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10-22-2009, 06:15 AM   #1
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Popular Photo vs. American Photography

Ok... So American Photography Awarded the Pentax K-7 'Editor's Choice for Advanced DSLR' (also, shared with the Nikon D90). The article praised the K-7 highly and was very well written with all the facts. Now this month Popular Photography 'tests' the K-7 and says that if you are not already invested in Pentax to look elsewhere. These two magazines are owned by the SAME COMPANY!

Was the 'tester' paid off by Nikon or something? This is the type of thing that just goes to show you, don't trust what you're told. Go out and get what is right for you that is not based of someone else's opinion. I own the K-7 and I felt that the way that the tester voiced his opinion about the K-7 was slanted against it.

10-22-2009, 11:01 AM   #2
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Or it could be that the different testers came by their differing opinions honestly. Media companies don't always share staffs or even editorial philosophies so their varying publications may provide varying perspectives an the same issue. In fact, that diversity allows them to appeal to a wider variety of readers and sell more magazines or papers.

But less face it, we all like certain products better than others, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that the K-7 isn't every photographer's cup of tea. Why do they have to be crooked, idiotic or fanboi-ish when their opinion and outlook varies for ours?

FWIW I read both on a recent long flight.
10-22-2009, 11:47 AM   #3
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It never ceases to amaze me how subjective allegedly objective reviews can be.
10-22-2009, 12:42 PM   #4
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An 'objective' review is still performed by human beings - as subjective as you can get.
Only blinded trials will taken the human factor away from an objective study - and that just ain't gonna happen for camera reviews...

10-22-2009, 12:48 PM   #5
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Did anyone see the subtitle on page 91 of the November Popular Photography Magazine? The page is the first page of THE GUIDE * DSLRs and the subtitle says, "Our Opinionated Take on the DSLRs and Lenses We've Tested." The second word says it all...LOL! (emphasis mine)

Last edited by mithrandir; 10-22-2009 at 12:49 PM. Reason: Emphasis
10-26-2009, 08:20 AM   #6
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I feel like they always want to compare the top of the line Pentax to the top of the line Canon/Nikon. I will be the first to admit that those are 2 very different classes of DSLR's, but for what Pentax offers for the price you can't beat it. Especially once you print the photos, you can't tell that it was a Pentax or Canon or Nikon, it's just a good quality photo.

I know that they weren't comparing the K7 to the D3 or 1DsMkIII, but it always feels like until Pentax has something of that level that anything they produce will be beaten down by reviewers.

Last edited by Pentax_XTC; 10-26-2009 at 08:43 AM.
10-26-2009, 01:00 PM   #7
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If a review were not subjective, it would be a bare bones spec sheet. Reviewers, and the rest of us, come with a point of view. We call it "bias" if we don't like it.

There are two real issues:

Can we tell what the POV is?
Is the POV consistent from review to review?

If we can answer yes to the first, perhaps we can calibrate for it. Think "Ken Rockwell". I'll apply my POV to his POV and see what happens. Not a problem. If the reviewer tries to conceal a POV, we have an unprofessional reviewer. Bad news.

If we have to answer no to the second, everyone has a real problem. No way to calibrate. Now we have an unprofessional reviewer.

And that's where editorial supervision comes into play. Subjective may be OK. False claims of objectivity and lack of consistency are not OK.

Fine reason to drop the publisher a note and ask for openness and consistency. Objectivity is probably asking too much.

Did this make any sense at all???
10-26-2009, 02:03 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by glanglois Quote
If a review were not subjective, it would be a bare bones spec sheet. Reviewers, and the rest of us, come with a point of view. We call it "bias" if we don't like it.
But it *is* bias if we know the point of view is not true (or the complete truth).

QuoteQuote:
There are two real issues:

Can we tell what the POV is?
Is the POV consistent from review to review?

If we can answer yes to the first, perhaps we can calibrate for it. Think "Ken Rockwell". I'll apply my POV to his POV and see what happens. Not a problem. If the reviewer tries to conceal a POV, we have an unprofessional reviewer. Bad news.

If we have to answer no to the second, everyone has a real problem. No way to calibrate. Now we have an unprofessional reviewer.

And that's where editorial supervision comes into play. Subjective may be OK. False claims of objectivity and lack of consistency are not OK.

Fine reason to drop the publisher a note and ask for openness and consistency. Objectivity is probably asking too much.

Did this make any sense at all???
Yes.

Reviewing photographic gear is subjective even if we have the best quantitative measures of quality in each aspect of testing equipment. Standardising the subjective tests is definitely the best way to get consistency in reviews.

Editorial boards are good - but each magazine/group have their own opinions about what matters in a camera, so there will still be significant subjectivity.

Add to that allegiances to Canikon for whatever reason - sponsorship, personal preference and peer influences - and you have a complicated recipe for bias...

10-26-2009, 03:32 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentax_XTC:
Was the 'tester' paid off by Nikon or something? This is the type of thing that just goes to show you, don't trust what you're told. Go out and get what is right for you that is not based of someone else's opinion. I own the K-7 and I felt that the way that the tester voiced his opinion about the K-7 was slanted against it.
In the words of the great Sergeant Hulka from Stripes:



"LIGHTEN UP FRANCIS!"

Please don't continue the tired old "Why don't they like my camera?!" posts, please. Pretty please. If you like the K-7 then screw the reviews. If you don't like it, move on to something else. You seem to actually contradict yourself by saying, "This review sucks!" and then turn around and say "Don't trust reviews!" Which is it? Are you so sensitive to reviews that you immediately flame the reviewer if they disagree with you? I'll be very interested in how you respond to this post, by the way!
10-26-2009, 04:26 PM   #10
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never believe anything Pop Photo says...if Pop Photo was a restaurant, I'd compera it to McDonald's...
10-26-2009, 06:54 PM   #11
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Pop Photo has really gone downhill in the last several years. I think its a case of best reviews
go to where the most ad money comes from.
10-27-2009, 06:51 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rich_A Quote
Please don't continue the tired old "Why don't they like my camera?!" posts, please. Pretty please. If you like the K-7 then screw the reviews. If you don't like it, move on to something else. You seem to actually contradict yourself by saying, "This review sucks!" and then turn around and say "Don't trust reviews!" Which is it? Are you so sensitive to reviews that you immediately flame the reviewer if they disagree with you? I'll be very interested in how you respond to this post, by the way!
It' not a "Why don't you like my camera..." thread it's a "why did you take such a harsh point of view that is obviously so different from you sister publications' view" thread.

I'm trying to point out that this review was so far away from other reviews of the camera that it seems to beat down Pentax for no good reason. Had the reviewer left off the obviously personal comment about going with another brand if you are not already invested in Pentax, then this thread would not exist.
10-27-2009, 07:07 AM   #13
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Let's break this down philosophically. If I understand correctly, you're upset that two magazine who apparently are owned by the same company don't produce similar reviews? Is that the gist of it? If I am correct about your position, the natural extension of this concept would be that we, as readers, should be able to know the results of any two reviews simply by knowing what one of the reviews concluded. Or perhaps a slightly different perspective - we should expect the parent company of two magazines to control the results of a camera review so it aligns with company policy? I'm sorry if I'm misconstruing your view but this is how you're explaining it.

As for the recommendation to stick with your current brand unless you already have Pentax equipment, well, I've seen that recommendation a million times in other reviews. They're usually couched within the proposed question, "Is it worth switching systems for this camera" types of rhetorical questions. It's a valid topic for people looking to drop >$3000 on a camera and lenses based on a magazine review. If they don't have current equipment or are buying a DSLR for the first time it's even easier and cheaper than replacing existing equipment. While you might not agree with their opinion, it's still a valid conclusion as far as opinions go. I believe Micheal Reichman from Luminous Landscape concluded the same thing.

Last edited by Rich_A; 10-27-2009 at 07:14 AM.
10-27-2009, 07:11 AM   #14
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I was disappointed by both tests in that issue. Besides the K7 they also tested the Nikon D300s and also found it wanting. In fact they seemed to indicate that maybe the D300s wasn't up to some of the qualities of the lesser Nikon D90.

PP and Modern Photography back in the '60's and '70's produced very detailed, thorough tests that went on for detailed page after page. I felt that by the time I read a test I knew everything about the camera.

These tests were brief and as I said before I was disappointed by both the tests of the Nikon 300s and the K7.

Although I subscribe to PP I find it's not the same magazine as it was in the late Bert Keppler's day.

I found much more detailed, informative tests in Dpreview.

The people that read reviews are generally very knowledgeable, camera aficionados and as such have great expectations.

Brief doesn't appeal.
10-27-2009, 07:58 AM   #15
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I have never really liked Pop Photo. Their reviews seem to vary between uninformed put-downs and general, unspecific praise. I have a lot less problem with DP Review, even when they don't like cameras that I like. They are specific about what they don't like and for instance, with the K20, they commented that the biggest thing they didn't like was the Jpeg in-camera. Well, when I know that that is a major factor in their final result and I realize that I shoot RAW ecclusively, then I can decide if the rest of the package is right for me.

General statements like "this camera just doesn't seem to measure up in many areas," is the sort of statement that gets me, because it is awfully hard to figure out if those areas are things that are important to the reader or not. Every camera is a compromise between size, features, etc. The question is which compromise is best for you.
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