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Reviews: when Dave, Phil, Steve don't agree - comments?

 
 
CR Optiker
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      11-12-2003
When I first began looking on the web for digital camera reviews and
testing, I first found Dave's Imaging-Resource site, and was very pleased
with it, and often recommended it. Then I learned about Phil's dpreview
site, and was again pleased because one often covered a new camera that the
other hadn't yet included, and their insights were not necessarily the
same. Finally, I recently became acquainted with Steve's digicams, and
while I haven't been using it long, I am impressed with the level of
information. I fnd all three good and useful, however...

Over a period of time, I've come to think of Dave's Imaging-Resources as a
good quick first look if for no other reason than I've used it longest, so
know where to look for what I want. However, I've also come to expect few
if any negative comments. While I haven't read every word of every review,
I'm not sure I've ever read a harsh word about any camera.

Not long after starting to use Phil's dpreviews, I found that at times, he
did have negative comments, so I came to think of his reviews as being a
bit more critical, maybe a bit more realistic.

I haven't been using Steve's site long enough to know for sure, but I have
the impression that perhaps he's someplace in between Dave and Phil.

The reason I'm posting this is because I'm finding some differences among
the three reviewers mentioned above and am intersted in knowing how others
"calibrate" the reviews.

For example, In comparing the Minolta Dimage A1, all were fairly impressed
with the camera overall. All seemed to consider it excellent bang for the
buck. However, image quality seemed to be a point of difference. Looking at
the conclusions of each reviewer...

Dave rates it very high... " Image quality is excellent as well, with high
resolution, very good color, appropriate saturation, and contrast and
saturation controls that cover a useful range in fine steps. (The odd
"speck" artifacts I saw in the resolution target images didn't appear in
any natural subjects I shot, so I'm not giving the camera bad marks for
them here.)

Steve also likes it, but... "Our outdoor test shots were sharp,
well-exposed and richly saturated, although there was a noticeable amount
of noise present in the darker areas of exposures even at ISO 100." He was
disappointed in the tracking, but impressed with the stabilization.

Phil caused me to have second thoughts... "...I put a lot of weight for my
final conclusion on image quality. And that's where this otherwise
unbeatable package is let down, the DiMAGE A1 delivers just average (or
below average depending on your opinion) resolution with a good smattering
of moiré at resolution limits and some other artifacts which are clearly
issues with the camera's internal processing, as they don't appear in RAW
converted images. I truly hope that Minolta can address these issues and
improve resolution either in a firmware update or in their next camera and
receive the Highly Recommended rating such a package would deserve."

I'd like to think that perhaps Phil is taking a more analytic approach to
testing and test interpretation, and Dave, for example, perhaps a more
subjective approach. Each has its place.

What do y'all think...how do you weight these reviews when they differ?
It's easy enough when they agree, but they don't always agree.

Thanks for your patience in getting through this long ramble.

Optiker
 
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FOR7b
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Posts: n/a
 
      11-12-2003
>I'd like to think that perhaps Phil is taking a more analytic approach to
>testing and test interpretation, and Dave, for example, perhaps a more
>subjective approach. Each has its place.
>
>What do y'all think...how do you weight these reviews when they differ?
>It's easy enough when they agree, but they don't always agree.
>
>Thanks for your patience in getting through this long ramble.
>
>Optiker
>


Look at the level of detail for the different test sites. Dpreview's detail is
in a class by itself. How do you compare ultimate image quality in the other
two sites without taking the word of the reviewer? Looking at sample pics only
goes so far. In the dpreview reviews you can see the results of resolution test
shots. I also don't see any bias in his reviews either, not that I'm saying the
other two do. I think dpreview has by far the best review of digicams. Only
drawback is sometimes cameras you would like to see a review for never get
reviewed.


http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed)
 
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Ed E.
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      11-12-2003
It's always a tough balancing act when you want to make an honest review and
at the same time not bite the hand that feeds you.


 
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Stanley Krute
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      11-12-2003
I think that Phil Askey's reviews on DPReview
are the finest camera reviews I've ever seen.

In fact, they may be the finest reviews of ANY
product that I've ever seen.

They're thorough, complete, careful, and filled
with objective data.

Everything else, in comparision, strikes
me as hand-waving subjectivity.

Stan


 
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Charles Schuler
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      11-12-2003
I read all the reviews that I can before making a major purchase. A pattern
usually emerges ... for example, all the reviewers question the user
interface or lack of certain features. Then, I balance the consensus
against what it is most important for my intents. For example, camera xyz
is not so hot for sports/action ... if that's not one of my needs, I
discount that negative point.

Last but not least, I like to handle the merchandise. Funny thing is though
that I bought my last camera sight unseen because I was impatient. Turned
out very good though, as I really like the camera (Canon Digital Rebel).

For me, http://www.dpreview.com is top drawer and I also factor that in.


 
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Phil Stripling
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      11-12-2003
CR Optiker <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> What do y'all think...how do you weight these reviews when they differ?
> It's easy enough when they agree, but they don't always agree.


You've raised a key issue. I read movie reviews, but when I see a movie
reviewed I may want to see, I read the byline to see who did the
review. After reading reviews awhile, I have a feel for who agrees with my
tastes _generally_. Same with reviews of cameras; as you have found,
reasonable people have different opinions on the same camera.

Fortunately, I can go to a movie and find that the reviewer and I
disagreed, and I get the popcorn, soda, and an evening out, having spent a
more-nearly modest sum for the lesson. Unfortunately, you can't go buy a
bunch of gear to see who's view suits you.

My suggestion is to base your reading of the reviews on your own
experience. If the reviewers all mention a quality that suits your needs,
see what they have to say. It may be that a negative mention has no
application to your needs, so who cares about the digital clock in the
camera, for one example. When I was in school, the teachers tried to teach
something called 'critical reading,' and I think that's what you have to do
with all the reviews. Each probably contributes something to your pool of
knowledge, but then you have to put it all together and get something out
of it.
--
Philip Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
Legal Assistance on the Web | spam and read later. email to philip@
http://www.PhilipStripling.com/ | my domain is read daily.
 
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Dave Martindale
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      11-13-2003
I tend to read dpreview and skip the others, unless (a) dpreview doesn't
cover that camera, or (b) I want to collect *all* the available
information on a particular camera.

Dpreview just has more tests that are as objective as possible - the
resolution test, flare test, geometry, etc. And he shoots many of the
same test subjects with each camera, so I can download them and compare
them for myself. He exhaustively lists operating features, too.

If I want to compare geometry tests, or resolution tests, it usually
only takes a minute or two to find the relevant pages in the dpreview
tests, download the images, and look at them for myself.

Dave
 
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Christian
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      11-13-2003
Who cares what the reviewer thinks? You can ignore Phil's conclusions
completely if you don't want to get confused. Just look at the results!
When you have side-by-side pictures from similar spec cameras, there is
always a difference and usually one is slightly (but noticeably) better.
If you think one is better than the other in all the areas that are
important to you then get it!

(Having said that, I virtually always agree with what Phil says and thank
god we have an independent reviewer who's actually willing to raise
critical issues regarding the products he's supposed to be critically
reviewing!)
 
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Ron Hunter
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Posts: n/a
 
      11-13-2003
CR Optiker wrote:

> When I first began looking on the web for digital camera reviews and
> testing, I first found Dave's Imaging-Resource site, and was very pleased
> with it, and often recommended it. Then I learned about Phil's dpreview
> site, and was again pleased because one often covered a new camera that the
> other hadn't yet included, and their insights were not necessarily the
> same. Finally, I recently became acquainted with Steve's digicams, and
> while I haven't been using it long, I am impressed with the level of
> information. I fnd all three good and useful, however...
>
> Over a period of time, I've come to think of Dave's Imaging-Resources as a
> good quick first look if for no other reason than I've used it longest, so
> know where to look for what I want. However, I've also come to expect few
> if any negative comments. While I haven't read every word of every review,
> I'm not sure I've ever read a harsh word about any camera.
>
> Not long after starting to use Phil's dpreviews, I found that at times, he
> did have negative comments, so I came to think of his reviews as being a
> bit more critical, maybe a bit more realistic.
>
> I haven't been using Steve's site long enough to know for sure, but I have
> the impression that perhaps he's someplace in between Dave and Phil.
>
> The reason I'm posting this is because I'm finding some differences among
> the three reviewers mentioned above and am intersted in knowing how others
> "calibrate" the reviews.
>
> For example, In comparing the Minolta Dimage A1, all were fairly impressed
> with the camera overall. All seemed to consider it excellent bang for the
> buck. However, image quality seemed to be a point of difference. Looking at
> the conclusions of each reviewer...
>
> Dave rates it very high... " Image quality is excellent as well, with high
> resolution, very good color, appropriate saturation, and contrast and
> saturation controls that cover a useful range in fine steps. (The odd
> "speck" artifacts I saw in the resolution target images didn't appear in
> any natural subjects I shot, so I'm not giving the camera bad marks for
> them here.)
>
> Steve also likes it, but... "Our outdoor test shots were sharp,
> well-exposed and richly saturated, although there was a noticeable amount
> of noise present in the darker areas of exposures even at ISO 100." He was
> disappointed in the tracking, but impressed with the stabilization.
>
> Phil caused me to have second thoughts... "...I put a lot of weight for my
> final conclusion on image quality. And that's where this otherwise
> unbeatable package is let down, the DiMAGE A1 delivers just average (or
> below average depending on your opinion) resolution with a good smattering
> of moiré at resolution limits and some other artifacts which are clearly
> issues with the camera's internal processing, as they don't appear in RAW
> converted images. I truly hope that Minolta can address these issues and
> improve resolution either in a firmware update or in their next camera and
> receive the Highly Recommended rating such a package would deserve."
>
> I'd like to think that perhaps Phil is taking a more analytic approach to
> testing and test interpretation, and Dave, for example, perhaps a more
> subjective approach. Each has its place.
>
> What do y'all think...how do you weight these reviews when they differ?
> It's easy enough when they agree, but they don't always agree.
>
> Thanks for your patience in getting through this long ramble.
>
> Optiker


I have found that ALL reviews are colored by the subjective evaluation
of the reviewer, and his personal likes/dislikes, and needs. Several
reviewers faulted the camera I bought on its poor low light performance.
This didn't deter me in any way, since I rarely try to take a picture
at night. Some reviewers get pretty caught up in their OWN needs and
forget that personal preference has no place in a professional review.
Just the facts, PLEASE!
 
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Ron Hunter
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Posts: n/a
 
      11-13-2003
FOR7b wrote:

>>I'd like to think that perhaps Phil is taking a more analytic approach to
>>testing and test interpretation, and Dave, for example, perhaps a more
>>subjective approach. Each has its place.
>>
>>What do y'all think...how do you weight these reviews when they differ?
>>It's easy enough when they agree, but they don't always agree.
>>
>>Thanks for your patience in getting through this long ramble.
>>
>>Optiker
>>

>
>
> Look at the level of detail for the different test sites. Dpreview's detail is
> in a class by itself. How do you compare ultimate image quality in the other
> two sites without taking the word of the reviewer? Looking at sample pics only
> goes so far. In the dpreview reviews you can see the results of resolution test
> shots. I also don't see any bias in his reviews either, not that I'm saying the
> other two do. I think dpreview has by far the best review of digicams. Only
> drawback is sometimes cameras you would like to see a review for never get
> reviewed.
>
>
> (E-Mail Removed)


I insist on ORIGINAL FILES from any camera so that I can evaluate the
photo myself. Any reviewer that doesn't provide those won't get much
credence from me.
 
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