I have been reading Michael Reichmanns reviews, tutorials and essays for more than a year now, and although I once in a while might disagree, or have other opinions (or no opinion at all), I respect his experience, approach and reflections, the same way as I have learned to respect Sean Reid (mentioned in other threads in this Leica-context) and Mike Johnston, to name a couple of other reviewers and writers who have been associated to LL, and who also share a passion for range finder photography. Or, for that sake, Erwin Puts. They are very different in their ways of thinking about cameras and photography (and very different temperaments!), but they all contribute in ways that I donīt see much of elsewhere.
However, of course Michael R. has a contract with his readers! In serveral reviews he has been complaining about people seeing him as biased. In other reviews he has admitted that he is "biased". How are we to deal with this contradiction?
If I should guess how he would want his reviews to be read ok: this is MY interpretation of his ideals; take it or leave it, perhaps I`m wrong, but since someone above talked about "contracts", here`s how I have interpreted the "contract" between MR and me: He wants to be "objective" in the sense that he is trying to inform his audience about important features of the actual camera, lense or software (within some limits, not including some detailed stuff you can read from manufactures and other common sources), but "subjective" in the sense that he knows that every perspective IS subjective (my eyes, my hands, my needs... and my enthusiasm!). But I donīt think he would like to think that his readers suspect him of being "biased" in the sense that he is in the pocket of some company (Leica, Canon, Adobe...).
And I think it was very unfortunate that he held back information on the M8 issues. Does this mean that he is in the pockets of Leica?
I donīt think so. (Take a look at his review of Leicas/Panasonics latest DSLR a few weeks ago, and you`ll see that he certainly wasn`t in their pockets at that time!).
But I also think, as some people have commented on other threads in LL, that the effect of the internet age is that information (and rumors, disinformation, misinterpretation, anger, enthusiasm, bullshit!) spread very fast, and that more transparancy, from companies, as well as reviewers, is needed. I would also suggests that M.R. (and other writers who are reviewing photo equipment, and want to be respected as "unbiased" in the former sense) write a separate article about their "contracts" vis ā vis the companies (and with "contracts", I also think about the un-said or -written parts), from getting a camera for testing, to the final review.
Everybody would, in the long run, gain from this shared information (except those who are biased in the bad sense of that word).
Since there is so much crap floating around on the net with such a speed, I would guess that also the companies would gain something by giving clear and accurate information fast, so that the people that readers listen to might spread it, and stop false rumors. A win win situation.
This is one issue. The other big issue is that a lot of people want to see alternatives to the big DSLRs (and the current compact cameras) in the marked. I really hope that Leica adresses the M8 problems in a professional way (from honest information to really solving the problems). If they donīt do that well, the whole camera community, and those who enjoy looking at good pictures, might be loosers in the long run.
And for narrow minded gear-heads or people who simply enjoy a fight, think a second about this. Wouldn`t the world of photography be less fascinating if Leica didnīt survive the transformation to digital?