When is a consumer review not a fair review?

Last year I bought a new camera. It’s a Pentax Optio W30 and was hailed as a great camera by some of the review sites.

This review really rates it with the only apparent downside being that it can’t shoot in raw. That’s okay, I don’t know what Raw is anyway. Why would I need that?

And so does this apparently independent review. In fact it is the one that I referred to when I bought it.

So why then is the camera, just a bit rubbish?

No-one seems to tell you that the pictures it takes are fine in blazing sunshine, but really bad when the light even fades a little. They are so grainy as to be unusable – even as tiny pics.

If you compare the shot I got with my camera to the one that my colleague Tim Garratt captured at the Little Boots concert in the Bowery Ballroom, New York, there is simply no comparison. He was using a Ricoh Gr Digital.

Tim Garratt's shot of Little Boots at the Bowery Ballroom New York - Brilliant
Tim Garratt's shot of Little Boots at the Bowery Ballroom New York - Brilliant

Compare and contrast with…

My own rather poor effort at capturing Little Boots in all her shiny glory in poor light
My own rather poor effort at capturing Little Boots in all her shiny glory in poor light

Now I’m no brand slut. I tend to pick a brand and stick to it until I find something better comes along, but I was soooooo disappointed with the performance of the Pentax Optio that I can’t really consider many positives about the brand overall. Because my expectations were so high having read so many positive reviews, my disappointment is compounded to destroying my trust in the entire Pentax brand. The reviews had raised my expectations, the product couldn’t deliver on those promises.

So are they really independent or are they part of a blogger outreach programme. They give cameras and cash to well respected bloggers and ask them to write technically sound and positive reviews to drag in gullibe muppets like me.

Maybe I’m being cynical (again) but I now finding myself doubting any reviews and feedback unless I know it’s independent. If there were loads of independent reviews then I’d be more inclined to trust the supplier again.

Perhaps I should have looked beyond the first two reviews that Google threw up. Perhaps I should look for a mark of independence such as Feefo offers, or perhaps I should just go and buy a Ricoh GR Digital?

In fact, that’s just what I’ve done, so the Pentax is going on Ebay tonight and I’ll refer my potential buyers to the exact same great reviews that are out there for them to see!

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