While reading some comments on Kirk Tuck's piece about the Sony NEX-7, and I was reminded - not for the first time - that reviewers make easy targets. I'm using the term "reviewers" loosely to mean everyone who makes a habit of sharing their impressions of gear. That includes big sites like DPReview as well as more "user report"-oriented reviewers like Kirk, Mike Johnston, Michael Reichmann, Steve Huff, and even me. Not that I put myself at the level of any of those guys, but I like to do a review now and again. One of the main knocks you'll hear about a reviewer is that he or she likes everything. There are a few reviewers who seem to never get super excited about any particular camera (CNET's Lori Grunin comes to mind), but most of us like stuff much more often than we dont. Critics assume that this is because we make more money from affiliate sales when we love something, and there's no denying that very real conflict of interest which exists for almost every review site from DPReview to yours truly. Interestingly, when a reviewer decides to go with a different financial model, charging directly for ad-free content so that they can be completely free from this conflict of interest, they come under fire for having the audacity to charge for written word on the modern web. I can't even announce a new review from Sean Reid without hearing the usual criticism about the fact that he has a pay site and uses Flash to protect his work. Another explanation that often gets thrown out there is that reviewers keep swapping up their personal equipment not because they really love that new camera but because it gives them something to write about. Again, this is a very real conflict of interest which I don't deny, but I'd like to point out two less nefarious reasons why most reviewers are enthusiastic about most gear:Advertisement First, most reviewers get into reviewing because they like cameras, optics, technology toys, you name it. We're naturally inclined to like new, different stuff. Details like a change in sensor technology that might not matter to a practical person might get our geek heart pumping. Often when a reviewer doesn't like a bit of gear, it's because he or she has certain very specific personal criteria. For example aside from shirt pocket cameras, Michael Reichmann is usually going to reject a camera which doesn't have an eye level viewfinder, Sean Reid isn't going to be very positive about a camera that lacks a good manual focus faculty, and so forth. Beyond those specific issues, though, reviewers are usually predisposed by nature to like new stuff. Second, all of these companies - Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Sony - have lots of resources to make great products. Guess what? There are just a ton of good cameras out there. When I tried the NEX-7, I liked it. Same for X-Pro 1, RX100, X100, and a bunch of other cameras of which I've never published a review. Likewise, nobody is making bad lenses anymore. Even the 3rd party megazooms are sharp and reasonably well corrected (between optics and software) with decent build quality. It's no wonder that we like most of the stuff that comes across our desk. Now lets look at it from the other side of things: the user. There are times when a user will buy a camera, give it a good tryout, and hate it. Those times are relatively few though, for the same reason mentioned above (most stuff is good). On the other hand, we often see forum reports about how one camera, lens, or system is terribly flawed. For example, it only takes a brief read through forums to understand that the Sony NEX system is plagued by an awful UI, NEX, huge lenses, tiny bodies, and poor lens performance, especially when it comes to the edges of the frame. Or that the Fuji X-Pro 1 has insufferable autofocus and an unusable EVF. Or that Micro 4/3 cameras blow highlights. The truth, known to many of us who have spent time in forums, it that most of these often repeated knocks come from people who haven't tried the gear they're talking about. Or they gave it enough of a cursory tryout to cement their pre-conceived judgments. Either way, these terrible flaws usually amount to very little of any significance. The Sony kit lens isn't huge, the Fuji X-Pro 1 is primarily meant to be used as an OVF camera, and cameras don't blow highlights. To sum up what I am trying to say, most of the stuff out there is good, and most of the badmouthing comes from people who haven't tried it. It therefore comes as no surprise to me whatsoever that Mike Johnston and Kirk Tuck, two outspoken proponents of our Micro Four Thirds system, both recently tried the Sony NEX-7 and liked it (TOP, VSL). Yes they'd like you to buy an NEX-7 or two via their links, and so would I like you to buy via ours, but that's not why they're telling you they like the camera. These are two guys who like cameras, and the NEX-7 happens to be a good one.