End of an Era


Today DPReview announced that it is shutting down. The site will close and all its content will be deleted on April 10.

[03/27/2023 Update – There is now a petition on Change.org asking Amazon to not shutdown DPReview. It's a nice gesture and I signed it, but I doubt it will work. One thing about Big Tech - once they make a business decision, they can move surprisingly quickly considering their size (except of course for Microsoft) and they're not very sentimental about it. I would be very happy however if they simply kept the site up with no new content. Its costs are probably not much bigger than a rounding error for AWS and a pittance compared to the value it provides to the photography community (although it's a lot more involved than most people assume since all the content is undoubtedly spread across multiple applications running on top of database systems). You should sign the petition, if you're interested in voicing your support.]

Owned by Amazon, DPReview's closure is a numerical drop in the bucket of the 27,000 people laid off by that company this year, so far. But its impact on my world extends beyond the numbers.*

DPReview was one of the longest tenured and more reputable photography gear sites. It may not have been around for the very beginning of the digital photography revolution, but it presided over the most interesting portion of it. DPReview chronicled the rise and fall of both the compact digital and DSLR cameras, and many, many other major changes in photography users, gear, software, business, and markets. And it maintained a high editorial standard throughout. Their reviews were nicely detailed, diligent, and reliable. I didn't necessarily agree with everything they wrote of course, but on the whole, I felt that a review from DPReview was credible and worth consideration whenever I made my gear choices, or if I just wanted to know more about something.

With the widespread proliferation of AI, it appears we may be standing at the precipice of the next major evolution of photography. Or perhaps even, it's the end of photography as we've come to know it. Maybe this then is exactly the right time for a stalwart like DPReview to be going away.

But regardless, I'll miss 'em.

* I say, "beyond the numbers," and if you're part of those numbers, that might seem like a flippant statement. But I promise you I mean no disrespect. I know from painful experience that it's one of the most traumatizing things you can go through as a professional. It's a world of fear, anxiety, self-doubt, and oppressive uncertainty. And in a bad economy, those emotions get amplified by scarce job prospects, employer apathy, and a seemingly endless stream of rejection. I say with walked-in-your-shoes sympathy, it %$#ing sucks! And think about it for moment: 27,000 people. That's an astonishing number from a single company. I have lots of very uncharitable thoughts about Amazon and a lot of similar companies that maybe I'll share one day...