Richard Butler

Richard Butler

DPReview Administrator
Lives in United Kingdom Seattle, United Kingdom
Works as a Technical Editor
Joined on Nov 7, 2007
About me:

Richard graduated as a scientist but had a lot more fun writing and shooting for his university magazine. A number of years spent variously as a reporter, writer and editor on science and engineering titles combined his knowledge of science with his interest in images and words. But it was spotting the connections between emission spectra, white balance and all the nonsense he'd taught himself playing around in Photoshop that helped kindle an interest in digital photography. Searching for a camera led to him discovering DPReview and Richard was recruited by Phil Askey in 2007. He's been combining his love of photography, communication and attention to detail (pedantry?) ever since.

He has unusually strong opinions about lenses for the APS-C format.


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In reply to:

keeponkeepingon: dpreview: You claim to have updated the buying guides but they are a total mess as you are not tracking current MSRPs (let alone street costs.).

The only way the XT-3 makes the $1000-$1500 buying guide is because you put it on that guide based on the price without lens ($1499). But the only way other cameras make the same list is because you are using the price of the camera with lens (the pentax, olympus, some of the canons etc)

At the extreme is the Canon M5 Currently selling (body only) for $579 from canon USA with a MSRP of $979. Either price would exclude it from the $1000-1500 guide but given the street prices you are grouping a $579 camera with a $1499 camera; a totally useless comparison to most of your readers.

Yeah it's hard to track street prices, but given you update these guides for xmas they should at the minimum accurately contain cameras based on the end-of year MSRP, and consistently be based on with kit lens prices or w/o lens prices

We base our buying guides on launch price because that gives the clearest indication of where a model is intended to sit in each company's lineup and the market as a whole. The alternative would be recommending cameras against wildly mis-matched peers just because they're being flogged-off cheap at the end of their product cycles (then annoying anyone in a country where they're not yet discounted or have already run out).

Basically there are downsides to every way of categorising cameras, especially when it comes to price.

However, I agree it's important to be consistent. We'll check our categorisation.

Link | Posted on Nov 10, 2018 at 00:30 UTC
In reply to:

Mr PapaBear: That X-T3 is very tempting. I wish their F2.8 zoom was 200mm instead of 140mm though. It is a 210mm F4.3 equivalent zoom (1.21 stop difference between apsc and ff).

But the 100-400mm F/5.6 looks appealing. If the X-H2 is as good with IBIS. I might not be able to pass it up.

In fairness, there's a historical precedent to suggest 75-210mm equiv is a range that people find useful.

Link | Posted on Nov 9, 2018 at 23:48 UTC
In reply to:

concorde 1954: The 56mm,be nice to see it in Nikon APS.

The DC DN lenses are designed for mirrorless and are usually designs that place elements much closer to the sensor than the deep mirror box of DSLRs would allow.

Link | Posted on Nov 9, 2018 at 18:58 UTC
On article Nikon Z7 Review (4434 comments in total)
In reply to:

Roddy McLean: 89% and Silver Award for a failure! You guys are in the wrong business. You should be in politics......

Sales aren't our target, either. We do not benefit in any way from one camera selling, rather than another.

Link | Posted on Nov 9, 2018 at 01:48 UTC
On article Nikon Z7 Review (4434 comments in total)
In reply to:

Dennis from Florida: How did it end up with 89% (one point behind the Sony a7rIII ????

Looks like you wanted to pan it but just couldn't do it. When I use the "compare" tool with a 850 or looks like the Z7 should be around 84% or so.

Because our scoring system is heavily weighted towards image quality and doesn't give much (enough?) weight to AF, which is the camera's biggest shortcoming. Even then, the Z7 is good at some aspects of AF while being poor in others - a subtlety it's difficult to perfectly capture in our current scoring system.

Link | Posted on Nov 9, 2018 at 01:44 UTC
On article Nikon Z7 Review (4434 comments in total)
In reply to:

Mared: I wish RIchard Butler would stop writing that scoring is heavily weighted towards image quality. It isn't. The highest current scoring camera in DPR, the D500, has a Crop Sensor and is a good, not great sensor. The rest of the camera was great - AF, ERGOS, Build, etc.

How does he explain that??

Cameras are scored by class, and the D500's sensor was very, very good at the point we reviewed it. Comparable performance to the best cameras in its class at the time.

So it got a very good IQ score **and** good ratings for AF, ergonomics, etc, helping it get such a high overall score.

(That said, it also scored pretty well for video, which it wouldn't, if it were tested today).

Link | Posted on Nov 7, 2018 at 23:09 UTC
In reply to:

onemoreguy: I wish someone makes a less "professional" gimbal with half of the weight

huyzer - The Ronin-S stops feeling like a beast the day you try to solo operate a Ronin-M.

Link | Posted on Nov 7, 2018 at 22:31 UTC
In reply to:

richdm: "JPEGs were shot with lens corrections minimized as far as possible."

Please explain exactly what that means.

If that means the lens corrections were turned off completely at the user level, the question is "why"?

It seems to me that these days, cameras are made to correct for known lens defects. And I have to assume that a manufacturer like Nikon designs its lenses knowing this, and so the possible camera corrections become parameters to the design.

Wouldn't this mean that *not* using those corrections results in performance that is inferior to the maximum possible, as designed by the manufacturer?

Unless that statement means something completely different. Which is why I'm requesting that it be fully explained.

These test shots are designed to show the camera's performance on as comparable a basis as possible. That tends to mean trying to minimize the impact of the lens, including any softening that might occur from distortion correction or extra noise being revealed by trying to brighten up vignetted corners. This also makes the results more comparable with older cameras.

Generally those lenses for which corrections (particularly of geometric distortion) are an inherent part of the design don't let you turn that off, so we're not showing a completely mad, unrepresentative image.

Link | Posted on Nov 7, 2018 at 18:11 UTC
In reply to:

D7000ShooterUK: So, why don't they make the 56mm available with Fuji X mount? I think it's probably because they know it won't be competative against the Fuji 56mm f1.2.

More likely is that Fujifilm won't disclose the mount specs and communication protocol and Sigma doesn't believe there's a sufficient market to make it worth reverse-engineering.

The quality of specific lenses would seem more plausible if Sigma made other X-mount lenses and chose not to offer this one.

Link | Posted on Nov 6, 2018 at 22:56 UTC
On article Nikon Z7 Review (4434 comments in total)
In reply to:

stepalex: Great review as always, the 'Silver' medal is justified too. However there is nothing that justifies a 89% rating, ie just 1pp less than A7R3 - which has vastly better AF, more native lenses, including 3rd party (don't start on old glass, only native is what counts), and cheaper. Sorry, but the score is a joke.

Lens count/availability isn't part of the score for camera bodies, so isn't factored-in.

The a7R III scores better for features than the Nikon in part for the reasons Anulu mentions (though the Z7 has an intervalometer, 10-bit N-Log output and a choice of lossless or visually lossless Raw compression, which the Sony doesn't)

The only areas in which the Nikon outdoes the Sony are Build Quality and Ergonomics and Handling. But those are given enough weighting by the scoring system to cancel-out the other differences.

This might mean AF should be given more weighting in our next-gen scoring system. But bear in mind that, though there are aspects of AF where the Sony is better (which is recognized in the scoring), the Nikon offers effective AF in a variety of situations, so it still scores moderately well.

Link | Posted on Nov 6, 2018 at 01:05 UTC
On article Nikon Z7 Review (4434 comments in total)
In reply to:

Aleks7: "...comparison on the mirrorless side is the Sony a7R III, another camera we hold in extremely high esteem"
Sony still doesn't have RAW with lossless compression, right?
Either uncompressed or with lossy compression...


Link | Posted on Nov 6, 2018 at 00:57 UTC
On article Nikon Z7 Review (4434 comments in total)
In reply to:

eno2: A question for Dpreview staff.

If Nikon addresses the AF related issues on this camera with firmware updates... Do you guys think it will deserve a higher score, maybe even a Gold award?

An improvement in AF performance would change the AF scores. AF is given enough weighting in our scoring that any significant change in score would probably be enough to change the overall result.

Link | Posted on Nov 6, 2018 at 00:55 UTC
On article Nikon Z7 Review (4434 comments in total)
In reply to:

thx1138: Gees, 89% is a bit rich, 80% at best with that long list of issues, single card, no real grip option, stupid price. Unless you do video what does it offer that is compelling over the D850?

Our scoring system gives a lot of weight to image quality, certainly more than it does to the number of card slots a camera has.

If you look at our scoring comparison tool, you'll see that video/movies is one of the only areas we feel the Z7 outperforms the D850, so it should be clear that without it, the Z7 would have scored lower than the DSLR.

In other words, if you're not shooting video, we're not saying the Z7 offers much that's compelling over the D850 (though in-body stabilization might be of value to you).

Link | Posted on Nov 6, 2018 at 00:23 UTC
On article Nikon Z7 Review (4434 comments in total)
In reply to:

armandino: I guess 89 is now the default "do not offend anyone" score
Try to convince Tony and Chelsea...

The scoring system hasn't changed for something like 8 years. The weightings that dictate the Z7 getting and 89% are exactly the same as those used every other camera in its class.

We are working on a more advanced scoring system, which should let you change the emphasis of different features (to give more importance to AF and less to video, for instance), but we haven't changed anything to ensure the Z7 got one score rather than another.

Link | Posted on Nov 6, 2018 at 00:16 UTC
On article Nikon Z7 Review (4434 comments in total)
In reply to:

Mared: Why did the Z7 get the same score as the D850? Coincidence?

The weightings of our scoring algorithm give lots of emphasis to image quality. And, since the Z7 produces images extremely similar to the D850 (one of the best IQ cameras we've ever tested) it was always going to score very well.

It is coincidental that they both got 89% in the sense that the weightings of our scoring system dictated that the Z7's areas of strength: video, features and connectivity (in which the z7 scored comparably to the a7R III) counter-balance its shortcomings relative to the D850.

Those weightings have been unchanged for years and are applied to all cameras.

Link | Posted on Nov 6, 2018 at 00:11 UTC
On article Nikon Z7 Review (4434 comments in total)
In reply to:

redhed17: I'm confused, on one hand they say it "is the company's most well-rounded camera to date", but then say the AF is not up to what Nikon has done with their DSLR's, the Dynamic Range is slightly down on the D850, and there is the possibility of banding. It also has a very small buffer. Is this somehow offset by the improved video performance and AF performance during videos! For many video is not important, so take that aspect away, and is it still the company's most rounded 'camera'? From reading the review, I don't think so. :-/

In saying it's the most well-rounded, we're saying it does a wider range of things well (or really well), than existing Nikon models. That isn't the same as saying it's better at every one of those things than every Nikon camera.

If you don't value its video capability and usability, the addition of image stabilization or its smaller size, then its all-round capability sounds like it's less important to you that its performance in specific areas.

I hope our review at least helped you draw the appropriate conclusion for your needs.

Link | Posted on Nov 5, 2018 at 21:14 UTC
In reply to:

AlexisH: Leica is a company that still has potential. Especially now in the mirrorless era when they could put out a mirrorless M body and finally give the M lenses the modern camera that they deserve.

They indeed have some innovative ideas, but they also fail to implement basic features, which makes them look like a gifted kid that just wants to be different at any cost. Which they definitely achieved, so I'm not sure why they're still trying so hard.

Rangefinders pre-date the use of the term mirrorless and generally operate differently, so to me it doesn't make sense to retrospectively try to shoehorn them into a category that they only fall into by chance.

Regardless of whether you worry about the mirrors in the viewfinder, the primary means of shooting a rangefinder (in terms of metering and autofocus, or the lack of it), isn't akin to other mirrorless cameras, so it doesn't make sense to try to retcon them in.

Sure you can shoot an M240 as if it were a manual focus mirrorless camera, but you can do the same with DSLRs in live view, and it doesn't make sense to try to squeeze those in, too.

Link | Posted on Nov 5, 2018 at 20:24 UTC
On article Nikon Z7 Review (4434 comments in total)
In reply to:

shademaster: This has got to be a record for the highest scoring camera that only got a silver. Any other cameras in the modern era with 89% or better but only a silver?

Or maybe the cameras were all really good when they were launched/reviewed but image quality has continued to improve.

Link | Posted on Nov 5, 2018 at 19:03 UTC
On article Nikon Z7 Review (4434 comments in total)
In reply to:

PhotoFactor: Score is way too high.

Our scoring system is heavily weighted towards image quality, so the Z7 was also going to score very well, since its image quality is excellent.

It's also very good at a lot of things. Low light AF and AF Tracking may be behind its competitors but it's more than a match for the D850 in many other AF situations.

Link | Posted on Nov 5, 2018 at 18:31 UTC
On article Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 Review (1025 comments in total)
In reply to:

dansclic: I can understand why film fans would,buy this one but it is about photography here.
Re thé DOf when shooting portraits you neeed a f1,2 mft lens to achieve the same results as a ff f1,8 which costs half the price of a f1,2 mft Lens. This is to be considered as well as noise is present from 800 iso

The strength of smaller format is that it can be smaller, less expensive, maybe better at video.

However, you can match a smaller format's depth-of-field with a larger sensor camera. If you need the depth of field that F1.4 offers on Micro Four Thirds, then you can shoot at around F1.8 on APS-C or F2.8 on Full Frame and get the same result (irrespective of what ISO is needed), if your camera is of a similar vintage. There's no advantage to the larger format at that point but nor a disadvantage, relative to Micro Four Thirds.

Link | Posted on Nov 3, 2018 at 22:06 UTC
Total: 6595, showing: 1 – 20
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