Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Product Review--believe it or not?

Here is your grain of salt to take with you when you read camera reviews.  I suppose this could relate to the review of any product or service or even an event.  People can be biased and people can lie.  I am often appreciative of Brand X--what is not so mainstream.  Here is my background, to serve as a baseline:

For cars, I'd never choose Toyota, Nissan, Honda or BMW products.  I had a GM product and a Ford product and don't think I would go back.  I've had 5 Volkswagens and 2 Mazdas.  My favourite cars of all time were the 1974 Lotus Europa and the early 1960s Jaguar XK-E 3.8 litre.

For computers, I stayed with Atari products until they were falling apart, and now, I use Apple products, though I still don't like the company's tactics although Microsoft is worse.  Atari's 800 8-bit computer and operating system were so good that they should be held as an example of how to do things correctly.

For photography, I generally don't use Adobe products because they're too buggy and take a lot of extra work to get the desired results.  I've used Olympus cameras and lenses for more than 20 years, and I recently got a Panasonic GH3.  I started with Fuji equipment and still regard Pentax and Nikon highly.  I once again looked at Canon when I was moving to the digital age and decided there was too much compromise for my liking.

Reviews through the magnifying glass

So,  we all look at reviews with a certain bias.  When someone tells me that a product is perfect, I laugh.  There is no product which is perfect for everyone.  I also love the comments when someone isn't in the market for such a product and they say something like "Oh, but it doesn't have a full-frame sensor" or "It needs 19 inch wheels" but the review is a low-end model.

Over the years, I've found no one to be typically good at reviewing computer equipment dispassionately.  In the early days, you were a 6er (Motorola/MOS Technologies) or an 8er (Intel/Zilog) and those rivalries continued for the longest time but now, they're split into a couple of operating systems.  In reviews, you can still hear a lack of criticism from someone who only works with one or the other.

For cars, I usually read Car magazine or Top Gear or Automobile.  When Automobile arrived, they seemed to be friends with Car--almost trying to be an American version.  They yelled about things that were wrong and they sung the praises of things that were right, similar to what Car was doing.

For cameras, I usually read What Digital Camera.  I find they tell what I find to be the truth, although with some of their newer authors, they tend to forget about the larger world.  A generation or more forgot how big certain brands were in commercial photography, thanks to Canon.  Fuji and Pentax were forgotten.  Medium format is rarely noticed, not being the mistakenly-named full-frame (135 format).  There are many full frame formats.

Cut out the bullshit

I'm apparently too old.  I remember too much.  I find bullshit to be bullshit, not something to be regurgitated by clones.  Tell me the truth whether I like it or not and I'll process it.  Tell me to my face, don't talk behind my back.  There is something to be said for the honesty that you find in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York City.  You know where you stand at all times.  If only reviews were written that way, we could trust.

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