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Why do photography review sites have such bad photographers?

L5730

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#41
Bokeh is somewhat subjective.
Sometimes folks want pentagonal or other odd shaped bokeh than simple smooth uniform circles. I guess the point is it has to not ruin the image, and that in itself is a bit hit and miss. However, there are tests which can be done to demonstrate how the typical out of focus highlights are rendered with a lens.
I read a review, I think it might have been on filters, and they tried very hard to make a consistent test for flare, standing under a street light or something. An amount of flare can be fixed by using a lens hood even if one doesn't exist for it, it can be made. Gets damn difficult with ulta-wide lenses though. However, I'll concede that some lenses lack internal lens coatings and have internal flare, which there isn't much that can be done about it.

I do find it strange how we can be deceived with respect to audio, and accept being fooled by bias. However, in visuals we don't have any way to be biased, it's either not the image attribute we want or it is. So we need our eyes to discern differences much more than our ears?
 

Frank Dernie

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#42
An amount of flare can be fixed by using a lens hood even if one doesn't exist for it, it can be made. Gets damn difficult with ulta-wide lenses though.
One of my otherwise favourite lenses, a Leica Tri-Elmar, which is small light sharp and fairly versatile has a region where if there is a light source is just outside the frame it flares quite badly. Otherwise it is brilliant, I just have to avoid certain angles of light source relative to subject.

I know boke is very subjective, and is probably as dependant on the detail of the backgroung as the lens, IME.
That was my point really, in audio people get massively hung up on subjective impressions when the electrical signal, which is the only thing going from one component to another, is completely measureable. In photography the flare and boke aspects of a lens are (IMO) crucial but not measureable and yet photography as a hobby seems happily sharpness measurement based even though the measurements made of sharpness are probably irrelevant in most use, due to atmospheric and camera movement lack of perfection amongst others.
The difference has always amused me.

As an old bloke brought up with the traditional technicianship of photography I always use a lens hood. I know it improves contrast. No photographer earns more contempt from me than one seen using a camera with the lens hood reversed :)
 

amirm

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#43

PierreV

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#44
I think every lens should be tested in a standard way: one picture of Nils Lofgren for resolution, three of Diana Krall for bokeh and maybe one of Hugh Masekela for contrast.
 

Rja4000

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#45
You'd probably like Ming Thein's page then.
Or Luminous Landscape. Although since Michael Reichmann's death, not much relevant review is posted there anymore...
Or Jim Kasson...
 
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JJB70

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#46
Photography is a different hobby from acquiring and playing with camera gear.

A gearhead is an empty head.
Sums it up really. In a sense there is a certain parallel between photography and hi-fi.

In my experience those who obsess about equipment and are always spending $$$$$'s on equipment are not generally the most gifted photographers, whilst professional photographers tend to view camera equipment as being a tool and are pretty down to earth and practical about it all. In the case of music, I've found that most musicians do not obsess about hi-fi gear and are often happy with equipment that audiophiles wouldn't allow through their door yet I've also found many golden eared audiophile types appear to be more interested in buying and playing with equipment than just listening to and enjoying music.
 

JJB70

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#47
On optics, the most impressive optical glass I've seen by a country mile was at the Sellafield nuclear fuels complex when I worked their, that made even the extremely expensive optical glass I saw in warships seem very pedestrian.
 
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#48
As audio guys we're lucky that we are not required to use our gear to create things. Otherwise I think we would suck as much with our gear as our photography counterparts.

off topic: Any film fans here? I'm not a vinyl guy, but I do enjoy film better than digital.
 

amirm

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#50
You'd probably like Ming Thein's page then.
Or Luminous Landscape. Although since Michael Reichmann's death, not much relevant review is posted there anymore...
Or Jim Kasson...
I used to read Michael's website religiously and had a subscription to his videos. While he was not a superb photographer, he did justice to his articles by posting beautiful images. Once he sold the site and retired to Mexico, the end was near. Today, I can't make sense out of what they are about on that site. So much stuff is behind paywalls including simple trip reports. It is a shame.
 

amirm

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#51
In my experience those who obsess about equipment and are always spending $$$$$'s on equipment are not generally the most gifted photographers, whilst professional photographers tend to view camera equipment as being a tool and are pretty down to earth and practical about it all.
While your point has validity, in wildlife photography gear matters a lot. Better reach, wider apertures, better focus tracking, etc. all make images possible that would not be otherwise. These photographers always go for the latest and greatest.

The other area which is not my speciality is sports where there is so much money riding on the right image and cost of the gear is secondary to capturing that great moment.

In other areas like landscape and certainly street and candid images the gear is more than good enough and has been for years and years.
 

Rja4000

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#52
I used to read Michael's website religiously.
Did you had a look at the other 2?

Ming does not do a lot of reviews anymore, but he is a pretty good photographer (in my books), and his 'philosophy' page is also worth a reading.

Jim's blog, while full of tech experiments, supports his quest for huge format printing... of what I'd call 'experimental photography'.
Mainly abstract, for sure, but I find them interesting.
 

StevenEleven

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#53
This is something that has been bugging me for a while. Almost all the sample shots on photography sites are at best beginner level. I mean check this out from the review of Canon's later lens: the 50 F2.0 on dpreview: https://www.dpreview.com/samples/01...tm_medium=marquee&utm_campaign=traffic_source



Really? This is his idea of abstract? Even technically it sucks with the background so in focus when the purpose of this lens is to blur the background. Here are some more awful shots:



The heck is this? Landscape? This dull? So a girl is laying down in an otherwise boring and cluttered scene and it makes for a good picture???



What on earth is this disaster? With flower shots like this, most of the time you want the foreground in focus, not the other way around. Even if this was shot that way, it is an uninteresting subject.



That's it? Two bikes on the left? You want those on the right so that the eye can travel in their direction.

I believe dpreview is local to us. There is so much beauty around us and this is the only landscape the guy found?

I bet he was really proud of this shot:





You just have to shake your head.



Wow, a fire hydrant. Better run and submit this to a photo competition. I am sure it will win.



That's the ticket.....

How about more boring and technically poor fern shots?



He is by the beach and this is all he could muster?



He must have a thing for fire hydrants:



As if those weren't so bad, he posts this:




Honestly? This is what you use a 50mm F2.0 for? And what a disaster the foreground is. What on earth made him think this moment and sight was worth preserving?

Mind you, there are a few that are OK but 90% is this kind of horrible imagery. Why won't they give the lens to someone, just about anyone, who can make better use of it than this guy?

How did these guys rise to be the premier photo site and not have someone who knows how to take pictures?

If I were the canon marketing person who gave them this lens, I would not have shown up for work the next day!
I’ve read in the DPReview forums that none of the reviewers at DPReview are professional photographers. I don’t know if it’s true but that’s what I’ve read. Some people into photography are gearheads and they buy the best-reviewed gear and then they post their pictures, and yeah, a pro could often do better with an iPhone. It’s a weird mix of cultures between the artistic and the technophiles. I think imagery is a language of its own that takes some cultivating and practice and study that can be enhanced by great gear, but if someone never learns the language, there is no level of gear that will enhance the imagery. I also think “pixel peeping” has distracted a lot of people away from learning the language of imagery. There are a lot of really good pros in the DPReview forums and I check out their galleries and websites and they are very impressive. There is also a lot of really great work on Flickr, if you look in the right places, and a lot of the time it is taken by talented amateurs with what a gearhead might consider to be lousy gear. I hope this rambling is of some value to someone.
 
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amirm

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#54

amirm

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#55
I’ve read in the DPReview forums that none of the reviewers at DPReview are professional photographers.
That is certainly clear from the pictures. :) I don't expect them to hire professionals as they may not be good writers. But they should hire people who can actually use these cameras to take useful pictures. Good pictures will also be good to attract readers.
 
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#56
How did these guys rise to be the premier photo site and not have someone who knows how to take pictures?
dpreview was a British website that Amazon bought and the entire team was relocated to USA. AFAIK, the original reviews were technical like audioscienereview.

I am surprised that lens reviews don't contain anything about MTF curve, chromatic aberration, and pincushion/barrel distortions.

As far the photos are concerned, may be Amazon doesn't pay them enough to travel around to take photos? :p
 

amirm

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#57
dpreview was a British website that Amazon bought and the entire team was relocated to USA. AFAIK, the original reviews were technical like audioscienereview.
I didn't know Amazon bought them. I wonder why.

As far the photos are concerned, may be Amazon doesn't pay them enough to travel around to take photos? :p
We are fortunate enough to live in a beautiful area so that can't be an excuse. Here are a few shots from a local nursery (flower field/shop):







This is eastern Washington which is a few hours from here:








This is a couple of hours north of Seattle:





Regardless, a good photographer can take a pencil and make it look interesting....
 

StevenEleven

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#58
I like the concept of bad pictures. I have such a hard time taking good pictures it would be nice to have a thread dedicated to our own bad pictures. Especially bad pictures of interesting or beautiful or amazing things. It would be best if they were pictures where we were trying to take a good picture and the subject was great and we totally screwed up. The more expensive the gear the better. But if someone is feeling hyper-competitive they could try to take even worse pictures of horrible subjects on purpose and say they were trying to take a good picture of a really awesome subject. You can’t really get around human nature sometimes.
 

amirm

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#60
But if someone is feeling hyper-competitive they could try to take even worse pictures of horrible subjects on purpose and say they were trying to take a good picture of a really awesome subject.
This reminds me of reading photography books years ago. They would always have examples of bad and good pictures. These were shot in the field so I always wondered if they knew that picture was bad before they took them! Indeed that turned out to be the "secret" of professional photographers as the president of Kodak said in a talk I attended. He pointed to the pro photographer taking pictures of the event and said: "the big difference between you and him is that he takes a lot of pictures!"
 

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