Find your perfect camera with IR’s new Similar Cameras feature!

by Dave Etchells

posted Friday, December 7, 2012 at 10:02 AM EDT

At IR, we're passionate about making this site the best photography resource on the web. While we feel strongly that we have the most authoritative, objective reviews online, we wanted to make it easier for our readers to see similar models they might also want to consider.

Today we're releasing into beta a "Similar Cameras" feature on all of our reviews. You can see an example of it at the bottom of any of our review pages, or see the screenshot and text below for more details:


The default display shows the five cameras most similar to the one you're considering. Some features matter more to some people than they do others, so we let you select additional criteria to show you other cameras that might better fit your needs or budget. Looking for a camera that's otherwise similar but cheaper? Similar but with a larger sensor? Just choose the appropriate selections. Every photographer is unique, so we don't force you into a "one size fits all" search algorithm.*

How it works
At any point, the similar cameras widget shows you up to five cameras matching the criteria you selected. A small arrow at the right of the pod highlights when you mouse over it. Click on it, and you'll see the five next-best matches. You can do this repeatedly -- as well as arrow back to the previous set of cameras -- until you run out of similar cameras for comparison. Click on any camera image or "Read More" link, and you'll be taken to our review for that camera.

While we've rolled out the feature to almost all current cameras, there are still a few that are missing, plus various bugs and gremlins to sort through. Please let us know if you see anything awry. We have lots of ideas for this feature going forward, but we want more than anything to get your feedback.

Please give us your feedback on how this feature could better suit your needs, in the comments below.

*The algorithm:  (A note for the techno-tweaks in our audience.) The similar-cameras feature is driven by a powerful back-end algorithm that computes distances in a multi-dimensional, weighted parameter space. It takes into account factors such as zoom ratio, sensor size -- in both inches and megapixels -- camera size, weight and price, mixes in a few mystery parameters and some proprietary weightings, and then computes relative distances in parameter space between every possible pair of cameras to find which are closest to the one you're currently considering. Clever code courtesy of lead developer Vianney makes response times lightning fast. Think of it as eHarmony(tm) for cameras.

Stay tuned for more in this vein, as we'll be integrating this technology across the site in other interesting ways in the months to come.