I do not agree that you always have to nice to the host. The whole reason you want to have a forum is to discuss and debate. Shut down different opinion and 3 cheers to the host is not a good idea. Whilst I understand that Michael cannot and probably shall not listen to all million people say or bend his principle and view, having and appreciate a different counterpoint is important.
I feel a bit sad about the whole scenario. I subscribe to Michael and Sean. Not that a few dollars matter to them or as Michael seem to say, care about some of his reader's opinion, but I just care about theirs. However, to attack Ken Rockwell (which I cannot say I have paid one dollar to him) is strange. Part of my major reads are Michael, Sean and him. I hope the other guys would not join in; please not Thom and Bjørn Rørslett. No.
Ken is of a different kind of writer. He does not, based upon my reading of his web site after so many years, really say that the camera does not matter. Until recently, a lot of his photos are done by 4x5 and he still said that.
Why is there such a fight? Perhaps, instead of feeling sad, may I perhaps try to say a bit different. An opinion may not be that matter to Michael or Sean but perhaps it may add to the overall discussion, if there is any.
The key important guiding point I would say is 1) can the site has us to appreciate what the artist do even though one may not the artist and 2) can the site help one to extend oneself to know more, perhaps by trying more (even out of one's depth).
In this regards, I would not go in depth in this Michael owned web site to explain what we have learnt from him e.g. expose to the right, horse of course etc. and in Sean case, how the idea that ranger finder is still relevant today. They gave us food of thought which I knew I would not know by myself.
But Ken also helped a bit here.
For example, after reading his web site, I tried 4x5 and learnt a lot about film handling, the wooden camera, how to deal with perspective (by buying books he recommended). Taking photos on something in reverse with a lope is quite interesting. I guess I would not do this if I just read Michael and Sean site. May be they have said something about it, but it does not motive you as Ken site does. Sometimes Michael and Sean is a bit too serious. Sorry to say that but that American is funny and lighthearted to the extent that he can push you over your fence without knowing it.
Also, one reason at that time I started to read his web site (when I am reading Michael) is that he is providing a counterpoint to Michael. He is on a different type of camera (Nikon, for more professional one I know one would have to go to Thom and Bjorn -- which I still remember the first time I read Bjorn into the night ...). Of course, you cannot completely trust on face value a guy who do review of lens by reading brochure some of the times. But he stated so for those review he did this vs those he owned and tried. Along this line, the difference could be very striking. For example, he still talked about 4x5, he still talked about 5D lately, he still talk about old manual Nikon lens on D3.
As an aid to learner, I think Ken has its place. He is not perfect and has been attacked being inconsistent etc. in a lot of web sites, many of which I am not care unlike this one. But some of this points are really based upon actual experience of a guy who try to learn and does not restrict oneself to mainly new and expensive.
In fact, one thing attract to me is that may be perhaps he talk about something we can try and he is emphasis about it for a while (e.g. Casio Digital Camera is really fast compared with others I have tried on).
Overall he is very unlike Michael in style. But one must point out as in some previous submit on Michael previous article, that overall speaking, he has no difference in his opinion in many aspects and substances (even about the camera does matter). He may say in a very funny way. But as a reader of his site, you simply know.
In general, Michael doing something we can look at remotely and only on DVD (which I purchase all or unfortunately now has to be downloaded which I no doubt will lose some). I can only recall Michael talk about a Digital Camera of $10 once. Other than perhaps Canon G9 and recently Ricoh GX100, I really a bit hard time to recall something in the level we can try on. Even his Contax and Rolli (?) is a bit high on the bill. Perhaps his professional years of the twin lens camera era is ok. Otherwise, only very lately I found that I have the same equipment as Michael used in his front page (D300 and 70-200). Of course, that is Michael. We want to see him extend the boundary as an artist. But still and well, whilst I like to agree with Sean on Van Gough, I did know that even Van Gough has used straw he picked on the field to draw some of his drafts. Not just every time to get his brother to pay, may I say. He cared the tool, but still he enthustically draw if he has limited equipment and wealth to spend with. In that sense, if Michael sometimes talk about something we can use and experiment with e.g. 5D and 24-120 lens compared with D3 and 24-70. What are the difference in its draw (as Sean would say). Not another dpreview but a serious artist would say.
Please do not mistake me. Being on this site and subscribe and buying all LL DVDs meant that I do enjoy very much artists talk to artist (like the one Michael talked with the Breaded men who seemed to be quite frequent now as he is also in the Lightroom Tutorial; btw, quite like the doggie who run away). Still, as part of the "prosumer" group or a bit serious but not rich amateur group, I think I would think that the world without Ken (and for that matter, Michael and Sean) would be very sad. In fact, this whole debate is a bit sad as it does not give us reader anything "useful" but just mud throwing between two (now three) guys who are next to each other in my Safari Tabbed group. May be I separate them a bit in the tabbed group and it may help. A senseless thinking perhaps, just as the whole "debate" is senseless.
Well, just my opinion and mainly perhaps to claim myself down. I hope it does not spoil the party and angered the host.