RobG has nikon advertising all over his 1dmk4 review

Started Feb 12, 2010 | Discussions thread
peripheralfocus Veteran Member • Posts: 4,552
on advertising, and Rob's qualifications

Brad Durack wrote:

and a cold hard fact is, he does receive money from nikon for advertising, so he does have some vested interest

First, a disclaimer: I know Rob, used to work for him, consider him a friend. I'm 100% positive he'd be mad at me for contributing here, if he ever reads this, but unjustified attacks on a person's integrity or expertise really bother me. So ...

On the advertising issue: if Rob were tailoring his editorial content to derive advertising dollars, he would not criticize any equipment manufacturer, and ESPECIALLY NOT the company that spends by far the most on camera advertising in the world (that's Canon, whose ad budget has historically been 7-10X larger than Nikon's). I can't speak for Rob, but I'm pretty sure he would be delighted to have Canon spend some ad money on his site. Several years ago, he did frequently have Canon advertising on his site (and no Nikon advertising). He's just not willing to hide the truth in order to get ad dollars.

Rob is the most straightforward reviewer of photography equipment in publishing -- he's willing to say on his site that a product doesn't work, even if that product's manufacturer has a big ad budget (and, again, nobody's ad budget is even close to as large as Canon's). He's also willing to praise stuff that does work, and he has praised Canon equipment very highly many, many times in the past. He's also been bluntly critical of Nikon gear in the past (and praised it, too, when it worked well). Nikon's top cameras now work better than they used to, so, for the time being, he's not driving Nikon as crazy as he used to. Rob has a 15-year publishing record, and it's easy to verify everything I've just said, if you're interested in learning anything about the man whose integrity you've impugned.

Now, none of the above means Rob is infallible. His judgments aren't guaranteed to be right; he's a human being and therefore subject to error. But his integrity is totally sound, and anyone who bothers to give his track record even a cursory check knows that.

Others have questioned his qualifications. Again, it just takes 15 minutes of research to find out that Rob has been a professional photojournalist since the late 1980s. He is one of the first dozen or so photographers in the world to begin working with digital cameras on a daily basis (in 1994), when he was a staff photographer at the Calgary Herald . He wrote the first book ever written on professional digital photography, and he became without question the leading consultant on digital photography for newspapers, magazines, and institutions all over the world. (And as such, he has always owned and used all brands of equipment that he might be asked to train clients on. For the past decade, that has meant Canon and Nikon; in the 1990s it was Kodak. He's an expert on all three systems -- one of USA Today's best staff photographers told me a few years back that among most of the pro shooters he knew, the standard answer to any technical or performance question about pro DSLRs was "just ask Rob.")

Finally, Rob is a working pro who has shot tens of thousands of sports photographs ON ASSIGNMENT AND FOR PUBLICATION using virtually every pro autofocus camera since the EOS-1 from 1991. His partner, Mike Sturk, is also a well-known, extremely experienced pro photojournalist in Canada with an equivalent sports shooting track record. I'd be interested to see tear sheets from all the people on these forums who question their abilities to use a camera.

And unlike most photographers, Rob has a good head for testing. The truth is that nobody else publishes autofocus tests with anywhere near the foundation of relevant professional shooting experience and testing rigor that Rob's tests show. I've reviewed more than 150 cameras, from pro to amateur, for half a dozen magazines over the past 12 years, but I am nowhere near as qualified as Rob is to evaluate autofocus performance because I haven't spent 20 years shooting sports for money. There are some photographers who know as much or more about sports shooting as Rob does, of course (Sports Illustrated staffers, for example), but none of them publishes a photography web magazine.

Now again, none of this means that Rob is always right. (I've disagreed with him on equipment several times.) But it does mean his opinion is deeply informed, and it's honest. It's worth careful consideration. But, of course, you should seek other opinions and think for yourself.

What people should not do is make uninformed allegations of corruption or incompetence. Those are serious charges, and just because they are easy to make on the Internet, it doesn't mean they should be thrown around without real evidence.

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