Seeing Is Not Believing

I guess seeing is not believing… I just finished watching a comparison between the Lumix GX85 and the Sony a6300, concerning rolling shutter, high ISO performance, dynamic range, 1080p, and continuous autofocus – and I thought the a6300 just killed it in practically every category, leaving the Panasonic in the dust in all but IBIS (the a6300 didn’t have IBIS). Yet nearly all of the comments favored the GX85 over the Sony. One viewer even said that 4K was a fad. Sony’s Slog was able to maintain so much more detail in the highlights and shadows, whereas the GX85 lost detail in both. One reader, seeing the exact same video I was watching, and unable not to see the enormous difference in dynamic range, was still in the dark as to which camera was more suited to video. The test was not about battery life, overheating, user interface or price, just image quality. While reviewers can be disparaged at times for not actually being photographers (some don’t even own a camera!), being biased, or in the pay of this or that manufacturer, I often think the readers are most to blame. They are so unsure and desperate, they just want opinions and charts, rather than judging image quality by themselves. And if by chance, someone of undisputed talent does happen to share something shot with one of these newer cameras, it generates 250 pages of pixel peeping comments. Either readers don’t trust their own eyes, or they don’t have the discernment and experience to distinguish between good and bad anymore. The problem is, very few reviewers are good photographers, and simply shoot a bowl of fruit or a wine bottle for testing purposes, whereas I don’t shoot those subjects. I don’t shoot test charts either. One other thing so many of these so-called reviews focus on that I absolutely loathe is features. I think too many readers are overly concerned about features rather than handling and image quality. Legions of reviewers and readers instantly shout ‘fail!’ if a camera doesn’t have IBIS or a touch screen – complete and utter nonsense! Almost every single one. “Did you hear that Voigtlander came out with three lenses for MFT?” “Really?” “But they don’t have OIS or AF. Isn’t that a joke? Fail!” It makes me recall the MBPr 2016. I’ll come out and say it, I think Tim Cook is an ass. But in practically every single forum, readers called the new MBPr an unmitigated failure, blah, blah. Almost every video on YouTube followed suit. Max Yuryev was the first I believe who actually tested the laptop’s video editing capabilities, in particular, Final Cut Pro, and it whupped butt. And now, one of the most distinguished stills photographers active online has posted a review of the 13″ MBP, and heresy – proclaimed it perfect for use out in the field. I never used 1/10th of the features on my GH3, GM1 or GH4. I just want a camera that shoots magnificent video at 24fps. And more so than any other camera I’ve owned, I chose the Fuji X-T2 based almost entirely on the overwhelming number of beautiful videos people were uploading to YouTube and Vimeo, not test charts and features I’ll never use.

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