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My personal thoughts about Robin Wong's blog (comments welcome)

Discussion in 'Back Room' started by Swandy, Feb 16, 2014.

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  1. Swandy

    Swandy Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 15, 2009
    Whenever I see a post that starts "Robin Wong's review of....", I always read the thread. The game I play with myself is how long it takes within that thread for someone to bring up his being employed by Olympus Malaysia and how we therefore cannot count anything he says in his blog.
    He has very often in his recent blogs makes a comment/joke about the DPReview forum, where this type of putting him down happens very often. What a lot of readers don't realize is that Robin had never claimed that his "reviews" were in anyway meant to be a TECHNICAL review. At the start of every "review" he states: 2) This review is a user-experience based review, from a photography enthusiast's point of view. They are and always have been from a PHOTOGRAPHER's point of view. That is what I like about his writing and his photos - what does a PHOTOGRAPHER think of this particular piece of equipment, not a GEEK sitting at a bench with lodes of testing equipment.
    • Like Like x 21
  2. lightmonkey

    lightmonkey Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 22, 2013
    i find it funny when the crowd makes a demands from a free source as if he owes them something

    "he had better make a comparison on a panasonic body"
    "he is not allowed to call his posts a review!"

    its 1 voice on the web. if you dont like it, ask for a refund
    • Like Like x 4
  3. taz98spin

    taz98spin Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 13, 2011
    Not sure when you started this thread, but since nobody seems to have replied, I'll play along.

    I don't think anybody says cannot count anything he says in his blog, but have to remember that he is employed by Olympus, therefore, have to take his words with a grain of salt.

    Thanks to his review, I probably will pick up the 25/1.8 though :smile:

    Anyways.. in another thought about Robin Wong, I was shocked when I saw his portrait studio photography work of his female friend. Many of his street & macro photography look great, even his wedding photography, but his studio portrait photography was very mediocre..
    • Like Like x 1
  4. faberryman

    faberryman Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 15, 2013
    As long as he discloses at the beginning of every review that he is an employee of Olympus, then I don't see a problem. It is not enough that his employment status is "generally known"; a first-time reader of one of his reviews won't have that information, and that information is important for putting his review in context.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. EMC

    EMC Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 22, 2013
    Garden Grove, Calif.
    Robin is an Excellent Writer!!!

    I was on the fence of which one should I purchase........I purchased the Olympus Product before Robin's or anyone's opinion, really want to support the company that builds the bodies I like to use at this point......If I may have purchased a Pl25 before the fact of the new O25.....but, would not go sell one for the other, both really nice lenses........
  6. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    I think Robin acknowledges he's not a proper studio photographer. Same goes with Ansel Adams, but we know how he is at landscapes! I also know lots of great studio photographers, but are lousy photojournalist.
    • Like Like x 3
  7. riverr02

    riverr02 Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2011
    New York
    Let's be completely honest here. There's no way he can be completely impartial given that his paycheck comes from Olympus, in the same way Giulio can't be completely impartial for Panasonic. That's not to say their "reviews" can't be incredibly useful- they almost always are very helpful, and I enjoy reading both their articles. Just let's be realistic, bias can play a role in their conclusions and it's up to the reader to tease out truth from any conscious or unconscious bias. If I was going to make a big purchase though, I'd want to make sure to refer to as unbiased an author as possible, and preferably someone without any financial skin in the game.

    Still, both lenses look good so far.
    • Like Like x 8
  8. taz98spin

    taz98spin Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 13, 2011
    I know, I read his post.

    But it looked almost like he purposely posted the worse images..
    I know it's his blog and he can do whatever he wants with it, but why sell your self short to your readers? :confused: 
  9. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    Eh. His article is basically advertising copy for Olympus, replete with non-specific vagaries, that is passed off as somehow, magically, a real review.

    Why people blithely refuse to understand that simple fact is beyond me.
  10. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I've been reading his blog on and off for some time and I've thought that his reviews seem quite reasonable, better than a lot of others. Being employed by Olympus (which I only thought happened fairly recently) gives him access to gear more easily than others and so we can get perhaps more long-term reviews etc. If he didn't declare his interest, then there would be cause for concern but, as he makes it very clear, I can't see any reason for poor feelings towards any of his reviews. I've seen more bias from reviewers who are wedded to a particular format than someone who has an association with a camera company. I think Thom Hogan has some association with, though not employed by, Nikon, yet I think his reviews are quite unbiased.

    But the important thing is to read widely and thus gain a better picture what is and is not.
    • Like Like x 2
  11. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    Robin's blog has been on my bookmarks for years. I like his friendly style, his positivism. I like his street shooting. I read him for tips and inspiration. He's a goodie.

    However, he is now a paid salesman for a single brand. We have to be realistic about this, and not spin it as 'he isn't really'. Yes, he is.

    Being realistic means accepting some certain facts. He might have problems with a sample of a body or lens, he will just send it back. It won't be mentioned. He gets a new lens to review through his dedicated Olympus channel, and he won't even know if it is a 'special' that has been adjusted on the bench with instruments prior to dispatch. Want to know how well you can make a lens perform with special adjustments? Very well. Is it representative? Not on your life. Everything he thinks and writes, and every picture he posts (and we admire) in a review of such lens is non-representative.

    His current article comparing the two 25's really oversteps the mark with CA. But that is just the tip of the iceberg; as above, we have no reason to be confident that the lens is a representative sample.

    Being realistic? Everything he says and shows regarding Olympus kit is untrustworthy. Every comparison with other brands is derision-worthy. He provides us openly with the information to make this conclusion, so maybe he would think us naive not to use it.

    He is still a lovely bloke, though.
  12. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 23, 2010
    I have to say I would not be surprised of many did this with all review samples, I know full well that a couple of High End HiFi makers did exactly that, to the level of substituting premium parts on some review samples. It will happen with cars, cameras, audio, washing machines anything where they can get a few extra marks, it is very good business sense.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    The biggest problem with Robin Wong's blog is the temptation to think you can use the same lens he's testing and get the same results. I mean, seriously, he could shoot with a Holga toy lens and get better shots than I do with the 75mm Zuiko.
    • Like Like x 8
  14. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    Yes, I love his eye for a shot. He moaned repeatedly about how the 17mm is not his focal length and doesn't work for him, but IMHO the portfolio he published with his review was one of his best. He can't help himself!
  15. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Let's cut to the chase.

    What does Ken Rockwell think about Robin Wong???


    :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:


    • Like Like x 10
  16. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I just read an article from the Minor White Aperture series where Ansel goes into great detail at the anxiety he faced every time he was tasked to do any kind of portraiture.
  17. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Alright - but be advised that Ken Rockwell states this in his "about" section:

    -> http://www.kenrockwell.com/about.htm
    • Like Like x 1
  18. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I personally like his reviews and accept for what they are the opinion of a fellow photographer. He clearly makes it clear that he is an Olympus employee and that he is NOT a professional photographer. I like they way he does things and he always has interesting images. I never use any one person's review as my go-to but rather read many and then average out the data. I also like Kai of Digital Rev, Blunty and Criss from the Camera Store but I don't take any of their info as gospel either. Some people get too critical in my opinion.
    • Like Like x 2
  19. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    O.K.; what does Ken Rockwell fantasize about Robin Wong?



  20. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2013
    Most web reviewers like to "INVOKE" an emotional response out of the readers. This helps keep their websites alive even off-site. Just look here and see how popular he is. It's that emotional response that gets you always back to his site; me as well L.O.L. Some reviewers need this because they make some of their living off advertisements through web hits. They get paid for that, so if you can invoke lots of emotional response the better. It's up to us to refuse to be played like a musical instrument, making noises for them so they get even more sought after!?!
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