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Thursday, 24 July 2008


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Steve (of Steve's Digicams) did a pretty good job with this one, too:

"The fixed focal length (non-zoom) lens produces below average results for both indoor and outdoor snapshots. Because it is fixed-focus, you won't be hampered by autofocus delays or performance issues in low light. The built-in flash has an operating range of four to six feet, and we experienced some overexposure even within this limited range. ...

Outdoors, you will appreciate the optical viewfinder because the LCD is quite hard to read (impossible) in daylight and its brightness is not adjustable in capture mode. The LCD brightness can be adjusted in playback mode, better allowing you to review the images you have captured. Although even in ideal indoor environments the LCD's color and contrast leaves a lot to be desired. The ION-230 has a tendency to overexpose in bright sunlight, and some images have a pronounced yellowish cast."

See http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_reviews/ion230_pg3.html


I'm reminded of my first digicam from 1999, the Nikon Coolpix 700. It was only a 0.9MP camera, and even for that resolution, the image quality was appalling.

Eamon (and Mike),

Bravo! A "TOP Reviews" blog coming soon?


*reads it again*

Oh, applause!

Reminds of a review Cnet did a couple years ago of a crappy GE-branded digicam.


A quick taste..

"Stop. Do not pass Go. Do not give General Electric $200 for the G1. With so many mediocre snapshot cameras on the market, ya gotta wonder why anyone would feel compelled to offer another--unless the people behind GE's new camera line are drinking some doctored Kool-Aid."

As far as I know , any consumer product smaller than a stove or larger than a lightbulb with the GE brand is just them renting their trademark out, and a couple weeks ago they announced that they want to dump (" explore strategic options for Consumer & Industrial with a focus on spin-off.")the appliance and lightbulb businesses.

On the other hand I understand that they make fine diagnostic imaging equipment, jet engines, railway locomotives, and nuclear weapons.

How dare you insult clowns - a noble profession in Europe.

Thanks for the great laugh!

If only the same sense of humour appeared at every review of dog cameras, as you call them... :-)

This is appallingly unfair. A fixed 50mm-equivalent lens is what many posters have been demanding from their DMD, and Polaroid, to their credit, actually delivered one in this camera. Yet at the same time, the startup delay and shutter lag force the user to bring some of the zen meditative ethos of the view camera to digicam shooting. And eventually, you can enjoy toy camera-style output results.

Frankly, I want one. Do you think they're cheap on eBay now?

> Reminds of a review Cnet did a couple years
> ago of a crappy GE-branded digicam.

And still, that peculiarity I can see in sooooo many reviews, from ADAC-tests to obscure websites : this poor camera is actually described as a worthless piece of junk, and though is noted as "average" and 5.6/10, which as far as I understand English language means 'equaling an arithmetic mean', 'being about midway between extremes' or 'not out of the ordinary' (my ref www.m-w.com , but may be this is also an american/english difference problem just here).

For Eamon : brilliant!

Picked up one similar to the Polaroid one from Radio Shack a few years ago for $50 on sale. I think it has the same chip set in it but no viewing screen on the back.
The photo's are very interesting--I call it the Holga of digital cameras. I'm sure the Holga would not get very good reviews either.

Hmm, sounds like my Coolpix 2100. Two megapixels, no ISO control, no aperture/shutterspeed control, amazingly high color aberrations, no image parameter controls + over-aggressive sharpening, white balance and exposure compensation conveniently hidden away in menus, battery life around 50 shots per charge without flash. At least the build quality was good -- that thing was solid!

Truly beautiful. The article, not the camera. I've wanted to write such an article many times, but I usually go for the second option of not reviewing the camera at all.


I remember all too well in the 1970's when I ran a hi-fi store (ran it for 20years), I was talking to a customer and made a reference to Stereo Review and their noteworthy reviews.
Any way I referred to "Julian, like-'em-all Hirsch" because you never saw a "bad" review.
This particular time the customer took offense and identified himself as Julian's son. He then proceeded to explain his dad's position that as a reviewer of products that represented a manufacturing process and being in a position to severely impact the workers of said company he chose not to review poor products but rather return them to the company and provide them with constructive criticism to improve their product. He preferred to praise good work and keep the tone of his work positive.

Can't say I disagree with the statement. of course the "son" may have been making it all up including his relationship.
Nonetheless, a viable perspective. Being clever in your negativity doesn't make it any more presentable.


Eamon, you missed the point! The iON 230 actually is a toy camera which Polaroid cleverly disguised as non-toy. It only slightly missed the mark (relatively low noise), so I hereby declare it the FSU Holga-D, complete with Soviet-era manufacturing variability. Fire up your eBay sniping software!

I wish all reviews (of good and bad items) were as entertainingly penned as this. The first line is priceless.

Its creativity reminds me of my favorite first line of a book review.

" This is not a book to be tossed lightly aside. It should be hurled with great force."

by Dorthy Parker

Dear Dale,

I can't speak to the audio business (and wouldn't even try) but this is a subject that has been discussed at much length by photography writers. For a long time I decided there were two valid positions on this. Recently I've come to the conclusion that the perspective you present is in fact not viable.

The theory behind that perspective has been that magazines have a limited amount of space to devote to products and can really only cover a few percent of them. It's better not to "waste" that space on a bad product; better to let readers know of a good one and let the manufacturer know about the bad ones so they can improve it.

The theory fails because almost no reviewer has the kind of relationship and authority to routinely effect product changes, especially not in a timely fashion. I am positive there have been fewer than five in the past 50 years of photography magazines. Actually I can only call two to mind-- Bert Keppler and Arthur Kramer (and possibly Arthur would dispute his influence) but I've probably forgotten a few. Everyone else who thinks they have this power doesn't. They may have the ear of the manufacturer (I have several) but that's a far cry from having the kind of influence that actually gets a product promptly changed or withdrawn. (E.g., Michael R demonstrably does NOT have that kind of influence with Leica.)

I can think of three times in my entire career when I've been able to wield such of influence. All three cases happened to be ones where I was sharing my results with the company well before publication (breaking my usual rule). The problems were serious enough to force a major product revision in the next generation in one case and to halt production of product in the other two. In none of the cases did the manufacturer for one instant entertain the notion that I would not be publishing what I found out. They never even suggested it; they knew that was my obligation and they were entirely okay with it. Relationships with those companies did not deteriorate as a result of my publication; if anything they got closer. They respected me; they did not think I was out to get them.

As more and more publication occurs online, the page-count limitation problem becomes a less compelling argument, also. There's always room on the server for another web page.

Finally, as to the idea that the reviewer has an obligation to keep the manufacturers' workers employed, I do not believe anyone has a right to earn a living by selling products to consumers that they would not buy if they had more information about the product.

~ pax \ Ctein
[ please excuse any word salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital restorations http://photo-repair.com

Dear Ctein,

As the late Randy Pausch would say,
Tiggr or eyore, your choice.

I would rather spend time with Tiggr.

Peace to you as well, and you may consider that the employees sell nothing, they rarely if ever get to choose the materials they produce. Yet they "may" be impacted by your choice.


Thank you very much for this information.

While one could argue that a largely negative review could harm the job security of a company's employees, it could also potentially help the company in the long term. Enough harsh reviews from reputable sources, and the company might take note that their products need a major overhaul to stay competitive, potentially putting them on the right track to being an industry leader in the future. Maybe they'll even add jobs to the next product's design team, or replace those who routinely design substandard products.

If they choose to ignore the negative reviews, than that's their problem. It would only delay their downfall, as people will buy their products, notice how bad they are, and get turned off from the brand entirely. Also, anyone who takes the time to read reviews will most likely buy a highly rated product over one they haven't heard of, whether there's a negative review for it or not. Only without the reviews, the company might not fully understand why the product isn't selling, and decide to increase marketting or something else unrelated to the source of the problem.

That said, I can see why this review wasn't published, as it doesn't exactly offer much constructive criticism aside from saying that every aspect of the camera ranges from mediocre to poor. I suppose it might require a lot of effort to describe everything wrong with it in detail though. :)

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