Ming Thein on DPR and Z7

Started Oct 26, 2018 | Discussions thread
Barney Britton
Barney Britton dpreview Admin • Posts: 477
Re: Ming Thein on DPR and Z7

jaba wrote:

Dear all

Just read on the "Five ways" article in the main page of DPR. I have not found the original article from Ming Thein though:

"Ming Thein says: October 26, 2018 at 5:13 AM
I have long lost respect for DPR. That site long ago degraded into clickbait and a home for trolls, not to mention relying on paid advertising from various camera companies to survive. Frankly, I question their objectivity. I’ve been using the camera without issues for paid client work for the last two weeks and don’t have any issues with it – perhaps they should actually use the camera for real photography and not test shots of hipsters with beards on bicycles. The bottom line is you can make the photos you want with it; the camera doesn’t hold you back. So you have to ask yourself – a) are they really photographers or equipment fetishists, and b) with every single thing they post, what is the motivation to generate a zillion posts with controversial titles other than trying to drive traffic and advertising revenue?"

It is true that I am quite disappointed too. I do not care about the flak because that may make Nikon improve further an already very good camera, but these last few weeks have not left me with a good impression. Not because of most of you, you are all OK, but because of the bad journalism type of titles they chose for their reviews, just to attract visits looking for controversy. The title of the "banding" article is a shame, and the one on the "five ways" is not much better.

I am kind of expecting this from "the nodding couple", the bearded guy and other Youtubers, but if DPR persists to work at that level I am not anymore interested on their reviews.

And they used to be top of the class.


Hi all, I’m getting to this thread a bit late (Scott and I returned from the Photo Plus Expo show late last night) but I wanted to respond to some of the points raised in relation to Ming Thein’s post and the reaction thereto. I’m posting in response to the OP, so you can consider my reply to address both Ming and jaba’s comments. Some of the points I’ll make below have also been made in our defense by other commenters - thanks to everyone for your feedback, both critical and positive.

I don’t know Ming Thein, although I have visited his site occasionally and on the whole I respect the way in which he approaches product evaluation. Crucially though, his approach is quite different to ours: it’s narrower. I’m simplifying here, but like most camera reviewers, Ming focuses on observed performance based on real-world use in a limited set of situations, usually in his case based on his own preferred kind of photography, which is mostly of static subjects.

We, on the other hand, try to predict every major use-case for a camera, and create shooting situations and tests that reflect them. We then use the results of these tests to inform our readers about how the products can / should be used for practical photography. I don’t know how many images Ming takes during the course of one of his reviews, but I can tell you that we routinely capture thousands, if not tens of thousands - most of which you’ll never see (and you’re not missing much - a lot of the time it’s thousands of pictures of Dan or Richard riding towards the camera time after time after time after time…)

Ming’s comments on the Z7’s banding and his question about why anyone would ever want to do such a thing as push Raw files by 5EV should serve as ample demonstration of this essential disconnect. If you’ve read the dynamic range pages in a few of our reviews, you’ll know the answer.

Ming asks about our motivation for publishing content - is it to drive traffic and advertising revenue? Well, without both of those things we’d cease to exist (see point above about paying our staff) but that’s not what drives our day to day editorial strategy. Speaking personally, what drives me as an editor is to make sure that once we’ve formed opinions about a new product which we can back up using real-world and measured testing, we should get those opinions on our homepage as soon as possible. If I were a DPReview reader, impatient for information about a new camera, that’s certainly what I’d want to see.

Whether or not *you* react to these more direct kinds of articles is of course a different question, but either way, our traditional, lengthy, detailed reviews aren’t going away. And I must say that as someone who has worked at DPReview for almost ten years, I think that our camera reviews are more consistent, rigorous and relevant now than they’ve ever been. Maybe some people miss the days when 30+ page reviews (minus any real comments about AF) would emerge after months of silence on our homepage, but I do not count myself among them. Could we improve them further? Absolutely. Are we working on doing that? Yes, I promise we are.

In the specific case of the Z7 ‘five things’ article that other commenters are referencing, something that appears to be missed by a few of you is that our findings as expressed in that article were based on time-consuming repeated testing, most of the findings of which had already been published on the site, in a different (more conventional) form. If you saw that article and thought that it was ‘clickbait’, then I don’t know what to say in our defense. You and I have different definitions of the term.

Returning to Ming Thein, I have less patience for some of his other complaints. His gripe about our ‘reliance’ on paid advertising, for example, is a red herring. Ming runs a Wordpress blog. We operate a staff of 10+ editors, web developers and managers who between them maintain a highly complex site built on custom code, which supports one of the Internet’s largest and oldest forums. DPReview would not exist without our staff, but without revenue, we couldn’t pay them.

DPReview’s main source of income has always been advertising in one form or another. Web advertising has changed a lot in the 20 years that we’ve been around, but our business model remains very similar now to how it was in 1998. We are not, and have never been influenced by manufacturer investment either way, and we remain editorially independent of our parent company. Some commenters will never believe me when I say that (or they’ll continue to pretend not to for the sake of a good rant from time to time) but it’s true.

Ming’s comments about ‘real photography’ versus ‘test shots of hipsters’ on the other hand are beneath him, and I won’t dignify them with any further response. A careful reading of our core review content should be refutation enough.

Sorry for the lengthy post, and I’m sorry too that you can’t reply to it! This thread has reached its maximum post count and we had to hack it to allow me to post this final comment. PM me or post a new thread if you’d like to continue the conversation.


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