A flattering thing happened to me today. A camera manufacturer offered to send me a copy of a soon to be announced, quite expensive camera for me to review. In return, I could keep the camera.
It only took me a few seconds to realize that I had to say no. I think a lot of my credibility depends on reviewing cameras that I purchase on the open market, so that there is no question of my being beholden to any manufacturer. I have accepted a small number of pre-release products to review, since I can’t just go out and buy them. In that case, I always disclose how I got the product, and, when the testing is done, the products go back to the manufacturer.
This is different. Keeping a valuable piece of photographic gear in return for a review would raise the question in readers’ minds about how impartial I was in the reviewing. Indeed, it might actually make me less impartial. I can’t take that chance.