DPReview is Dead

It’s been widely reported that DPReview is closing down on April 10th. This is huge news! Not only is DPReview one of the oldest photography websites—first launched in 1998 when digital photography was a small niche—but it is one of the most popular. Its closure was a shock to me, and it probably was for you, too.

I’m not afraid to admit that I didn’t know DPReview was owned by Amazon. I was still shooting film when that purchased happened (and I think the only thing I had ever ordered from Amazon by that time was used school books), so it’s understandable that I didn’t notice. I suppose it makes sense that Amazon would want to own a camera tech website at the peak of digital camera sales. I’m sure that DPReview drove a lot of sales for them, and helped Amazon become one of the largest—if not the largest—camera seller in the world. Now that Amazon has a clear hold on that market—which has been a shrinking market over the last decade—DPReview has run its course and is no longer worthwhile to its giant parent company. After all, the many websites with affiliate links back to Amazon—which includes Fuji X Weekly—probably drive more sales nowadays than DPReview does.

Going Out of Business – Prescott, AZ – Fujifilm X-T5 – “1970’s Summer” Recipe

DPReview had its time and place, but I think its demise was inevitable. I suppose that could be said for every website—including mine—but why I say that about DPReview specifically is this: digital camera tech has gotten to a point where it’s all pretty excellent and everything is more than good enough for most people, and forums are outdated. That’s DPReview’s bread-and-butter.

The bread is pointing out the small differences in digital camera tech that at one time actually mattered, but now matters a whole lot less. If you cannot do amazing things with your gear, it’s not the gear’s fault! At one point it might have been, and that’s where DPReview came in handy. Nowadays your gear can do more than you can, so it’s more important to learn how to achieve what you want with it than to spend your energies studying the extraordinarily tiny differences in dynamic range or high-ISO performance or autofocus speed or lens sharpness. In other words, the attention to fine detail that made DPReview relevant is also what made it eventually irrelevant—or at least less relevant—as the fine details themselves mattered a lot less.

This almost decade-old budget camera takes pretty good pictures.

The butter is the forums. This was a popular digital hangout for photographers for a long time. But, forums just aren’t cool anymore (and haven’t been for awhile). The problem is that trolls and jerks ruin it for everyone else. There’s someone genuinely trying to learn something and gain some insight, and there’s someone with pure gold to offer, but there’s someone else who belittles the person for asking, and another who argues why the pure gold is garbage. While a lot of good happened in those forums, there was also a heck-of-a-lot of toxicity. One bad apple spoils a whole bunch, but unfortunately the forums had a lot of bad apples. I just hope those trolls don’t find their way here, because their behavior is not welcome and will not be tolerated. DPReview shouldn’t have tolerated it, either, but they surely seemed to do so, which made their butter taste bitter for many good-hearted people.

There’s a lesson here that I think might get overlooked but shouldn’t. Technical reviews of camera gear are less important now than they were 25, 20, 15, 10, and even just five years ago. All of the gear is plenty good enough nowadays. What people want to know is how to use what they own. How to get the most out of it. How to achieve what they want to achieve, either the simplest way or the “best” way. That’s what most people are looking for. Fuji X Weekly is successful because I help people achieve the look they want the simplest way (and what I would argue is also the best way, but I understand that’s certainly debatable). DPReview didn’t do enough, in my opinion, to help people in the way that they increasingly needed it. The opportunity was there—they had the audience—they just failed to recognize it and seize it, or perhaps because it wasn’t in the interest of the owner to do so. Now DPReview is dead.

I think it’s easy to say that DPReview’s closure is a result of the economic times—and there’s certainly an aspect of that to the situation; however, I believe that its failure is pointing out an opportunity for whoever will listen. It’s not to fill the void. Certainly some are already eagerly trying to do that—attempting to capitalize on the failure by attracting their audience. No, that’s not where the opportunity truly is. What DPReview’s failure is showing you is that if you can help people in the way that they desire to be helped, there’s an opportunity for success—even in a struggling economy with a shrinking market. Figure out what help people need, and provide them with the easiest and/or best solution. If you do that, you’ll find success. Maybe I should write a book about this?

The best part of DPReview was their YouTube channel. Chris and Jordan will be moving over to PetaPixel’s YouTube channel (which I didn’t know was a thing), and certainly that will quickly become the best part of PetaPixel. I wish them much luck!


  1. Michael Mazor · March 23

    Where Jordan and Chris go others will follow.

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 24

      I think so, they’ve been popular for quite some time.

  2. fotoeins · March 23

    I too was surprised to learn Amazon was the owner. You’ve raised some interesting points to consider. For someone who’s gotten their training in science, the details mattered when I became more interested about photography and cameras, because the details aided my overall understanding of how I could use the device. I complemented the “technical” side with the “humanistic” side by going elsewhere to reading about and looking at a lot of different kinds of art and photography. At the end of the day, I’ll miss what dpr offered: they were the one of the first places to check when I considered a new device or a new piece of glass. I hope their articles, charts, tables, etc. can find a new home as an important historical archive.

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 24

      There’s always the Way Back Machine….

      I think the technical side is much less important now than it used to be because everything released in the last five years, and arguably longer than that, is technically excellent. So DPReview was (over the last several years) just telling their readers which products were slightly more technically excellent in some small aspect (that in practical use didn’t actually matter much). A good resource, yes (especially 10 or more years ago), but as the flaws in the technology and gear become less and less significant, so did DPReview’s importance. With all of that said, DPReview has on occasion provided some useful information to me while Google searching, and pretty soon none of that will be available, which is a shame. Thanks for the comment!

  3. LuckyDog · March 24

    Well said, and similarly applicable to much tech, such as cellphones.

  4. jnriba · March 24

    Really well said. Totally agree.

    And… Thank you for your work in “fujixweekly.com”. Having great content these days, specially the ChatGPT article.

  5. John Grubb · March 24

    I started watching Chris and Jordon well over a decade ago when I started back into photography and they were doing The Camera Store videos. I’m also from Calgary and was a customer there. I’ve always enjoyed their content as have many many others. I’m glad to here that they are going to be continuing at Peta Pixel. I think what you said in your article about a missed opportunity is quite valid and also that it is important in a forum setting to keep a tight reign on the trolls. You should write that book 😀

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 24

      Thanks! I’ve been wanting to write a book for a long time. Maybe now is a good time to start. 😀

  6. leveveg · March 24

    I’ll miss the comments of Magnar Fjørtoft, but luckily I can read his books in Norwegian, what you cannot:-)

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 24

      That sounds like a challenge 🤣

      Unfortunately, his books don’t seem to be easily available here, though.

      • leveveg · March 25

        Whenever I need inspiration, I re-read a chapter of his book “Fotografiet som medium”. I used to scroll the commentary threads in search of comments from Fjørtoft.

  7. objectsblogger · March 24

    I don’t agree that DPR became any less relevant, I suspect it still got a huge amount of traffic, and that’s one of the reasons Amazon aren’t interested in keeping it going as an archive or in any other form – because it’s costly to host and maintain such a big high-traffic site. What it didn’t do is work for Amazon’s business model, and convert enough clicks into sales, and that’s the bottom line they cared about.

    It’s a huge loss, and with respect, it’ll be remembered long after fujixweekly slides into irrelevance.

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 24

      I guess I mean less relevant as in their information was less meaningful, useful, or important. I don’t doubt that they were still receiving a lot of traffic (although I do believe they were getting less traffic than they used to at their peak, which apparently was some years ago).

      As far as the last remark, I’m not competing with or comparing myself to DPReview or any other website like that. I’m honestly shocked and honored that this website has grown as large as it has, and that so many photographers find it helpful. Far more than I ever thought possible. And it keeps growing and growing! I never set out to or thought that I would be disrupting and changing the photography world, yet that’s exactly what is happening, at least on a small scale. If nobody remembers that 20 years from now, that’s ok, because I never thought it would go even this far. Still, I feel as though I’m just getting started. I have no idea what the future holds, but I’m hopeful for good things.

    • markusa1 · March 25

      Agree completely. DPReview, while not perfect, was a great source of information on gear, their photo contests were enjoyable, reviews, specs, and the forums as a searchable database were invaluable. Need to know how to set up your new camera for action? Chances are there’s a forum post describing exactly how.

      This post was one of the most off the mark, self-important takes I’ve seen yet.

      • Ritchie Roesch · March 27

        The first paragraph of this reply is a fair assessment, and perfectly fine to state.

        The second (one sentence) paragraph is a great example of why the DPReview forums sucked. A completely unnecessary snipe remark. That’s the kind of “bad apple” comments (mentioned in the article) that ruined the forum for others, and won’t be missed by anyone (other than the trolls who make them). I don’t put up with them, and I’ll let this one stand only because it illustrates the problem. I don’t tolerate it here, and DPReview shouldn’t have done so, either.

        Perhaps I didn’t state the point of the article strongly enough, because it seems to have been missed, so I will state it as clearly as possible: The death of DPReview illustrates a missed opportunity for them, and a potential opportunity for yourself (yes, you personally) if you seize it: for example, help people better understand how to use their camera for jazz photography. Helping others use their gear—the simplest way and/or the “best” way—is the opportunity for those with eyes open wide enough to see it.

      • markusa1 · March 28

        Perhaps you’ve missed the point. For one, Phil Askey sold DPReview for millions, why is it you feel qualified to evaluate DPReview on what worked and what didn’t? Second, the greater photography community is furious, sad, fed up with capitalistic monsters like Amazon buying up things we love only to close them. It’s a huge loss to photography, nobody cares about Amazon’s gaudy bottom line, how DPReviews usefulness to them had “run its course”. Now is not the time for your negative appraisal of DPReview, for your postmortem that essentially trashes DPReview but shows an odd deference to Amazon.

      • Ritchie Roesch · March 28

        I’m not saying that DPReview wasn’t successful… they obviously were for many years.

        When I learned that they were closing, the first thing I did was try to find some sort of information on their traffic and financial condition.

        They get a lot of visitors, but you might be surprised to learn that it’s been declining for some time. In fact, in 2023 it’s fallen to 2007 levels, which is still a lot, but not nearly where it once was. They fell in USA website ranking 736 places just between December 1 and February 28 alone.

        I couldn’t find specific financial data, but if DPReview was profitable Amazon wouldn’t be closing it. Not even heartless Amazon would do that! I think it’s a very safe assumption that they made a few phone calls or sent a few emails out trying to find potential buyers for the website (to get something for it), but couldn’t. A company doesn’t cut off an asset, they only do that if it’s a liability (Business 101). Put more simply, DPReview is a liability (not profitable in 2023), and nobody is willing to take on that liability for the nostalgia of it. That’s the bottomline.

        I get that some people love DPReview and are sad of its demise. If Fujifilm closed, I would probably feel similarly. But I wouldn’t expect everyone to feel as I do, because not everyone uses Fujifilm or loves their product. I don’t feel the same as you do about DPReview, and that’s ok. There are people who feel as you do, and there are people who feel as I do, and in the end none of it matters either way.

        What I want to circle back to, though, is the point of the article, which wasn’t so much about DPReview, but the opportunity that each person has, including yourself. I hope that point isn’t lost, because it’s important.

  8. Don Crawley · March 24

    I really enjoyed the camera reviews, especially the feature where you could do comparisons against other cameras. And not just for the new ones. Actually, more for the older ones. When I was looking to buy an X-T1, I wanted to see how it stacked up to other cameras, both of the same vintage as well as newer. Also, when I was looking at different lenses, both modern as well as vintage, there was always a great thread to read about the pros and cons. It was a much better, faster way to get specific information than having to listen to a bunch of YT videos with their stupid artistic intros and squarespace ads, IMHO. I realize there isn’t any money to be made with that forum, but I don’t understand why Amazon has to kill it rather than find someone to take it over. I think this is a huge loss to the photography community.

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 24

      My guess is that Amazon tried to sell it (maybe they didn’t, but that would surprise me). My suspicion is that DPReview was losing significant money, so nobody was interested in taking on the losses or risk (trying new revenue streams). Killing it was probably not the first or preferred option, but simply what it came down to. Amazon (or anyone else) isn’t going to lose money just for the nostalgia of it. While I would say that it is indeed a loss, I don’t think it’s a huge loss, and two years from now barely anyone will be thinking about DPReview, which is kind of sad, but it is the reality of it (life goes on, the world continues to turn).

  9. Era Holup · March 25

    My impression is that this post was a bit inadequate. It lacks due sympathy for DPReview and its legacy, and sees the demise of a giant as an opportunity to praise why Fuji X Weekly is thriving. As such, to me at least, it read like a business-minded narrative from the perspective of a bitter rival, even with occasional passive aggressive commentary (“I think its demise was inevitable”, “I wish them much luck!”).

    To me, even the idea of talking about Fuji X Weekly on the same page as DPReview sounds utterly naive, let alone pointing out strategical differences that make your page thrive and others’ page fall. A simple commentary would have been so much nicer: that you are sad to hear the news and you wish the community will carry forward the legacy on various platforms. Full stop. No. You decided to compare apples and pears instead. I think your demise is inevitable. I wish you much luck!

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 27

      First, I’m not sad about DPReview. It’s sad that they were unable to pivot (because they didn’t recognize that they needed to? Because their owner didn’t allow them to?). But I haven’t found the website to be particularly useful for me in a long time.

      True story: when I was considering buying my first Fujifilm camera… at the time I was shooting Nikon and Sony… I used the comparison tool, and it almost convinced me not to buy the Fuji. Ultimately I went with my gut, which forever changed my life (no hyperbole). I realized then that websites like DPReview were both helpful and a hinderance simultaneously, because they overemphasize details that just aren’t nearly as significant as they are made to seem. Ignoring them was the best thing that I could have done (and thankfully did).

      Second, I wasn’t comparing myself to DPReview. I was using myself to illustrate that opportunities abound for those with eyes open enough to see it: specifically, that if you help others understand how to use their gear—the simplest way and/or the best way—that’s what people want most. This opportunity exists for you personally, and that’s the takeaway I hope to convey (but apparently didn’t state it strongly enough). This is the best advice you will read on the internet this month or maybe this year, if you take it.

      Third, the statement “I wish them much luck” was stated in all sincerity: I really do wish Chris and Jordan all the luck in the world. They were the best part of DPReview, and I’m glad they so quickly found themselves a new home. You read into it (and apparently other parts of the article) a sentiment that wasn’t intended.

      Fourth, I don’t wish that the “community will carry forward the legacy” because the forums (the community) was such a toxic environment full of mean-spirited trolls (yes, there were good people, too, but far too many bad apples). I hope that dies with DPReview, because it does the world no good. Statements like “I think your demise is inevitable” is a clear illustration of that mean spirit that ruined the website. I don’t tolerate it here, and I let it stand this one time because it showcases the problem with DPReview forums so well.

      • objectsblogger · March 27

        Ritchie, I think you’ve gotten this badly wrong and you’re making yourself look an ass by doubling down on it. The death of DPReview is a massive deal for the wider photographic community, of which Fujixweekly is a small and very junior part. Frankly, nobody cares *right now* that you were once burned in the forums or disagreed with a review, your inability to look past that and see the broader appeal and achievement of DPR, and the genuine sense of loss people are feeling, is just making you look small minded and very much out of touch. Nobody is asking for your advice and the very obvious self-congratulation that it contained. At the end of the day you’ve had a good run capitalising on Fuji’s excellent jpeg customisation options; now I’ve seen a little more of the man behind the settings I’ll be giving this place a miss from now on.

      • Ritchie Roesch · March 27

        Wow, that escalated rather quickly.

        I guess to your points…
        1) No need to be mean. That’s what was wrong with the DPReview forums. They shouldn’t have allowed all the mean-spirited troll behavior, but they did. That’s not good for the photographic community or any community for that matter, and it won’t be missed by anyone other than the trolls who engaged in it. I don’t put up with it here.

        2) I was never burned in the forums personally. I never commented on anything myself. Whenever I did visit the forum (because it came up in a Google search), I almost always left shaking my head at some of the awful comments left by some of the users. You made that incorrect assumption about me—it’s just simply not true (so, yeah, you can apologize). I do assume that all sorts of bad things have been said about me in the forums (due to the nature of the forums), but I learned many years ago to never Google search myself (because some people are mean in their hearts), so I have no specific knowledge of it.

        3) This is my website. I give advice. If you don’t appreciate it, nobody is making you visit or read any of it. The advice that I gave (you personally have an opportunity to be successful if you find a way to help people use their gear—the simplest way and/or the “best” way) is solid advice, probably the best advice I’ve ever given. That was the point of the article. I’m sorry that you missed it, but I hope it is clear now.

        4) Yeah, I’m the “bad guy”…. I cannot change how you feel, and I get that you really liked DPReview (not everyone thought the same about it as you… I’ve had a number of people tell me that they feel similarly to me about it) but I don’t find that an excuse for the mean words, which were very unnecessary. If you are leaving, just leave.

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