back to article Amazon to shutter Digital Photography Review

Photography community website DPReview will shut down on April 10, 2023, in conjunction with layoffs announced by parent company Amazon.com in January. "After nearly 25 years of operation, DPReview will be closing in the near future," said general manager Scott Everett in a blog post on Tuesday. "This difficult decision is …

  1. anothercynic Silver badge

    That's a travesty!

    DPReview was an awesome place. A shame to see it go... I hope someone does a wget --mirror to pull *all* stuff off it!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That's a travesty!

      Off you go then! The more the merrier.[1]

      We don't want to hear of any accidental DDOSing of them (or anyone)[2]

      [1] of course, I don't condone copying anyone's copyrighted material.

      [2] I hear that HTTrack has a GUI to help set up rate limits and can be generally friendlier to use than wget, purely as an aside about the merits of different pieces of software and in no way condoning copying. Funnily enough, HTTrack also has a neat feature where you can give it multiple URLs to start one session from, say if the most useful parts of a site were broken into hubs, perhaps one for lenses, one for cameras, purely as a random example.

    2. BOFH in Training

      Re: That's a travesty!

      Maybe there can be an official torrent of the site put up somewhere.

      I don't mind contributing to that for a while if that happens.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: That's a travesty!

        "Maybe there can be an official torrent of the site put up somewhere."

        A review site goes stale very quickly if it's not regularly updated.

        1. BOFH in Training

          Re: That's a travesty!

          There are still times when I have to look at older gear reviews - either because someone can't afford the price of brand new gear or cos they want to get a spare, so don't want the current gear.

          Or to make comparisons with newer gear against the older gear (in terms of specs, quality, etc).

          I think the reviews for older gear are still valuable for a number of years after they are made.

          And dont forget that the site is not just purely on reviews and has other articles about other relevant stuff (I think one of the last I recall was about camera sensors overview).

          Not to mention the forums.

          1. Down not across

            Re: That's a travesty!

            Proper in-depth reviews (like ones DPReview publishes) can be useful many years later when acquiring some old kit where manuals might not be readily available, or there are some idiosynchrasies which would be explained in the manual.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: That's a travesty!

              "Proper in-depth reviews (like ones DPReview publishes) can be useful many years later"

              Certainly, but at the same time most people are drawn in by reviews of the latest gear and articles on older kit gets visited less and less frequently. I sometimes look for reviews on old gear if I see something at a jumble sale that might be good for a specific task. If I want to leave a camera out somewhere to capture a time-lapse, I really don't want to use my main camera. Besides getting nicked, it could get wet (rain or animal), blasted with blowing sand, etc. As I upgrade I wind up with older cameras that aren't worth selling so I have more and more that I don't mind putting in peril. Now that I've left the tracks completely, a large back catalog of old reviews is worth less by the hour. Even articles covering techniques are a dime a dozen. People have been taking photos for ages now and while the tech has changed, the basics are still the same.

        2. Lazlo Woodbine

          Re: That's a travesty!

          DPReview is invaluable when making purchasing decisions for second hand gear.

          I recently bought a "new" camera and a couple of "new" lenses. The camera was released in 2019 and the lenses before that. The decsion was besed entirely on reading DPReview...

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: That's a travesty!

      It seems archive.org is already on the case.

  2. that one in the corner Silver badge

    If you will forgive me copying from my own post of yesterday

    Ever since happily stumbling across it, I've not bought anything photography related until I've had a chance to check DPReview for the specs & reviews. Yes, there are other photography sites, but I appreciate the consistency and completeness of their kit database. Plus the fact that they don't take themselves too seriously.

    So, dpreview.com is to be shuttered in April, as Amazon wants to concentrate on Project Kuiper, Prime Air and Smart Homes. All of which will, of course, encourage me to spend more money with Amazon than I ever spend on photography. Not. Project Kuiper: Space trash. Prime Air: Sky trash. Smart Homes: Ground trash.

    Pah.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you will forgive me copying from my own post of yesterday

      Was it that great in the end? And "stumbling across it" probably wasn't much of a stumble as it was a Amazon site. Before Amazon bought it it was arguably even more popular as it was 1 of only a few sites, and it was certainly the biggest.

      Im guessing the kit DB was probably it's biggest thing in the end... guessing. The site lost its appreal to me about a decade ago when it essentially became a kit and point n' click review site. I really don't care about reviews of camera bodies and since the lens coverage was basically just a spec sheet... :-/ That said, even lens reviews are becoming a little too much for me as modern technology has made even the cheapest lines of lenses pretty amazing (ie Sigma Art).

    2. ICL1900-G3

      Re: If you will forgive me copying from my own post of yesterday

      Yep, yet another reason not to use Amazon.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If you will forgive me copying from my own post of yesterday

        I used amazon to buy books. Then I used them to buy stuff. Then I stopped buying books, because I found abebooks. Then I stopped buying books on abebooks because it was bought by amazon. Then I also stopped buying stuff, when I realized they charge me more. But I still used them as a reference point, sort of 'online argos catalogue' and a gauge to check quality of stuff I was now buying elsewhere. Then I stopped using amazon as an online argos catalogue, because amazon got flooded by hundreds and thousands of Chinese funny-named, one-off 'companies' which flog cheap, awful-quality stuff (anything from office chairs to rucksacks to speakers to fuck-knows-what else, probably including garden rakes). So the stuff that had been made by reputable companies (read: in China, but with somewhat better quality control process in place) became simply impossible to find. Drowned. And, obviously, it became impossible to gauge quality, once amazon becamse flooded with milions of 5-star 'reviews' to drive business to those Chinese no-name companies - and to Amazon. At that point, about... a year and a half ago, maybe two, I just gave up on Amazon completely and I'm looking around at the internets: where to get reliable information from, only about the stuff I need to buy, never mind real, VALUABLE information unrelated to shopping. Shopping-info: Amazon - shit. Review sites - shit. Blogs - shit. Shops - shit. Amazon and other Internet giants are truly cancer: first, mutatation, then explosive growth, then painful death.

        p.s. yeah, I guess another f... silver bullet's gonna be chatbots, right?

  3. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

    Why would Amazon shut it down rather than sell it off? Assuming anyone wants to buy it, of course.

    1. weirdbeardmt

      Or give it to the current team (whose alternative is presumably redundancy) for a nominal $1.

      Suspect Amazon can’t be arsed with the hassle of disentangling 18 years of ownership despite it being The Right Thing To Do.

      This is a real shame DPR was a great resource. Will look forward to a ChatGPTard explaining how it would even come close to providing the sort of content DPR managed.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "Why would Amazon shut it down rather than sell it off?"

      Many questions in the world that start with "why" can be answered with "money". For a large company such as Amazon, if they couldn't get somebody else to buy it at a huge premium, it's worth more to write it off to lower their taxes. If the site was getting bombed with paid/fake reviews, a buyer might have insisted on a thorough cleansing that Amazon obviously feels would be too much work.

  4. nintendoeats Silver badge

    Big corporations acquiring small companies. Buy it, mess it up, shut it down. Not seeing how this benefits the consumer.

    1. The curmudgeonly one

      Not who they want to help.

      Not intended to benefit the consumer. It benefits Amazon by removing one way around Amazon's stupidly mismanaged reviews, their recommendations and their prices.

      1. Coastal cutie

        Re: Not who they want to help.

        Agreed - I generally avoid Amazon like the plague but was faced with having to use them when I couldn't find what I wanted anywhere else. It's about 5 years since I last used it and the deterioration in usability is astonishing, I've never had to wade through so much irrelevant c*** to get to what I actually need on any other site.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "Buy it, mess it up, shut it down. Not seeing how this benefits the consumer."

      It was never meant to benefit the consumer in Amazon's eyes. DPReview is loaded with Amazon links for everything discussed that Amazon sells. That alone would make me very suspicious.

      The only review site I used to use was Fred Miranda, but they've seemingly taken off their lens ratings which is a shame. There were links to stores on the site, but not exclusively Amazon or B&H. Links don't matter to me as I never use them anyway.

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Meh

        That is only a problem if there’s cameras that Amazon doesn’t sell.

        Amazon obviously want you to buy your next camera from them, but I don’t think it makes much difference to their bottom line which one you buy.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "It was never meant to benefit the consumer in Amazon's eyes. DPReview is loaded with Amazon links for everything discussed that Amazon sells. That alone would make me very suspicious."

        As a relatively frequent IMDB user, I've seen exactly the same happen there too. They also seem to be moving parts of the info to the paid-for "pro" section too. Just waiting for them to buy up TMDB and/or TVDB.

    3. TVU Silver badge

      Unfortunately, it happens all the time with GoPro and Kolor, Google and Picasa and Panoramio and all the rest.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      why on earth would you think ANY business is EVER meant to benefit the customer?! Even if 'customer benefit' is real, it's only a by-product and means to seve the business success (and no, I do not side with business!)

      1. nintendoeats Silver badge

        I did say the consumer, not the customer. I'm speaking of the more general way our economy works, which we are forver being told benefits the consumer because anybody can compete.

        Which is a lie.

  5. SnOOpy168

    Oh no. I going to miss this very much.

    " "I struggle to think of a move more stupid than this." - very true indeed.

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge

    DPReview had struggled to retain the staff necessary to run its review lab, particularly in light of its requirement that relevant employees work in-person out of the company's Seattle office

    Seems odd that in 2023 large corporations still haven't worked out a way to deliver the kool-aid to people WFH, employees still have to go into an office to drink it.

    1. nintendoeats Silver badge

      Oh, they are getting pretty good at it trust me.I am familiar with a company that pumps it through the screen from a septic truck.

    2. JoeCool Silver badge

      Policy or functional requirement ?

      The imaging results are produced in a calibrated lab. It's basically a studio setup.

      What would be the cost to create a duplicate "home" copy, and how comparable would the results be ?

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Policy or functional requirement ?

        "What would be the cost to create a duplicate "home" copy,"

        Many tests wouldn't be that hard. The more decimal points and esoteric measurements you try to do the harder it gets and the more specialized the kit. Repeatability is the key. You want test set-ups that you can use, put away and get out again that will give consistent results. A lab full of test cells that stay set up all of the time would use a large amount of space.

  7. The Central Scrutinizer

    Typical

    Seriously, the cost of running dpreview versus everything else they do?

    What an arse.

    1. Joseba4242

      Re: Typical

      I am taken aback by this decision and it leaves a big, sad gap.

      However, this argument is like saying that the government spends 100s of billions, a million is nothing to then, so they can give me a million.

  8. werdsmith Silver badge

    Started in the UK by the irascible Phil Askey. I remember those test shots of mundane UK locations and the weird resolution test pattern.

    These equipment review sites have always been a bit to anal for me, having learned to avoid seeking perfect. I get along some stuff which is not considered to be the best on the market.

    But it has been interesting to watch the whole thing as a lifecycle born out of someone's hobby.

    1. Plest Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Swings and roundabouts, as a hobbyist who makes money from their Getty sales I tend to agree with you. Sure you need to buy good, reliable kit but it all comes down to a much of a muchness. The best thing I ever bought was a Sony A6000 just for messing about, I've won more competitions with it simply because always having a good quality camera on me over none at all is the key to catching great images, the constant ability to practice and added bonus.

      So yeah let those who love the numbers wank themselves silly over tiny tolerances, the rest of us would rather simply enjoy taking great images that people love and some will pay for.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "So yeah let those who love the numbers wank themselves silly over tiny tolerances, the rest of us would rather simply enjoy taking great images that people love and some will pay for."

        That can depend. If you are looking for a super telephoto lens and have 2-3 choices that are all about the same price, knowing which one eeks out the others might be important for a spec such as how fast and accurate the lens will focus. I have to agree that there is a lot of wank on the consumer end of company's product ranges. The professional products all tend to be very similar and a company isn't going to offer more than one or two options due to the cost and market size. That said, there are some middle grade products that turn out surprising competitive with a company's pro model and could be a very good buy depending on needs. Your A6000 is a good example. It's not as versatile as an A7Rx, but can be an ideal choice for certain needs.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          It’s what works for you. Not what works for the reviewer.

  9. alain williams Silver badge

    Please do not say "let go"

    it makes it sound as if staff were trying to leave.

    They were sacked. Pure & simple. Do not repeat the slimy mouthed management speak that makes it sound less bad than it is.

  10. David Gosnell

    Disastrous decision

    I've never been much of a contributor, but that's perhaps because I've mostly bought older kit where I am more of a consumer of wise advice, and DPReview has always been my top go-to when web searching issues. So gutted to see this announcement, wiping (without even the plan of an official archive) the most definitive resource on the planet, clearly trying to steer customers towards Amazon's unreliable reviews, product info and Q&As and to hell with the collected knowledge of most of the digital photography era.

  11. Snake Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Sorry to see it go, but it was bound to happen

    I no longer visit DPR much any more, and there are specific reasons as to why. Frankly, the depth of the reviews has gone completely; although I do like Jordan and Chris, after they were hired almost all the reviews were changed into an [overview] video format. Gone were the in-depth technical dives and gone was the ability to simply read a damn review article.

    After a year of that I said, "No, not for me" and pretty much stopped visiting. And I definitely know I'm not the only one who felt that way, comments in the forums note the feeling is mutually shared. Whilst the video reviews are nice, they should not be the ONLY in-depth review type offered.

    So, so long and farewell. Your growth has always been up and down in spurts, struggling to find a balance of what you wanted to do versus what readers wanted from you. It looks like you finally put the nail into your own coffin, sadly.

    1. TVU Silver badge

      Re: Sorry to see it go, but it was bound to happen

      I wouldn't be surprised if the slide started after the Amazon buyout because these large companies buy some site for the huge user/reader base, then find they can't really marketise that audience so they lose interest that then leads to neglect and decline.

    2. FatGerman

      Re: Sorry to see it go, but it was bound to happen

      Totally agree. Videos are the laziest way to produce content, and almost everybody is boring to listen to. Text can be searched and indexed, you can find the details you want without having to yawn your way through 10 minutes of somebody droning on. Can't stand it.

  12. Andy Taylor

    DP Review informed my first DSLR purchase in 2004 (Nikon D70) and all subsequent purchases.

    I stopped reading or contributing to the forum when I got bored of the "measurebators" and CAG (Camera Acquisition Guys) but still drop in once or twice a week.

    Imagine selling your entire Company A system because Company B announced a slightly better camera then selling the entire Company B system to switch back when Company A makes the inevitable upgrade to beat company B's offering...

    There are other sites, but I'll miss DPReview.

  13. J. Cook Silver badge

    I used the DPReview site when I bought my ancient Kodak 6490 nearly 20 years ago; on the strength that the asic on it was (for that class of camera and pixel range) one of the better ones for the price.

    I got a LOT of good pictures out of it, and for a 4 megapixel camera it really did quite well.

    Sadly, I'm once again in the market, as my Candy Red Pentax K-x bit the dust last year. I looked it up on DP review after getting it and was pleased that the kit lens on there was considered "decent enough" that I never bothered getting anything else for it.

    Any recs for a reasonably priced DSLR in either the Canon or Nikon camp?

    1. FatGerman

      >> Any recs for a reasonably priced DSLR in either the Canon or Nikon camp?

      These days they're all basically the same, technically speaking. Get yourself to a decent camera shop and try a few out. Buy the one that feels best in your hand and has all the features you need easily accessible.

      1. BlokeInTejas

        Completely agree, but I'd generalize a bit: all the Big Name manufacturers are making good stuff. Buy from Sony (my choice, because I started with Minolta), Canon, Nikon, Panasonic/Lumix and you'll generally get an excellent image-maker.

        Then indeed the important thing is how does it feel in your hand(s) and how does it feel to operate.

  14. rlightbody

    Really, really sad. As an amateur photographer, I will miss it very much. It has been a huge help to me, including very recently.

    Seems like a lazy cop-out just to close it down. There are obvious ways where it could have made money but still retained the valuable content.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    once upon a time, there were the internets

    and little people roamed free and set up various interesting sites, and they flourished. Then, 'something' happened, and people behind those interesting sites were given offers they could / would not refuse. The sites continued under new, improvement Mega-Uber-Hyper Corps. Then, they decided to shut them down. But now, little people find they can't afford time, resources, let alone, money, to re-instate their various interesting sites, because what was a fairly quiet, yet enterntaining, b-road crossroad, has become a spaghetti junction of mega-uber-hyper motorways run and managed and supervised and cured by Mega-Uber-Hyper Corps, so you either take a ride in the Mega-Uber-Hyper-Corp-provided vehicle, at a price, or fuck off and die little people, nothing personal, just business, price of progress and all that.

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