Not Your Everyday Banana

by Bart Arondson

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I'm going to buy a super-zoom compact camera for my travels and I'm reading a lot of reviews to find which one best suites my needs.

I though that a good camera should result good in all reviews, but this is not: for one review a camera gives good pictures, for another not; a review highlights some cons (e.g. slow operation), which are not even mentioned by another...

So, here is the question: as far as a not-professional cameras are concerned, can we say that nowadays all cameras are good enough to a satisfy an enthusiast photographer (and so, reviews can only point out minor issues) or should I take into account those "pixel-level" reviews?

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No, I do not think that cameras are 'good enough' for an enthusiast photographer that they should simply assume any one will satisfy their needs OR that a buyer should take the manufacture's word for it.

An enthusiast understands features and has a sense of what features are most important to him or her. Knowing which camera truly provides those features is important. For example, most cameras state they offer high-ISO, but often get there with different methods, many leading to significant noise, or shutter speed trade-offs. Camera reviews are essential to understanding these trade-offs.

Each camera provides trade-offs, and remember that pricing has little to do with cost, and everything to do with image. In other words, cameras are priced to place them in a category more than to reflect the cost of manufacture. A Canon 60D does not likely cost much more than a Canon 1000D, but is priced higher to place it in the enthusiast, or semi-pro category.

I think comparing ACROSS reviews is difficult at best, and misleading at worst. Because each review 'site' uses different criteria and values different things in cameras, trying to garner a consensus from several sites will only end in confusion and frustration.

Several sites have a defined evaluation process and method and repeat this for each review. These sites have significant consistency, and allow direct comparison of one camera to the other. Sites such as DPReview.com, imaging-resource.com, Steve's DigiCam are good, established sites.

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Each photographer has different personal needs when using a camera, that's why one reviewer might mention an aspect another will not. For each such aspect, you have to estimate how much it will help/hinder your photography.

There's segmentation in compact cameras with different customers in mind, and reviews can often reveal what has been emphasized more in a camera model.

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