Because the extensive testing and analysis we do is so comprehensive, it often takes weeks or months before we can post a full review of a new camera model. Our readers tell us they appreciate the thoroughness of our testing, and the fact that we subject all cameras--from $100 entry models to $8,000 pro SLRs--to the same battery of tests, but many have been requesting test results more quickly than our regular process could deliver.
Our limited resources have also meant that we generally have to concentrate our efforts on the more popular, most-requested cameras, leaving a lot of potentially worthy but lesser-known models with no coverage at all.
To address both these concerns, we've come up with a new basic review format, along with two new specially-designed test targets to let us cover more of each camera's performance more efficiently.
Tabbed review format
Astute readers will have noticed "preview" pages appearing on the site for many cameras that we haven't yet reviewed. These pages contain a main Overview page with basic information about the camera, along with more detailed specs, and shopping links for those cameras currently on the market. The preview pages have also contained hints of our new, tabbed review format. After a lot of back-end work, we've now posted our first review in this new format: the Sony DSC-H2.
The new tabbed format divides our coverage into key categories including Overview, Design, Operation, Optics, Exposure, Performance, Specifications, and Samples. This new design will make it easy for readers interested in just a quick summary to see just that on the Overview page, without having to wait for the rest of the review to download. Likewise, those interested in the details of various aspects of camera operation and performance can access that information quickly, with the relevant test results posted right below the associated review content.
A key goal of the new format is to allow us to post sample images and test data for new cameras much more quickly. Once fully up and running, this new format will bring our readers significant test data very quickly after each camera's release, helping them make informed purchase decisions as soon as each camera hits the market. It will also help us provide basic coverage of many cameras that we'd otherwise not have time for.
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|New Still Life target ||New "Multi" target |
The photos above show our new Still Life target and our new Multi target, which will be appearing on the Overview page for each new camera we get our hands on. We carefully assembled and arranged the Still Life's contents to reveal an extraordinary amount of information about a camera's performance. It will help reveal tone-on-tone detail, noise suppression, resolution of fine and highlight detail, shadow detail, and several other factors.
Our new "Multi" target above right will look familiar to anyone who's read any of our reviews over the last eight years, as it's just a number of additional elements tacked onto the standard ISO-12233 test target. We left the components of the standard res chart viewable, like the hyperbolic resolution wedges since these are what most people look at on the ISO chart to judge camera resolution. Then we added a Grayscale, MacBeth chart, Kodak Color Separation Target, and Kodak Q60 target to show most of the same elements we used to cover with the Dave Box.
Rest assured that what we cover in our full digital camera reviews hasn't changed; in fact we've added a few elements, and enhanced the interface to make it a better experience with faster load times and as little or much detail as you like. Most important, once a full review is complete you will still be able to download our full suite of test images, served up straight from the camera so you can see any camera's output for yourself, straight from our lab to your computer and printer.
We're excited by this new format and our new targets, and hope you will be too. We'll still be tweaking and refining the content and process in the coming weeks, so watch as we work to implement our whole vision for an improved Imaging Resource. Please let us know what you think of the changes! For more detail on the test targets, see our full writeup.
-The Imaging Resource Staff