View Poll Results: Your view on Equipment Reviews and reviewers?

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49. You may not vote on this poll
  • I swear by Pop Photo equpment tests

    2 4.08%
  • MTF and reviews are my main source of equipment evaluation

    6 12.24%
  • I read online reviews and believe them

    4 8.16%
  • I use a review as a guideline

    38 77.55%
  • If a magazine says it, it must be true right?

    0 0%
  • There's a couple of review sites I trust, but most are a waste of time

    11 22.45%
  • Some reviews are good, but I hate gearhead wannabe reviews and 'I heard' type quotes are the mark of a luser site.

    12 24.49%
  • Reviews aren't worth the paper they are written on most of the time.

    4 8.16%
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Thread: Internet Equipment Reviews

  1. #1
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    Default Internet Equipment Reviews

    Which of the following best describes your view of equipment reviews.

    Do you have any views on gear reviews and reviewers in general?
    The Ang Moh from Hell
    Professional Photography - many are called, few are chosen!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Internet Equipment Reviews

    Originally posted by Ian
    Which of the following best describes your view of equipment reviews.

    Do you have any views on gear reviews and reviewers in general?
    yes i do. i believe only those that i write
    David Teo
    View my work and blog at http://www.5stonesphoto.com/blog

  3. #3
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    I see the majority of people seem to use reviews as a guideline. Doesn't seem to tally with what I gather from the Net community. All too often people are influenced by reviews whether they like it or not. Sometimes, this influence is subconscious. Sometimes people believe the reviews they want to believe and reject the reviews they want to disbelieve.

    In fact, the number of people who quote reviews as the gospel truth on to third parties is quite substantial. As per Ian's signature. Particularly when they want to "pretend to know a lot who don't know a lot and mislead a lot". As per my signature.

    The above post is not targeted at anyone specific. But I hope people who take the poll or read this do a bit of honest self-examination too.

  4. #4

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    Yea, with the number of Zeiss and Leitz die-hards around, the poll results look surprisingly skewed so far.

  5. #5
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    Originally posted by YSLee
    Yea, with the number of Zeiss and Leitz die-hards around, the poll results look surprisingly skewed so far.
    They are afraid to say "I bought this coz I read someone's excellent review".

    And of course, some reviewers also overexaggerate the flaws of equipment, as well as its good points.

    Regards
    CK

  6. #6

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    I lost faith in CNET reviews when they recommended one of the Kodak digicams as the best available a few years ago. I actually took them at their word and popped in to AP to have a look at it one day (not really intending to buy). Did not really like the camera on first impression. Was about to leave when I was "referred" to Steven, who asked me a very important question: "What did I need?".

    I told him I needed a simple, compact automatic digital P&S for wifey to take pictures of the kids. He recommended the Nikon Coolpix 700, and took time to demonstrate it to me. Note that I had not bought any EOS 1D at the time, because it had not been launched yet! I liked it and bought it on the spot. A loyal customer for life.

    ANYWAY.... the point of my story is that CNET reviews suck. They never even mentioned the Nikon Coolpix line, except to say that the Nikon Coolpix 950 was "too complicated" and only tech-heads would like it.

    AFTER I bought the CP700, I did a search and found Phil Askey's site. Now THAT's a review site worth its salt (although he seems to be flagging nowadays, with the avalanche of new digital cameras launched every month). All the information you need, and a no-nonsense stated opinion.

    At the end of the day, however, "professional" reviewers can still be "bought" and arm-twisted to write flattering reviews. That's why a site like Photography Review is my most valued resource now, because it features USER REVIEWS. They can (most of the time) be trusted to tell you both the good and the bad. It's also got a ranking system so that you don't have to go through every single review if you don't want to.

    Epinions also provides consumer reviews, but the range is too wide, and the reviews tend to be pretty amateurish (as opposed to PhotographyReview which features both amateur and professional opinions.

    As for Computer Times reviews, let's just say they provide a good laugh. You can almost see the template they use: Name of product, what it does, likes, dislikes. You mean that's it? But they do point the way to alert you to new products for you to do your own research.

  7. #7
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    Streetshooter, I totally agree.

    You see, the problem with reviews from the likes of C|Net, Computer Times, and any other PC-style magazine sites is that they don't review a digital camera as a camera, from a photographer's perspective, but as a PC accessory. Which is a bad thing. And I've never seen good camera reviews from such publications because of that.

    2.5 years ago I decided to get a digital camera (partly influenced by a friend who bought an Olympus C2000Z) and reading about them in Digital Camera Magazine I picked up at Comdex Las Vegas.

    At that time, the 2 best 2 megapixel cameras are the Oly C2000Z (the 2020 has not made its way here yet, though I saw it at Comdex), and the Nikon Coolpix 950. Somehow C|Net didn't like it (as you noticed). While researching to decide between the 2, I stumbled onto Phil Askey's site (remember it's still called photo.askey.net), read the review, looked at all the images, still can't decide.

    Went to John 3:16 on a friend's recommendation, asked to look at both. In the end, I decided on the Coolpix because of the very useful swivel, CF storage (as opposed to flimsy DumbMedia), better build quality, and the wide range of accessories. They were very friendly and knowledgeable, and let me take my time to actually try both out thoroughly. In the end, I bought the camera with a 48MB CF card (can you imagine the thing costing $240 back then?), and Raynox Wide and Tele convertors.

    The tele sucks, and after 1 month, I returned it and topped up for the original Nikon TC-E2. No questions asked, and I became a loyal customer since.

    Regards
    CK

  8. #8
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    And talking about bad reviews, you guys should check out this new Singaporean magazine called "Gravity". It's a lame attempt to imitate the T3 magazine. Website is at http://www.gravity.com.sg/

    Reviews looked like regurgitated product information (like a friend said, he doesn't think they even touched the product). They even said the Sound Blaster Extigy has a metal casing.....

    Product shots .... omg ... looks like they were taken with a consumer digital camera, and bad ones too. The photos have a green colour cast on cool, silver gadgets, and in shadow areas, wow, look at that noise!

    $4. Go read it at the newstand.

    Regards
    CK

  9. #9
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    Don't disagree with Streetshooter on the reviews he doesn't trust. But I have my worries about photographyreview and to a lesser extent Phil's site as well. Photography review is written by completely random people. Pros and amateurs, Canon bias, Nikon bias, anti-Canon, anti-Nikon, etc. Not always evident. Frankly, I wouldn't trust it at all.

    As Streetshooter points out, you get no nonsense opinions off Phil's site. Kudos to him, he's making a nice packet, but frankly, I think reviews make good reading but not much else.

    On a separate topic, like I said above, reviews make good reading. We love reading reviews, at least the good bits, of equipment we've just bought or are going to buy.

  10. #10

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    I suddenly NEEDED a D30 after being so happy with my Nikon CP990, only after I read the Canon SLR forum on dpreview (and, of course, Phil's review).

    That's the power of consumer opinion.
    Last edited by StreetShooter; 23rd May 2002 at 11:19 AM.

  11. #11
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    Generally, I gather info from various reviews and try to form my own conclusions. I also try to learn more from actual users of the camera (taking into account the natural bias), especially on the bad aspects.

    Of course, there are also forums like these where I get feedback
    Check out my wildlife pics at www.instagram.com/conrad_nature

  12. #12

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    Streetshooter's point that user reviews are more valuable than magazine reviews is a valid one, the difficulty is finding 'genuine' user reviews.

    As for Phil's site, I think their conclusions are pretty straightforward, and they're kept 'honest' by competing sites. An example was how Phil and Steve (steve's digicams) came to a similar negative conclusion about the Panasonic Lumix. [compare with the glowing review in our very own Computer Times]

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by erwinx
    Streetshooter's point that user reviews are more valuable than magazine reviews is a valid one, the difficulty is finding 'genuine' user reviews.

    As for Phil's site, I think their conclusions are pretty straightforward, and they're kept 'honest' by competing sites. An example was how Phil and Steve (steve's digicams) came to a similar negative conclusion about the Panasonic Lumix. [compare with the glowing review in our very own Computer Times]
    Ever realize Computer Times always gives glowing reviews?

    Regards
    CK

  14. #14
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    The cynics guide to reviews.

    1) I read it in a magazine or paper so it's got to be true....

    Yeah right, ever heard of the saying 'never bite the hand that feeds? All magazines and papers are driven by their advertising content and no editor is ever going to print the plain truth if a product is a dud. Apart from loosing advertising revenues from the manufacturer the magazine or paper will alienate any readers who happen to own said heap of junk.

    So in the end such reviews are more like infomericals and those who believe them get what they deserve.

    2) I read it on the site of a big name Pro syndrome

    Ever consider that that big name wildlife photog you consider to be a God might just be sponsored by a lens company or camera manufacturer? That could explain why his/her/its reviews always glow and gush with enthusiasm for that new lens or body, after all a freebie from the manufacturer ensures an enthusiastic response.

    3 The 'I read it on many sites so it must be true' paradox
    Truly a sad state of affairs, the Net is the best source for misinformation ever invented. Sadly one smidgen of heresay rapidly becomes gospel truth thanks to the pathetic standard of most reviews and the willingness of the wannabe reviewer to impress all visitors to his/her/its site with commentary about gear they've never used, let alone seen. If it wasn't such a problem it would be funny .. and funny it's not.

    4 The meaningless numbers game, or MTF is the supreme test of quality
    MTF if the singluarly most abused test quoted by the wannabe reviewer. MTF I'm sad to say is NOT a useful test for giving opinions on a lens model as from a statistical view point a sample of 1,2, or 10 is not sufficient to gain any valid information on a population of 50,000 units produced.

    Properly applied MTF is a great test at a manufacturing level, where accepted statistical models can be applied to a production lot. Howver testing and then quoting an MTF figure based on one or even a dozen lenses out of a production run of perhaps 10-50 thousand units is absurd and negligent scientifically. Sadly many folks quote such crap in their sites as some form of meaningfu l evaluation.

    5 The 'wannabe reviewer' gearhead website
    Sadly there's too many of these online, you know the site run by the guy who has a couple of years experience with photography and who upon inspection turns out vin-ordinare photographs. (Hint ...look at their masterworks). These himbos and bimbos make the Ah Beng Photographer look educated. Often guilty of sins 2-5 above such peoples sites should be avoided at all costs as they will only confuse the novice futher.

    6 The 'You gotta have this' connection
    Chances are YOU DON'T NEED IT... need I say more?

    Of course there are some sites that are excellent and indeed some reviews in magazines, however like islands in the Pacific they are few and far between and lie dotted in an ocean of turds.
    The Ang Moh from Hell
    Professional Photography - many are called, few are chosen!

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by ckiang


    Ever realize Computer Times always gives glowing reviews?

    Regards
    CK
    not really many times I read about reviewers complaining that pics taken in bright day light appears darker than the actual conditions.
    Check out my wildlife pics at www.instagram.com/conrad_nature

  16. #16
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    heh computer times sucks...the only thing i actually see in there are the adverts...and some more the reviews are quite similar to ones a read around

  17. #17
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    Originally posted by Radeon
    heh computer times sucks...the only thing i actually see in there are the adverts...and some more the reviews are quite similar to ones a read around
    REGURGITOPIA:
    paraphrased, most of them. only nowadays do they bother to actually re-org the paragraph structure.
    a while back I read 2-5 CT reviews that had sentence for sentence similarity with net reviews I read the night b4...
    there was that article about the DSLRs, the guy posed and then just superimposed net images around him, not even an in-house shot (with SO MANY cameras around him).
    main thing is not to decide from consumer mags... just like u dun buy cars based on the short 5 paragraph "reviews" in any mag... use them for press releases of new products LOL

    that kenrockwell site? I read about a film scanner and he criticised it bad. then I read another site that said KR did not touch the product (confirmed by personal correspondence) at all.

    I think dPhil is getting more and more prosumer biased. He no longer has anything really nice to say about smaller cams...

    I like to look at Steve's Digicams sample galleries. Consistent picture subjects are a pretty good criteria imho...
    "I'm... dreaming... of a wide... angle~
    Just like the ones I used to know~"

  18. #18

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    What about dpreview and imaging resource?

  19. #19

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    expert or professionial don't need no review. but for newbie, they do. they don't know where to start, they don't know wat is good or what is bad. they don't have any friend to guide them.

    So, their source will be review site.

    We are a newbie once, I believe most of us are affected by a review site, as from the poll.

  20. #20
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    Originally posted by ninelives
    So, their source will be review site.
    Their source will be ClubSnap

    With today's popularity of the internet, product review is one of the hot information searched by most buyers. Unfortunately the internet is like a jungle, a mix between right & wrong info, legitimacy of an information is hard to check. And some of the reviews may also "directed" by certain people to create desired opinion of a product to the benefit of their interest.
    While some of the more experienced buyers will aware of this mess, but many are not. They believe on the reviews which look impressively displayed on their screen.
    At the end, internet reviews become part of marketing strategy of the product manufacturer. They send the product to the reviewer, even before it was launched, and cooperate with them.
    That's what we call business....

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