DPReview March Madness, round two results and off-the-wall round three voting: Digital Photography Review

Only 4 matches remain and it’s getting weird

Round Two of DPReview March Madness is in the books – we had some wild matchups and after much concentration we’ve settled some debates and whittled down the field.

The voters have spoken and we now live in a world where 35mm lenses\, smartphone cameras and natural light photography/video no longer exist. I suppose that means social media is also gone?

That brings the surviving photography concepts into the Round Three, and voting starts today! Click the image above with the new matchups to see it larger.

Things are getting weirder and weirder as we dive deeper into the tournament. The questions have become less about what you like, more about what you are okay with seeing vanish from the world and what you’re rather save.

Can you imagine a world without digital cameras, videos in 24 fps or prime lenses? Your votes, alongside the DPReview editors’, will decide and ultimately determine who takes the the DPReview March Madness crown. Let’s go!

Please note that for the best experience, we recommend voting on our desktop site.

Poll Rules:

This poll is meant to be a bit of fun. It’s not sponsored, promoted or paid for in any way and DPReview doesn’t care how you vote. Our readers’ polls are run on the basis of trust. As such, we ask that you only vote once, from a single account.

Round 1 — Results

Digital body vs. 35mm lens

The DPReview team debated amongst ourselves. What follows is an edited version of this conversation:

Shaminder Dulai: A world without 35mm lenses just seems wrong. This focal length is so ingrained in street photography and photojournalism that losing it would change how I see and compose images. If I have to choose, I can live without digital cameras and return to film, but I don’t think I can lose the 35mm lens.

Jason Hendardy: I’m taking this as digital vs film in regards to digital body. Digital has made photography so much more accessible and affordable for people, at least nowadays. I prefer 28mm.

Matt Waller: I tend to prefer 40mm or 50mm for my normal lens. And the idea of having to take only 36 pictures before my camera “runs out” sends shudders down my spine. I’ll keep digital.

Brendan Nystedt: Like Jason, I’d rather shoot 28 anyway…give me digital or give me death!

Shaminder: Aww **** Brendan, don’t put that on me. By picking 35mm lenses I’m not only removing digital bodies from the world, I’m also removing you?!

Richard Butler: I personally enjoy a 35mm, but I’m not into street photography enough to have a strong opinion. But this is a digital camera website: fundamentally digital bodies are what most of us are here for.

Dale Baskin: Shaminder, I love the 35mm focal length, and I enjoy shooting film too, but the benefits of digital cameras far outweigh a single focal length, even if it’s one of my favorites. Photography is now just as important in our daily communication as words, and that’s thanks to digital.

Jordan Drake: Whether I have a film or digital camera, I know I can make magic with a 35mm lens so that’s my pick.

Digital body 35mm lens
Reader poll result 79% 21%
35 pts 10 pts
DPR Editors picks 71.43% 28.57%
32 pts 13 pts
Coin flip 100%
10 pts
TOTAL 67 pts 33 pts
Digital bodies WIN

Prime lens vs. Natural light

The DPReview team debated amongst ourselves. What follows is an edited version of this conversation:

Matt: Sunlit tropical vacations with a zoom lens would keep me happy enough.

Richard: I tend to shoot in natural light most of the time (in part because on the rare occasion I can find a strobe, I can’t then find enough batteries), but I love the way a fixed focal length shapes and concentrates my photos, and their fast apertures are the factor that lets me shoot in natural light, much of the time.

Jordan: Whether in artificial or natural light, a prime will give me the depth of field control and force me to focus on my composition, so that’s my clear winner here.

Prime lens Natural light
Reader poll result 43.5% 56.5%
20 pts 26 pts
DPR Editors picks 57.14% 42.86%
26 pts 19 pts
Coin flip 100%
10 pts
TOTAL 56 pts 45 pts
Prime lenses WIN

24 fps vs Shutter angle

The DPReview team debated amongst ourselves. What follows is an edited version of this conversation:

Richard: It doesn’t matter how exposure time is expressed: I need to be able to shoot at the rate that gives me the well-recognized 24fps look.

Dale: It’s hard to fight decades of Hollywood films that trained our brains about what makes moving pictures look ‘cinematic’. I’m sure a future generation will answer this question differently.

Shaminder: I’ve made it this far without shutter angle in cameras, I can live without it and continue to deal with the frustration of forgetting to change shutter when I change frame rates if I must.

Jordan: I can live without shutter angle (and usually have to with hybrid cameras), but I never want to lose the option of 24fps. Canon tried taking it away from me with the 90D and M6 Mark II and those were dark, dark months until they rectified their mistake with firmware.

24 fps Shutter angle
Reader poll result 60.8% 39.2%
27 pts 18 pts
DPR Editors picks 100%
45 pts
Coin flip 100%
10 pts
TOTAL 72 pts 28 pts
24 fps WIN

Roger Deakins vs Final Cut Pro

The DPReview team debated amongst ourselves. What follows is an edited version of this conversation:

Shaminder: I made the switch to Premiere Pro after the Final Cut X hiccup so this is a no brainer for me. I pick a living breathing person over some software.

Richard: I take your point about people vs software, but I don’t personally know Mr. Deakins, much as I love his work, whereas Final Cut Pro was the thing that let me try my hand at video, which is something that’s brought me tremendous pleasure (and immense frustration, because editing).

Dale: Final Cut Pro is a great tool, but that’s all it is – a tool. If it disappeared tomorrow I would be disappointed, but I would move on to using a different tool. Deakins created lasting art. I doubt if many people know what brushes and paints were used by the masters, but people still crowd around a Rembrant painting in a museum.

Jordan: I can edit in Resolve or (begrudgingly) Premiere, but I’d never want to live without seeing the beauty of Blade Runner 2049, The Man Who Wasn’t There, Assassination of Jesse James or Skyfall.

Roger Deakins Final Cut Pro
Reader poll result 50.5% 49.5%
23 pts 22 pts
DPR Editors picks 83.33% 16.67%
37 pts 8 pts
Coin flip 100%
10 pts
TOTAL 60 pts 40 pts
Rodger Deakins WINS

Shallow DOF vs. Viewfinders on cameras

The DPReview team debated amongst ourselves. What follows is an edited version of this conversation:

Shaminder: This is a tough one for me. I actually hate rear screens and prefer to use the viewfinder. I know the viewfinder sucks up more battery life, but old habits die hard. That said, I also can’t see myself giving up shallow DOF completely. The thought that this aperture choice would just vanish from our tool box never to be seen again is just too much, I gotta save shallow DOF and learn to embrace rear screens, or maybe just shoot from the hip like the film days and see what develops.

Richard: Impossible to choose

Jordan: With much trepidation, I’m going to pick shallow depth of field. I’ll struggle to find an angle where my LCD is visible, as long as I can knock a distracting background out of focus.

Shallow DOF Viewfinders
Reader poll result 37.1% 62.9%
17 pts 28 pts
DPR Editors picks 66.67% 33.33%
30 pts 15 pts
Coin flip 100%
10 pts
TOTAL 57 pts 43 pts
Shallow DOF WINS

Annie Leibovitz vs. Naked glass

The DPReview team debated amongst ourselves. What follows is an edited version of this conversation:

RIchard: Some of Leibovitz’s portraits are iconic, whereas I find it hard to care about the presence or absence of a filter: just a colossal mismatch.

Shaminder: We knew round two was going to get weird, but this is beyond the pale.

Annie Leibovitz Naked glass
Reader poll result 46% 54%
21pts 24 pts
DPR Editors picks 100%
45 pts
Coin flip 100%
10 pts
TOTAL 76 pts 24 pts
Annie Leibovitz WINS

The end of special edition Leicas vs Jordan Drake

The DPReview team debated amongst ourselves. What follows is an edited version of this conversation:

Jason: If we don’t choose Jordan he no longer exists? I can’t play a role in that.

Matt: If we kick out the end of special edition Leicas then we get more of them, right? I like them!

Shaminder: Er… no. Kicking them out means they no longer exist Matt.

Brendan: Jordan’s too cool and all the celebs who endorse cameras these days can get by without ‘em. Although maybe Leica collectors should consider investing in Jordan instead? He’s far more productive than a NIB camera in a humidity cabinet.

Shaminder: Jordan, but only because he has Gordon’s phone number. Whatever happens, we’ll always have chowder kid.

Richard: When has a limited edition Leica given me feedback (and emotional support!) half way through a video project? Then again, when has a Leica highlighted my ill-chosen footwear to an audience of hundreds of thousands? Wait, can I change my vote?

Dale: Can I vote to make Jordan shoot for the rest of his life using only special edition Leicas?

Shaminder: That’s it, new idea for a bracket, how can we punish Jordan with annoying cameras to work with?

Jordan: Jordan.

Special Edition Leicas Jordan Drake
Reader poll result 36.1% 63.9%
16 pts 29 pts
DPR Editors picks 100%
45 pts
Coin flip 100%
10 pts
TOTAL 26 pts 74 pts
Jordan Drake WINS

Smartphone cameras vs Nikon Z9

The DPReview team debated amongst ourselves. What follows is an edited version of this conversation:

Matt: Kind of a tossup as neither has a mechanical shutter.

Shaminder: There’s an old cliche that the best camera is the one you have on you. More often than not these days, that camera is a smartphone camera. Smartphones have turned everyone into a photographer, we’re creating billions of images a day globally now, and while the pictures are not all great it is nice that we now all actually have an option to take pictures whenever the moment strikes us. And I know our site hates when we get ‘political’ but I am glad we now live in a world where video evidence of police abuses are captured and we’re forced to face reality instead of playing ‘coulda/woulda/shoulda.’

RIchard: I’ve only just bought a smartphone with half-decent camera in it. I know they have their place but there’s no joy or involvement in photography when I use one. Whereas the Z9 is probably the most impressive camera I’ve ever shot with. That’s not to say I’d want one, but even as someone that’s used a lot of cameras and who tries not to get carried away by the newest, shiniest thing, it’s probably come as close as any camera to making me think ‘wow.’

Dale: The Z9 is undoubtedly one of the greatest cameras ever created, but its impact is limited to a tiny number of people who have the interest and resources to access it. Smartphone cameras transformed the way the world communicates and shares information. Even in the most out of the way corners of the planet people have smartphone cameras, making photography available to many people for the first time in history.

Jordan: Are your nerdy photo/video friends going to be impressed when you pull out a smartphone? No. Pull out a Z9 and you have their attention. It’s worth mentioning that all my friends are photo/video nerds.

Smartphone cameras Nikon Z 9
Reader poll result 25.9% 74.1%
12 pts 33 pts
DPR Editors picks 57.14% 42.86%
26 pts 19 pts
Coin flip 100%
10 pts
TOTAL 48 pts 52 pts
Nikon Z9 WINS

Judging rules

A quick reminder of our rules.

Winners will be selected through the following combination of public votes, DPReview editors’ votes and a coin flip:

  • 45% readers choice votes (% of user votes for a each team, multiplied by 0.45)
  • 45% DPReview editor’s choice (% of editorial vote for each team, multiplied by 0.45)
  • 10% coin flip (because chance is a part of March Madness and everyone loves a Cinderella story)

Round 3 — 4 Matches

Embrace the weird! You may be asking yourself, how do I choose between people and gear?

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind: embrace the weird.

Ask yourself if you could only save one, what would you advance and what would you destroy?

If you were forced to wipe one from the face of the earth, what would you give the boot?

If you can only have one, would you rather live in a world without A or B?

(And a reminder, our polls are meant to be for fun and we don’t care how you vote.)

Without further ado, here are your matches for Round Three:

Photo Division

Round Three voting ends March 22, 2023

Video Division

Round Three voting ends March 22, 2023

Wild Card Division

Round Three voting ends March 22, 2023

Reader’s Choice Division

Round Three voting ends March 22, 2023

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