The other day I was accused—not in public—of being "anti-Askey."

Despite not even knowing what that really means—don't know the guy—I have to protest that I'm not in any way "anti" DPReview. It's an excellent and highly useful website, one I refer to frequently.

Yes, okay, from time to time we get on our faithful mule, don our rusty armor, and take a gratuitous poke at the dragon. And I like the "Steve's Conclusion" segments of reviews on better as digi-camera reviews—they're discursive, self-contained little mini-reviews in and of themselves, and generally give me all I need to know in a pill I find easy to swallow. And of course Luminous-Landscape is more entertaining. All things considered, however—and all that aside—DPReview is probably the premier digital camera site on the web. Probably the most popular, too.

And for very good reason—it's outstanding. Nobody, but nobody, does the hard bits better—the site's software features (who else does a timeline of the introduction of digital cameras? That's industrial history in the making, right there) and the tech-manual features and specs of cameras are reliable and thorough. (True tech-heads might find more to do at Imaging-Resource and its sister site, but frankly the rivalry between the two big sites is Gala vs. Red Delicious, Hebrew National vs. Oscar Meyer.)

DPReview has a couple of flaws, both minor. First, they tend to chase away knowledgable people from their forums and calmly tolerate puerile infighting amongst noobs and pinheads—the brand-bias and put-downs can get intense. But only sometimes. There are a ton of good people on their forums too, and lots of good information along with the nastiness and absurd rumors. Then again, how can you really control forums? And the site simply needs an editor, as the English is not infrequently ungrammatical. At the same time, tyopos are minimal and sense is well communicated, and it doesn't seem to bother people.

As I say, minor—easily made up for by the best interface online, the most thorough camera reviews, a very focused news page, and lots of auxilliary features kept spotlessly up to date. It's a very impressive showing. DPReview deserves its status as the default destination for gearheads and the most often accessed guilty pleasure for camera nuts of every stratum. And it gets an admiring A+ from me.

A note on this report: Yes, all possible opportunities to use "Auntie Askey" in bad puns were examined, but rejected. Sorry.



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