PMA Canada, Housekeeping, Previews, iTunes 9

It’s that time of the year again when we take a time out and check to see if we are still having fun doing what we do. And, we are! Thanks in a large measure to you, our loyal readers, and to the many emails of support you have sent our way. We say, Thank you! We also thank the camera manufacturers (and their Marketing Departments and PR firms) for helping us help them. 🙂

PMA Canada

We attended PMA Canada last week here in Toronto and, of course, saw all the cameras that were already introduced earlier and that we already told you about weeks, if not months, ago. It was still a good opportunity to meet old friends and renew contacts, make new friends, rub shoulders with the competition, and just breathe in the atmosphere. We collected lots of business cards, and put down our name for loaner reviews so you can expect to read reviews of some great cameras in the near future.


I use Firefox as my browser and have not ventured back into IE territory for a while now. So, for those of you still using IE, you can imagine my surprise when I went to use IE just by chance one day last week and I saw all those javascript errors popping up. I have been experimenting with Jquery and though they work well in FF, IE gave oodles of errors. Needless to say, I spent the weekend fixing these errors and you should be able to browse the site without those annoying errors now. Our apologies. IE also renders the page differently since it is a non-compliant browser, though IE 8 has improved lots and try to adhere to the W3C Standards. Still, if you are using an old version of IE, do yourself a favor and upgrade to the latest IE — or, better still, switch to Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Apple Safari and learn to enjoy surfing the Web all over again. And if you do encounter any pesky error, do let us know.

Previews vs. Reviews

We received an angry email from a reader last week that we misrepresented a PReview as a Review. Now, we never do that — not consciously at least, though typos do occur, especially when we are copying and pasting a lot. In our Reviews Matrix, where we list cameras from the manufacturers and give the links to some of the best reviews and previews, we make sure a tooltip displays when you hover your cursor over the link: if it’s a Preview, we tell you. And when the reviewer finally posts a review, we remove the preview link. We’ve always welcomed your email poiting out errors on the site. Be good to your heart, there’s no need to get irate. 😉

For readers who are new and don’t know the difference, here it is:

– Preview: The reviewer scours the Web for information about a new camera, reads the press releases, the technical specs, and summarizes the important and interesting features about the camera. Some people may think a Preview is a waste of time, but it really isn’t. It’s homework a reviewer has to do anyway, and a big part of any review contains this material.

– Hands-on Preview: The reviewer has the camera in hand. Still has to do all the above, but now the marketing promises can be actually verified by actual use. Often, the camera is a pre-production one, so the only thing that can be verified is the Handling & Feel part; the reviewer will have to wait for a production-ready camera before making any comments about image quality. Different things go under a Hands-on Preview: some reviewers will give their “First Impressions” while others may simply post pictures of the new camera.

– Review: A review is always hands-on. This is where the reader — and all of us, too — get really irked when the title says it’s a review and, when we click to the article, it’s just a preview. Nothing wrong with a preview, but we were expecting a review.

Now, the article in question the reader was upset about was the Canon SD980 IS Review @ KenRockwell. Now, now, we all know Ken Rockwell has a unique perspective to things. But he had the camera in hand, took lots of pictures with it and published what we call a “field review,” not a “technical review,” but a review nonetheless. So that article was a review, not a preview. The reader’s definition of a review might not quite coincide with Ken’s, but that’s OK.

The important thing is that we all keep an open mind and read differing opinions. If we published only reviews and opinions we agreed with, there’d be no need to read all of them! Read one, and you’re done. All reviewers have a bias and it affects what we publish and recommend. As long as we tell you what our bias is, you’re forewarned and everything’s fine.

What is our review bias here at Photoxels? We like digital cameras that are compact, intuitive to use and give great image quality, especially in low light. This bias (or “review criteria,” if that sounds better to you) colors all our reviews. However, we also keep in mind the target audience: if first-time beginner users are looking to buy a digital camera, we want to tell them which digital cameras are best for them — the same digital cameras will definitely not be recommended for advanced photographers! So, be cognizant of the “Category” a digital camera falls under. Untargeted recommendations, like you see on so many review sites, do a disservice to readers: it often makes them pass over the digital camera that is best for them.

At Photoxels, we always encourage you to “Get a second opinion!” That is why we report reviews (and previews) on the other digital camera review sites we visit everyday. Don’t be misguided in searching for the best digital camera — instead you want to find the digital camera that is best for you, at your present level of understanding and skills (and, of course, constrained by your available budget).

iTunes 9

OK, so who’s the wise guy at Apple who messed with my iTunes? Does anyone else hate the iTunes 9? There’s just waaaay too much information crammed into a small area (reminds me of the megapixels race) and now I have to scroll right and left to see everything on screen (1024 x 768 pixels). To see the whole real estate without the annoying scrolling, I need to change my screen resolution to 1152 x 864 pixels — which makes all the text incredibly tiny to read, what with the small fonts Apple already uses on its websites and on iTunes. I don’t know guys, but iTunes 9 is just baaad UI design. The Apple iTunes 9 wins our “Baaa…d Award 2009.” 😉 Seriously, we love(d) iTunes, but you’ve messed it up, guys.

There, I think I got everything covered for a while.