Amazon is shutting down DPReview, arguably the top digital camera review site

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,806   +180
Staff member
The big picture: One of the Internet's longest-operating review sites will soon go dormant. Digital Photography Review, or DPReview for short, was founded in 1998 by Phil Askey and quickly became a leading destination for digital camera and lens reviews, buying guides, sample galleries and more. The site was based out of London and had an active community forum, eventually attracting the attention of Amazon.

In mid-2007, the e-commerce giant acquired DPReview for an undisclosed sum. At the time, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said the site was by far the most authoritative source for straight talk about new digital cameras. The site continued to operate independently despite the change in ownership.

In a surprise announcement on DPReview, general manager Scott Everett said the decision to shut down shop came as part of Amazon's annual operating plan review earlier this year. Needless to say, DPReview community members are not happy with Amazon's decision.

DPReview will remain active until April 10, at which time the site will be locked and be available only in read-only mode for a limited period afterwards. Those with content on the site can request a download of their material until April 6 – after that, requests will not be able to be completed. The DPReview TV YouTube channel will also be shut down.

News of the shutdown isn't terribly surprising given Amazon's recent layoffs and the shrinking standalone digital camera industry, but it is sad nevertheless. Sites like DPReview and others no doubt helped countless readers (myself included) learn more about digital photograph at a time when the art still had a bit magic to it (that is, before everyone had a smartphone in their pocket).

As for the long-term future of DPReview and its archive of years of content, well… it does not sound optimistic. It is entirely plausible that much of the site's content will have to live on through legacy projects like the Wayback Machine.

Image credit: Camera by Gidon Wessner, Silhouette by Francois Olwage

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antiproduct

Posts: 274   +364
This site used to be great back in the day... well, at least it was till Amazon bought it. Or maybe I just stopped going there around that time because I had a good SLR, in the days before phones took over.
 

azicat

Posts: 193   +240
DPReview had already started to go downhill around the time Amazon took over. It was already making the transition from highly technical reviews from the Phil Askey era that helped film photographers make the digital transition, to a 'lifestyle' oriented site that somewhat pandered to audiences that linked personal identity to brand names. IMO the review quality took a nosedive. Their promised lens review library never eventuated, and the camera review database is littered with incomplete pre-release 'previews'. DPReview forums were always a bit of a toxic cesspool as well. (FYI I was a subforum moderator there for about 2 years and the volume of stuff that needed moderating there was phenomenal... for a site that is just about cameras.) Perhaps I'm biased/jaded, but I won't really miss it. It was turning into a link aggregator like Petapixel and Fstoppers anyway. Imaging Resource, which also struggled financially, is more in the spirit of Askey's original site mission, and independent creators like Gerald Undone and Nasim Mansurov have far exceeded DPReview in the quality of relevant comprehensive reviews.
Edit: And I should note that this isn't a jab at the journalists working for the site. They can only respond to the direction given to them by those higher up.
 
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dangh

Posts: 978   +1,629
Why wouldn't they sell it instead of closing it? It's the great place for everything picture taking and sure someone would pay money to keep it alive...
Loosing this amount of data makes no sense...
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,585   +1,142
Why wouldn't they sell it instead of closing it? It's the great place for everything picture taking and sure someone would pay money to keep it alive...
Loosing this amount of data makes no sense...
It's other people's money - the least work possible, least lawyer fees - Corporate managers number one goal is to make their life as easy as possible - they would happily waste money they wouldn't spent in their private lives - you really think they have $1000 plus office chairs at home.
Decisions like this are repeated thousands of times every year all around the world.
Companies happy for IP to go to dump than to fans to maintain - The person who made the decision probably has even talked to any of the employees there - they will get the top person there to do the dirty work.

Charities have to work hard to convince some shops , supermarkets to give to them - than put in trash.

Some people would rather dump expensive brands in great condition when their kids grow out of it - they put it in the neighbouring clothing bin.

Or throw recycling in rubbish bin if one meter closer

I bet there is people who throw out unopened drinks at the end of their party - than asked guests if they want to take it home

Crazy thing is Amazon has servers - they could host as read only for peanuts

all those forums with lots of advice
 

lripplinger

Posts: 407   +209
Man, that sucks. DPReview was such a great website, and place for us hobbyists and enthusiasts of digital photography.
 

s3thra

Posts: 43   +53
TechSpot Elite
So sad. It reminds me of [H]ardOCP closing their site down - although that was under entirely different circumstances. Archive.org's Wayback Machine is great for keeping these sites viewable, but it's still janky compared to having the live site available, especially for search.
 

Hodor

Posts: 765   +509
Pity. It was a pretty good and well organized site. I guess it doesn't fit into nowadays chaotic, crappy, nonfactual and emotion-based reviewing trends.