R.I.P: Four major digital photography sites that died this year.

2012 has been an exciting year for photographers. The onslaught of new products was unprecedented, as well as the rapid advancement of several segments and technologies.
This was the year that saw the micro 4/3 format mature to the point of actually being able to compete (and in some cases overtake) with cropped Dslrs, the release of no less than 7 full frame cameras, including Nikon's 36 Mpixel beast and Sony's Cybershot RX1 with a fixed lens. But this year also signaled the end,or a cryogenic sleep phase for many digital photography oriented sites, and we are going to cover the story behind the death (permanent or not) of four of them, in order of lifetime spanned:

R.I.P. . .

Digital Camera Resource Page (DCRP) 1997-2012

"Mickey the Mouse, Cupcake the cat, and the purple fringing tunnel of doom."

Story: One of the original big digital camera review sites. At its heyday back in the early to mid 2000's it ranked frequently within the 2000 most visited sites on the Internet. Things slowed down a bit during the past couple of years, and Jeff threw some hints about the future course of the site, and his career. Soon enough, at the beginning of 2012 he began doing reviews at Dpreview.com.

DCRP logo in 1997

Claim to fame: The site focuses mainly on reviews of digital cameras, and Jeff has done a whole lot of those, 622 reviews to be exact. Yes, we counted them :) One of the hallmarks of the reviews was the 'purple fringing tunnel of doom'. DCRP also has a very active community centered around its forum, and that place sometimes always had a life of its own.

Trivia: According to Alexa, DCRP is a 'senior's choice' photography site since it is visited more frequently by males who are over 65 years old.

The first camera to be reviewed in DCRP was the Ricoh RDC 4200, a 1.3 megapixel camera that gave a resolution of 1280x960 and had an iso range of 80-800. Back then you had two choices of heavy tinting, greenish or reddish, the Ricoh was of the green variety. Thanks to the above and its support of 16 Mb Smartmedia cards (that could hold up to 22 Jpegs or just one TIFF) plus its 6x zoom rotating lens, it was considered a very good camera at a great ($500) value.

Cause of death: In December Jeff posted this notice on the front page of DCRP:

DCResource to close at end of year; Jeff headed to DP Review

Fifteen years ago I created the Digital Camera Resource Page with the goal of helping regular people find the right camera for their needs. The site started off slow, but soon the camera market picked up, and things took off. At the peak of the digital camera revolution, three million people per month were visiting the DCRP.

Later in the decade, things started to slow down dramatically. The economy wasn't doing well. People weren't upgrading to a new camera as often. The smartphone became the preferred photo tool for many. That reduced the number of visitors to this website, and revenue soon followed. In 2011, the amount of money coming in every month was less than my living expenses, web hosting, and other costs of doing business. I've been draining my savings account for the last 18 months to see if things would improve, but unfortunately they have not. Thus, it is with a heavy heart that I announce that the Digital Camera Resource Page will be closing its virtual doors at the end of the year. This was an incredibly difficult decision -- this site has been "my baby" since 1997 - but I feel that it was the right one for me to make, both personally and professionally.

The good news is that I will still be writing camera reviews. Starting in late February, I will be working as a Senior Editor for Digital Photography Review, a site that needs no introduction. I'm hoping that DCRP readers will continue to enjoy reading my reviews there, now backed with more rigorous testing and analysis. I'm humbled to have the opportunity to work with the incredibly talented group of people at DPReview to make it an even better site..."

Current state: DCRP will Solemnly and in orderly fashion be laid in the freezer by Jeff for the forseable future. No new content will be added, and the forms will become read-only by Q3 2013.



 

Rob Galbraith DPI 1997-2012 "The man that brought shame to Canon."

Story: Rob Galbraith started the site in 1997 after he had an epiphany while sending a picture from his 1.3 megapixel Kodak camera via modem halfway around the globe. Realizing that digital was the future of photography, he immersed himself into the tub of digital imaging knowledge, started a training company, wrote a couple of books, and all this slowly morphed into what today is Rob Galbraith Digital Photography Insights.

Claim to fame: Rob (and his associates) covered and wrote about many things, ranging from industry news to extensive camera reviews and in-depth essays. Rob & co. paid special attention to the top models in Canon's and Nikon's Dslr lineup, testing and analyzing details and aspects of the cameras from the point of view of a professional photographer. Rob Galbraith.com logo in 1997

But the truly unique part of the site is the CF/SD/XQD Performance Database, a "compilation of write and read speed test results designed to aid the serious amateur and professional photographer in selecting camera storage media for a Canon or Nikon digital SLR".

Trivia:
  • What Rob first discovered and covered in detail was to become the "Canon1Dmark3gate", the inability of Canon's just released (2007) high end sports camera, the EOS 1D Mark 3, to properly focus during a variety of circumstances. Canon denied any faults at first, Rob retested and confirmed his claims, many disgruntled professionals with 1D Mark 3 cameras chimed in, and Canon soon found themselves in a world of hurt. It took Canon some firmware releases and a free AF recalibration offer to (mostly) fix the issues, but ultimately the company's reputation took a lasting dent.
  • The site did not experience a slowdown prior to its current state, on the contrary, is became increasingly active during its last year of existence, nearing 2 millions unique visitors per month. It is a mystery to many why Rob did not pass the management to one of the site's long time collaborators or part time employees.
  • Rob also appears to have some sort of fetish in shooting female college football players, since these are a very frequent subject on his AF tracking tests.

Cause of death: Rob has accepted an offer from SAIT to become an instructor in photo journalism, helping to fill the void left by the departure of legendary journalism instructor Frank Shufletoski. Quote from his announcement:

"To devote myself properly to my new job, I first have to shed the responsibilities of my current job. This has meant making an especially difficult decision. Here it is: as of now, Rob Galbraith Digital Photography Insights is entering deep hibernation mode. This site isn't going off the air, but it will no longer be regularly updated for the foreseeable future."

Current State: Rob Galbraith Digital Photography Insights is currently in 'deep hibernation' mode. This site isn't going off the air, but it will no longer be updated for the foreseeable future.
 


 

DC Views 2000-2012 "Advanced, Accessible, Appealing and Anarchistic."

Story: DC Views was started by Sebastian Pennings in 2000. The website was the premier
meta-data' site for photography related content at the time. It was almost literally a sea of links to all things photography, neatly organized and structured in directories, but sometimes hard to navigate. Things slowed down a bit during 2010, there were blackouts in new posts lasting from days to a couple of weeks.

DC Views logo in 1997 Things continued like this when in July 28 2011 Sebastian posted a notice about the closure of DC Views. He cited among other reasons 'web-pollution' and a general lowering of standards in the quality of camera reviews, but also the emergence of other quality camera review sites. Yes, we're confused too.
A period of silence followed and on October 21, 2011 this was posted:
"My name is Arthur Hanson and I will be acquiring and taking over the running of the DCViews website. I am passionate about photography and think DCViews is a fantastic resource and thrilled at the opportunity to work on DCViews."
A few months of haphazard posting continued, until full stop occurred in May 2011. 

Claim to fame: Central to the site were the two 'News on Digital Imaging" and 'News on Digital Cameras' columns, usually updated daily, with weekly review editions. They were originally titled "digital camera news" and 'international Headlines'. Also of great importance was the camera database, where on one page the visitor could have a collected view on specs resources and reviews of a particular camera.

Trivia: DC views had a Dutch offspring (DCviews.nl) that went offline in 2011.

DC Views was put up for sale at multiple online web auction sites. It reached a maximum offer for $10.100.

Ownership of the Dcviews.com domain went back and forth between the original owner (Sebastian Pennings/AAA-Views) and Arthur Hanson, until it settled on the former. This sign points to a deal that never went successfully through.

Current state: Last post on the site is from January 21, 2012. The following text can be read at the bottom of the main page:

"The DCViews site is under a period of major transition so you will see many pages with different looks. This page is not a finished design, it is however a way for users to see where the site is headed and for them to give feedback on what they like and what they don't like. I want the involvement of the community as it is YOUR site.

Due to the recent transfer of the site there will be an unfortunate short period of disruption to the site. I have added some forms to signup to a newsletter and Facebook, so please take a moment and signup. Before the new design is done there will be some unavoidable delays in site updates as some of the tools that were previously used to update the site are no longer available. I know a lot of people follow the site and don't want to disappoint them. I know change can be difficult and I promise to keep an open ear and please let me know of any questions, concerns or ideas that you may have."
 


 

DP Interface 2005-2012 "Fast, Fast Fast!"

Story: Launched by in 2005 by Brad Soo DP Interface quickly rose through the ranks of camera reviewing sites. DP Interface logo in 2006
While his first reviews were pretty amateurish ('help, my lens got stuck!" is a quote i remember)
Brad soon managed to churn out well written and thorough reviews on a variety of cameras.

Claim to fame: Up until 2010 DP Interface was always among the first sites, and sometimes THE first where one could read a review of a just released/announced camera.

Trivia: None worth mentioning that we are aware about.

Current state: Site has been abandoned since May 2012. There are no easily found traces elsewhere of Mr. Brad Soo. His Twitter account is in protected mode, and most of his other pages age gone.

 

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