The internet and forums offer a venue in which people can come together and discuss virtually everything. When it comes to issues regarding performance of a piece of equipment, you will always have both sides. It's the best or it's the worst. What I've generally found is that the "it's the best" crowd far exceeds the numbers of the "it's the worst" crowd, although there are times when the "it's the worst crowd" gets the most attention. Perfection does not exist when a product is mass produced. Quality Control is, at best, a crap shoot when you're producing hundreds of thousands of any given item. There is always a +/- ratio which companies feel are acceptable by industry standards, given that when an item is discovered to be faulty, it will most often be replaced rather than repaired. The term "a bad batch" also circulates, suggesting that for whatever reason, lets say 1000 items received faulty components which resulted in a group of owners experiencing the same issue. They try to narrow it down to a certain serial number, place of purchase, date code, etc. in an effort to identify which batch was bad.
I grew up in Detroit, the motor city. It was a common saying that you should never buy a car built on a Friday or a Monday. Friday because the worker is tired after a long week and his attention to detail is focused on the weekend rather than the task at hand, which might mean a door handle will not be tightened to specs or a window will not be seated properly, and Monday because the worker is recovering from all he/she did on the weekend, and again, their focus is not on the task at hand, but rather how they really could have used a few more hours of sleep. I think there is truth to both. Whether it's a camera, a car or a computer, there are going to be issues with a small portion which will be brought to light on the internet since it's access is a click away and it allows the person an arena to make their case.
I suppose my answer to the question is yes, if the internet were around when people were shooting A-1's, AE-1's and F-1's, there would have been complaints about QC issues. To support this, one need only look at the Monday/Friday car scenario. Those cars were being produced long before the internet.