I read with great interest and not a little sympathy about Michael's desire to be more commercial about this site. I am sure that we are all grateful for the many items of advice and excellent product reviews which have been done on, if I understand it correctly, what is strictly on a non-profit pro-bono basis. In fact I have made many purchases of printers, software and cameras and lenses based on Michael's excellent reviews.
But (there is always a but) I have a concern - not about 95% of the products we all use, and read about on Micahel's site, but exclusively about the pronounced bias that this site shows towards the products manufactured by Phase One at the expense IMO of the only other player - Hasselblad. Michael is aware of my views and that these views are echoed by many many photographers both professional and amateur. In fact we have exchanged emails on this subject and the root of the problem seems to be some sort of personality clash between Michael and the former chief of Hasselblad about the "closure" of their system. On this subject I think that many people accept the inevitability of all MF format systems ending up as closed systems and it is not the purpose of this post to re-hash these arguments.
We have just seen a series of sequential articles extolling the features and benefits of the new Phase One IQ80 digital back but to my recollection I have never seen a review of the latest Hasselblad system to enable me to compare and judge for myself. Given the imminent appearance of advertising are we to now have sequential product reviews associated with a variety of promotions and offers from Phase One?
Now I would like to quote Michael's own words when setting out his new advertising policy:-
About our Corporate Relationships
No one involved in the photographic industry as long as we have been can be apart from it. One gets to know a great many of the executives who work in it, and in some cases who run or even own the various companies that comprise the industry.
But, just because we know people and may even have personal relationships with some of them doesn't mean that we can not be objective. We have, and indeed have always had strong policies on loaners and test samples. Our policy on this is clearly stated in our Full Disclosure statement, which has been online for the past couple of years.
As far as our policy regarding advertisers goes, the rules are similar. There is a so-called Chinese Wall between our editorial and our advertising activities. Absolutely no preference or favoritism is or will be shown to any company or product, whether they advertise on this site or not. Period!
Last Updated – January, 2011
One further quote from Michael's own bio.:-
I have been a photographer since I was a child; more than half a century now. I teach, write, review and consult, but I am first and foremost a photographer. This makes my primary bias one of appreciating photographic products that help me accomplish my task. Ones that get in the way because of bad design, poor ergonomics, or sub-standard image quality are what I dislike, not companies.
I couldn't care less about "brands" and corporations, countries of origin, or anything that doesn't directly contribute to providing me with tools that do the best possible job of turning what I see and want to record into finished images.
Now I like and respect Michael admire his integrity and value his opinions in every respect but one and that his continuing animosity towards Hasselbald. If these statements are to have any substance I would ask Michael to bury the hatchet, put aside his past grievances and open the door to a fair and balanced review or opinion about the Hasselblad system.
As a final point I would just like to say that, although I am a Hasselblad user at present and value the many benefits of their system, I also appreciate that Phase One are a great company also with many fine products. Their respective systems just need to be compared, as Michael almost says on their merits and without any baggage.
I am not employed by Hasselblad or any of its dealers but just a part time professional with a great deal of admiration for both companies.