Thursday, September 13, 2007

Another person who is smarter than me…

Of course the first thought of people how know me is, “Okay Scott we'll bite, who isn’t smarter than you

;)

One of the most important websites I frequent is by Ken Rockwell, but be warned, it has soooo much information that you can only stay for a short period of time, if you stay too long you run the risk of having your head explode from overfilling.

I don't make a single lens purchase without seeing what Ken has to say about it. Not only will he tell you his likes and dislikes about a given lens, Ken reinforces his review with photographic examples that demonstrates the point he is trying to drive home.

Before finding Ken's site I made more than one bad lens purchase (I see some of you out there nodding your head in agreement, yourselves having bought "bad glass"), since reading his reviews I have purchased two lenses based on his recommendation (Nikon 18-200mm VR and a Nikon 80-200 f/2.8), that's a lot of money, errr, I mean trust to put in the hands of a stranger, and I could not be happier that I did!

Ken also provides his reviews and recommendations on cameras and flashes as well.

Two areas you will want to be sure to visit are his "highly recommended photography books and magazines" (my wife walked by while I was going through the list and said "stop drooling and close your mouth") as well as "how to do anything photographic".

And lastly, if you read nothing else, be sure to read his article "Why your wife wants you to get a new camera", not only will you learn how to approach the boss and get her on your side when it comes to filling your camera bag with gear, in this article it is revealed for the very first time - WHAT WOMEN WANT!

Bottom line, be sure to pay Ken a visit.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

you're such a looser dude

Anonymous said...

Ken is a good guy though substantially less accessible today than a couple years ago. Fame and fortune has gone to his head.

If you understand where he is coming from in relation to small-format cameras, his recommendations make more sense. In many cases I disagree with his conclusion in relation to my shooting style and needs but do agree with his logic and reasoning.

In short, folks should cut Ken some slack. He really is providing a solid service.

CookieMonster said...

Yeah, I'm also a fan of Ken.

I recommend his site to many people, and I always say:

- Check his photos to see what is important for his photography.
- Check his reviews of equipment you know well to calibrate his oppinions.
- Read. :)

Jeff said...

I agree with the original article and the second comment 2:14PM 10/16/07. I find Mr. Rockwell's site informative and interesting.

I don't always agree with him, but I can't say that about anyone. I think he takes a reasoned approach to reviewing cameras and uses a lot of common sense.

I don't get why people are so down on him.

Anonymous said...

I bought the Nikkor 17-35/2.8 based solely on his recommendation. I mean there were others saying nice things about it, but Ken came out so strongly in its favor, that the others became less relevant. Ken's a good salesman :)

Anonymous said...

I would not trust Rockwell further than I can throw him. There is far too much that is plain wrong on his web site. There are plenty of far more reliable and respected commentators out there.

Klifton K said...

Ken's information is very good for new photographers... There's little to go wrong there, he says it how he sees it...

Where people go wrong is trying to take what he says as fact if they have specialized needs... Of course a good wedding photographer is probably going to need more than an 18-200mm to cover a wedding, likewise a wedding photographer's most used lens may not be a 12-24mm f/4, etc. BUT his site isn't aimed as such. If you're a good wedding photographer, you should know what you need anyway... Just as an example...

But, the average joe buying a camera probably doesn't need a 17-35mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8, 85mm f/1.4 and a D3. They can probably get by with a D40 & 18-55 or 18-200 just fine. And in those aspects, Ken is right on.

KWIM? :)

williamzaspel said...

I have made it a habit of visiting Ken's site everyday just to see what he is up to. Sure, he has his opinions and there are not more than that; his opinions. He says that very clearly in more than one place. His photography is very general and very good. But if you are looking for something for a specific purpose, you have to be conscious of more than one source of reference. Others have pointed that out here as well. Ken provides a valuable service to a lot of beginning photographers who are searching for some advice, as well as valuable and reliable information to many in need of further information as part of an investigation. No one person can know everything and I am glad Ken is doing his part to help us all by providing his service. Thanks Ken, for all your hard work!

Alan Morris said...

Ken gives you his opinion. Straight up. Agree or disagree -- at least he gives you the good and the bad -- no weasel words.

gabriel said...

In reply to the Anon. commenter above who says "would not trust Rockwell further than I can throw him" and goes on to claim that there "is far too much that is plain wrong on his web site." ; I would like to critique your photographs alongside Mr. Rockwell's. How about it? Proof is in the pudding. You're not one of those "measurbators" are you... who spends all their time analyzing or arguing and no time taking pictures? Ken Rockwell spends his life figuring out what works for him, then sharing it with the rest of us. That’s exactly what makes him more reliable and respected than most of the other commentators out there. Go fish.

Anonymous said...

Ken's resume is far more impressive than most if not all of the "loosers" who try to detract from his excellent opinions. Loser.

Anonymous said...

Ken is good. I check his site almost every day. He is fast to tell new stuff. He is straight forward. He tells what he really feels. He experiences the stuff by himself before posting it on his site.
Of course, there is something I do not agree with him, especially his opinion on tripod and jpg vs. raw. We sometimes need to combine pictures (image overlay), pal. Of course, raw file has much more leeway to tweek.
Ken is cool. Hope he can keep his good job.

nateg2002 said...

I would also encourage everyone to dig into his site. It is quite entertaining to see him state something as a cold, hard fact of photography only to change his mind the next day. Quite entertaining!

Anonymous said...

haha! yeah, I will give you that. I remember when he was ranting on about how full frame digital sensors were so archaic and that the new electronic age was making sensors smaller and more efficient, etc...

sr99 said...

Yeah, he has done a 180 on FF sensors, or so it seems. If you read between the lines he seems to imply that he *deliberately* did not extol the virtues of FF sensors because Nikon did not have any at the time.

Now that doesn't make sense. If what he claims is true about not getting a penny from Nikon, I don't see how he could have benefited. His revenue comes mostly from commissioned sales, whether it's Nikon, Canon or whatever else through his site. I suppose you could argue that since his site is still heavily tilted toward Nikon he didn't want to push potential Nikon DX buyers toward Canon FF. But not a good argument because Canon FF is not even in the same league pricewise as Nikon DX.

Methinks he genuinely felt FF did not offer significant advantages over DX, image quality wise. And now that he has discovered the opposite to be true, he is just covering his behind ! :)

Anonymous said...

I think when you're at a point where the only thing people know you for, are for posting about how much you dont like ken rockwell on some blog, you really need to get a life.

Anonymous said...

Ken is awesome. I check his site almost every day. He writes clearly, and doesn't pretend to do anything but offer advice based upon his own personal likes and experiences. I absolutely love Ken. He says some great things, especially his "why your camera doesn't matter." He really makes some important points that I have really tried to take to heart (that's not to say that my D300 is not on order, though. :-))

Keep it up, Ken!!

Mikez52 said...

I have been visiting Ken's site for years and he has never steered me wrong. I also brought the 80-200 and the 18-200 as well as the D200 and I love my camera and lens.
Ken is providing a great service where I know I can get reliable information. I visit every day just to see what's new.
Keep up the great work Ken.

Mike
Chicago

David said...

I like Ken and visit his site quite often. I don't always agree with him either, but I generally find his information and opinions a lot more accurate and useful than 99% of those that I find on some photography forum (where most everyone seems to hate Ken because he gores their sacred cows). Imagine, a guy who says photography is not about the camera. My god, what a radical idea! And even worse, he apparently changes his mind sometimes. That just ain't right.

Unfortunately, I was influenced by his opinion of the Nikon 70-300G lens, which turned out to be the worst lens I have ever owned. But like he says, his reviews are his opinions, so I can't really complain.

Anonymous said...

Kenrockwell.com is The Drudge Report of photography blogs. If it matters, it will be posted there.

Larry Eiss said...

Thanks for this post. Ken Rockwell improved my photography. For me, that's the bottom line. I don't shoot as well as him, but if you want to see how my work has changed take a look at my Photo Album at http://www.LarryEiss.com. The question we need to ask isn't whether Ken is perfect, but rather whether he delivers value. I certainly get my share of value from Ken. I read him regularly.

Anonymous said...

If Ken were born in Salem in the 17th century he would have been BBQ'd by the same dendrite deficient dickheads who persecute him today.

The guy is a savant sans idiot.

Look at those maniacal eyes , that Cheshire cat grin, that cute ass.

And he can make a superb photograph.

I love the guy.

I have a Ken shrine in my rubber-room.

But that's another story.

Anonymous said...

I love Ken's site. It's definitely informative, and while I don't follow it religiously, I generally go to his site when I need advice. There are tons of photography how-to sites out there- and I have not seen one as thorough and practical as his.
Of course, it does seem reared toward beginning photographers who are starting out- that's what I am. I'm 18; thanks to his advice, I'm not another teenage wannabe photographer who goes around thinking "I can point and shoot my camera at random, and hope that they turn out good, and call myself a pro photographer". Ok, so I'm ranting, but point is, he's taught me to stop and think about what I'm doing.

Stop the hating- he's just trying to help out. Before your say trashy things about him, go create your own website and try to do what he does. Honestly, there are some silly people out there, that just don't appreciate help when it's given to them. Be open! I know plenty of egotistical photographers, who refuse to take advice, and most of their work sucks.

And as for fame and fortune getting to his head- thank goodness for his fortune, because I certainly am not able to buy and test out all the products he does!!!

K-nov@ said...

I disagree with the posts above where it is said that Ken wasn't very enthusiastic about FF sensors until Nikon actually produced some.

It's been months that Ken has been writting articles about Canon 5D, about how a FF sensor necessarily outperforms a DX sensor (I, for example, refer to his comparison between the Nikon D200 and the 5D).

I would even say that Rockwell explains and has always explained that the bigger your sensor is, the better it is. This is why he is also writing about the superiority of medium format and large format.

And this has been available on his website for ages... All those articles are much older than Nikon's announcement of the new FX sensor.

One can disagree or agree with Ken. One can share his choices, options and needs or not. But one thing we can't take away from him: he is sincere and of good faith.
This is why his articles are very valuable.

Anonymous said...

If you realy wont good informationand expert advices visit Thom Hogan's site:
www.bythom.com

Anonymous said...

...If you really want a biased opinion from someone who is sponsored by nikon, by all means, check out www.bythom.com.

Jerry said...

I'm still shooting film (35+ yrs now, all Canon equipment), just started using autofocus lenses, am toying with a digicam and LightRoom...and slowly moving toward digital.

Why do I visit Ken's site each day?

1) He shares himself, his life, with all of us image makers...how many of us do this so publicly?

2) His images and techniques are inspirational and the technical data oh so informative.

3) His opinions on life, photography, technique and equipment are honest, opinionated and HANDS-ON.

Ken is a working professional, his images, photographic style and knowledge speak volumes.

Agree, disagree, blog, read, learn and see better!

Keep shooting and writing...and thanks for sharing Ken!

Ken Kienow said...

Ken Rockwell is the point-and-shooter's camera guy. His recommendations on the pro level are laughable, IMO.

sr99 said...

K-nov -

it's true Ken was saying nice things about the 5D's image quality long before the D3 was announced, but he never admitted flat out that FF was superior to DX. That took a while. Maybe he was a little embarrassed to make such a stark reversal so suddenly, given he had a whole page berating FF for being the archaic format. Still, I am glad he has finally seen the light.

Ken Kienow said...

You know, that was a little harsh. Wish I could edit comments. :)

I think Ken Rockwell is useful for the average DSLR-toting prosumer. His site isn't much help for professionals, though. I'd recommend www.bythom.com for that.

BLOPA said...

El tipo es un capo, sabe mucho ......y lo comparte, mi Nikon d40 LA TENNGO POR EL Y ESTOY MUY CONTENTO........no le busquen la quinta pata al gato y dejen vivir.........y aprendan espaƱol!

-MiKe- said...

I started visiting Ken's site this spring, when I started doubting the Minolta A-Mount's future. I had a lot of money invested in Minolta, and wanted to get a good look at the F-Mount, from a photographer, not a tester.

I learned a lot from Ken. Surprisingly, not all of it was what I was expecting, as he is fair to just about every mount, and critical of every lens. Reading through Ken's work was like taking a walk of enlightenment.

Since then, I have come full 360, and decided to hold onto my A-Mount glass, and ride the corporate wave that is Sony. Yet, I still visit Ken's site, nearly on a daily basis. His insights are nearly universal, and the moments of introspection he forces upon you can apply to any photographer.

Like was said earlier, I will agree that he is probably better suited for the prosumer, and high-end amateur, rather than the professional.

But what does that statement mean, exactly? He isn't good enough for the professionals to read? On the contrary, I think Ken is too down to earth and realistic for the professionals out there.

He doesn't get caught up in marketing hype, and absolute resolution ratings. He doesn't ride every new wave from the get go. He dares debunk the myth that $5,000 cameras are simply better that $500 cameras. Profesionals don't like that.

He tells it how he sees it. Worth a daily read.

Anonymous said...

Ken is a genius. I worship the ground he walks on. Ken is, and has, never been wrong. Everyone at DPR forums is FOS. Ken has accurately predicted every move Nikon has made in the camera business, even the release of the trunk case when there were to be no lenses for two years. Ken talked me out of switching to Canon and investing $1500 in a D70.

But let's pass the hat and buy Ken a real camera like a Hasselblad H3 so he can see what junk all these plastic Jap cameras really are. Go Ken -- Touchdown!

Anonymous said...

I check Kenrockwell.com about as many times as I check Drudgereport.com -- which would be about 20 or 30 times a day.

The best part is I bill my employer for every minute I spend on it. It helps with my regular job function - by keeping me sane.

Anonymous said...

Ken's site is OK, no more no less. The problem is not what he writes, it's what he shoots. His photography is a disaster. I'd never take advice from such a bad photographer.

Brian Lee said...

It seems like the only people willing to sign there names are those who support Ken's site. It's always been a pet peeve of mine that people who will not sign there name to a letter are not to be trusted. Those who bash Ken and don't have the dignity to sign their names are simply spineless. Nothing more to say.

Mike Michailov said...

Ken's site is a good source of information. as for sure, every information needs to be x-checked and verified. i picked up lots of information from his site, and haven't gone wrong so far. i learned taking pics with a D70, geared up to a D200, sold this cam to buy a 135/f2 , a 58/f1.2NOCT and a F4 body, and now found a FM3A to play with... THANX, KEN

tim delaney said...

I'm surprised by the handful of anonynously posted negative comments here. I'm not a pro, but I'm not a newbie, either. I've found Ken's opinions to be well-founded and practical. Whether or not one agrees with all his opinions, at least he's generous in sharing them with us. If I was on the west coast instead of the east coast of Canada, I'd buy the guy a beer.

Tim Delaney
Stewiacke, NS Canada

Julian Hess said...

The main issue I have with Ken his is incredible hypocrisy. He seems to subscribe to the mantra that equipment has no bearing whatsoever on the ultimate quality of the images, yet talks about the sharpness, degree of chromatic aberration, or level of barrel distortion of every lens he reviews. Statements like "this lens is not sharp enough for me" rather concisely contradict his argument.

I do agree with his statement that too many people obsess over equipment in lieu of taking pictures. Ken is one of those people. It's rather telling that he adds a new technical article (often on a lens/camera he doesn't even own: read the D2X article for a textbook example of equipment "measurbation") far more frequently than he adds images. His gallery was last updated in February; his site was updated two days ago with images of lenses that haven't even entered production. (As I write this, I see that he's added some actual work, which constitute the first substantial artistic update in months.)

That being said, Ken does take nice pictures and usually offers sound technical advice (his position [and subsequent reversal] on format sizes is laughable). It's a pity that his site is so riddled with contradictions.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, what's with all the dittoheads rushing to Rockwell's defense in the face of a few negative comments?

His site is useful, but parts of it -- like all the review pages of lenses he's never owned -- are telling: it's mostly for the pageviews, because he's managed to build a brand for himself on the net.

How many times does he simply cut & paste paragraphs from one review to another, or simply a to few paragraphs lower in the same piece? Countless.

Anonymous said...

Heh... all the Ken Rockwell defenders stopped posting after Julian posted his comment. kinda shot them all down, didn't it?

Lee said...

Fine, I'm a Ken defender. And contrary to what Julian said:

Ken has said that if you're going to put your money somewhere then put it in the lens. The less important place to put it is in the body. He has also pointed out that the difference in price versus the quality of the shot is a very steep slope, meaning you'll have to pay a lot for a small amount of improvement. This doesn't mean that there isn't any improvement with higher price, just not as much as you'd expect.

I appreciate Ken because he seems to cut through a lot of marketing hype and gives his learned opinion on things that I enjoy hearing about.

Mike said...

Ken is a legend in his own right and he deserves a good treatment. It is true you can't please everybody, but he should be spared of the immaturity. The man is very dedicated at what he does and his write-ups helped me to make an informed choices on everything photographic.

So if you can't beat them, join them (or leave).

Eddy said...

A nikon photographer will check out several sites, including www.photodo.com, ken rockwell's site, bjoern roeslett's and thom hogan's. Ken advised me on my F100. My D200 was bought without advice, obviously. We are now waiting for the FX successor in this series. Let's see who gives the valuable tip, Eddy

Anonymous said...

Rockwell is the Chuck Norris of photography.
He is sometimes right, and mostly TOTALLY WRONG. He says blunt wrong things/half truths (captor size, raw processing, megapixel myth...) as if they are the truth and if you have another opinion you're a moron.
If he would disclaim how much he makes from the number of invasive ads on his web site we could judge his dedication. This amount is probably much more than from his average amateur-quality pictures.
The quality of the design of the web site is not in phase with his claim of being a "pro photographer".

Micah said...

K.R. actually claimed he's slowly going through and removing all the ads from his site. I can't verify if this has started already since I use FF with Adblock. If it's true, that adds a lot of weight to his already pretty solid reviews.

His opinions are just that--opinions. He doesn't claim they are anything more and he constantly encourages people to try things in the real world and see what they think.

I do disagree with him about the uses of a raw workflow and some of his ideas about archiving, but he's pretty much on the money on everything else.

He never said 1.x dslr sensors were the future--he only said that it made sense for Nikon to concentrate on it, because it allowed them to make a good product at an accessible price--which is true! Don't think for a second Nikon would have been able to keep their head above water during the development of the D3 (and others I'm sure are coming) if they hadn't been selling cameras like the d70/d50/d80/d40. At the time each of these cameras hit the market, they stole significant fire from Canon. Now with those sales, they're able to challenge the rest of Canon's line.

I make money from photography (read:pro), and I like Ken Rockwell's site. It doesn't have a lot of the information that DP review has, but that's why DP review exists. I read both when I want info on a particular thing.

Ken doesn't even talk about my camera (D2x) but his reviews helped me choose it, because I can understand what he's saying and weed out the info I need.

Amateurs can't go wrong with his site, and smart pros should find it useful too. People that can't read and aren't bright in general are probably going to have difficulty with his or any other site, and that's not his fault or problem.

He's a good guy doing a good thing and I don't think anybody has presented absolute proof otherwise. Just some pointless shit talking.

Anonymous said...

Man I hope that one about the "cute ass" is female.

Anonymous said...

I just came to read the blog and found 40 pages of losers whining and not taking pictures. If you spent as much time honing your craft as you do bickering, you would all be the most passionate photographers in the world. Get lives, freaks.

g. said...

i kinda have to agree with you.
he has sooo much good stuff to say.
it's a joy.

Ross J. Feickert said...

With regard to people stating that Professional Photographers should look to other sites for advice, if you're a "Professional" why do you need advice from some guy on the Internet? You're a professional. Figure it out yourself.

For the rest of us who just do this for fun, Ken's site is a useful resource. I've found SEVERAL good tips that have helped me get some of the photos I wanted.