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07-06-2011, 07:12 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emacs Quote
Pentax stuff has huge amoun of QC issues, so it's not amazing at all it was put down. The 13% sales drop is consequence of this.
Camera QC not that big of an issue for CR. Take a look at the long-as-your-arm-service advisory list for Canon SLR's and you will have to wonder how their cameras seem to be stuck at the top of CR's ratings.

Familiarity with product navigation is a limiting factor.

07-06-2011, 07:57 PM   #32
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I sense denial
07-06-2011, 08:15 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fontan Quote
I sense denial
In the five stages (denial, anger/resentment, bargaining, depression and acceptance), I'm always stuck at anger.
07-08-2011, 01:24 AM   #34
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I'd trust, as much as I dare, Consumer Reports for reviews of things like washers, dryers, microwaves -- things which are used mostly without a sense of aesthetics, pleasure or other visceral sensations. This flat rules out cars and cameras. CR will get you to buy a car that runs forever and makes you miserable to sit in for every moment of that eternity. Likewise I might send someone to CR who was looking to spend $200 on a point & shoot, just to get them out of my hair, but they have essentially nothing to say to someone who is a connoisseur of lenses, of a comfortable handgrip, of the slight differences in color rendition between three or four mostly remarkable cameras. What could they possibly tell you about these things? They could no sooner measure this stuff in a lab than they could grade Beethoven's symphonies on a 10-point scale for "Recognizability", "Complexity", "Hummability", and "Grandeur".

I've never seen a single review in Consumer Reports that had a point-of-view -- in fact they pride themselves on not having a point-of-view, in being objective. But about the arts, there is only point-of-view. It's all a matter of taste, apart from the occasional glaring technical misstep. So, by their own standards, they are incapable of saying anything relevant about the core experience of using a camera to be a photographer (as opposed to using it to be a consumer).

07-08-2011, 04:43 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
VHS was King but Beta was always the better format (dumb ass marketing and licensing on Sony's part)
It is a myth that Beta was better. It wasn't. The Beta cassette was a design mistake. It could not hold a full length movie, unlike the 2 hr VHS tapes. Therefore when someone rents a movie and plays it on Beta, it had to be played at a lower speed (equivalent to 4 hr. speed or LP mode on a VHS machine) than a VHS owner playing the tape at SP mode, surrendering any advantage Beta may have in picture quality because of the lower tape speed. Further, the video heads of Beta machines are always in contact with the tape, so you can wear out the video heads just by winding and rewinding the tape without playing it. The VHS machines do not suffer from the same problem, as the tape is withdrawn from the drum when winding or rewinding tape.

RCA was really aggressive in pricing the VHS recorders, while Sony was pricing theirs higher. There was also competition in the VHS market, with JVC, Hitachi, Fisher, Panasonic, RCA, and others competing against one another. Sony had the market to itself and only allowed Sanyo to sell low end recorders. Beta was therefore more expensive. When VHS lowered the recording speed to allow 6 hours and even 8 hours of recording time, Sony had to respond by making the tape thinner (and therefore easier to break) to come close to the same capacity. Super Beta gave Sony a temporary edge in quality, but it was soon matched by Super VHS.

The thing that really sank the Beta format was video stores. They weren't going to stock both formats so they picked the one that most people owned: VHS. Beta was doomed.

Last edited by Anastigmat; 07-08-2011 at 04:52 AM.
07-08-2011, 05:01 AM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
Anyone still remembers Yashica auto focus SLRs? I recall Consumer Reports picked one of them (I think it was the 230-AF) as consumer's choice a year AFTER Kyocera had announced that it would drop the Yashica brand from SLR market.
I remember them. I went into a photo store and the salesman tried to sell me one, pointing to a satisfied customer standing next to me, who nodded. Having owned a Yashica SLR with Contax mount, I hesitated because I had a ton of trouble finding good lenses for my camera when I first got it. Non-photograpy magazines often do not have the same experience as photography magazines as to the importance of "systems." It does not matter how well a camera tests, you are buying into a system.
07-08-2011, 05:30 AM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anastigmat Quote
It is a myth that Beta was better. It wasn't. The Beta cassette was a design mistake. It could not hold a full length movie, unlike the 2 hr VHS tapes. Therefore when someone rents a movie and plays it on Beta, it had to be played at a lower speed (equivalent to 4 hr. speed or LP mode on a VHS machine) than a VHS owner playing the tape at SP mode, surrendering any advantage Beta may have in picture quality because of the lower tape speed. Further, the video heads of Beta machines are always in contact with the tape, so you can wear out the video heads just by winding and rewinding the tape without playing it. The VHS machines do not suffer from the same problem, as the tape is withdrawn from the drum when winding or rewinding tape.
Actually Beta II (the second speed, measurably was as good or better than SP (beta I the fast speed was rarely an option on consumer machine - I sold every beta marketed between 82 and the end of ED beta which was an amazing system)
From a camcorder standpoint they never really marketd much more than 2 stripped down Betacam the 110 and 220 (the exception being the ED Beta much later) - then the launched 8mm
but Beta continued to be used in TV production until much later (really it is the advent of digital TV that finally killed it off)
Consumers didn't buy VHS because of the 2 hour SP mode, the marketing was heavily skued to the EP mode - record 6 hours, later 8 with the advent of T160 tapes
Your also wrong on who sold Beta
Sony, Sanyo, Toshiba, Zenith all sold Beta
JVC when they developed VHS was a small player for the most part (they had at on point been a division of RCA) They made the format cheaper to produce by open licensing . RCA may well have been a big seller in the US but not up here (or many other places) usually if i sold RCA it was to a CR reader because they loved the brand back then (they ranked RCA TVs higher than Trinitron hahahaha, )
07-08-2011, 07:26 PM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
Actually Beta II (the second speed, measurably was as good or better than SP (beta I the fast speed was rarely an option on consumer machine - I sold every beta marketed between 82 and the end of ED beta which was an amazing system)
From a camcorder standpoint they never really marketd much more than 2 stripped down Betacam the 110 and 220 (the exception being the ED Beta much later) - then the launched 8mm
but Beta continued to be used in TV production until much later (really it is the advent of digital TV that finally killed it off)
Consumers didn't buy VHS because of the 2 hour SP mode, the marketing was heavily skued to the EP mode - record 6 hours, later 8 with the advent of T160 tapes
Your also wrong on who sold Beta
Sony, Sanyo, Toshiba, Zenith all sold Beta
JVC when they developed VHS was a small player for the most part (they had at on point been a division of RCA) They made the format cheaper to produce by open licensing . RCA may well have been a big seller in the US but not up here (or many other places) usually if i sold RCA it was to a CR reader because they loved the brand back then (they ranked RCA TVs higher than Trinitron hahahaha, )
JVC was never a division of RCA. It was and still is a division of Panasonic. It was indeed movies, or lack thereof, that sank Beta. After RCA marketed their machines aggressively, more consumers bought VHS than Beta, and the movie companies responded accordingly by releasing more movies in VHS than in Beta. The video stores also had more movie rentals in VHS than in Beta format. When people bought their first VCRs, they asked what their friends bought so that they can share movies and videos. That further doomed Beta. Eventually, even Sony marketed VHS machines. Since Sony dropped the Beta format, innovation stopped abruptly.

07-08-2011, 08:16 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anastigmat Quote
JVC was never a division of RCA. It was and still is a division of Panasonic. It was indeed movies, or lack thereof, that sank Beta. After RCA marketed their machines aggressively, more consumers bought VHS than Beta, and the movie companies responded accordingly by releasing more movies in VHS than in Beta. The video stores also had more movie rentals in VHS than in Beta format. When people bought their first VCRs, they asked what their friends bought so that they can share movies and videos. That further doomed Beta. Eventually, even Sony marketed VHS machines. Since Sony dropped the Beta format, innovation stopped abruptly.
Just a point of information: While JVC certainly wasn't a part of RCA by the time of the VHS-Beta era, it was a part of RCA in the distant past. JVC stood informally for Japanese Victor Corporation when it was established in 1927 as part of the Victor Talking Machine Co. of Camden, New Jersey, USA. The formal name was The Victor Talking Machine Co. of Japan Ltd.

The U.S. Victor company itself was sold to the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in 1929. That's why the brand RCA Victor appeared on recordings for decades. JVC continued to be a part of RCA through the 1930s but severed its ties with RCA at the start of the Second World War.

JVC was majority owned by Panasonic (Matsushita Electronics) from 1953 to 2007, when it was merged with Kenwood and spun off as JVC Kenwood Holdings. Just sayin'.
07-08-2011, 08:32 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
Many moons ago I managed a consumer electronics store. Camcorders were, of course, a mainstay of our business. This was when VHS was still king (but after the 2-piece units) and 8mm was beginning to make some inroads. There were only a handful of manufacturers, but three or four times that many brand names. I remember CR coming out with reviews of a Panasonic model and another brand that escapes me at the moment. They loved the Panasonic and buried the other. Thing is, of course, they were exactly the same unit. Panasonic (Matsushita) had made them both, and, in this case, the other brand hadn't even bothered to change any of the button locations, functions, or anything. It was literally just a re-badged Panasonic. That was an eye-opening moment for all of us in the store. Luckily for us, the Panasonic had a higher price (and higher margin), so we used that review to sell the crap out of 'em, even though we knew you could buy the same unit for less. Sorry if that offends some people, but that is reality when you have salespeople trying to make a living. Besides, we weren't steering them to buy an inferior product, and they were happy to pay the premium to get one that CR had recommended.

The moral of the story is to take ALL reviews with a grain of salt. Not saying that there aren't some good ones, but don't take any one of them as gospel.
Agreed. And your story reminds me of another CR tale: Back in the 1980s, they put a "Do Not Buy" rating on the Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon economy-car twins built by Chrysler, claiming the vehicle displayed dangerously unstable handling traits. Chrysler protested and demanded that the magazine explain themselves. But CR stood by its claims. The very next year, the car was tested again and was recommended. Key point: Chrysler made absolutely no changes.

Also, the radio station where I was news director at the time had two of these cars as news vehicles. I can tell you personally that the handling was fine - even excellent for an economy car of the day, along the lines of a Honda Civic or Volkswagen Rabbit.

More recently, in a group test of entry-level DSLRs a few years ago, the Olympus E-410 or E-420 was one of their top picks because of its low noise at ISO 1600. Now look: I have a warm spot in my heart for Olympus and the E-410/420 was a neat little camera. But there's no way a four-thirds camera back in those days was going to have less noise at ISO 1600 compared with APS-C DSLRs. I had to scratch my head and wonder who their so-called camera "experts" were.

I am sure CR means well and does its best. But their methodology and product knowledge can sometimes be lacking. And if they are wrong about many product categories that I am personally knowledgeable about, how many other categories are they making questionable calls about?
07-08-2011, 10:20 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by Biro Quote
Just a point of information: While JVC certainly wasn't a part of RCA by the time of the VHS-Beta era, it was a part of RCA in the distant past. JVC stood informally for Japanese Victor Corporation when it was established in 1927 as part of the Victor Talking Machine Co. of Camden, New Jersey, USA. The formal name was The Victor Talking Machine Co. of Japan Ltd.

The U.S. Victor company itself was sold to the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in 1929. That's why the brand RCA Victor appeared on recordings for decades. JVC continued to be a part of RCA through the 1930s but severed its ties with RCA at the start of the Second World War.

JVC was majority owned by Panasonic (Matsushita Electronics) from 1953 to 2007, when it was merged with Kenwood and spun off as JVC Kenwood Holdings. Just sayin'.
Yup. And I believe in Japan, they went by the name "Victor", not JVC. Or at least, when I was a kid growing up in 1980s Hong Kong, you could buy parallel-import JVC gear in stores with a Victor brand-name, but otherwise identical to the more expensive JVC product. Well, technically it was just my assumption that the source was Japan, could be they used that somewhere elsewhere in Asia too / instead...
07-09-2011, 06:29 AM   #42
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Incidentally, JVC was rumored to have bid on Pentax and lost out . . . . .
07-09-2011, 07:45 AM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fontan Quote
Incidentally, JVC was rumored to have bid on Pentax and lost out . . . . .
Good. I won't buy JVC products, nor Dell, due to horrific experiences with customer service. JVC totally screwed up simple maintenance/repair of a camcorder, lost the tape that was in it, overcharged, didn't apologize, and will never get any more of my cash. A JVC-owned Pentax would certainly drive me away from the brand.
07-09-2011, 09:14 AM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by patrickw Quote
I'd trust, as much as I dare, Consumer Reports for reviews of things like washers, dryers, microwaves -- things which are used mostly without a sense of aesthetics, pleasure or other visceral sensations. . . . So, by their own standards, they are incapable of saying anything relevant about the core experience of using a camera to be a photographer (as opposed to using it to be a consumer).
Decades ago I was a subscriber, but now I don't even trust them for dryers and microwaves; I far prefer user reviews such as one finds at Amazon. By studying users you can find people who've taken time to work and live with a product, and also distinguish between a casual and serious user. And when it comes to high end equipment such as audiophile stuff, cameras/lenses, barista-level espresso equipment, or anything whose serious users are experts and enthusiasts . . . to my mind CR is useless.

The key concept with them is "consumer," the millions that make up the buying public who don't want to study or know much, who just want to own and easily use. So I don't think their opinion on Pentax means a single thing about Pentax, but rather it is every bit a reflection of their own mass-market serving, topical way of looking at things.

Last edited by les3547; 07-09-2011 at 10:38 AM.
07-09-2011, 09:22 AM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by Biro Quote
JJVC stood informally for Japanese Victor Corporation when it was established in 1927 as part of the Victor Talking Machine Co. of Camden, New Jersey, USA. The formal name was The Victor Talking Machine Co. of Japan Ltd.
And here I always thought that it stood for Japanese Very Cheap

Then again, I was told that Matsushita stood for copycat. I was told this by a former Memorex VP, the one who fired Ella Fitzgerald
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