Amazon kills DPReview, the best camera review site on the web

Photo credit: DPreview

After 25 years of extremely detailed reviews of digital cameras and accessories, Amazon’s irreplaceable DPReview is being discontinued as the company continues with a new round of layoffs.

DPReview was founded in England in 1998 and was bought by Amazon in 2010, relocating the team to Seattle to be closer to its headquarters; I have met many of them over the years as they settled in and around my neighborhood.

The team’s knowledge, ingenuity and extensive objective testing contributed to reviews that are known to reach almost comical lengths at times, but that was because shortcuts were simply not taken: you could be assured that even smaller models weren’t just being shaken fairly but the same treatment that a flagship model received. The back catalog of camera reviews and specs is an incredible resource that I have consulted hundreds of times. (I actually did some freelance work for them myself 10 years ago, but they’ve just been my esteemed media peers ever since.)

That consistency and dedication attracted and sustained a large and engaged community, one that produced thousands of comment threads on reviews and news as they argue good-naturedly (and also testily, I have to say) with each other and with staff about hotness and equivalence and the Advantages of one or the other sensor arrangement.

Of course, cameras themselves have risen and fallen in popularity as they have battled smartphones for imaging dominance — and lost in terms of popularity. But even though far fewer people will buy standalone digital cameras in 2023 than they did in 2013 or 2003, the market for enthusiasts and professionals remains strong, and the cameras themselves have done incredibly well. There’s never been a better time to buy a camera – and there’s never been a better site to help you choose a camera than DPReview, and I don’t think there ever will be.

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Somehow, Amazon never really found a way to capitalize on this unique asset, and DPReview has carried on more or less untouched over the years, to the point where it seems possible that the parent company has forgotten they gave them belong. It’s hard not to see the opportunities presented by owning one of the world’s leading expert voices on a major category, but perhaps unsurprisingly no one thought of investing in DPReview and linking it closely to the other properties of to integrate Amazon. It’s not the first time that the left and right hands in this company have been incommunicado.

The team was laid off entirely as part of the recent round of cuts at Amazon, which, like other companies, has been tightening its belts — or perhaps cuts like other companies, under the pretense of macroeconomic headwinds — time seems unnecessary.

DPReview is hardly the first media company to get the ax in these turbulent times, but it’s certainly one of the oldest and most unique. We hope the talented and knowledgeable team bounces back and Amazon regrets their decision.

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