Ming Thein's excellent photography blog

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Armanius, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    I'm sure some of you have already come across Ming Thein's blog. But if you haven't, you have to visit. He's a great photographer, but also writes great reviews with lots of great photos to go with it. There's a page in his blog named "Camerapedia", which is essentially a database of all the gear he's used/tested/played with. Lots of non-compact gear like pro-level DSLR, but also many discussions/reviews of m4/3 cameras, lenses, Leica's, Fuji's, etc...

    CAMERAPEDIA!: The Equipment Database

    Ming Thein has one of the few worthwhile reading reviews of the Fuji XF1 out there. Makes me want to buy a XF1!

    Review: The Fuji FinePix XF1

    I could spend hours going through Ming Thein's blog. Highly recommended!

    Ming Thein | Photographer
     
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  2. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    It's a great blog, and he's a great photographer. His gear thoughts and reviews are well written and interesting. However, he fails the ultimate test for me (personally!) as a reviewer, which is that he tends to like stuff I don't so much like and tends to dislike stuff I like a lot. There are some exceptions of course, but our likes are very much out of sync. Thus his reviews, interesting and well written as they may be - with lots of nice photos to go with - are pretty much useless to me.
     
  3. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    Oh, c'mon!! He likes the OMD! And the D600! I know that unlike you, he didn't say the OMD is the one camera to rule them all ...

    Just kidding! You didn't say that either. :wink:
     
  4. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    Yep, we both like those two, but I've used most of the stuff in his Camerapedia, and suffice it to say that he's not someone I'm reading to find out if I'll like a camera.

    I also find some of his analysis lacking, like in his XF1 review: grouping the LX7 with the S110, RX100, and XF1 while putting the XZ2 and G15 in another category makes no sense to me.
     
  5. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    Yea, I'm not sure how the LX7 fits in the pocketable group. It's not! Unless I'm wearing cargo pants!
     
  6. Penfan2010

    Penfan2010 SC Top Veteran

    747
    Jul 21, 2012
    NJ, USA
    Ed
    He's got great perspective as well on taking better photos; very much a thoughtful craftsman and artist, not just great technically.
     
  7. serhan

    serhan SC All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    NYC
    Ming Thein's review of m240

    I read his blog time to time and it is excellent. You should read his new m240 review:

    The 2013 Leica M Typ 240

    So when are you buying the new 240? :)

     
  8. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    LOL! The wifey would kill me if I bought a M240!! I suppose it looks close enough to the M9 that I could pass it off as the M9. "What happened to the number 9 on the camera?" "Ehh ... it wore off ..." "What is this $7000 charge on the credit card to something called BH?" "Ehh ... BH is a jewelry store ... I have a surprise for you later this year ..."

     
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  9. flysurfer

    flysurfer SC Top Veteran

    791
    Aug 31, 2011
    I remember reading his XF1 review (because folks kept praising it) and finding several statements that illustrated that he hadn't really understood the EXR concept and how the camera actually works. For me, this should nor happen when you are actually reviewing gear. Of course, he is in good (or shall we say: bad) company, as it is really hard to find competent camera reviews, especially of EXR cameras. As it looks like he's a pretty good photographer, it may be more worthwhile to read his insights on photography instead of the reviews.
     
  10. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    Whether he understands the EXR or not, his photos with the XF1 sure made/makes me want to go buy one!! For my wife that is. :)
     
  11. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    I've seen him make errors like that as well. For me personally, his errors, his general arrogance (statements like "Please go by the commentary rather than the reduced crops; I am looking at uncompressed RAW files on a calibrated monitor, not a websize JPEG" (1) are ridiculous when one is presenting 100% crops for evaluation in a review), and his blanket stereotypes of bloggers and forum-goers (2) make for a distasteful combination. He's also a hypocrite - for all his comments about bloggers who have to use the latest affiliate gear and post affiliate links (2, 3), he is a blogger who uses the latest gear and posts affiliate links.

    Here's what he wrote in October (2):

    Complete BS. If he intends to keep it that way, why does he now have affiliate links in every post when before he did not? If he wants to criticize others for their motivations and claim objectivity, then he needs to walk the straight and narrow path like Sean Reid (who, by the way, does not criticize others). Or be honest about your conflict of interest and stop casting stones. If you write gear reviews that end with an affiliate link, you have a conflict of interest. There's no getting around that, so if you're honest and value integrity, just be transparent about that conflict of interest instead of pretending you're exempt from it.


    He's a good photographer (and postprocessor), so he can make photos with any camera that would make people want to buy one.
     
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  12. Pelao

    Pelao SC All-Pro

    Jul 11, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Stephen
    When I first stumbled across his stuff I thought it might be useful. In digging a little deeper, I have found it to be a little shallow. The actual photography stuff seems OK, but not exceptional. Good if you need it.

    I am not a fan of his gear reviews. I notice too many blanket statements. My suspicion is that he is all over the map in terms of what he reviews. A lot of cameras, of wildly varying type and capability, and shallow reviews.

    He is opinionated, which I like; I'm just not sure his opinions are based on spending quality time with the cameras. I prefer opinions based on photographic experience, and designed to provide useful experience to a potential purchaser.

    Oh, and I agree with Amin regarding the BS.

    My preferred reviewer is Michael Reichmann. Opinionated, based on real experience, and truly useful.
     
  13. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    So Amin would change the title of the thread to Ming Thein's excellent photography and disingenuous blog? :rofl:
     
  14. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Actually, i find most review sites useful. After you've read a few pieces by the same author, it's not very hard to filter out the BS or personal bias.
     
  15. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    I like opinionated as well, and I'm with Stephen in that I prefer Michael Reichmann's reviews to Ming Thein's.

    Luke, I agree with you, and I don't steer clear of any of the review sites. But even without taking into account my personal issues with Ming Thein's hypocrisy, etc, my primary reason for spending little time on his site is what I said in this thread in the first place - whether he likes something has very little predictive value as to whether I'll like it, and I don't find his analysis helpful either.
     
  16. flysurfer

    flysurfer SC Top Veteran

    791
    Aug 31, 2011
    It's quite hard to write a competent review of a new and complex camera. I took me 4 months of research and shooting experience in order to write my review about the X-Pro1, which in the end paid 130 bucks and involved 2 full days just to write it all up in Word. But at least I could be sure that I knew what I was writing about. I knew more about it than Fuji's own product managers. In the end, it comes down to why you are writing stuff: to make money (aka for your benefit) or for your readers (aka for the benefit of others). Sadly, quality doesn't really pay-off, at least not in the Internet. Scoops and "scandals" do, they bring in the clicks. Write up some wild accusations about "inflated ISO" in a review, and you will become an overnight net celebrity.
     
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  17. Pelao

    Pelao SC All-Pro

    Jul 11, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Stephen
    Unfortunately this is all too true.

    Reichmann, for example, is a very highly paid photographer, and sells instructional videos. Therefore his income is not dependent upon the reviews. Most are not in this position.

    I suppose that's true. What concerns me more is that many of the reviewers are not particularly experienced photographers, and they don't spend much time with the cameras. So the BS and bias don't worry me. What does is a lack of emphasis on reviewing a camera as it might actually be used. Most reviews are simply expanded feature lists. My interest is in benefits, not features.

    As Flysurfer points out, it's too often about driving traffic. Which is why we get the goofy headlines, such as "Is the new ABC camera the XYZ killer", or the really weak 'shoot outs', and 'camera vs camera' stuff. In my not even remotely humble opinion you have to search really hard to find merit in these things.

    I find it so much more helpful to read or hear what a photographer thinks of a piece of gear, rather than a professional reviewer.

    When they really make an effort and spend time with a camera, it makes a huge difference. Flysurfer's time investment was worth it for me: his book is actually useful.
     
  18. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    I don't really agree with this either. It may be difficult and time consuming to write a comprehensive review of a camera, but a competent review doesn't have to be comprehensive, and it isn't that hard to understand technologies like EXR.

    I guarantee you Michael Reichmann doesn't spend months of research and shooting to do a review. He typically has the camera for a short while, uses it to photograph on a trip, and publishes a "first impressions" type review. Since he is a talented photographer with good insight and familiarity with many cameras, his first impressions can be more helpful to read than some comprehensive reviews, at least to me.

    Certainly there are some with less insight, less familiarity with cameras and technology, and less care who publish link bait - sometimes without having even touched the camera - but that doesn't mean that it has to take months of hard work to do a review that people will find worthwhile.
     
  19. Pelao

    Pelao SC All-Pro

    Jul 11, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Stephen
    Fair point. At least in part it connects to my preference for reviews to be done by photographers who really use the camera. I suspect (but don't know for sure) that Flysurfer's time was different because it resulted I. A comprehensive book. Anyway, yes it really shows when a review is completed based on their use, and familiarity with other cameras in real use.
     
  20. flysurfer

    flysurfer SC Top Veteran

    791
    Aug 31, 2011
    Honestly, I have yet to find a single review that fully understood it. Maybe dpreview got it right, I'd have to check that.