Not Your Everyday Banana

by Bart Arondson

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We all buy a new digicam/DSLR every now and then.

So what web sites do you use to get more information about cameras and compare them?
Where do you look for technical information, camera reviews, recommendations, comparison tables, and so on?

(There isn't one right answer for this, so this is a Community Wiki question. Please put one website recommendation per answer - if you know more websites, just write one answer for each one.)

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14 Answers 14

up vote 26 down vote accepted

dpreview.com is really the place to start in my opinion. They have tested digital cameras for quite a few years, and they have a sort of standardized test method so that you can compare reviews of different camera in a meaningful way. They also include side-by-side image samples for predecessors and competing models, which I find very valuable.

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I still go to dpreview, but in my opinion its utility has decreased over the last few years. This may or may not be related to my demographic: I mostly buy high end compact cameras; I want and can afford a very good camera, but I want to carry it with me more or less all the time. 3 camera iterations ago dpreview had extensive, good reviews of all cameras which I considered. 2 iterations ago, it has some cameras covered but not all. This time round, not a single of the cameras on my short-list (including the one I bought eventually: Sony DSC-HX9V) had a review in dpreview :-(. –  user4417 Jun 22 '11 at 6:10
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For fast comparisons of technical features, http://snapsort.com/ is useful.

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Superb site for those who already know which features they want. –  Matheus Moreira Dec 19 '10 at 21:26
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The scoring system is a little off, though. Particularly, many insignificant differences are presented as dramatic, while other actually important differences aren't even covered. –  mattdm Jan 24 '11 at 14:47
    
Their scoring system is questionable. In effect you will be adopting their values and goals which are not likely to be the same as yours. –  labnut Jan 24 '11 at 17:12
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I like it more than dpreview when searching for features ... –  Leonidas Jan 25 '11 at 21:04
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As an example of their strange weighting system consider the Canon 600D. It has a score of 189, making it the second ranked camera. But 100 of the 189 points are awarded for popularity and the remaining 89 points are for all other features combined. This is because popularity is given by far the highest weighting. Now, do you really want to choose the most popular camera(according to Snapsort), or do you want to choose the camera best suited to your basket of needs? –  labnut Mar 2 '11 at 18:13
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I'll second dpreview, they have very comprehensive reviews and as mentioned, the side-by-side comparisons are excellent. However I'll also recommend fredmiranda.com - here people who have used the cameras post their reviews, and they also display the average score for cameras and lenses. They only show reviews for Canon and Nikon models however, as their user base is largely professional.

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www.PhotoZone.de also has decent reviews. They started with lens reviews some years ago but they also do DSLR reviews nowadays.

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I have used http://www.imaging-resource.com/ for years for reviews and sample images from consumer point & shoot through pro DSLRs.

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I find IR to be a good additional resource to dpreview as they tend to have reviews for a lot of the models missing from dpreview. –  danio Aug 4 '10 at 14:40
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In my opinion, most "objective" reviews of cameras (e.g., dpreview's) border on completely useless. The problem is pretty simple: they basically have a generic review where they fill in the blanks. This mostly tells you a lot about how cameras are alike, not about the differences that really matter. Knowing that camera N has 12.67% less noise at ISO 25,600 than camera C will almost never mean anything to most photographers.

At the same time, they rarely devote more than sentence or two (and often even less than that) to features that really matter. Just for a couple of examples: the liveview on Sony's cameras is a lot different from that on any other brand -- but most reviews (at most) have a half-sentence mentioning something like "...with a somewhat unusual take on liveview..." Likewise, Pentax has a feature that can sound a lot like program shift when it's first described -- and in a lot of reviews it'll be described about the same way: "...an unusual version of program shift..." In reality, it's not program shift at all, and it can make a substantial difference in how you're likely to take (some types of) pictures -- but most reviews seem to have been written by people who've never even figured out what it really is, not to mention why it matters, when you'd be likely to use it, etc.

A couple of people have mentioned Ken Rockwell as an alternative. In my opinion, he's almost the worst example of an alternative possible. In particular, he seems to routinely write things that even he undoubtedly knows are complete nonsense, simply because doing so is almost certain to attract page hits. While he has some good material, it's mixed about equally with stuff varying from nonsense to sheer lunacy.

Michael Reichmann at Luminous Landscape writes from a fairly similar viewpoint, but without the lunacy factor. Thom Hogan is devoted almost exclusively to Nikon equipment, but does quite a decent job of reviewing what they produce (and unlike some brand-specific reviewers, he's quite open about it when he doesn't think very highly of a particular product). While he's devoted to a different brand (Sony), David Kilpatrick at Photoclub Alpha does pretty much the same, taking some time to get to really know a product and then writing a review -- and doesn't seem to pull punches about definite or potential shortcomings, mistakes, etc. Unfortunately, I don't know of a Canon-specific site about which I can honestly say the same. Rather the contrary, every Canon-specific site of which I'm aware looks like they're basically just publishing Canon press releases. With some luck, that's just a matter of my ignorance though, and there are really some good ones out there.

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Interesting...as someone looking to buy an entry-level DSLR, i enjoy reading Ken Rockwell, as he talks about things in non-technical terms that i can relate to. What specifically does he talk about that is nonsense? I'd love to know as i wouldn't want to make a mistake in buying. I'm especially interested in the whole Canon v Nikon thing, as i'm starting from scratch building a system, and he seems to think that the Nikon system/lenses are better than the equivalent Canon system/lenses at the moment (at least at the bottom end of the market). –  nthonygreen Feb 5 '11 at 5:24
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@anthonyg: One example would be his persistent advice to shoot JPEG instead of raw format. I'm not one to say "there ought to be a law", but this should be a crime. Anybody shooting a camera that can produce raw output probably cares enough about quality that he'll eventually wish he had raw files, even if he does't yet. –  Jerry Coffin Feb 5 '11 at 5:45
    
thanks, I see what you mean...I've always found that advice counter-intuitive actually, knowing how JPEG compression actually works –  nthonygreen Feb 5 '11 at 5:52
    
Ken Rockwell is the Howard Stern of photo reviewers. He doesn't care or particularly believe anything he says, he just says what will get the most attention. –  Michael Clark Apr 23 '13 at 5:34
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I've always found CameraLabs to have good reviews, and the equipment section of photo.net is worth a look for reviews by actual users.

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I wish I could upvote this more than once. If camera labs has a review it is usually great. I really enjoy watching the video reviews as well. I was looking for info about nikon d7000 vs canon 7d vs. canon 60d and there was info on that site that none of the other sites talked about. (For example, the fact that the nikon d7000 boasts 6 frames per second but because of the buffer speed can only shoot that fast for a few seconds.) Other sites just quoted what was on the label, but I feel like they really put it to the test. –  Tom Jan 24 '11 at 16:12
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I came across this during my current camera search: Steve's Digicams

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It depends what you want to compare. I like measurable things but I do not think they are enough to justify buying one camera or another. I think if you look at:

  • DxoMark you can get precise measurements of image noise, dynamic range and color-depth. This is mostly useful to judge whether you can upgrade between two similar models. For example if you have a K-7 and wonder about whether you should upgrade to a K-5, since the difference between such models if the sensor.
  • DPReview, which everyone seems to favor, is really good at describing a camera. If you're wonder what custom menu options a certain camera has or how long does it shoot in continuous drive for and you don't feel like or can't downloading the PDF manual, then DPReview will help.
  • Neocamera - has very powerful camera search features and lets you compare specs side-by-side. It also has much shorter reviews (2-3 pages) which focus on usability and what a camera is good for. The goal is to relate camera features and performance to different photographic needs.
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Shouldn't there be a personal disclosure regarding Neocamera? –  Michael Clark Apr 23 '13 at 5:37
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Apart from dpreview.com, you can use Snapsort if you'd like something more flashy.

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Never saw snapsort before. Like it. –  Fredrik Mörk Jul 28 '10 at 11:33
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I personally like The Digital Picture. Its an excellent site that started out just with Canon gear, but it has recently moved into Nikon gear as well. Its not quite as rich in terms of reviews as DPReview.com, but the author of the reviews is extremely thorough and his conclusions are sound.

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There's a lot of good information there, but you can tell he sometimes avoids negative comments that might upset someone at Canon. They definitely know who he is. –  Michael Clark Apr 23 '13 at 5:39
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It's not what people typically think of as a review site, but KenRockwell.com does excellent reviews, and some comparisons for various types of cameras. It's his personal site, so he doesn't hit a super broad list of cameras, but if you're looking to get new lenses for a Nikon, Cannon or Leica, or if you want to buy one of those three cameras, definitely look at that site.

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http://www.digicamreview.com/ is a good one from the UK. Sometimes it's a little heavy on compacts and bargain finding, but the reviews are good and the guy who runs it is friendly and helpful.

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I found that snapsort (snapsort.com) is good for comparing specs. Although, do be careful, because every once in a while, they get something wrong :) Another invaluable tool is Imaging Resource's "Comparometer" (http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM) This tool will let you choose two cameras, and blow up the same image (shot with the two different cameras) side by side. This helps me a TON when I want to compare the fine detail quality of two cameras. Also, another great review site is Camera Labs (http://www.cameralabs.com/) I trust Gordon Laing's reviews, and find his reviews very in-depth and helpful. Besides that, you can just google "cameraname review" or "camera1 vs camera2"

Hope this helps! -Michael

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