As I get older, I get grumpier, (I’ll be 60 this year). Or maybe just a bit less tolerant of silliness. Whenever I write a product review (especially cameras) I get countless letters (and discussion board comments) disagreeing with me, calling names, and generally acting silly.
Why? Because when I critique a product it’s based on my opinion. And, I always tell it like it is, regardless of how unpalatable this might be to others.
My opinion isn’t right or wrong. It simply ismine. You may choose to agree, or disagree, butyouropinion doesn’t carry much weight with me unless I know something of your experience as a photographer and user of these tools.
Since obviously what’s good for the goose is good for the gander (what does that really mean?), you should know a bit about my credentials and how they inform the opinions that I write.
Here then is a bit about what I bring to the table when it comes to reviewing cameras and other photographic equipment…
— started making my living as a professional photographer some 40 years ago
— had my first fine-art / documentary gallery one-man show in 1963, with numerous exhibitions since
— first of several television documentaries on my work was aired in 1964
— over a 40 years period my work has appeared in many magazines and books in 6 countries
— work has been collected by private collectors and by public galleries on two continents
— have taught photography at the college level for the past 15 years
— teach photographic field workshops and seminars around the world on a regular basis
— am an invited speaker to numerous industry conferences and symposiums in North America and Europe
— author of several hundred articles on photographic technique as well as equipment reviews
— am Contributing Editor to a major U.S. photographic magazine
— have been writing regularly for that magazine (Photo Techniques) for nearly 8 years
— have tested and reviewed for print and online publications nearly every major camera system released in the past 15 years
— have been (and still am) a consultant to numerous companies with regard to product design and marketing
— an alpha and beta product tester for numerous companies
— store manager for four years for Canada’s largest professional photographic retailer
— was head of product development for two major software publishers
— was Product Manager and then national head of Sales and Marketing for a major Japanese manufacturer
— founded, have run, and have divested two high-technology publicly listed companies
— founder, publisher and primary author ofThe Luminous Landscapeand theLuminous Landscape Video Journal
None of this makes my opinionsright. But it means that when I criticize something my opinion comes from some fairly extensive photographic and industry experience.
Am I biased? Yup! I like equipment that produces first-class image qualityandthat does so with well-designed ergonomics and user interface. A good product needs both. A product fails, in my book, if it only succeeds in one of these two areas.
Do I make mistakes in my reviews? Sure, lots of them. Who doesn’t from time to time? I do my best to correct them though when I do.
But I put a lot of thought into my writing, and I don’t criticize things casually or indiscriminately. I do praise good products, and point out failings when I see them. But if you still disagree, that fine too.
Thought you might like to know.
Michael Reichmann — March, 2004
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