Studio comparison widget

Using the interactive studio comparison tool

We recently introduced a new way of presenting the all-important studio shot samples used in every one of our digital camera reviews. The new 'widget' is a fully interactive way to look at 100% crops from different cameras at different settings side by side.

Walkthrough video

If you've a couple of minutes to spare the quickest way to discover all that the tool has to offer is probably to watch this short video walkthrough of the main features.

To download the original QuickTime movie (without YouTube's compression) click here (720P). Full 1080P version is also available (here) if you really want it.

Studio comparisons: at a glance

Using the interactive comparison tool is easy and (we hope) pretty self-explanatory. The easiest way to learn is to simply play around with the various options drag the marquee around the navigator frame.

Using the tool

The basic idea is that you can choose up to three cameras to compare to the model featured in the review, select from the available ISO and mode combinations and move the marquee around the large navigator image to view 100% crops from anywhere in the frame.

Our recommended comparison cameras are loaded by default. Pick your own from the menu above each thumbnail. Only cameras reviewed since the new studio shot was introduced are currently available (more are being added all the time).If you change the shooting mode or ISO for the master camera the nearest equivalent will automatically selected for all the comparison cameras. You can also change them independently. The text will change to reflect our findings according to the ISO range selected.
Click and drag the marquee on the main navigator window to position the 100% crops. You can also click anywhere in the frame to jump to that position.You can also click and drag any of the 100% crops - the others will move too.
The 'Show Presets' button highlights the areas of the frame used in previous reviews. Just click on them to jump to that point.JPEG and RAW (where available) modes are easily accessed.
Download links are provided for the JPEG and (zipped) raw originals. Note that not all raw files are in the system yet.Shooting information is visible by holding your cursor over the cog icon to the bottom left of each crop.

Full screen mode

If you have a small monitor (such as a netbook) you may find that you don't have enough vertical resolution to see everything. Click on 'Open in Full Screen mode' to launch a window containing the same page in horizontal orientation.


Total comments: 11
By FocusPuller (5 months ago)

Of what use is comparing a Sony with a Zeiss lens to a Nikon with a Nikkor lens? Is that a test of lenses or cameras, or what?

Also, what are we looking at in RAW mode? Isn 't it another jpg? Is the same raw processor used in all cases?

Seems like all one can do is compare "this" lens with "this" camera to "that" lens with "that" camera.

What am I missing here?

By Boghero (6 months ago)

I'd like to see in the test:Fuji X-1A to see no differences Sensor with X-Trans CMOS sensor II.I'd like to see many other miroorless (GH3 etc.)


By Jostian (7 months ago)

new widget system with only one camera to compare is stupid, much prefer the previous one where one can look at 4 cameras at once...

By forpetessake (8 months ago)

Comparison should be done on the same exposure basis, not on the same ISO basis. The latter is pretty much meaningless and varies greatly from model to model.
Having bought Fuji X-E1 and Sony NEX5N I see that the Fuji would often select twice higher ISO for the same exposure, so comparing at the same ISO would be misleading, while comparing on the same exposure basis one can notice they have pretty much the same amount of visible noise.
Two more observations. There is not much meaning comparing images on different scale or different aspect ratios unless they can be scaled to match. So the comparison tool needs a scaling option for images with different number of pixels. And also it needs an option to select how different aspect ratios should be cropped. For example, it makes no sense to always match 4:3 image at height, when one uses camera mostly in landscape mode.

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
1 upvote
By TheDigitalCruiser (11 months ago)

In the case of interchangeable lens cameras, where does it explicitly say what lens was used to shoot the studio image shot? For instances, we the Olympus OM-D shot with the 12-50mm zoom, the older 14-42mm zoom, or some other legacy lens that few people use anymore. If you're not doing it already, I'd suggest shooting with the most popular package lens and then listing the identity of that lens prominently on the same page as the comparison engine.

By bcalkins (11 months ago)

You can hover over the gear in the lower right of each image, and see the lens details, including aperture. The OM-D shots are all with the 4/3 50mm f/2 Macro lens, which surely helps the OM-D a little compared to some of the other brands :)

By Eliaz (Apr 20, 2013)

The tool is excellent. However, there is a problem with focusing issue. I am afraid you don't pay enough attention to where you focus upon with each camera, so each camera in a certain comparison may be focusing upon a different item, so when you are comparing two identical spots of two different cameras, one may look blurry (out of focus) and the other sharp, giving the false idea that the focused one is better. I suggest that you lock the focus upon the same item in every shot you take in the studio, rather than letting the camera autofocus.

By forpetessake (8 months ago)

I don't think it's true. The focusing is always on the central target and I believe it's always a manual focus. It's different FL and DOF what makes different portions in or out of focus. It's a 3D scene after all. Maybe they should shoot a hi-res poster instead.

By JerseyJohn (6 months ago)

My comparison of the little Sony TX 30 bests the Nikon D5200 and even higher (D4) Nikons when looking at the Queens face. i can't rely on this... i own all these cameras and know this cannnot be true.

Kim Letkeman
By Kim Letkeman (Apr 9, 2013)

Were there really people on the planet who did not know the tool already? I agree with longtalker ... more current cameras please. How about the Panasonic G5 for starters. And some recent Fuji compacts please. The HS50 and F900 are looking pretty good ... let's see them in here for a change. Maybe you'll get one without the coke bottle lens lol.

By longtalker (Sep 12, 2011)

Could we please have more type of comparison shots (e.g. a night scene, a long-distance scene), and also more current cameras to compare between? Otherwise the tool is awesome! Thanks!

Total comments: 11