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Author Topic: K7 - competent, but not compelling  (Read 11815 times)
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #20 on: October 14, 2009, 08:20:54 PM »
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Quote from: TeeKay
but what other camera offers them all in on package at this price point???
No unique selling point???

In his LL "istD" review Mike Johnston wrote:
"While it may not do any one thing the absolute best, it does everything well, in a simple, straightforward, ergonomically sound, and conservatively designed package.'"
Apparently, this way of thinking is no longer applied.

Well, after reading this long tirade I went back to Michael's review to see whether I missed anything, and I didn't. I believe this sentence in the review which I reproduce in the next para <<>> below, answers the point you made just above, (and the same point about price/features from the perspective of a one-camera purchaser made by someone on DPReview):

<<In the end, the Pentax is a fine camera and anyone who finds it of interest will likely not be disappointed with its purchase. Don't regard this as damning with faint praise. It's a camera that will likely to be found equal to the needs of most photographers looking in this price and performance category.>>

Personally, I think this sentence, and several others in the review address this point about price and features quite adequately, and essentially says the same thing you approvingly quote Mike Johnson as having said.

My sense of decent standards in a camera review is to situate the equipment in a range with its peers, provide informed commentary on what it does steller, well, not so well, badly - by compariosn -  and offer readers advice about what kind of a "buy" it is. I don't know the K-7, but having read all the reviews and commentary I could put my hands on, it seems to me that this review did all those things, so I fail to see what the issue is.

One matter NONE of the on-line material addresses is whether or not Pentax Canada even exists. I have sent them three emails within the past couple of months asking for a link to download their raw converter, because a colleague asked me to compare some Pentax images converted in ACR versus the same done in Silkypix. Not even the courtesy of an auto-reply from them. If that's a valid sample of Pentax service it makes them even worse than some of the others in an industry segment which doesn't distinguish itself with speedy or enthusiastic customer care.



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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
TeeKay
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« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2009, 03:35:23 AM »
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Quote from: MarkDS
Personally, I think this sentence, and several others in the review address this point about price and features quite adequately,...
You can make that statement about any DSLR in any segment, because they are all capable cameras and none of them is a bad buy.

Quote from: MarkDS
I don't know the K-7, but having read all the reviews and commentary I could put my hands on, it seems to me that this review did all those things, so I fail to see what the issue is.
So what about -- just to make one of many possible points -- the unique selling points Michael denies the existence of? An automatic horizon correction (done with hardware by rotating the sensor, not by image deteriorating post processing) may not be important for some, but for many it is a unique selling point. To not know that such a feature exists or to claim there is no unique selling point nevertheless is not an issue?

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viewfinder
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« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2009, 07:57:58 AM »
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[quote name='TeeKay' date='Oct 15 2009, 09:35 AM' post='317352']
You can make that statement about any DSLR in any segment, because they are all capable cameras and none of them is a bad buy.


TeeKay,..that looks to me like you have just shot down your own argument,...that's the point that Micheal made, namely, that the k7 is simply and 'also ran' just like all the others.   Quite adequate but not exemplary.    Pentax used to be an innovator and, in case you have not noticed, the DSLR market could do with some innovation at the moment.    When pentax decides to make something that has a noticeable superiority of design then I'm sure LL will be ready to give it a good review.

I don't see the problem,..why are all the pentax people SO defensive and insecure, such that ONLY a rave review (of an average product) will suffice?

As regards the 'auto-horizon' and other such items,..when and where will these 'juicy fleas on an old dog' end?     How about an 'auto compose' feature with the rule of thirds superimposed over the subject showing poor positioning of major subject points,...or how about 'suto scene enhancing' with the Eiffel tower in the cameras memory to pop into the shot, or your friends faces,......how about adding the internet to the screen on the back...??
« Last Edit: October 15, 2009, 08:04:49 AM by viewfinder » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2009, 08:16:14 AM »
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Tee Kay, MIchael can speak for himself of course, but my speculation is perhaps that he didn't think the horizon levelling feature was the greatest thing since sliced bread. As a sample of one, it would be very low on my list of priorities for a set of camera features. A feature breakthrough doesn't only require that a feature is "new", but also that it is really significant/important. That's a matter of judgment.

And it is not true that no DSLRs are "bad buys". There are good choices and not so good choices. Again all of this is relative. Did you read my article on this website called Camera Metrics? I think this is the way one should think about it. Look at what you pay for a Sony A850 or A900 or a Canon 5DMkii compared with one or two recent Nikon offerings at twice the price and arguably hardly commensurate value-added in terms of features and perhaps perceptible IQ. When I read the feature set of the Pentax K-7, when I read the reviews about its handling and IQ, knowing what I know about the quality of Asahi's optics, I have no problem with the conclusion that both Michael and Mike reached - that it's a fine camera for the price point and will appeal to many customers for that reason.

And "viewfinder", I don't think he said it is an "also-ran". I do, however, think much of the complaining about this review is a tempest in a teapot.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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TeeKay
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« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2009, 04:28:10 PM »
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Quote from: viewfinder
TeeKay,..that looks to me like you have just shot down your own argument,...that's the point that Micheal made, namely, that the k7 is simply and 'also ran' just like all the others.  Quite adequate but not exemplary.
It is not true that the K-7 is just like any other camera. Please reread my list of unique selling points. If any of these are important then the K-7 may not be "exemplary" in an absolute sense but your only/best choice.

Quote from: viewfinder
I don't see the problem,..why are all the pentax people SO defensive and insecure, such that ONLY a rave review (of an average product) will suffice?
Why do you accuse me of being defensive and insecure only because I criticise the level of rigour/enthusiasm that apparently went into this "hands-on report" and its write up? Obviously the hands-on could have reported on a number of unique points of the K-7 but chose not to. I (and many others) don't know why not.

If Michael had written that the K-7 is unacceptable due sub-par dynamic range and sub-par high ISO noise performance and gave it a "Not Good Enough" I would not be in a position to fault him for that. But he didn't take issue with the sensor / noise reduction philosophy. He said the K-7 did not have any unique selling point. Which is factually wrong.


Quote from: MarkDS
Tee Kay, MIchael can speak for himself of course, but my speculation is perhaps that he didn't think the horizon levelling feature was the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Now that's absolutely fine. However, as a reader should I not be in a position to make my own mind up whether I find such a feature important or not? Is a review/report not pretty useless if it only works for you if your are the author yourself or happen to have the same preferences as the author? The problem is, as a reader of Michael's reports you don't even know whether you have the same preferences as him since he doesn't tell you about the electronic horizon and that he thinks it is unimportant.

If Michael had written "The K-7 comes with an electronic horizon and optional automatic horizon correction but I don't think these are important feature because this is how I make sure I avoid crooked horizons in the field: ... and it works far better for me." then I would have been completely happy (regarding this particular unique selling point).

Of course, Michael and anyone else is entitled to be underwhelmed by the K-7!

I would just like to see that this being underwhelmed happened for the right reasons (did he explicitly consider all unique selling points before stating there are none?) and that a reader can make up their own mind whether or not there are important unique selling points instead of just taking someone's word for it with whom they may or may not share the same preferences.

Quote from: MarkDS
Did you read my article on this website called Camera Metrics?
No, not yet, but I will. Thank you very much for the pointer.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2009, 04:29:56 PM by TeeKay » Logged
Jay Kaplan
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« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2009, 10:10:31 PM »
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I think many of the people posting on this topic do not understand Michael's type of review. If you would think of it as a "road test" then you would understand what Michael was trying to say. Most of the reviews of digital cameras on the net are so loaded with, for me at least, too much of what I don't want to know and very little of what I do want to know. That is why Michael's type of review/road test is so much more valuable.

For what it is worth, I live in a major metropolitan area and I did two searches at the two major photography stores in the area Service Photo and Penn Photo and neither carried a Pentax dslr. The second search on the Pentax website by zipcode did list a store - Sam's Club, a noted photography emporium with "Always low prices" but a lack of people who know what you are interested in purchasing. Like most big box stores that sell laser printers they have only one brand - HP.

I have nothing against Pentax, I own and still use my Honeywell Pentax ( yes I know a film camera, but I bought it new probably before many of you were born) and while I would consider buying a Pentax DSLR, I would want to handle it and talk with a sales person who could answer my questions.

So what am I to do? Well, I will keep using my current camera and when I am ready to purchase a DSLR I will go to the local dealer and look very carefully at both the Canon and Nikon offerings, and, if they have any the Sony DSLR.

Jay
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TeeKay
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« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2009, 10:59:17 PM »
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Quote from: Jake21209
I think many of the people posting on this topic do not understand Michael's type of review. If you would think of it as a "road test" then you would understand what Michael was trying to say.
That's not the issue for me at all.
What would you think of a "road test" for a new car which automatically parks in a parking space but the "road tester" never tries or mentions this feature (perhaps because it is of not interest to him/her personally)? Instead the "road tester" says the car has no unique selling point even if there is no other car doing that?  Is that OK just because it is a "road test" as opposed to a "review"?

Quote from: Jake21209
So what am I to do?
Perhaps read a good "hands on" report? For that to work, however, the report should try to enable you to evaluate the product for yourself rather than just communicating a personal opinion that apparently was formed in a very short exposure to the product, the latter apparently not fitting the usual requirements of the road tester. If you know the road tester very well, you'll know what to make of the road test. If not, then you may be misinformed.

I realize that all the reviews and reports in the world are not substitute for handling a camera in a shop but the situation you describe makes it all the more important that sources on the internet are useful and reliable.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2009, 12:13:42 AM »
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Quote from: TeeKay
That's not the issue for me at all.
What would you think of a "road test" for a new car which automatically parks in a parking space but the "road tester" never tries or mentions this feature (perhaps because it is of not interest to him/her personally)? Instead the "road tester" says the car has no unique selling point even if there is no other car doing that?  Is that OK just because it is a "road test" as opposed to a "review"?


Perhaps read a good "hands on" report? For that to work, however, the report should try to enable you to evaluate the product for yourself rather than just communicating a personal opinion that apparently was formed in a very short exposure to the product, the latter apparently not fitting the usual requirements of the road tester. If you know the road tester very well, you'll know what to make of the road test. If not, then you may be misinformed.

I realize that all the reviews and reports in the world are not substitute for handling a camera in a shop but the situation you describe makes it all the more important that sources on the internet are useful and reliable.

It isn't a review of every feature.  It is a report on how it was used.  You can either assume he didn't use that feature or didn't care.  The net is the same.  The consumer can look all the features up for themselves.  If there is one they really want (and I have a hard time imaging anyone caring about the one that has already been mentioned) they can hunt down a review that discusses it.

That said, I'm sure MR will take your criticisms to heart and ask for all 10,000 color options for the Kx should pentax send him one for review.  I'd hate to think of a Pentax user who is unsure if the teal version will match their murse.
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dunmunro
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« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2009, 12:35:39 AM »
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Quote from: viewfinder
Pentax used to be an innovator and, in case you have not noticed, the DSLR market could do with some innovation at the moment.    When pentax decides to make something that has a noticeable superiority of design then I'm sure LL will be ready to give it a good review.

I don't see the problem,..why are all the pentax people SO defensive and insecure, such that ONLY a rave review (of an average product) will suffice?


The K7 is innovative and it offers many features, including weather sealing and cold weather performance, at a lower price point than the competition.

LL offers regular trips to Antarctica...which camera manufacturer guarantees performance in cold weather?  Hmm...how many Canons have failed on those trips over the years? Weather sealing, cold weather performance, inbody IS, excellent VF, low price point...nope no innovation here!

Pray tell us defensive and insecure Pentax people which other "average" camera offers so much?

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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2009, 08:02:52 AM »
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This is my last post on this topic, because I think the subject has been well-aired and nearing exhaustion. Several summary observations come to mind reading all these points of view.

(1) There are different kinds of reviews, and depending on the kind of review it is, reviewing every detail may be more or less important.

(2) What you get from a Michael Reichmann review is how a very experienced professional finds the overall handling and performance of the camera in real-world photography, and what he sees as distinguishing it - or not -  *in important ways* from its peers. If you think his experience and judgment is worth anything, you'd appreciate having this kind of contribution a mouse-click away; if you don't, well you don't.

(3) He never said the camera isn't good value for the money - in fact he did, if not in exactly those words. But regardless of what HE says about that, we as individual consumers with our individual likes and dislikes, needs versus desires, and deep or shallow pockets, need to make that determination; the review is only an assist.

(4) I have always found brand loyalty a curious phenominon. I really have none and I'm grateful for that. I like things that perform and meet my needs at a price point I can afford. I don't care who manufactures it. And this is all the more *a propos* when you consider that no one brand of anything has everything. I also consider service an important component of the brand, and the little I've seen of Pentax leaves me cold.

(5) In that vein, at some point we have to ask ourselves some questions about what makes companies tick and some more prominent and successful than others. As mentioned in one of the posts above, why should it be so hard to find and test a Pentax, when Nikon and Canon are all over the place? This isn't an issue of "natural justice" or "underdogs", it's a story about corporate policy and strategy, which pervades everything from marketing through to service - making and selling cameras isn't only about features and technical quality. I'd like to see more of that angle covered in reviews, but it's a very difficult thing to do because reviewers don't have the data to do it reliably. That's just a limitation we'll live with, but it means we need to keep our eyes and ears open about the company behind the product before we buy.


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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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michael
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« Reply #30 on: October 16, 2009, 08:16:31 AM »
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Pentax fans that I've heard from have all stressed the weather proofing aspect. That's fine, but there are other weather proofed cameras that I wouldn't use on a bet because of their poor ergonomics. Weather sealing is only one aspect of a camera's overall gestalt.

Then there are the cameras that make no weather sealing claims, but which do the job just fine. I've worked in two recent heavy rains with the Leica M9 over the past couple of weeks and had no problems whatsoever. Leica makes no weather sealing claims, and never has for the M series.

One needs to get beyond the marketing hype and see cameras for what they are – complex machines that need to meet a variety of different user's differing needs.

I report on things as I find them. I mostly report on my own take, but try and put myself in the mindset of probable users as well. But in the end if I'm underwhelmed by a product, as I was with the K7, I simply have to say so.

Michael
« Last Edit: October 16, 2009, 08:16:54 AM by michael » Logged
TeeKay
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« Reply #31 on: October 18, 2009, 03:30:01 PM »
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Quote from: michael
But in the end if I'm underwhelmed by a product, as I was with the K7, I simply have to say so.
So you did look at all these unique selling points and found them to be unimportant?
  • Availability of the Limited lenses
      (elsewhere your site praises these a lot; your hands-on ignores the fact that the K-7 is the best camera to use them)
  • Access to millions of old Pentax lenses
  • Electronic horizon (correction)
      (how many of use have to frequently correct crooked horizons in PP?
       This feature is a godsend for people like me.)
  • Rotational shake correction
       (try asking Canon/Nikon to implement that...
        you might be a tripod user only, but not everyone is)
  • Composition adjustment feature
      (this is for tripod users...)
  • Cold resistant (to 14 F or -10 C)
      (any other manufacturer guranteeing that?)
  • Hyperprogramme shooting mode

And even though you try to put yourself in the position of a photography working with a limited budget, the whole package offered by the K-7 -- even though it doesn't excel in individual disciplines -- does not represent a unique value for money offering for you (if one can live with some of the limitations that other models, typically costing at least x 1.5 do not have)?

This is just to clarify. Thank you very much in advance for responding.


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« Reply #32 on: November 19, 2009, 06:14:52 AM »
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Quote from: TeeKay
And even though you try to put yourself in the position of a photography working with a limited budget, the whole package offered by the K-7 -- even though it doesn't excel in individual disciplines -- does not represent a unique value for money offering for you (if one can live with some of the limitations that other models, typically costing at least x 1.5 do not have)?

This is just to clarify. Thank you very much in advance for responding.

Michael has his opinion, and when reading one of his reviews, that's the opinion I would like to hear. Other reviewers have other opinions. Add that to the available specifications, and your own hands-on-experience at a store, and you should be able to make your own opinion about the camera.

If you already own the camera, then Michael's opnion does not really matter, unless it makes you feel that you bought the wrong camera.

I own the K7 myself. A great camera, but with some apparent shortcomings.


Kind regards

Thomas

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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #33 on: November 19, 2009, 08:06:47 AM »
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I'd like to hear of readers' experience getting service from Pentax. The very limited scope of what I wanted from Pentax Canada was left totally unanswered after several polite attempts, which makes me wonder whether they even have a support facility in business here.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #34 on: November 23, 2009, 09:19:07 AM »
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Quote from: MarkDS
I'd like to hear of readers' experience getting service from Pentax. The very limited scope of what I wanted from Pentax Canada was left totally unanswered after several polite attempts, which makes me wonder whether they even have a support facility in business here.

Well, I had to contact them once here in Germany before and after they disbanded their subsidiary (this summer) and out-sourced the maintenance area to a company which until then was specialized in repairing and maintaining Canon gear. Everything else is now conducted by the European headquarters in Paris.
I had bought a DA* 55/1.4 which back focused on my K10D. I established contact via email with an official member of staff before the closure. He answered after a day or two, if I remember correctly. At least I wasn't put off then. It became difficult afterwards because at some point (presumably after the disbanding) because I didn't get any answers to my remaining questions. I did use the official email adress (dunno, info@ or some such, the one listed on their website).
In the end I called the official support number and got the new contractor firm. I was advised that repairs could take some time (technicians still had some training on Pentax gear to do), 3 to 4 weeks. In the end it took about 8 weeks and I wasn't updated on the current status. Called myself to get an update. Lens still misfocuses occasionally but I'm not going to resend it. Don't want to be without camera again for such a long period (mind you I don't make a living by my photography, it's purely for enjoyment and hobby (can't afford a second body. Well, maybe now that the K7 is out prices on used bodies might be low enough, who knows)).
Prior to the disbandment of the official German branch it had a very good standing with the community, repairs seem to have been done fast and well, almost no complains. I have not tried to contact them since I've got my lens back.

Oh, by the way, (can't resist ), Mr. Reichman's article on the K10D on LL was the tipping point of the scales in favor of mine buying the K10D instead of the Nikon D80 (well, and the fact that its body fits my hand better and the K10D was more affordable). Have not had the chance to hold a K7 but from the pictures it might be too small for my hand. Will try it out though. Size matters if you have big hands
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TeeKay
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« Reply #35 on: January 03, 2010, 12:45:57 AM »
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Just dropped by to see whether Michael added any further response.

Unfortunately he hasn't responded to any of the concrete questions I posed after his last post. Well, that leaves me "underwhelmed" not only by his "hands on" (aka "blogger opinion piece") but more so by his (lack of) response to criticism.

I read his articles about the Sony A900 and in the latter's case it was just fine to "not [be] the king of any one hill" whereas in the K-7's case that means that there is something wrong with the camera. I too can get more excited about a Sony A900 compared to a K-7 (though that may not even be the case for others, say street photographers) but that's not the point.

It is totally fine for Michael to have different standards for different cameras and be underwhelmed by a camera that is one or two categories below his usually gear but to handle it like he did in his "hands-on" IMO demotes his site to a personal blog as opposed to a trustworthy source of information.
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chex
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« Reply #36 on: January 03, 2010, 01:40:28 AM »
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You can't expect everyone to like or appreciate something in the same way as yourself. If you like it then use it, why the need for internet affirmation?
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vandevanterSH
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« Reply #37 on: January 03, 2010, 11:53:22 AM »
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demotes his site to a personal blog as opposed to a trustworthy source of information. ..
*******
This from a person who "joined" after this thread went up and only comments on the K7???

Steve
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #38 on: January 03, 2010, 12:01:25 PM »
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Quote from: TeeKay
Unfortunately he hasn't responded to any of the concrete questions I posed after his last post. Well, that leaves me "underwhelmed" not only by his "hands on" (aka "blogger opinion piece") but more so by his (lack of) response to criticism.

................................................ IMO demotes his site to a personal blog as opposed to a trustworthy source of information.

Maybe he didn't respond because perhaps he thinks your criticism isn't worth the bandwidth it occupies.

This website is recognized world-wide as one of the very best reference resources on the internet about photography in general and digital imaging in particular. It has thousands of pages of very useful content - provided to the world free of charge to users. How you can dismiss this whole enterprise as untrustworthy simply because you don't like the review of one camera defies reason and any sense of proportion.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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