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Misleading ISO testing

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Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1314948 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
17 Jan 2013 - 8:39 PM


Quote: For me, there are two main reasons for using a high ISO setting:

1. To allow hand-held shooting in low light (e.g. street scenes at night)

With a decent lens, ISO 400 should be more than enough hand held.

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17 Jan 2013 - 8:39 PM

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photofrenzy
19 Jan 2013 - 7:48 AM

Andrew you have a valid point , And cetrtainly one that needs to be reviewed in the future tests. These cameras a meant for the professional market so should be tested in a professional enviroment, One of the best ways i think when some magazines test for iso , Is when they take the cameras to a concert or gig and test the true quality if the iso out as well as the white balance capabilities of the camera , Which is equaly as important for wedding photographers, Or perhaps photographing inside of a church for instance when light levels do drop off especially towards the end of the day.Wink

LenShepherd
LenShepherd e2 Member 62434 forum postsLenShepherd vcard United Kingdom
19 Jan 2013 - 2:17 PM


Quote: I prefer to assess camera performance according to my own personal criteria rather than paying very much attention to what magazines or manufacturers might publish in the way of "test results". Basically I trust my own judgement far more than I would trust that of a jumped-up journalist conducting tests for a magazine or website or some marketing/PR jobsworth (mis)interpreting the results obtained by some low-level technician at a test-bench


There comes a point for any advanced photographer where their expertise exceeds the depth and breadth of many reviews.\
Nikon provide MTF for all their current lenses - but only when used wide-open.
On this site the lens tests quantify much more useful centre, edge and "averaged" resolution.
I am aware of two UK magazines where only the "averaged" result is given Sad
I want to know about corner resolution, particularly wide open, and feel these two magazines treat advanced photographers as "village idiots" with the limited information they provide.
On the one hand I do not regard reviews on the site as a by "jumped up journalists".
On the other hand I would prefer the reviews to be more comprehensive and, as indicated in this thread, more relevant to the way some of the modern features in new cameras are likely to be used in the real world.

Sooty_1
Sooty_1 Critique Team 41179 forum posts United Kingdom196 Constructive Critique Points
19 Jan 2013 - 2:53 PM

I would prefer real world results, properly documented, alongside bench tests. I have had issue for years about testers shooting sample pictures, but adding their own adjustments to compensate for issues, whereas I want to know how the camera performs. Eg metering tests are biased if the tester adjusts the exposure based on their own experience, as a lot of potential purchasers won't know to do that and might be disappointed with their results.

Real world results in real world situations tell you much more than the hair-splitting bench tests, beyond a certain point.

Nick

User_Removed
19 Jan 2013 - 7:28 PM


Quote:
On the other hand I would prefer the reviews to be more comprehensive and, as indicated in this thread, more relevant to the way some of the modern features in new cameras are likely to be used in the real world.

I am not entirely at odds with you there, Len.

I suppose that I do take a slight interest in what the mags and websites say but, hopefully, I have sufficient nous to realise the very severe limitations of their methodologies. Which, I accept, is where this thread started.

mikehit
mikehit  46177 forum posts United Kingdom9 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jan 2013 - 11:18 AM

I think that is key to any review - take it with a pinch of salt. I look at reviews for comparative information, not my absolute requirements. When I was buying may first DSLR in 2006, the sales guy said that the main problem (even then) was that gear was so good, the reviewers had to find ever-smaller differences to justify their time and that those differences are increasingly irrelevant to a vast majority of consumers.

Pete
Pete Site Moderator 1318434 forum postsPete vcard ePz Advertiser England96 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jan 2013 - 11:27 AM


Quote: I think that is key to any review - take it with a pinch of salt

Lol that makes it seem really worthwhile all the time and effort we put in.

It's true photography equipment is generally really good now and it is harder to lift one camera against another. In the old days shutters used to be so hit and miss that better magazines were able to indicate when a product had a shutter that was a bit suspect. And then the little gold oval stickers started to appear which said the product had conformed to a certain Japanese standard. And gradually manufacturing became better and computerisation made everything more precise. But all of that can not compensate for a bad design. And while you could argue design and handling is a personal preference we do spot some poor design when reviewing. We can also, by showing comparisons, let you see the differences for yourself, which usually flags up ISO performance, sensor processing or lens optical performance.

User_Removed
20 Jan 2013 - 12:36 PM


Quote: I think that is key to any review - take it with a pinch of salt

Lol that makes it seem really worthwhile all the time and effort we put in.

.

Pete - let me ask you a somewhat blunt question.

When you or your colleagues do a review - are you really thinking that you have more expertise than your readers and are producing comparisons that will be of real value to them?

Or are you simply seeking to fill "column inches"?

Maybe an online magazine is different but there is no doubt whatsoever, that in the printed magazine media it is the latter rather than the former that prevails.

Cynical? I don't think so. With 40+ years of magazine journalism under my belt, I think I know what makes magazines tick. Hell, I used to do countless equipment and, particularly, clothing reviews and my main reasons for doing them were two-fold. Firstly it provided easy copy at times there might be a shortage of hot topics to write about. Secondly, it provided a steady source of free goods that I tested and wrote about. I was always honest and fair in my reviews but I seriously doubt how much readers gained from them.

I should say that I often do read camera reviews in magazines - not because I place any value on the opinions expressed by the journalists who wrote them but, rather, because it is a useful way of keeping up with technological developments and market trends. I suppose that if magazines simply published full specs that would do almost as well, but in a drier way.

.

Last Modified By User_Removed at 20 Jan 2013 - 12:41 PM
User_Removed
20 Jan 2013 - 1:08 PM


Quote: ISO performance in my field in particular, wedding photography, is extremely important for LOW LIGHT situations , and i cannot say i have ever had any need whatsoever for ISO 3200 , 12800 etc etc in normal lighting situations

I take your point Pulsar but there are other types of photography, eg someone who shoots macro hand held in broad daylight at tiny apertures might need really fast shutter speeds when chasing bugs around the fields and so usable high ISO in daytime. Same applies shooting sports on overcast days like today.

Reviews need to cover all types of high ISO photography.

Pete
Pete Site Moderator 1318434 forum postsPete vcard ePz Advertiser England96 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jan 2013 - 1:54 PM


Quote: Cynical? I don't think so. With 40+ years of magazine journalism under my belt, I think I know what makes magazines tick. Hell, I used to do countless equipment and, particularly, clothing reviews and my main reasons for doing them were two-fold. Firstly it provided easy copy at times there might be a shortage of hot topics to write about. Secondly, it provided a steady source of free goods that I tested and wrote about. I was always honest and fair in my reviews but I seriously doubt how much readers gained from them.

Sadly that's the problem with many Sad

Not us! We do it to help people make a buying decision. I've always had strong editorial integrity, right back to taking over as technical writer on Practical Photography. It's what got me to be quickly made technical editor, and then editor of a buying title, because I understood what people wanted.

It helped that I had previously been in a none commission based retail environment, working at Jessops when they were true photography experts, and had or owned just about every camera and format going. So at that time, when people came to me for buying advice, I knew the products inside out and could confidently recommend, based on practical experience.

I'd also previously been a magazine reader for many years and read reviews. I was inspired by David Kilpatrick who was as true as they come. I wasn't tainted by any editor with morels like those you fell in to. Suprised with 40 years experience that you never worked with people with at least a small amount of integrity. Shame!

Josh has similar values and I trust him 100% with the reviews he does for us.

Yes we may review a few more products by manufactures who support us, but we would never write what they want us to hear. We also do not write to fill pages. We just try to ensure all the main products are covered as that's what's expected of any magazine by the people who come to read the content.

Quote:
I should say that I often do read camera reviews in magazines - not because I place any value on the opinions expressed by the journalists who wrote them but, rather, because it is a useful way of keeping up with technological developments and market trends. I suppose that if magazines simply published full specs that would do almost as well, but in a drier way.

Why waste your time? The manufacturers web sites have all that info and with all the flashy product videos and comprehensive technical specs.

Last Modified By Pete at 20 Jan 2013 - 2:15 PM
Hugo
Hugo  9637 forum posts United Kingdom
20 Jan 2013 - 3:11 PM

Some magazines- eg Hifi ones - do seem very shallow - seemingly they'd never give a bad review to a product that also is advertised in one of their titles.
Or reviewing posh cables and saying "This 60 HDMI cable is what you need" - It's digital - the signals either there or it's not, with a 1 cable or 100 one! (At short distances anyway)
Because of this sort of stuff I can never take them seriously.

I don't see ePz as like this though.

justin c
justin c  104512 forum posts England36 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jan 2013 - 3:53 PM


Quote: Some magazines- eg Hifi ones - do seem very shallow - seemingly they'd never give a bad review to a product that also is advertised in one of their titles.
Or reviewing posh cables and saying "This 60 HDMI cable is what you need" - It's digital - the signals either there or it's not, with a 1 cable or 100 one! (At short distances anyway)
Because of this sort of stuff I can never take them seriously.

Absolutely. I gave up all faith in hi-fi magazine reviews when I read a load of nonsense about how a system sounded better when stood on a specific brand of hi-fi cabinet!!! Yeah, right SadSad I'm surprised they didn't try and tell you that the sound quality was improved if the units were plugged into a wall socket with a posh brass finish, rather than the more common white plastic ones.

Last Modified By justin c at 20 Jan 2013 - 3:56 PM
Pete
Pete Site Moderator 1318434 forum postsPete vcard ePz Advertiser England96 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jan 2013 - 4:15 PM


Quote: Absolutely. I gave up all faith in hi-fi magazine reviews when I read a load of nonsense about how a system sounded better when stood on a specific brand of hi-fi cabinet!!!

Knowing a couple of real serious hifi nuts I can understand why this level is discussed. To be honest I have loved music more or less all my life, but struggle to tell the difference between a standard hifi speaker cable and one that's as thick as a finger and specially insulated etc. Stands, DACs, special cds players, amps you have to leave on, etc etc goes right over my head. I'm currently listening to an ipad plugged into my vintage Cyrus amp through a cheap Richer Sounds dock and as happy as Larry, music (converted to standard MP3) on random..it sounds fine. My mates will be converting to digital but will only go for the super high audio conversion, then they will have a DAC so they get a rich analogue sound. They will spend thousands and they will also be as happy as Larry.
(who was Larry btw?)
The point I'm making is if you're an expert in the field, you may be able to tell. My brohter's expertise was cycling. He could tell the difference between a chain set. Like you photo guys who can see when an image has limited colour values, lacks specific sharpness, has fringing, noise in shadow areas etc. Most people can't spot that, so would find reviews pointless.
I'm not sticking up for hifi mags I know some or pretty poor and my guys in the know would admit that, but there are experts out there who do know and you can trust them in every field...the skill is spotting them.

User_Removed
20 Jan 2013 - 4:18 PM


Quote: I'm surprised they didn't try and tell you that the sound quality was improved if the units were plugged into a wall socket with a posh brass finish, rather than the more common white plastic ones.

They aren't far off telling you that actually!

http://www.cheshireaudio.co.uk/acatalog/Black_Rhodium.html Yes, that really is a 200 quid kettle lead and it's not the most expensive either!

EsaT
EsaT  1 Finland
20 Jan 2013 - 4:36 PM


Quote: There comes a point for any advanced photographer where their expertise exceeds the depth and breadth of many reviews.\
Nikon provide MTF for all their current lenses - but only when used wide-open.
On this site the lens tests quantify much more useful centre, edge and "averaged" resolution.
I am aware of two UK magazines where only the "averaged" result is given Sad
I want to know about corner resolution, particularly wide open, and feel these two magazines treat advanced photographers as "village idiots" with the limited information they provide.

That applies basically to most consumer product areas.
And even if there's more thorough testing going on lots of "reviews" simply appear to be shaped to sell the most advertised biggest brand products... Or then favorite pet/some fossilized mindset of "reviewer."

For example looking whole frame with also corner resolution included can make many big hype brand lenses look not so stellar because of those lenses being simply optically undersized for format/sensor size. (like this high resolution drop at edges unless heavily stopped)

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