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New Tabbed Review Format

More about our testing
New Indoor/Outdoor Portrait Tests (5/23/2008)
New Daylight Simulator (5/23/2008)
"Sunlit" Portrait - What to look for (5/23/2008)
Indoor Portrait - What to look for (5/23/2008)
Still Life and Multi Targets (Updated 11/29/2010)
HMI Studio Lighting (5/22/2006)
Performance Timing (5/22/2006)
New Review Format (5/22/2006)

Appearing first in our Sony H2 review is a new tabbed review format designed to deliver more essential information more quickly.

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 of 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. The new format is also more flexible, allowing us to post specific sets of information incrementally.

As we first hear about the cameras from the manufacturers we will post specs, pictures, and a summary, which we call a Preview. When we get time with the camera, we will quickly take our two new test shots, the Still Life and Multi target, and we may do a hands-on preview and timing test. These will be called a Hands-On Preview or an Initial Test with Timing. Our testing is done before we start writing, so this makes good use of the time between the testing and final review.

This process began in the second quarter of 2006, with 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 also contained hints of the tabbed review format.

We've broken out the basic elements of the new design below.

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.