You also seem to have some idea that you cannot analyze an image that you didn't shoot your self. Can you perhaps explain why?
Yes. I think you have to have some experience with the gear used for testing. Only if you know what the gear is actually capable of you can judge about whether or not a respective capture is representative for the gear at all.
For instance in the D800e-IQ180-comparision (T. Ashley's shots you've referred to in your arcticle: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/71-mf-digital-myths-or-facts?start=2
) the focus plane of the 2 captures is very different. This makes a comparision almost impossible especially when it comes to comparing noise. Of course you can look at OOF areas and say the IQ180 shows more noise. It does, that's not the point. But it also shows a lot more details where the D800e looks a bit washed out and dull when pushed in post. The latter is only apparent when you look at image ares that are correctly focussed… and I have only found one spot in the images where a comparision could
make sense. The D800e vs IQ180 comparision has been made for personal purposes (on behalf of T. Ashley) and that's perfectly okay. But I think it's absolutely inappropriate to draw generalizing conclusions from such a (sloppy) comparision.
Another example (from your article) is the comparision made by Tim Parkin. In general it's a great comparision and I assume care has been taken to make the comparision as solid as possible. I do use a P45 which is also in the list of the cameras/films/backs compared. So I know pretty good how captures from a P45 can look like (with good lenses as well as with mediocore lenses). There's also a Sony A900 in the list which I also know a little. The A900 seems to outperform the P45 in terms of resolution. Now, I've made exactly this comparision (A900 & P45 & also P21+) myself 3 years or so ago and the result was very different (the A900 had a hard time to show the same amount of details than the P21+ … at low ISO). So I can tell you either T. Parkin's copy of the P45 had a faulty or miscalibrated sensor, an extremely bad lens, a bad color profile (the greens show almost no differentiation… which is in fact a weak point of the P45 but the samples in that comparision look really horrible) or he screwed up the post processing (looks like a lot of Luminance NR) or whatever.
Who cares. I mean … it's just a comparision made by someone. But, again, it's inappropriate to draw generalized conclusions from it (well, at least as far as the P45 is concerned… but since I have noted post processing … who knows how he did the processing of the IQ180 files…??).
So you've made a whole essay titled "MF Digital, myths or facts?" and it is based on 2 or 3 shootings made by someone else. That's amazing. Really amazing!
Don't get me wrong … it's fine when you have fun in analyzing technical things. But the "facts" your findings are based on are, well… questionable. IMHO.
My point is: if you would use MFD you also would have a better idea whether or not certain samples published somewhere are meaningful. So, yes, I think it's important that "testers" know the stuff they are testing (at least to some degree).
some folks need live view, mostly those who want to use MFD on technical cameras
I do use a tech cam and although I don't have Live View I get sharp images. For wide shots the lens is set to infinity. As long as the infinity setting of the lens is adjusted to exactly match the sensor plane (which is easy to achive) infinity is "save ground". You can also use a laser distometer and for instance Alpa's HPF focus rings (I don't use them and still get good results using a laser disto and some additional markings on the focus ring of my lenses). Close distances are relatively easy to focus on the groundglass. And finally a 11'' Macbook Air provides a decent screen to check focussing while not being much larger than an iPad... so it's also usable in the field for tethered shooting. I have not yet used an IQ or Credo back but from what I have heard the LCDs are good enough to reliably check focus. Of course only after the capture ...
Now, all that is a bit cumbersome and inconvenient. You can just as well say it's a PITA. This is why live view would be a great and very helpful feature - no question about it! But MFD is not unusable today only because LV is not there yet. Focussing is doable ...