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Author Topic: What do we make of Ken Rockwell?  (Read 18220 times)
theguywitha645d
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« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2013, 12:48:13 PM »
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Ken has the unique ability of writing reviews of equipment he has not even seen--see his review on the Pentax 645D. He is very accurate and thorough. In his review of the RX-1 he slams the camera because the shutter speed is "fixed" to 1/80 in P with Auto ISO. Actually, it is very simple to change the shutter speed in that condition. So, if you want lots of information about cameras, Ken is the guy. If you want accurate information, I would suggest somewhere else.

As far as his knowledge of photography, it is equal to his knowledge of cameras.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2013, 02:14:53 PM »
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Rockwell writes for his sudience which are amateurs and prosumers.
Mostly people who are not good about rational thinking on their own and would accept what Ken writes as fact, when much of the time, it's complete nonsense. Those who don't know better get awful information mixed with apparently some good info, those who know better like to excuse this as entertainment.

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He's trying to tell you it's the photgrapher not the equipment.
Then all he has to do is copy and paste that one sentence and leave out the BS. But he can't.

Michael summed it up best here and on the other huge post on Ken's silliness: He's a flat-earther. If that's your thing, he's your man.
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Andrew Rodney
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MrSmith
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« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2013, 02:57:26 PM »
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A self publicist cretin.
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BJL
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« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2013, 03:10:43 PM »
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Some competence + a great deal of showmanship and self-promotional skill = $$$
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2013, 03:17:36 PM »
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Flat earth theory served humanity well for thousands of years,


It certainly did. Sailors were very careful to keep away from the edge and, as far as history records, none of them fell over.

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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.

Good strategy never to believe anything you read on the internet. I may have told this story before. A few years ago I was involved in a correspondence debate with some others in the pages of a UK national newspaper. To counter some dirty tricks by the other side, I invented a population/economics theory (which made good sense but would have taken years to research properly and prove to a credible academic standard) and placed it on Wikipedia to "prove" my point. I only left it there for a couple of weeks before taking it down but, in that short time, I discovered that a number of other people - some quite well known political names - had been quoting it in their own debates and writings.

I'll not offer any comment on Mr Rockwell other than to say that he obviously makes his money from affiliate programme commissions and those depend upon driving people to his website. A bit of controversy does no harm in seeking that objective.
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Glenn NK
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« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2013, 03:50:45 PM »
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Nothing.

Not everything in the world is relevant and useful.  Accept it.
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John Camp
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« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2013, 04:31:16 PM »
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Most of his stuff is fairly pedestrian, but some of it is undeniably brilliant, especially the World War II stuff that was on the cover of the Saturday Evening...oh, wait. Did you say KEN Rockwell?
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2013, 08:09:13 PM »
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Mr R. is one of the early very savvy users of the www to market himself as an expert. I give him high marks for that.

What he actually has to offer to readers is up for debate. people who actually know more than the very basics or who are just getting interested in knowing more than the very basics very quickly catch on to his game.

As to his reviews. I know he was blackballed by by both Canon's and Nikon's PR people and agencies back in 2005 when he was caught egregiously breaking NDA's he had signed moments before. A lot of his "reviews" read like either regurgitated press releases or things I've seen elsewhere.

Mostly he's harmless if you make the effort to find what other people who have solid track records  (these forums are good, so are http://www.imaging-resource.com   http://www.slrgear.com/ and also the reviews at dpreview.com and photo.net
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Ray
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« Reply #28 on: June 16, 2013, 09:11:18 PM »
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I am surprised that there are so many posters on LL who can spend the time to read Ken Rockwell's site in order to form an opinion that he is a cretin or a jester, or whatever.  Grin

I very rarely visit his site myself, but I have defended in the past, on LL, some of his statements about photography, which can be at least thought-provoking.

Often when people have a strong reaction against a particular opinion on any matter, resulting in ad hominem attacks upon the person expressing the opinion, it's because there is an element of truth in that opinion that is too disturbing to think about.

I get the impression that Rockwell uses a technique of making statements of a general nature that may be true only in specific circumstances which he doesn't always mention, but leaves it up to the reader to work out what those circumstances may be.

To illustrate this point, let's consider some of the examples of Ken Rockwell's pronouncements that the OP has mentioned.

(1) ISO and megapixels are merely marketing ploys.

Such a statement is clearly wrong, as expressed and without qualification, and taken out of context. But the statement contains elements of truth which, if expressed with slightly different wording, could be accepted as being wholly true. However, the statement would then not be so controversial. For example, how about, "High ISO settings and a high pixel-count are a part of a camera company's marketing strategy." Would anyone disagree with that statement?

(2) All lenses are sharp, more so than one could ever appreciate or need unless you're a lens manufacturer yourself.

Again, if we modify the statement and flesh it out, we can see there are elements of truth here that may apply in certain circumstances. For example, how about, "For the photographic novice who never makes prints larger than A4, and who frequently produces blurry shots because the shutter speed was not sufficient to freeze camera or subject movement, and/or the focusing was not accurate, all lenses can be considered as equally sharp. The path to producing better photos is to improve one's technique, not to obsess about lens sharpness".

Everything requires interpretation.  Wink
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K.C.
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« Reply #29 on: June 16, 2013, 09:21:37 PM »
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Some competence + a great deal of showmanship and self-promotional skill = $$$

Wait. I thought that was the definition of a photographer these days. Though 'some competence' is optional.
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K.C.
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« Reply #30 on: June 16, 2013, 09:23:12 PM »
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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.

Due diligence = learning to use the board's search function first.  Smiley
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eronald
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« Reply #31 on: June 16, 2013, 09:40:12 PM »
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Due diligence = learning to use the board's search function first.  Smiley

Ken entertains, gets his name around and makes a lot of money writing about cameras. Now why should we hold the quality of his work against him when it seems to be exactly what the audience demands?

Edmund
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K.C.
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« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2013, 09:47:39 PM »
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Ken entertains, gets his name around and makes a lot of money writing about cameras. Now why should we hold the quality of his work against him when it seems to be exactly what the audience demands?

Edmund

Quoting my post and following with that statement is an amazing non sequitur.

I was suggesting the OP's apologies could be avoided by searching the board before posting a question about a topic that's likely had some discussion.

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uaiomex
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« Reply #33 on: June 16, 2013, 10:06:09 PM »
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I visit his website every now and then to know about his different perspectives of things. Usually it is refreshing, amusing and entertaining. Sometimes but extremely rarely he is so damn right is scary.
As far as I'm concern, he's cool for the web. It's up to every individual to visit or not visit. It's up to every individual to believe or not believe. I can visit a mosque and that doesn't turn me into a muslim. (probably a bad analogy but you get my point). But it may well make me more tolerant.  Wink
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2013, 11:08:26 PM »
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... I get the impression that Rockwell uses a technique of making statements of a general nature that may be true only in specific circumstances which he doesn't always mention, but leaves it up to the reader to work out what those circumstances may be...

I agree, Ray. Good point.
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Slobodan

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« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2013, 11:11:49 PM »
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(1) ISO and megapixels are merely marketing ploys.

Such a statement is clearly wrong, as expressed and without qualification, and taken out of context. But the statement contains elements of truth which, if expressed with slightly different wording, could be accepted as being wholly true. However, the statement would then not be so controversial. For example, how about, "High ISO settings and a high pixel-count are a part of a camera company's marketing strategy." Would anyone disagree with that statement?



That sort of thing is not actually what he says for the most part though, and thus I don't even think that is the point he's trying to make.  If he were trying to do that, he would(?)  Which is why I'm so skeptical, or enough to ask other people in the community if they believe what he writes.  Being inexperienced as I am, I'm just curious if there's some consensus or cumulative experience that will ultimately help me from making mistakes regarding purchases or point of view as I continue to read more and further understand this hobby (<--- for me, profession for others of course).

Due diligence = learning to use the board's search function first.  Smiley

I understand the sentiment behind what you're saying but your post isn't very helpful for me at this point Sad  If you don't want to communicate your view point (again) then feel free not to comment!  Other people who have previously not contributed or still feel they have an opinion to add that contributes to my better understanding of the issue will do so.  That's (one of) the point(s) of a forum, in my opinion--feel free to disagree  Smiley .  That being said, I am not new to online forums in general, and I did perform a search function before posting.  It's kind of unsettling to me that you're inferring I didn't regardless of the fact that it's my prerogative to ask the community for help anyways.  It's a forum...


Lastly I'm glad some people have made comments about his actual photos.  I held back on mentioning this in my initial post because, as per laws of the internet, if you seem too negative or biased, the only people who will respond are those who seek to vindicate the opposite opinion of that which you're suggesting.  I was hoping for some advice as to the pros and cons of this guy, and that's what I've received so far.  Thanks 
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2013, 11:12:35 PM »
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Or rather his advice, not the man himself of course Smiley

I get this question from my workshop students more often than I care to answer the question.  I try my very best to not discuss others who give workshops, instead I ask them to form the question in another way that removes the man from the question.  

With the man and photography separated I'll say this.  If you are not a professional then you're probably in this for fun, discovery, you appreciate small machines and technical whoo ha, and even as a professional you should strive to have fun and enthusiasm for your craft.   With this in mind I don't know anyone else, who through their writing/website alone, shows they're having more fun and showing more enthusiasm for photography than Ken Rockwell.  I don't know the man, but this is impression his website and writings convey to me.  Fun, enthusiasm, and the need to share his knowledge and experience with others.  Isn't that what every photography website should be trying to do first and foremost?  This imo explains his #2 position.

When it comes to his technical knowledge/opinions.. I take it the same way I think when I see someone's thread on a forum asking what lens they should get next.  If you have to ask you probably haven't learned your old lens very well at all, and you're lost.. and don't know where to go.  So you need someone to tell you.  Otherwise you'd know exactly what lens to get.  Same with Ken.  Half of what he writes he writes in jest, some sarcasm, tongue in cheek, and some technically correct.    IF you find yourself asking "does he know his photography", "should I take this opinion seriously", or "hey, I resemble that remark".. then you're still learning and he's making you pause and think and this is exactly what he wants you to do.  Some people pick up information at a glance, but for most it needs to sink in somehow.. and what better way than through controversy.

I don't know if he's successful or not.  I don't know if his coffers are overflowing with gold coins.  But using his web rankings as proof I know more people are reading his site than others.  I can only wish to be so fortunate.  And this is why some of his more successful (and serious) competition get annoyed with him.  He's doing by acting silly.. what the rest of us can't do on our best day.  
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #37 on: June 17, 2013, 12:46:31 AM »
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Good post, Steve.
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Slobodan

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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #38 on: June 17, 2013, 01:08:36 AM »
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... ask other people in the community if they believe what he writes...

I do. However, I understand it in its proper context, as Ray already explained.

I do not understand how what i think and how this whole polling is going to help you. As this thread has shown, as well as another current one about the same topic (which you apparently failed to find in your "due diligence" search of this site), you will have the whole spectrum of opinion about KR, or just about anything else for that matter. So, asking others about their opinion about someone else's opinion is not going to help you. The only thing that is going to help you is learning enough yourself first, so that you can properly understand what others are saying, and then decide by yourself.
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Rob C
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« Reply #39 on: June 17, 2013, 03:01:30 AM »
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I can't remember having visited Ken's site, I'm usually here, or looking for David Bailey's site, which insofar as I can ascertain, doesn't exist. There are other David Baileys, but not the Shrimp one that I seek. (Should anyone have found the real deal, please forward!)

The thing is, so much seems to be written surrounding Ken on this site, that perhaps I should cancel or postpone my Bailey hunt and find the Rock man himself instead.

If he writes with humour (I don't know, as I have said), then that in itself can be no bad thing: we all need uplifting from time to time - like most of the day on some days. Yeah, I speak pour moi, I guess. Anyway, I'd rather a Rockwell loose on the Web than a porn merchant.

Rob C
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