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Author Topic: What do we make of Ken Rockwell?  (Read 11153 times)
7h3C47
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« on: June 16, 2013, 10:45:51 AM »
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Or rather his advice, not the man himself of course Smiley I'm relatively new to the hobby/enthusiast aspect of photography and am in the market for a new DSLR setup. While searching for lens reviews I found Ken Rockwell's website and read through his articles for about 2 hours.

I don't want to sound like I'm discrediting his advice--surely he knows better than I do about just about everything related to photography. I've only been shooting casually for around 3 years with no formal classes or instruction. I'm pretty much bottom of the barrel. I haven't used more than one set-up, nor have I experience with film nor micro 4/3 cameras. Nada.

In contrast with his (IMO) helpful lens reviews, I found his general advice a bit...hmm, head-strong? I know advice is technically a form of opinion but I mean to say that some of it came off as if he were suggesting what he was saying is a fact and not a subjective observation.

For instance that (and I'm paraphrasing of course): 1) ISO and megapixels are merely marketing ploys. 2) That all lenses are sharp, moreso than one could ever appreciate or need unless you're a lens manufacturer yourself. 3) That something like a D3100 body and 4) plastic 18-55mm lens is all you really need-- and when you buy a D7000 you're [some say needlessly] spending hundreds of extra dollars on more buttons that make it easier to shoot, but there's no increase in actual quality.

I don't have the experience to discredit any of those claims. For all I know the man is a prophet of photography and many of us are wasting hundreds or rarely thousands of dollars. Are we?

The only thing I can really comment on is lens sharpness since pretty much the only thing I've been doing with my Sigma SD14 and Sigma macro lenses for the past 3 years is macro photography. At this point I'm one of those crazy OCD lens sharpness people--but I just don't speak up very often due to being so new. I actually bought the Sigma body specifically because of the unique color&texture capture abilities of the sensor which the common mosaic style sensors tend to fall short on. I spent many many hours taking the same shots on numerous macro lenses and found that all lenses are most certainly not created equal sharpness wise--nor color nor bokeh nor AF nor chromatic aberration wise. Or rather not that they're equal, but that they're all sharp enough that the small differences don't practically matter. I just plain disagree.

Those of you who have been around the block, can you please comment? Or those who use really high end gear in professional work? Does your perspective on photography match Mr. Rockwell's entirely, in part, or not at all?
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Chairman Bill
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2013, 10:49:11 AM »
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I think he's brilliant, and I hang on his every word. Now, where's that sofa I need to hide behind?
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2013, 10:54:10 AM »
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Hi,

As far as I know KR doesn't post on these forums, so I guess it is not really our concern.

Best regards
Erik

Or rather his advice, not the man himself of course Smiley I'm relatively new to the hobby/enthusiast aspect of photography and am in the market for a new DSLR setup. While searching for lens reviews I found Ken Rockwell's website and read through his articles for about 2 hours.

I don't want to sound like I'm discrediting his advice--surely he knows better than I do about just about everything related to photography. I've only been shooting casually for around 3 years with no formal classes or instruction. I'm pretty much bottom of the barrel. I haven't used more than one set-up, nor have I experience with film nor micro 4/3 cameras. Nada.

In contrast with his (IMO) helpful lens reviews, I found his general advice a bit...hmm, head-strong? I know advice is technically a form of opinion but I mean to say that some of it came off as if he were suggesting what he was saying is a fact and not a subjective observation.

For instance that (and I'm paraphrasing of course): 1) ISO and megapixels are merely marketing ploys. 2) That all lenses are sharp, moreso than one could ever appreciate or need unless you're a lens manufacturer yourself. 3) That something like a D3100 body and 4) plastic 18-55mm lens is all you really need-- and when you buy a D7000 you're [some say needlessly] spending hundreds of extra dollars on more buttons that make it easier to shoot, but there's no increase in actual quality.

I don't have the experience to discredit any of those claims. For all I know the man is a prophet of photography and many of us are wasting hundreds or rarely thousands of dollars. Are we?

The only thing I can really comment on is lens sharpness since pretty much the only thing I've been doing with my Sigma SD14 and Sigma macro lenses for the past 3 years is macro photography. At this point I'm one of those crazy OCD lens sharpness people--but I just don't speak up very often due to being so new. I actually bought the Sigma body specifically because of the unique color&texture capture abilities of the sensor which the common mosaic style sensors tend to fall short on. I spent many many hours taking the same shots on numerous macro lenses and found that all lenses are most certainly not created equal sharpness wise--nor color nor bokeh nor AF nor chromatic aberration wise. Or rather not that they're equal, but that they're all sharp enough that the small differences don't practically matter. I just plain disagree.

Those of you who have been around the block, can you please comment? Or those who use really high end gear in professional work? Does your perspective on photography match Mr. Rockwell's entirely, in part, or not at all?
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michael
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2013, 10:58:24 AM »
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Do we need to rehash this again?

Rockwell is the court jester of photographic websites. His technical remarks are considered those of a flat-earther.

Other than that, I have no opinion on the man.

Michael
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7h3C47
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2013, 11:05:35 AM »
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Do we need to rehash this again?


Sorry if this is already a common sentiment.  Being new I'm just trying to carry out my due diligence and not believe everything I read on the internet--even if it's the #2 link on a google search.  Don't mean to annoy anyone.
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Chairman Bill
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2013, 11:10:26 AM »
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Some of what Ken says is fine. Some of what Ken says is not. Now that's OK if you know what is fine & what is not. If you don't, well, you can work that out for yourself.

Take everything he says with a pinch or three of salt.
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2013, 11:27:48 AM »
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You'll find some fairly forthright opinions about KR here http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=25408.0 especially towards the end of the thread.

There are far, far more authoritative and objective sites for technical reviews.
From what you've written so far, you've probably realised a lot of what else he's written isn't worth the bandwidth.

For general advice, just ask in the beginners section here. You'll generally get great advice and/or pointed to other sites that are genuinely helpful.
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2013, 11:36:14 AM »
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Sorry if this is already a common sentiment.  Being new I'm just trying to carry out my due diligence and not believe everything I read on the internet--even if it's the #2 link on a google search.  Don't mean to annoy anyone.

Who's #1?
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MrSmith27
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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2013, 11:36:28 AM »
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Whenever I'm not sure what to think of some photography guy I always check out his portfolio. And Ken Rockwell's pictures are whack. Sorry, but why is anybody listening to somebody who posts this shit into a gallery?

http://kenrockwell.com/trips/2013-04-slo/index.htm
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7h3C47
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2013, 11:40:51 AM »
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Who's #1?

dpreview for most things, apparently.

Edit: bythom has also showed up in searches a decent amount
« Last Edit: June 16, 2013, 11:45:56 AM by 7h3C47 » Logged
ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2013, 11:41:56 AM »
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Well,

Flat earth theory served humanity well for thousands of years, than science invented itself and made everything approximate. So, now we have relativity and quantum mechanics instead of a simple flat earth ruled by more or less benign (mostly less) gods. I guess that is what we call progress ;-)

Best regards
Erik

Do we need to rehash this again?

Rockwell is the court jester of photographic websites. His technical remarks are considered those of a flat-earther.

Other than that, I have no opinion on the man.

Michael

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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2013, 11:54:06 AM »
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... Rockwell is the court jester of photographic websites...

That's what I've been saying all along.

But careful, court jester was also the one daring to spell the truth to the king. Wink
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Slobodan

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« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2013, 12:14:35 PM »
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how about photozone.
you consider that a reliable source?
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eronald
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« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2013, 12:16:49 PM »
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That's what I've been saying all along.

But careful, court jester was also the one daring to spell the truth to the king. Wink

Most of Ken's stuff is trash. And then he hits the nail on the head.
I got a very nice guide to focusing the D3 series off his site, and it was limpid clear and helped me to set up the AF on my D3x, and taught me how the modes work, a notoriously difficult topic. So somewhere in this guy's brain there clearly is a spark.

I'd bought Thom's manual in the past, and he is respected for being knowledgable but what I bought from him was nowhere as useful as what I found on Ken's site.

Edmund
« Last Edit: June 16, 2013, 12:19:54 PM by eronald » Logged

Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
Rob C
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« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2013, 12:18:31 PM »
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Do we need to rehash this again?

Rockwell is the court jester of photographic websites. His technical remarks are considered those of a flat-earther.

Other than that, I have no opinion on the man.

Michael



Glad to see that living upside down has your spirits high and the right way up!

;-)

Rob C
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2013, 12:19:42 PM »
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For instance that (and I'm paraphrasing of course): 1) ISO and megapixels are merely marketing ploys. 2) That all lenses are sharp, moreso than one could ever appreciate or need unless you're a lens manufacturer yourself. 3) That something like a D3100 body and 4) plastic 18-55mm lens is all you really need-- and when you buy a D7000 you're [some say needlessly] spending hundreds of extra dollars on more buttons that make it easier to shoot, but there's no increase in actual quality.


Rockwell writes for his sudience which are amateurs and prosumers.  He also think that the manufacturer's hype their products so the average guy thinks he's going to become a better photographer by purchasing the latest stuff.  His point is that if you shoot on an old camera and the photos are done well, all this other stuff won't matter.  He's trying to get people away from thinking they'll be a better photographer with more pixels or sharper lens.  His point is that the stuff that's been out for years is good enough .   Maybe you missed it.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2013, 12:20:07 PM »
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But careful, court jester was also the one daring to spell the truth to the king. Wink

"Comedy is the mask of wisdom"

I saw that on a church message board along the highway in Nevada.
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eronald
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« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2013, 12:22:13 PM »
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Rockwell writes for his sudience which are amateurs and prosumers.

His point is that the stuff that's been out for years is good enough .   Maybe you missed it.

 I'm not an amateur or a prosumer, just a beginner Smiley
 That must be why I missed his point.

Edmund
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Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
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« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2013, 12:24:29 PM »
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He's trying to tell you it's the photgrapher not the equipment.
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2013, 12:40:05 PM »
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Do we need to rehash this again?

Rockwell is the court jester of photographic websites. His technical remarks are considered those of a flat-earther.

Other than that, I have no opinion on the man.

Michael


No, really, how do you feel about Ken? Don't mince words...
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