Why I Don't Bother With Consumer Reports

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Biro, Nov 8, 2014.

  1. Biro

    Biro Super Moderator

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    In its October issue, Consumer Reports magazine named the Canon G1 X Mark II their best-scoring camera ever. That's the best ever. CR gave it excellent scores for overall image quality, flash photos, video quality and rear LCD. Better in these categories than the Sony RX10, Nikon Coolpix A, Sony RX100 II, Fujifilm X100S and Ricoh GR. The category was point-and-shoot cameras but no advanced DSLR or advanced mirrorless camera has ever racked up such scores, as CR itself points out.

    Now I don't want to pooh-pooh anyone's choice of a G1 X and we do know that it's a decent camera (if somewhat betrayed by an older sensor) but this is one example of why I don't generally bother with Consumer Reports. It's the same way with cars and trucks or virtually any subject with which I have some knowledge. I can't help but scatch my head over many of CR's choices.

    Of course, Consumer Reports probably isn't testing for the connoisseur of any product category but, rather, the general masses. But, to my sensibilities, they are often flat-out wrong even when their conclusions are considered in that context.

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  2. demiro

    demiro Serious Compacts For Life

    Dec 15, 2011
    I haven't used CR in years, but I thought it was a valuable resource pre-proliferation of info on the net. I definitely found it good for more general stuff like appliances and for cars. Seems unnecessary to me now though.
  3. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I think their bread and butter was reliability because that could be tested objectively, where any sort of performance information is ultimately sort of subjective - not the specific numbers but how the sum of the parts comes together as a whole or doesn't.

    Maybe the G1X is the most reliable camera on the road. Good for 150,000 miles of typical driving, easy!

  4. bartjeej

    bartjeej Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Well, up till the arrival of the LX100, I think the G1X mk2 was the most all-round capable coat-pocketable camera ever made - and it's probably still competitive with the LX100. So I can see their point, really. The camera never appealed very strongly to me, but as an all-in-one camera with decent zoom range, decent aperture, roughly DSLR-sized sensor, direct controls, and fairly compact size, it is a bit of a goldilocks camera. Until a few weeks ago, it stood clear of everything else in the compact marketplace in a way that very few cameras have in the interchangeable lens category (D800, E-M5 and a7 series are the only recent ones that come to mind).
  5. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    I think for buying something that you are passionate about, CR is of little use. But for someone who doesn't want to spend weeks of research, they are a valuable resource. I'm glad I read their dishwashers reviews because I am NOT passionate about them. I bought a Bosch dishwasher and think it's the most awesome dishwasher ever. I reckon that someone who is not passionate about cameras could easily buy the G1X (or whatever that Canon thing is called) and think it is also the most awesome camera ever. And if they don't obsess about it like people here do, it WILL be the most awesome camera ever (for the person who bought it).
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  6. RT Panther

    RT Panther All-Pro

    Dec 25, 2012
    This is how I've always known them...
  7. Review sites like this are great resources, but to be taken with a grain of salt.
  8. porchard

    porchard Veteran

    Feb 3, 2013
    Devon, UK
    For me, Luke nailed it here. I found exactly this when updating my mobile phone recently. I wanted to be sure to get a decent one, but I'm just fundamentally not interested in mobile phones. With this in mind, I read a number of 'Reviews-for-the-Pathetically-Lacking-in-Knowledge', and then managed to reach a decision. Of course the down-side is that - when I'm reading one of these reviews - I have the uncomfortable feeling that I don't have enough knowledge to know when the reviewer is spinning some kind of line, and therefore I have to take the information at face value.

    After reading all the reviews, I'm still not interested in phones:wink:... but the reviews got the job done and I managed to get a phone that suits. :thumbup: (Or maybe I have yet to realise that a reviewer did spin me a line...:eek:)
  9. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Has anyone here even used a G1X MkII? It might be that it IS the greatest camera ever created and we've been missing out all this time :smile:
  10. Biro

    Biro Super Moderator

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Hey, if it is, I'll be delighted to say I was wrong. :irked:
  11. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    I think I remember that I checked CR before I bought my first car, a VW Beetle in 1970. I think they said that the manual transmission was barely adequate for safely entering a freeway, while the semi-automatic was 'inadequate'. I bought the semi-automatic anyway - no problems. In regard to cars, they were way too Nader-esque to be useful. CR reviewed the old Minox 9 mm film camera (8x11 mm image) around that time, and rated it tops for build quality and lens quality, but gave it a low rating for the quality of its color prints as printed by (presumably Minox or Berkey). I shot the Agepe FF 'document' film, which was spectacular. In recent years they reviewed Starbucks coffee and found it to have a burnt taste. So while I didn't find the car review useful, the other 2 were pretty accurate. BTW, Motor Trend aced the VW review, and it wasn't even a review - just a Q&A
  12. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    May 13, 2013
    I think Consumer Reports are fine as part of the information gathering process if you want to find out what is important to you and what is not. Taking conclusions at face value may lead to disappointment, especially when it turns out that the availability of a nice manual in one's own language is an important criterium to favor one over the other. I've seen that for washing machines etc. where the user manual was more important than functional things like energy consumption.

    Having said so, the GX1 seems to be a pretty good camera that is built like a tank. It seems to be a solid performer too, from what I've heard from people who use(d) it (mainly Canon DSLR users). It never appealed to me though.
  13. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    I take Consumer Reports to be similar to Which? in the UK. They have a long and honourable tradition of conducting excruciatingly detailed tests on products and publishing the results for all to see - for a fee.

    These days I consult Tripadvisor, Feefo, Trustpilot, G+, Amazon, etc, etc... In short, I gather as much information as possible from as many sources as possible to inform - not make - my choice. The great benefit of "social" is the direct access to the experiences and views of many people - how else would we have found out so promptly about bendy iPhones, for instance? The art is in separating the wheat from the chaff. The courtesy is in writing your own reviews in return. I do so on a regular basis, for good service and bad.
  14. Djarum

    Djarum All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    AFAIK, one still has to pay for Consumer Reports. I know on the car forums I frequent, someone who's paid up will post their results for the cars.
  15. I think this is the key.

    Especially for a big ticket item, visit many sources, both professional and user, and you will get a better overall feel for the item.

    My current car, the Dodge Avenger, got slammed in the professional reviews. However, most owners love it. I have had it since 2007 with a current 108,000 miles with only one repair which was kind of my fault. However, the reviews make it sound like it would fall apart in a year.
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