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Tuesday, 16 January 2018


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The DPReview “review” and commentary on the review are an entertaining comedic distraction.

Panasonic gets no respect. I have to admit that it took me several years to think of Panasonic as a top tier camera manufacturer and not just a brand that sells plastic boom boxes via Sears. Perhaps their unfortunate branding is the reason Panasonic sells their fantastic cameras at a discount compared to the competition?

Panasonic lenses don't get the respect they deserve either. Check out the amazing 12-32 collapsible zoom and the 35-100. Both are sharp and have great image stabilization and both are tiny. Yes, they have slow maximum apertures, but that's kind of the point, image stabilization plus modern lens design plus micro 4/3 equals small form factor without sacrificing image quality.

Right now I'm walking around the airport on a break between flights with a Panasonic gx85 in my pocket as my "just in case" camera.

I have suggested to DPR the real, positive solution to this problem: independent editorial review, or peer review. The former case would involve simply a review panel selected from the existing forums moderator pool, which could rotate so that no one was overburdened (I believe these mods are volunteers). The only thing they would need to do is hunt for typos/textual errors, and check for backwards consistency. In the latter case find a pool of independent bloggers/vloggers (whose work isn't in direct competition with DPR) to do the same thing. This is non controversial in academe. These suggestions have been ignored. That fact speaks to the rather British DNA of DPR, a "we know best" thing that has roots in the aristocracy and class system in the UK, and which continued into the colonial period. Moving operations to the U.S. apparently didn't flush out or evolve this part of DPR's DNA.

My solution is to never go to review sites. It's mainly BS and I suspect many "awards" are bought in some way.

Well, I kind of appreciate DPR's logic:
If my Canon 5D Mark I did get a gold award when it appeared in 2007, should a successor, equally good with the same 12 MP sensor etc. in 2017, also get a gold award? That would have been fair in the evolution from Leica M3 to M4, M6 ... But in the fast moving evolution of digital cameras?

The problem lies with the lenses for the G9.

There is a certain fauna that frequent the DPR forums, who will explain to you in great detail how for example, the wonderful 12-35 2.8 is really a 5.6 lens and thus making the G9 and all other M43 cameras less than serious cameras.

Some of the staff there concur with this strange theorem as well.

Thus, it is easy to explain the silver medal.

The G9 appears to be a very nice camera. But, it is a "we, too" camera. The technology and updates have, mostly, been done. The 16 months since the introduction of the E-M1 Mk II is a long time in the technology universe. In those 16 months we have seen the D850, the 5D Mk IV, and a mirrorless Hasselblad and medium format Fuji. Panasonic is not just competing with Olympus. They are competing in the camera industry. Silver for a nice camera. Gold is for innovation.

Best problem solving ever! :-)

If you find your identity in products, then yes this would be a crisis. If you find your identity in your work then it is irrelevant what elemental particle your camera is awarded. [I'm partial to Californium]

There's a distinct difference between buying the 'better' camera and becoming a better photographer. Consumerism would like you to think otherwise - but doing do comes with the occasional fussiness seen at DPReview.

DPReview has been getting flak for years about how they award cameras Gold or Silver status. Apparently, the overall numerical score has some influence, but the number alone does not drive the award level; there is subjectivity to how award level is decided, which DPR never describes. As a result, there is a lot of inconsistency in award given to cameras. They've been called out on this innumerable times, but have not changed their approach/methodology/behavior for determing award level.

Dpreview has turned more into a petapixel copy lately. Although with a one day delay on the stories.
The Gold award was always pointless as it was awarded to everything in the past but Sigma cameras. Then the point system came in or is randomly used, not sure which.
I think they should just bin it all. Even the pixel peeping compare charts are useless as they started changing lenses. The best would be if they used one lens for all cameras, like the Tamron adaptall 90mm f2.8. That would be best.
So I think they should scrape it all and just get 8 specialized photographers to sign NDAs and write up how a landcape, product, portrait, sports, wedding, ete photographer likes each camera.

There will be no balance in the universe unless and until this outrageous miscarriage of justice has been rectified.

Obviously, the problem is that the Panasonic G9 is "No' Scottish!"

(americans of a certain age will understand this, but probably nobody else)

Two silly points in a silly argument:

1) DPReview is an American site. Amazon bought it and moved it to the Seattle area back in 2010.

2) The "gold" award basically indicates a camera that raised the bar in its category at the time it was introduced... in the opinion of DPR reviewers. A later camera that matches that raised bar ("trying to pick one over the other is like splitting hairs") generally isn't going to get a gold award.

Gold awards are given for being first. Which leads to the amusing situation of an older, perhaps even out-of-production camera having a gold award when newer models with similar capabilities don't.

But then, the same is true of Olympics gold medals -- they don't get taken away if someone does better in a later Olympics. The gold medal simply means you were the best at that place and time.

DPReview is sooooo last century. I only give them dishonorable mention, no stars for any of their reviews listed in this century.

1) Can you afford it?

2) Does it deliver the goods (you need)?

3) Does it look good?

Once #1 clears, 2 is all that matters, & 3 just makes it fun.

Nobel prizes are awarded to the first team of physicists who get a new result. When other teams duplicate and confirm the result, that is useful, but not as exciting.
DPReview gold awards are for innovative, above-the-current-standard cameras, as they have explained many times.
Perhaps it would be useful if they also published some ever-climbing numerical performance ratings, so we could compare cameras in context.
Congratulating camera companies for making new advances available to the public is good thing, it helps to advance us all. And later companies get Silver.

This review hullabaloo reminded me of something Roger Cicala wrote awhile back titled, "My Third Grader Analogy for Lens Reviews and Testing". In his DPReview section under "Things we don't like" (about Third Graders) he wrote, "Emotionally labile; difficult to reason with". :-)

Isn't DPR based on the US west coast now?

The venerable British camera review site DPReview ...

Given that it has been owned by Amazon for a decade and based out of Seattle (USA!) for several years, how come we 'British' get credit/blame?

This is for Moose: Are you sure the G9 doesn't do focus bracketing? I got the impression the G80 and GX80 cameras did, so it'll be a surprise if the G9 dropped that feature.

I also agree on the top LCD, but just like dedicated exposure compensation dials, they're a relic that enough photographers like.

@Jack it is interesting you brought up the Olympics. So then you have the Marry Lou Reton problem. She got a perfect 10 in gymnastics. So does no one else get a gold, because no one else has done better?
Cameras are not speed races with clear best times, but subjective like gymnastics and figure skating. Handling, feature set and shutter sound will be important to different people resulting in different scores.


[I think you mean "controversialist," but okay.... --Mike]

"The G9 appears to be a very nice camera. But, it is a "we, too" camera. The technology and updates have, mostly, been done. The 16 months since the introduction of the E-M1 Mk II is a long time in the technology universe"

That is my thinking. It's way too expensive. It's hard to imagine how many people want a stills-focused, $1700 camera that doesn't have great continuous autofocus and has (let's face it) a two-stop disadvantage compared to FF.

I say this as someone who has and likes a Panasonic camera. The argument for the GH5 is simple: the best video you can get in that price class and form factor, period.

I don't see the G9 argument. It's extremely expensive and in many dimensions worse than an a6500 (now $1,200). Yeah, someone with a bunch of m43 lenses might want one and not have an E-M1 body already, but that's got to be a very small group.

So yeah, I'd call it a me-too body at best.

There are no bad cameras right now, only bad price points. At $999 or $1,099, a G9 might be attractive. At its present price it's ridiculous.

O Phil Askey, where art thou?

Is there any difference between a Gold and a Bronze Award for photographers who see in monochrome?

I think DPR's editors do this on purpose with silver, gold, or whatever. They know the measurebators and "photographers" will go berserk if their favorite product does not get the top prize, so they start a rampage of comments and voila, more clicks on the web page.

"This comment receives a gold-crusted florette with a dab of purple icing on top." I'm seriously jealous. :)

I quit reading DPReview a long time ago.

I still read The Online Photographer.


Hmzzzz, sounds to me like it is time to stop splitting hairs and to start splitting seconds.....

Greets, Ed.

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