It seems to me that we may be heading into a new era where camera reviews are concerned. It seems like a lot of review sites and even gear-focused magazines are going by the wayside. In fact, there are large numbers of magazines, blogs, and other publications, all of which were review centric, that have closed down in recent years.
Why is that? Well, I look at my own reading habits and realize, when do I ever really read camera or lens reviews? When do any of us really read this type of content? Much as we may be interested in photography, so many of us just don’t follow reviews at all. Months can go by with some of us completely oblivious to the fact that some amazing new piece of gear has launched.
And that’s because, for most of us, we only go out in search of reviews when we feel the need to buy something. If our cameras or lenses are no longer up to the task, or if we find ourselves with a gap in our gear’s capabilities that we need to fill, then we’ll turn to reviews in order to remedy these issues. But the rest of the time, reviews may as well not even exist to us.
I know that I’m not the only person who works this way. Truthfully, probably most photographers fall into this category, and for a variety of reasons. For some of us, it’s because the gear isn’t the important part. Others, it’s because what we have is good enough for what we’re doing.
And for most of us, it’s because digital photography isn’t new anymore.
That is perhaps the real part of the problem. Twenty years ago or even ten years ago, digital photography was still new enough to be shiny. Photographers were still learning about all the cameras, lenses, and other pieces of equipment that go into it. Manufacturers were still making enormous strides in technology.
Think back to the days when just a couple of megapixels was considered the top of the line. In 1975, the first digital camera by Kodak had a resolution of 100 by 100 pixels—or just 0.01 megapixels. From there, things improved, and as digital became the new standard adopted by photographers the world over, things began to improve at an incredible pace. Back then, we needed all of these reviews because we needed to learn about all these new things—both the gear that we could buy and the latest advancements in technology.
Today, it’s not so new anymore. Most of us are perfectly familiar with what digital technology can do, and most of us already own most of the gear that we need to be content with our artistic pursuits. Camera reviews are starting to wane. There will always be a place for them, I think, but they will never resume the popularity that we saw a decade ago.
What’s next? For photographers, bloggers, and everyone else within the industry, I think this means it’s time to make a return to the subject material that is more important than anything else: The creative side of photography.