Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Please Stop with the Useless Reviews

I ran across a "review" of the new Nikon Nikkor 18-200 VR lens on a web site called QJ.net recently. It typifies the useless garbage that passes for photography reviews on blogs these days. I think it's time we stop with the useless, stupid "reviews" that don't help anyone and don't add anything to the discussion of photography.

This "review" is basically review of a review (?), a rehash of Thom Hogan's comprehensive review of the lens. The problem is the writer of the"review" screwed it up royally, posting contradictory information at nearly every turn in the short piece.

Here's the "review" in its entirety:

Heads-up Nikon photographers. The Nikkor 18-200mm lens has been reviewed, and it looks like at $750, it's a pretty great piece of glass.

You get a little bit of everything with this lens. Zoom, Wide angle, and everything in between. And it all comes out looking good according to trials. To summarize:

The not-so-good:
Variable Aperture - f5.6 at full 200mm, makes for less than optimal results in low light
Distortion - Wide end distortion can apparently be visible
Build Quality - as with most 'budget' priced lenses, the lower price comes from somewhere

The good:
Great Optics - no complaints at all
Excellent zoom - if you want full zoom, you got it
Price - this all in one can't get much better at $750.


It finishes with a link to Thom Hogan's real review.

If you read this "review" closely, you'll notice the writer states that the lens "is a pretty great piece of glass," which Thom Hogan's review says as well. The entire "review" was lifted from Thom Hogan's. The writer then goes on to say that the wide-end distortion of the lens is visible, which is one of the lens's bad points. The he goes on to say that the lens has "great optics"!

So how can the lens have great optics if it exhibits visible wide-end distortion? Thom Hogan states in his review that the lens exhibits visible distortion at both ends. Still, he rates it highly:

Distortion performance is good. At both ends there's measurable distortion (about 1 percent complicated barrel at the wide end, slightly less than 0.5% simple pincushion at the telephoto extreme).

This isn't an architectural lens, but it's far from a fun-house lens.


Thom Hogan knows how to do a review. He actually uses the product in real world situations and posts his informed conclusions. You can take his reviews and make informed decisions about whether or not to buy the product.

With the QJ.net "review", you can't. It's garbage. A waste of bandwidth. The writer has nerve even calling it a review. It helps no one to publish this drivel under the guise of reviews. The writer should have just posted the link to Thom Hogan's review and left it at that.

But that's the problem with the net these days and with blogs in particular. Everyone thinks they are an expert. Not everyone is.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gotta say I have to agree with you. One of the problems with the internet is sorting out the rubbish from the accurate. There is an interesting article on what makes a good review here.

Len