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Friday, 10 November 2023


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"I prefer the X-T5 because it has the World's Most Perfect Viewing Screen (IM Hmbl. O)..."

Yes, stolen from the X-T3, the camera so good I bought it twice, and both will be my last cameras.

Solid dark green bars almost all the way to the bottom, and an unbroken string of those black checkmarks-in-circles that mean "CR Recommended."

Sounds like Lake Wobegon, " ... where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."

What this says to me is that almost whatever mirrorless you like, it’s as good as any of the others. I’d say the difference between a rating of 87 and 81 is likely not much more than the margin of error.

I'm surprised you didn't mention the Fuji 33mm ƒ/1.4 as the new more mainstream choice. It's got more weather sealing, more autofocus speed, more flare resistance, more contrast, more lack of distortion, more sharpness, more smooth bokeh, more corner brightness, more size, more weight, and it costs more too. That's all the mainstream checkboxes!

To CR: Better keep working on Car Recommendations.

I subscribe, too, sans paper version.

CR's prissy, humorless approach is both useful, and a problem. Their laser focus on defined things leaves others out.

With microwaves, there's only one top choice; they picked it, but partially for the wrong reasons.

Furnaces, A/Cs, fridges, freezers, ovens, etc. operate by alternating full power and off. This is why things microwaved often have crisped/burned edges while the center is not hot, and so on. Pick half power, and the power is on, full blast, 50% of the time.

Panny has a patented design that actually adjusts the amount of microwave power. At 50%, it puts out half power, all the time of cooking.

That's the reason for the good ratings for evenness.

Their second problem is using predicted reliability as part of ratings. Years ago, researching a new car for Mom, my late brother did some stat analysis on the frequency of repair ratings. He concluded that they were useless for choosing a car.

I've had this Panny for ages; not sure how long, but at a guess well over 10 years. When it dies, I'll just buy another one. They are cheap, less than $15/yr for me, and using the best performing one is simply a better way to live.

We just spent seven weeks on the road, used a lot of random microwaves. The Panny is WAY easier to use, too.

BTW, I am the cook here, and use it a LOT. Warms plates, for example, in addition to cooking what goes on them.

Third is over reliance on member ratings. CR readers aren't representative of buyers of stuff as a whole.

[You just reviewed the reviewers. That's cool. When I asked Oren Grad if he would review a photo paper, back in the '90s, he sent back a thorough, very honest, but perhaps slightly too critical review of himself as a reviewer. I told him that if he did as good a job reviewing the paper as he did reviewing himself, he'd be fine. And he was. --Mike]

Well, I love my X-T4.

: )

The problem with Consumer Reports ratings is that (I believe) they give highest ratings to what some consumer-obsessed efficiency expert would buy, not an enthusiast or a professional. The very best cameras don't get the very best ratings, because, you know, *they're not really necessary* to make very high-quality photos. We all know that, but we still buy the camera with the best performance we can afford, even if the difference between that and other cameras is miniscule. A Porsche 911 will never get the top ratings in cars because you can't get a six-cubic-foot box into it. They're not rating cars based on what the buyers probably want, or the use they'll put them to, but on what's good for the mythical "average" consumer. And the mythical average consumer doesn't care too much about 0-60 in 4.3 I'm also a subscriber, but I take everything with a large grain of salt -- CR reports have their uses, but only if filtered through what you actually want. One thing I noticed long ago is that when you look at initial car problems, some cars (like Range Rovers) may have twice the initial problems of other cars (like Subarus.) And I believe that. But I also believe that when you look at the raw numbers on these things, the number of initial problems is low enough that you very likely won't have one. So after you look at a CR rating, you then have to kind of check around to see what the rating really means.

For nikon I use mainly z9. But for reasons, I actually bought 3 nikon in the list z50, z30 and Zfc with the 16-50 kit lens. They were fun and nice to use. And v cheap.

I get full access to CR online through my local library. Might be worth checking your local library. Saves a subscription fee.

I generally ignore CR. The four or five times I succumbed to its recommendations I ended up being regretful (kitchen appliances and lawn maintenance machines).

Perhaps I should have, in my . . . review of reviewers, mentioned my beloved car. In 1995, CR had a list of Cars Not to Buy. The Olds Cutlass Supreme was on that list.

My Cutlass Supreme convertible just turned 28. Yes, things have gone wrong, but no more so, it seems, than other cars. I just had the whole front brakes, calipers, rotors, pads, brake flex lines, fluid, replaced as a safety precaution. Although they worked, in a panic situation when a car pulled out across in front of me, stopping inches from collision, I feel more secure now.

I've occasionally looked at new convertibles; none of them have a trunk that's any use. We rented a Camaro in S. Utah in 2019. Fun car, perfect for the scenery. But — we could put the top down and our luggage in the back seat, or top up and luggage in the trunk.

The ancient Olds has a real trunk, and 3.4L, DOHC 24 valve motor . . .

I haven't bought a new camera in a number of years and I was sticker-shocked! My micro 4/3 Olympus camera bit the dust and I am thinking about a replacement. I enjoy reading what others think of the ratings.

I remember when CR gave the Nikon F2 a "not recommended" because the viewfinder showed 100% of the image, some of which would be obscured by the slide mount or cropped by the photo lab on machine prints.

On the other hand, I always liked the Modern Photography camera reviews where among other things they would completely disassemble the camera and rate the quality of the parts. I recall that they were horrified by the cost cuts in the Leica M4-p For example the frame counter dial viewed through a glass window was made of black plastic rather than chemically blackened brass!

I used to subscribe to CR (I don’t any more) and found their reviews very useful. However, the key to making use of them was to carefully read the review and not be lazy and rely only on the numerical score. First off, the difference between (say) 86 and 81 is usually not significant (which they themselves make clear). Second, they rate items based on their very specific criteria, which may not match your own preferences. So when they rate the Nikon F2 “not recommended” because the viewfinder shows the entire frame, you need to read the text and decide if that feature is an advantage for you or not.

Like some others, I found their ratings less useful for items I was knowledgeable about (i.e. cameras) and more useful for those where I had no expertise (i.e. refrigerators). In particular, I found their reliability ratings and occasional safety warnings very useful.

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