd rather read about Michael's new Miata than to crack open another "First Hand Preview Impressions" article. What's next? Previews of cameras that might get released. 

Here's an interesting challenge. Don't write a review of a camera until you've at least shot it for a month and charged the battery five times or more. Don't write a review to tell me your impressions of the "color or sharpness" of the camera sensor if you are handholding it all the time and using the world's cheapest kit lens. Don't pretend that the lack of an internal, raw processing app makes any difference to anyone with a rational brain. Don't ding a camera because you don't know how to use it. But mostly the first thing, stop trying to understand and write a camera review in 24 hours or less from the time FedEx shows up with the box at the door. And for God's sake, don't tell me you don't really like the genre of the camera you are testing but you have to review it anyway. We're pretty smart we'll realize that, if you are a sports photographer who shoots with a big DSLR, you're not going to be happy shooting a Fuji X-100 of any vintage. Fact checking would be nice too. 

Just to be clear: I don't mind announcements of new product. I do mind endless "hands-off" previews of these products... sad. 


See analog world map on the back. Accurate to within a thousand miles.


Experience the gut-wrenching nano acuity of the moulded lens.

We tested it. In the future.

26 comments:

Bill Pierce said...

When Geoffrey Crawley was the editor of the British Journal he used to take up to 6 months before his review of a new camera appeared - because he had been testing it for that long. The review would be filled with charts and numbers which Crawley would transfer into words for those of us with limited intelligence.

Norm Goldberg consulted for the government and several camera manufacturers, designed equipment, modified existing equipment, was a treasured repairman for those who traveled the world beating up their mechanical film cameras (If they were rangefinders, he amused himself by regrinding the cams and setting the feelers so there was no measurable error in the focusing.) and, just to further amuse himself, set up a system involving a rotating mirror and light beamed over great distances to measure the speed of light. In 1966 he set up, designing some of the equipment, and supervised a test lab for Popular Photography. Guess what. Those test reports meant something.

There are some good reviewers on the web - not as many as there are inconsequential reviewers. But, still, even when I read the good reviewers I think, “Geoff, Norm, I wish you guys were still around. You really did make us a little bit smarter when we went to the camera store.”

Mike Rosiak said...

No longer read those things. I like the color of the Holga. And I liked Mike's Miata article, though I think I've aged out of Mazda's target demographic. My beard is white, and I would need some hefty lifters to get me in and out of the thing.

Kurt Friis Hansen said...

N(o)ice ;-)

Eric Rose said...

It's just click bait to push more and more Google ads thus rewarding the blogger with more and more ad revenue. As long as there is a gullible audience there will be click bait articles. It's in the same realm as "fake news". That's one thing I love about your site, no ads except your own stuff which is high quality and your viewers are actually interested in it.

Thomas F. said...

Thanks for this post.
I'm glad to know I'm not the only one feeling that those pseudo-previews have become completely nonsensical.

Recently, I have particularly noticed this trend with many alleged pro photographers demonstrating the greatness of the latest Fuji cameras with pictures that look like random smartphone snaps.

Anonymous said...

Steve..? Is that you?

Tim said...

Great post! I too am tired of the all the fluff reviews out there. Which is why I enjoy your site so much...Your evaluating gear you own, which you paid for, and are using in real world situations.

Frank Grygier said...

And please stop with the "unboxing segment of the review". I am not in the shipping business and could careless about a cardboard box. I would like a Jaguar instead of a Miata. It's like buying a Fuji instead of Leica.

Harry Lew said...

Hey, I strongly object to this post. It doesn't start with "Wow!".

amolitor said...

Mainly I was crushed not to recognize my own blog among the various parodies (I recognized several others, though!)

David said...

OK, the headlines are definitely breathless. And I, too, am tired of cameras that are "beasts". But I do read the field tests, because they are more about how it is to walk around and take pictures with the camera. And the ability to download camera files and print them out is useful. (Even if, as you say, you don't know how well the images are focused or how steady the camera was.)

Not everyone has the luxury of a large, well equipped camera store in the area. With a staff that knows you and will let you try things out. Some of us have to rely on the experiences and opinions of others.

Chris said...

Agree with you absolutely. I particularly hate reviews when the author is clearly in the "honeymoon period", everything is just so "great" and "outstanding"...then you check back in 6 months and find it has all been sold.

Malcolm said...

But what do I read when I've read TOP and VSL?

Michael Matthews said...

It's interesting that some the long-established websites which do appear to undertake extensive reviews of cameras demonstrate the results with such wretched photography.

I can understand the problem when Phil Askey was producing all of DPReview's content himself. That's a lot of ground to cover. But any number of sites offering the opinions of multiple staffers keep cranking out amazingly poor samples to illustrate what they seem to be writing about. And it doesn't matter what camera is being discussed. The photos are uniformly blah.

Kirk Tuck said...

MM, I agree and I find that most egregious one's to be the biggest ones. A recent discussion of the video capabilities of one camera "under preview" started with the author's admission that, a. he is very new to video and doesn't fully understand the process and, b. that is was a bright and sunny day and he forgot to bring along a neutral density filter. Didn't much matter as what he pointed the camera towards was pure crap anyway. And don't get me started on the images at one perpetual blogger's Leica images. Looking at the work done there with what is ostensibly one of the finest cameras in the world would make one think that Leica is running neck and neck with smartphones in the image quality arena....

ODL Designs said...

That was a good lunch read... It has all gotten a bit out of hand with people who don't use particular systems ticking the complaint boxes (many of which they are pilfering off other reviewers)... Asking themselves why it doesn't work like camera "X" etc.

The internet creates the worst feedback loops of information that seem to get stuck in the vortex of online discussion.

Anders said...

Nice read. Personally I think I can take quite good images even with a Nikon Coolpix 950 and it is really depressing to read/see those "real world" reviews where the pictures are usually very mediocre (not to say bad) even from the latest and greatest FF cameras.

Dave said...

You're a Zarcon Fanboy. They could put horsepoop in a bag and you'd say it fertilized your photography!

Gord Millar said...

Well said.

G

Anonymous said...

I guess I should be thankful that I don't recognize any of the parodied sites, though now I feel left out! ;)

Btw, this line is great: "What's next? Previews of cameras that might get released."

Thanks!

Ken

Steve said...

Will you be reviewing the video capabilities of the Holga?

thequietphotographer said...

Interesting words, so many "too quick arranged" reviews out there.

And that yellow Holga is a beauty in itself :-)

robert

Anonymous said...

Cameras as well as cars look nice in yellow.
Yellow light leaks. Very sporty.

tnargs said...

If you want to drown in an unending stream of exactly this sort of stuff, try following a camera rumours site.

sersch said...

Hello !

I agree. So... what else? ;-)

(First I apologize for my froggish english.)

Would I be a landscape photographer, I would probably own a Canon.
Would I be a portrait photographer, I would probably own a Nikon.
And so on.
Because of the colors... and as a consequence, less time spent on my computer. I mean colors of the images, not those of the camera! :-))

But... I'am only an "amateur" photographer - what don't mean "not a pro", but means "one who loves" making images with a damned thing called a camera. Only? For 55 years, nevertheless.

As I have a limited wealthy, am about two hundred pounds (which in France tends to be enormous in regard of fairly less than six feet tall...), as am also a 70 one with tired back and knees still loving soft trekking, I am on a a ยต4/3 system because lenses are a bit more lightweignt.

I chose Panasonic when they was the first, then switched to an Olympus. One, because of the better OOC colors although I feel sometimes missing the gorgeous colors OOC of my first digital camera, a Canon G3. Two, for the global better handling.

I switch my digital camera (not system...) about every four years, my computer about every ten years, which actually makes my photographic consumption far less costly then during film times, where I switched camera, spotmeter, enlarger and so on every... eeeh... thirty years? Said that I never was able to process transparencies myself for price, time consuming, and logistic reasons. Had also to travel with two bodies, one for BW, one for transparencies.

As an "always and convenient with me" addition to my system, I bought (very) recently a "enthusiast level" compact from Panasonic, for the price of two entry level reflexes, essentially for social and family photography. After some testing, I decided to use super intelligent full automatic (!) 99% of the time and to use only jpeg output. So long I am (very) happy with the results for that use. I do cope here with colors and... "4K photography" can become very handy for oldie eyes and reflexes ;-). The day Canon will make a 4k compact, I'll probably switch.

So, as said, what else?

Eeeh as a consequence of my choices, which for the most have actually nothing to do with photography itself but with convenience, when I have read the only characteristics of a camera I'm mostly done. Although there are some serious testers out there. On Dpreview, my most red one, in most case I only read the two first pages of a "full" test and the last one.

As I never make wall sized prints, I find pixel peeping less and less useful. ;-) And wood I...

Photography as an art has nothing to do with whatever technical gloobeldigloop, as music as an art has nothing to do with metallurgy, and painting as an art has nothing to do with chemistry, although they all benefit from technological involving. Nevertheless, and I'm ok with that, the first who benefits from technical advance are pros, think of Wi-Fi for event photographers, but firsly for "accounting" reasons.

It's only to see on Flickr, Ipernity and others what stunning images some can make (regularly, I mean) with a consumer compact. They don't knew that it was not possible, so they did it.

My conclusion. One beeing over the supercheapo step, digital cameras are generally damned good to day. As are amplfiers, speakers, computerq, televisions, cars en and whatever "technological" product. As an exemple, one of the best noted music system by a well considered French music publication is far from beeing the costliest. The real reasons to choice a camera, is and will be more and more convenience. Which, as marketer say, has to do with security, pride, novelty, confort, sympathy... under others. Accounting for the pros for exemple.

My two cents, hope it helps.

Oh yes : I like, read regularly, and am thankfull for your prose, Mr. Tuck. Had to be said too! :-)

Cheers,
Serge Schmitt

Paul H. said...

OMG!! Thank You All Above! I thought I was alone! As an (yes I admit it) ex-professional (professional as in made my living from photography for over 35 years, for clients who paid) and now "just" an old geezer who a) gives help to young photography students and b) just takes "pretty pictures" for pleasure and for my young grand-children's future memories, I too despair of some of what is readily regurgitated on a daily basis. I also remember awaiting Geoffrey Crawley's reports, along with articles in "Industrial and Commercial Photographer" magazine before it became the less than "Professional Photographer". Found your blog after coming across a link in this guy's page http://aadm.github.io/ somewhat tongue-in cheek I think but quite astute.