“He who can does; he who cannot, teaches.”

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#1
Recently I’ve been looking for some technical advice on equipment for shooting videos, and there’s lots of very helpful stuff on YouTube, but I’ve noticed that a lot of the YouTubers don’t seem to have any actual samples of their own video work, but they do seem to know an awful lot about the gear.

On the one hand that's fine, as that's what I'm interested in finding more about, but it just seems a bit odd to me.

So how do you feel about taking advice on equipment from someone who appears not to have any work to see, or does it not matter if you're just after technical info?
 
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Keith
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#2
Are the videos you're watching not proof enough of their production capabilities? Have you searched through their other videos to see if they have shown other examples of their work? maybe you're not watching the right channels
 
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Lee
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#3
Phillip Bloom has some very useful technical equipment videos... he also shot 'The Wonder List' and various other videos...
 
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#4
Knowing lots about photo equipment and taking good photos does doesn’t have a strong correlation. If the people in question give you the information you want then what is the problem?

My mechanic knows how to fix a car but I don’t ask why he isn’t racing F1.
 
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#6
Are the videos you're watching not proof enough of their production capabilities? Have you searched through their other videos to see if they have shown other examples of their work? maybe you're not watching the right channels
A guy sitting in front of a desk, talking about gear, not really proof of ability, surely? Yes of course I've been looking, but no luck, and maybe you're right ;-)
Phillip Bloom has some very useful technical equipment videos... he also shot 'The Wonder List' and various other videos...
Yes He's a good example of how I expected all these guys to be like, great cinematographer and knowledgable about the best kit.

Knowing lots about photo equipment and taking good photos does doesn’t have a strong correlation. If the people in question give you the information you want then what is the problem?

My mechanic knows how to fix a car but I don’t ask why he isn’t racing F1.
That's a very fair point, but I suppose when they say something like "I find this particular bit of kit best for doing this kind of shot", implies they know what's best from experience, Im just curious what they don't show it.
 
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#7
I really dislike that saying, maybe because I taught film production for 5 years. Although none of my work is on my own YouTube channel, it is all over YouTube through the various producers I've worked for, sometimes uncredited or often with my name in the middle of the credits where most people would have stopped watching. You have to remember that with video production, often people work as part of a larger crew and won't have the right to post final videos on their own channel unless it's part of their showreel.
 
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#8
A guy sitting in front of a desk, talking about gear, not really proof of ability, surely? Yes of course I've been looking, but no luck, and maybe you're right ;-)


.
Lighting, overall production quality of the video etc? Anyone can switch a camera on, record themselves and upload it,but if you keep coming back to the same channels there might just be a good reason. Just a thought
 
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#9
To be a good equipment reviewer, you need strong technical knowledge, broad market knowledge, and an ability to communicate well - be that writing, or talking to camera or whatever. Being a great photographer has almost nothing to do with it.

The Formula One analogy is apt. The people who design and build and maintain the cars really know their stuff, but are not great drivers. And equally, great drivers often don't know that much about the technical aspects. Some more than others but no way are they experts in everything, and they don't need to be.
 
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#10
To be a good equipment reviewer, you need strong technical knowledge, broad market knowledge, and an ability to communicate well - be that writing, or talking to camera or whatever. Being a great photographer has almost nothing to do with it.

The Formula One analogy is apt. The people who design and build and maintain the cars really know their stuff, but are not great drivers. And equally, great drivers often don't know that much about the technical aspects. Some more than others but no way are they experts in everything, and they don't need to be.
Well that is obviously true, but then there comes the practical aspect and success rate of using any given piece of gear. For example, the number and spread of AF points vs hit rate in real world scenarios, the viewfinder and how they feel in field, the image file output, colour, noise, menu structures, size and feel, etc. I don't think raw technical knowledge is enough to critically assess the ability of pro tools.
 
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#11
Depends on what the OP wants, someone to show/demonstrate equipment or someone who has used a lot of gear and is recommending equipment based on their extensive use in the field. The two are not the same.
 
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#12
Well that is obviously true, but then there comes the practical aspect and success rate of using any given piece of gear. For example, the number and spread of AF points vs hit rate in real world scenarios, the viewfinder and how they feel in field, the image file output, colour, noise, menu structures, size and feel, etc. I don't think raw technical knowledge is enough to critically assess the ability of pro tools.
It takes a special kind of arrogance to correct someone with a lifetimes experience at the top of a field of expertise.

I doff my cap.

Richard has published more reviews than most of us have read.
 
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#13
In my younger days working in business we used to say “he who can does, he can’t teaches, he who can’t teach goes into HR”
 
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#14
To be a good equipment reviewer, you need strong technical knowledge, broad market knowledge, and an ability to communicate well - be that writing, or talking to camera or whatever. Being a great photographer has almost nothing to do with it.
No you don't need to be an amazing photographer, but wouldn't the review be so much more rounded if along with the skills you mentioned, that they also used the gear extensively in the field, and consequently could report on its merits and shortcomings through experience of use not just tech specs?

It takes a special kind of arrogance to correct someone with a lifetimes experience at the top of a field of expertise.
I think you're being a little over sensitive Phil, he's not necessarily correcting him just disagreeing with him.
 
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#15
No you don't need to be an amazing photographer, but wouldn't the review be so much more rounded if along with the skills you mentioned, that they also used the gear extensively in the field, and consequently could report on its merits and shortcomings through experience of use not just tech specs?



I think you're being a little over sensitive Phil, he's not necessarily correcting him just disagreeing with him.
I don’t see how it can be described as my ‘sensitivity’.

I’ll go for ‘blunt’. You’ve got to be a f*****g moron to lecture Richard on the attributes required to do the job he’s spent his life doing.
 
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#16
No you don't need to be an amazing photographer, but wouldn't the review be so much more rounded if along with the skills you mentioned, that they also used the gear extensively in the field, and consequently could report on its merits and shortcomings through experience of use not just tech specs?
It would be better, but in my opinion at least, a majority of gear heads are not great photographers. Competent, yes, but not great. Conversely the majority of great photographers don't give a stuff about their equipment so long as it does the job for them. They don't upgrade because they fancy a change and don't suffer from GAS.

So I agree, it would be better to be great at both, but those people are rare.
 
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#18
I really dislike that saying, maybe because I taught film production for 5 years. Although none of my work is on my own YouTube channel, it is all over YouTube through the various producers I've worked for, sometimes uncredited or often with my name in the middle of the credits where most people would have stopped watching. You have to remember that with video production, often people work as part of a larger crew and won't have the right to post final videos on their own channel unless it's part of their showreel.
Quite, I did some sales training for a while, not because I couldn't sell, but I just looked at the poor standard of "sales people" coming through and it was obvious that 20 years of success & experience would be very useful to those that needed it.

I went back into sales and was still successful. As you say, it's a terrible phrase, almost as bad as "Those that can, sell, those that can't, go into marketing". Two totally different roles.
 
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#19
I don’t see how it can be described as my ‘sensitivity’.

I’ll go for ‘blunt’. You’ve got to be a f*****g moron to lecture Richard on the attributes required to do the job he’s spent his life doing.
Haha Thank you Phil :kiss: Yes, I've been reviewing photo equipment, on and off, professionally for about forty years. I think I've tried it every which way and while no method is perfect IMHO the best reviews by far are product comparison tests conducted side by side by someone who knows what they're doing and knows how to conduct relevant test procedures that show strengths and weaknesses. That will certainly include some field testing but there are inevitable constraints on time and budget, coupled with the fact that it's simply not possible to go out at the drop of a hat and take great pictures no matter how good you are. If that was the brief, then quadruple the time and budget but it's actually not the best way of sorting the wheat from the chaff.

Say you've got a bunch of tele-zooms, maybe half a dozen in three different camera fittings. AF performance is an obvious priority, along with everything else and you've got a week, maybe two at best, before the equipment (almost always on loan from the manufacturer) has to go back. Now try and lug that lot around to a few local football matches in the hope that the weather will be good and consistent throughout the match and day to day, that you can get a good position each time and nail a set of great images that clearly demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of each package, and how they compare. Good luck with that.

Or for example, do what DPReview does and set up a test of a cyclist riding towards the camera. That's a good and relevant test, it's controllable and variable, repeatable and consistent, you can compare results directly, it doesn't depend much on photographic ability, and you can run through the whole set in a few hours. They will certainly not be award-winning images though.
 
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#20
Photography is both a mixture of science and art, but it is much more than that as reviewers are what they are, the Nikon D850 with a grip fits my hands well whereas a fuji X100 does not so I know which I prefer and there will always be some sense of bias, if you get the answers you want then fine, if not go elsewhere and anyway why rely on only 1 opinion?

Mike
 
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#21
Yes that exactly where I'm at too, I'm just surprised at how rare it is, with Philip Bloom being the only one that springs to mind.
You also have to consider that lots of good videographers/photographers may not want to do YouTube reviews or even be good at it if they tried.
 
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#22
No you don't need to be an amazing photographer, but wouldn't the review be so much more rounded if along with the skills you mentioned, that they also used the gear extensively in the field, and consequently could report on its merits and shortcomings through experience of use not just tech specs?
The review would be better for it but someone who's extensively using said equipment is doing a job, you're now asking them to also do the job of reviewing to a high standard and there aren't that many who can/would want to do both to a high level.

Look at yourself as an example, how often do you swap equipment around that you'd be able to make a go of reviewing it all on a regular basis? Would that be a good use of your time?
 
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#23
Say you've got a bunch of tele-zooms, maybe half a dozen in three different camera fittings. AF performance is an obvious priority, along with everything else and you've got a week, maybe two at best, before the equipment (almost always on loan from the manufacturer) has to go back. Now try and lug that lot around to a few local football matches in the hope that the weather will be good and consistent throughout the match and day to day, that you can get a good position each time and nail a set of great images that clearly demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of each package, and how they compare. Good luck with that.
I've tried comparing lenses or cameras but I find it a frustrating thing to do as taking a picture, putting the camera back in my bag and taking another out intending to take the same picture or just changing lenses takes time and in those few seconds something can change, sometimes the light, sometimes the subject. I'd much rather just get a feel for a piece of kit over time and multiple trips out with it.
 
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#24
I've tried comparing lenses or cameras but I find it a frustrating thing to do as taking a picture, putting the camera back in my bag and taking another out intending to take the same picture or just changing lenses takes time and in those few seconds something can change, sometimes the light, sometimes the subject. I'd much rather just get a feel for a piece of kit over time and multiple trips out with it.
Field testing something like lenses is fraught with difficulties. Finding a good, relevant and revealing subject is hard enough particularly with zooms, but throw in the weather and a handful of different lenses and cameras and it's a real headache. Even in an ideal spot on a perfect day, the sun will move significantly in the couple hours it takes to do the testing.

The review would be better for it but someone who's extensively using said equipment is doing a job, you're now asking them to also do the job of reviewing to a high standard and there aren't that many who can/would want to do both to a high level.

Look at yourself as an example, how often do you swap equipment around that you'd be able to make a go of reviewing it all on a regular basis? Would that be a good use of your time?
There are lots of things that could be done to improve most tests, including mine for sure (given more time and money) but a selection of amazing photos would be quite low on the list. DPReview makes a habit of publishing lots of 'sample images' when they get a new lens. But apart from invariably being rubbish photos snapped locally (not because they're poor photographers - see previous comment) they tell you absolutely nothing. This fact is often pointed out in the comments section but they still persist, presumably because 'real world' images have some kind of cred with readers but it's entirely misplaced. On the other hand, they have a really excellent comparison image tool with a 100% magnification option that works really well even though the images themselves are very dull.

Edit: with lenses, one of the biggest factors is copy variation. Over the years I've got to test some of the same lenses several times and there are always differences in sharpness. Mostly it's insignificant, but at other times it's the difference between say 'excellent' performance and merely 'very good'. There is no practical solution to this with the notable exception of some kind of tie-up with a hire company like Lens Rentals in the US, but nobody is fully exploiting that opportunity. I suspect the cost in time and money would not be justified when set against the added reader benefit.
 
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#25
Field testing something like lenses is fraught with difficulties. Finding a good, relevant and revealing subject is hard enough particularly with zooms, but throw in the weather and a handful of different lenses and cameras and it's a real headache. Even in an ideal spot on a perfect day, the sun will move significantly in the couple hours it takes to do the testing.



There are lots of things that could be done to improve most tests, including mine (given more time and money) but a selection of amazing photos would be quite low on the list. DPReview makes a habit of publishing lots of 'sample images' when they get a new lens. But apart from invariably being rubbish photos (not because they're poor photographers) snapped locally, they tell you absolutely nothing. This fact is often pointed out in the comments section but they still persist, presumably because 'real world' images have some kind of cred with readers. On the other hand, they have a really excellent comparison image widget with a 100% magnification option that works really well even though the images themselves are very dull.
And Roger Cicala’s blog shows how much variation there is between samples and to my way of thinking shows it’s rather pointless to go to extreme lengths in comparisons between different makes.
Not many reviewers maybe none) have his access to so many samples.
https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/
 
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#26
Who remembers the Amateur Photographer tests which were illustrated by pictures of HQS Wellington? Take a look at these two sets of pictures...

From the review of the Yashica 24 published on 27 July 1966...

Test pictures AP 27 July 1966 Yashica 24 TZ70 P1030534.JPG

and the review of the Rolleiflex F 2.8 published on 11 January 1967...

Test Pictures AP 11 January 1967 Rolleiflex 28 TZ70 P1030535.JPG

The Rollei shots are sharper but the Yashica pictures show much more detail in the form of clearly visible handrails. On the basis of this which would you have chosen?
 
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droj
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#28
Who remembers the Amateur Photographer tests which were illustrated by pictures of HQS Wellington? Take a look at these two sets of pictures...

From the review of the Yashica 24 published on 27 July 1966...

View attachment 267635

and the review of the Rolleiflex F 2.8 published on 11 January 1967...

View attachment 267637

The Rollei shots are sharper but the Yashica pictures show much more detail in the form of clearly visible handrails. On the basis of this which would you have chosen?
Different occasions, different light, and who knows, different processing? So maybe not such a meaningful test?
 
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#29
Who remembers the Amateur Photographer tests which were illustrated by pictures of HQS Wellington? Take a look at these two sets of pictures...

From the review of the Yashica 24 published on 27 July 1966...

[snip mages]

and the review of the Rolleiflex F 2.8 published on 11 January 1967...

The Rollei shots are sharper but the Yashica pictures show much more detail in the form of clearly visible handrails. On the basis of this which would you have chosen?
HMS Belfast isn't it?

The problem with that test is you can't vary the distance, so different focal lengths can't be properly compared. And the weather of course, with the river prone to mist :eek:
 
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#30
I had forgotten them but recalled when you posted them. But, yes, HMS Belfast I’m pretty sure ;)

Clearly the sensor in the Rollei is superior but the Yashica has more advanced software ... or maybe the other way round?
 
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#31
HMS Belfast isn't it?
But, yes, HMS Belfast I’m pretty sure ;)
Nope!

It's the HQS Wellington ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HQS_Wellington ) which is moored just downstream of Waterloo Bridge. The Belfast is further downstream between London Bridge and Tower Bridge. It's the one with the bluidy big guns! :D

Clearly the sensor in the Rollei is superior but the Yashica has more advanced software ... or maybe the other way round?
I'm pretty sure the sensor was identical: a roll of Pan F! :naughty:
 
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#32
I had forgotten them but recalled when you posted them. But, yes, HMS Belfast I’m pretty sure ;)

Clearly the sensor in the Rollei is superior but the Yashica has more advanced software ... or maybe the other way round?
I used the advanced software and it still runs on a PC there is however no chance on the Mac. :)
 
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#33
Nope!

It's the HQS Wellington ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HQS_Wellington ) which is moored just downstream of Waterloo Bridge. The Belfast is further downstream between London Bridge and Tower Bridge. It's the one with the bluidy big guns! :D
You are right of course. I think it’s so often referred to as the Belfast that it has corrupted our brains :(.

I'm pretty sure the sensor was identical: a roll of Pan F! :naughty:
Ah, so it was just the software :)
 
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Soeren
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#35
Different occasions, different light, and who knows, different processing? So maybe not such a meaningful test?
Different crops and different appertures
 
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#36
Different amounts of ink transferred to the paper, variations in the paper :) . Variations in the scanning. Variations in storage. The issues are. 6 months apart. :(
 
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#37
Different amounts of ink transferred to the paper, variations in the paper :) . Variations in the scanning. Variations in storage. The issues are. 6 months apart. :(
No scanning involved in those days. The two issues are different formats so they may have changed from letterpress to offset litho (it was the period when litho was taking over). The later images show a finer screen was used.
 
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#38
No scanning involved in those days. The two issues are different formats so they may have changed from letterpress to offset litho (it was the period when litho was taking over). The later images show a finer screen was used.
;). Yes but the printed pages must have been scanned (or photographed, possibly by you?) to have appeared here.
 
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#39
;). Yes but the printed pages must have been scanned (or photographed, possibly by you?) to have appeared here.
Quite right. Photographed with that paragon of quality: a Panny TZ70! :coat:
 
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Alistair
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#40
Back to the original point. Youtubers who actually know what they're talking about.
How about Peter McKinnon? He certainly knows how to film and edit and knows enough about gear to know what he does and doesn't need for video. His channel is a mix of vlogs, tutorials, tips and a few reviews. Peter McKinnon also produces short films several times a year. Like this one:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HetzwxXCO4E

Or his friend Matti Haapoja? He does way more techie stuff, tutorials, reviews of film-making gear.
With both of them you can watch their videos and see that they know how to make good films.
I'm sure there are plenty of others (Phillip Bloom as mentioned above is very good).
 
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