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"A Reviewer's Responsibility" Michael Reichmann reflection on his M8 Review

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Guest guy_mancuso

Interesting article and agree on a lot of comments. Folks don't understand what a review can actually do in the industry. All folks think about is them selves when they read a review but if a product gets panned it can be death to a company. But worst part is bad information and sometimes when I see a review that has bad information I just cringe. It's a tough roll for a reviewer and many times a thankless one. Reason i don't do formal reviews. Also there are some out there that should probably not do reviews at all because there sloppy and inconsistent with there processes also. Not speaking of Micheal here but i seen some M8 reports were the reviewer should have been hung out to dry.

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Interesting essay by Reichmann on equipment reviews which was motivated by his M8 review.

 

I have not read all of it yet, but I probably will. I think it is totally self serving, IE trying to justify his lack of honesty in his original M8 review.

 

When he left out the parts of the review that would of mentioned the problems he saw with the M8 that was completely dishonest to himself and to all that would read the review. In short he lied to all his readers. Either write a complete review, including all the good and BAD parts of any product, or don't write one at all.

 

Leica is also at fault because they should of found these problems in there initial testing. And I think they did but never disclosed them to anyone, even the higher ups at Leica AG.

I get that opinion of the higher ups at Leica not knowing about the problems after reading the interview with Stephen Lee in the new LFI.

 

But when Reichmann ask Leica about these problems he saw with his own eyes and there answer was "Please Don't Include them in you review" the red lights should of started flashing and the sirens gone off (Houston we have a problem). At that point he should of said to Leica "I can't do that" or that I will not release the review but I must state that I have found some problems and the review will follow at a time when the problems are sorted out.

 

Of course the above is MY OPINION. Take it with a grain of salt.

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Millions of products get put into the market on a daily basis. Some warrant detailed reviews and others don't. Expensive automobiles, high end stereo equipment, computer products and 5,000 dollar digital cameras warrant detailed technical reviews becuase the people who buy these products want to make informed decisions. If I am an expert and I am holding myself out as a reviewer (as opposed to an advertising channel), my responsibility is to try to be objective in my evaluation. When a manufacturer puts an imperfect product in the market and fails to inform the buyer, that manufacturer is taking a calculated risk. It risks alienating its most loyal customers and ultimately failure. Its alright for a reviewer to feel strong product empathy. However, in my view the minute that product hits the market, I want to read a review that pulls no punches, provides solid technical data and an impartial assessment. Then I will decide for myself whether or not to spend the money. If a reviewer decides to withhold or filter information, that data will factor into my information gathering strategy in the future.

 

I am very pleased with my M8, although I would liken it to my Alfa GTV; it runs great, but its not for everyone. The interesting developmentt is that forums such as this are supplanting the role of the so called expert reviewers. IMHO this forum is packed full of scores of experts. Few products get shaken out as much as the products reviewed on this site. Those who purchased an M8 in early November performed a great service to those of us who purchased in January. They were the guinea pigs who suffered the initial flaws and reported them to the rest of us unfiiltered. It is a facinating example of collaborative networking and is clearly the wave of the future. It certainly creates a new environment of accountability for those who hold themselves out as expert reviewers.

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snipThose who purchased an M8 in early November performed a great service to those of us who purchased in January. They were the guinea pigs who suffered the initial flaws and reported them to the rest of us unfiiltered. It is a facinating example of collaborative networking and is clearly the wave of the future. It certainly creates a new environment of accountability for those who hold themselves out as expert reviewers.

I could not agree more and love your use of the word "unfiltered"

Reichmann should have reported on this, if he observed the problem

he could have done so in a fashion that would not have hurt Leica as he knew they had a fix in the works

I do not trust his opinion about cameras, though I still find him an interesting read

the best information about cameras is obtained not from reviews, but from critical reading of users forums ...the LUF is a priceless source of information & has a very high level of discourse ...I trust the opinions of the folks here who use their cameras daily than that of reviewers who often use them just for a review and often have an agenda

btw this former was not the problem with Reichmann ...he seriously put his M8 to use, but he did have an agenda in wanting to not squash the M8's release with an unfavorable review ...I can understand his loyalty to a grand marque ...indeed I decided to get my M8 in early December (though I could not get my hands on one until mid January) to some extent out of respect for both Kodak & Leica, two pioneering photography companies that had a great deal of their future at stake from the success of the M8

Reichmann should have handled this better ...I seriously wonder if he saw the problems as he said ...either way this reflects poorly on his credibility as a critic

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The article is nothing more than an ego driven attempt to once again explain why he was right to mislead thousands of potential customers.

 

Nothing more, nothing less.

 

I don't think his reviews can be trusted any more. He lied - knowingly to the readers of his site because he wanted to maintain the discounts or freebies and sponsorships he gets from among others Leica.

 

If you look at his photos posted with his review of the M8, he took the time to make black and white images of any photo that would have demonstrated the problem. The woman in the Biker-Goth outfit is a good example.

 

Sorry Michael, you can roll your eyes all you like while you read this thread and this message. You still have not learned from your mistakes. We have though. You reviews can't be trusted. Your reviews are not for yourself to fell better about.

 

Your responsibility is to your readers. You let them down this time. You discredited yourself. It was funny you didn't feel you had a responsibility to your readers to get it right - tell the truth in other words. Instead your responsibility was to report on jpeg and RAW? Give me a break.

 

Sorry Michael, you didn't get it right.

 

DBK

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I love the disclaimer he includes on his pre-preview of the Canon Eos 1D mkIII:

 

"Note: This is not a typical camera review, not even a preliminary one. I will neither list all of the camera's knobs and dials, nor dissect every functional feature. There are plenty of sites that do this quite well. Rather, this is a report that contains my biased impressions of how well it will likely accomplish its intended tasks. If you're looking for so-called objectivity, please turn the dial."

 

Everything is fine until the last sentence and then he comes off like a passive-aggressive brat.

 

EDIT: It gets even better at the bottom of the page:

 

"Advanced Notice to Canon

 

Canon – please make note that I will be leaving for a 10 day shoot in Madagascar on October 20th. A review sample of the 1Ds MKIII by that date would really be appreciated, both by me and about a million readers each month :-)

 

Either that, or you'll end up with a review featuring more photographs of my dog. The choice is yours."

 

Who exactly is expected to read this and think, "That Michael, he's such a jet-setter. Madagascar? Wow! And he's really popular, too. A million readers? Wow! And he even gets to joke around and tell Canon when to send him stuff to review based on his schedule. Wow."

 

Whether this was a poorly executed joke or not, the man comes off like an ass.

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I love this tread!!!

Mr. M.R. dig his own grave (kind of)...

I knew about his "atitude" for a long time, but just kept it for my self as he had quite a big following of fans (on other forums, of course).

The guy can call him self a photographer (and he is trying hard to be one) but he is just a "techno man" with a lot of cash (see his bio on how he got it- great for him) and now he travels the world with his latest toys/gadgets that happens to be latest digital cameras, he comes home and he preaches to "blind" over his web page. Simple as that.

Honestly, I think his photography got worse over the years as he spent more and more $$ on the latest megapixels.

He changes gear like underwear, no worries about the cost for sure. That is going to happen with his Leica M8 once "new wonder" comes out. Cost? Not his problem, no matter what he says. At one point (long time ago), I even owned a large format camera that he initially got, played with it and gave it to his regular "reseller"- I was lucky to spot it, and I got it for a great (GREAT) price at the time. Why? You figure out.

 

I am just not sure how he can still feature ANY gear "review" after this episode with M8. The man has no shame. Not that it matters, but he should stick to organizing so called photo "expeditions" for rich and bored (who else can afford $30,000+ for a photo trip to South Pole???), and post pretty pictures on his site from all his travels...

 

P.S. Sorry Sean, I know he is your friend...

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You guys should be nice to a gentleman who has always provided you some hot topics without additional charge. After all, what were wasted is your time and his money.

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Oh please. Stop this self-righteous huffing and puffing. He got the camera, saw some stuff he didn't understand, and asked Leica what it was about. They said they weren't sure yet at that time, which I believe.

 

Yes, he could have made mention of that. but he didn't. He's a Leica fan, and he didn't want to talk poorly of a brand that he likes if the problem was solely within his own camera.

 

Some of the comments here are silly. I don't expect great journalistic independent repartage on the internet, esp. not from an admitted photo-fan like MR. Worse, it sounds like some people here got duped into buying $5,000+ of faulty gear - we all bought it 'cause we wanted it first. Every brand-new product has problems.

 

I would never spend that kind of money simply based on reviews. I read as many reviews as possible, so when I finally go to take a look at the product myself I know which issues will warrant closest inspection - both to see if they're as bad as was said by the reviewer, or if they're really as good.

 

Expecting that Leica should have caught this and dealt with this issue is correct though. That was lame - I expect "public betas" from lesser consumer electronics companies, but not a pure camera+optics company with the experience and reputation of Leica.

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Oh please. Stop this self-righteous huffing and puffing. He got the camera, saw some stuff he didn't understand, and asked Leica what it was about. They said they weren't sure yet at that time, which I believe.

 

 

You have totally missed the point. He saw it, he contacted Leica about it, they asked him not to mention it and he didn't. Whether he or Leica knew or didn't know what it was and what caused it does NOT really matter. It should of been included in his initial review. That is what a review is for, IE to point out a cameras strong and weak points.

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Because MR wrote an apology now. I really don't see any reason to burn him at the stake for that. Yes - he did not report on the IR sensitivity. Maybe he should have done so. On the other hand, the way the M8 is used now - not in the least by most of us on this forum - indicates that this IR stuff turns out to be a relatively minor thing, once one understands the technical considerations.And he even wrote an explanatory article now, which was not really needed but a good thing to do. The main anger as I see it is not aimed a Michael but at Leica for not realizing the importance of this at the launch of the camera. Well...idols have clay feet. I would rate this thread as much ado about nothing.

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Guest stnami

They lied about Santa Claus and he lied about the Leica and then created his site into a self serving about his boring self site loved by the shallow minded ..... plenty around to trumpet his greatness:eek:

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Well, I don't want to get dragged into this, but keep in mind that he tested a pre-production camera with a non-final firmware. Under those conditions it is the norm (yes, it is, and that is reasonable too) for reviews not to discuss image quality, period.

 

The problem was with Leica who had several indications that something was wrong, and simply ignored it due to schedule pressure, ignorance, or pride, or whatever. They have since made good on it, to the extent they could, and anyone not happy has had the opportunity to back out. I don't see any need for anyone to complain about these two items.

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Because MR wrote an apology now.

 

No it came out ages ago. I thought I saw it before christmas when people were complaining about magenta and he had to justify himself. Are you saying he re published it? He must be copping more flack.

 

Anyway, he is a reviewer. Its a profession. Write bad reviews on anything, boats, cars, washing machines, and you soon have unhappy manufacturers and no product to review.

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You have totally missed the point. He saw it, he contacted Leica about it, they asked him not to mention it and he didn't. Whether he or Leica knew or didn't know what it was and what caused it does NOT really matter. It should of been included in his initial review. That is what a review is for, IE to point out a cameras strong and weak points.

 

From MR's comments:

Briefly – I had seen a couple of problems with the M8, didn't know what it was that I was seeing, and asked the company for their thoughts. At the time they didn't understand what the problems were either, (or so they said) and suggested that until they and I did it might make sense not to put them in my review. And so, because I only saw these problems on a handful of images out of many hundreds taken, I didn't comment on them in my review.

No Shootist, I didn't miss the point at all, my reading comprehension skills are quite good. I am willing to give credit (or be considered gullible, you may choose to call it as you see it.) He saw something in a few pictures, and Leica was also still trying to identify the problem. No one was out to screw anyone, no one had malicious intent.

 

Maybe my expectation is different. To me, MR is a "glorified blogger", a phrase I use respectfully, btw. If I want a serious product review, I'll turn to DP Review... who WILL bore me to tears - but at least they cover it in depth. It takes them a while, and they'll publish previews, but they'll identify them as non-reviews.

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