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Cameras

Let's test some cameras, Dmitri!

This is my challenge to manufacturers: to keep pushing the boundaries of camera quality, to keep placing control and flexibility in the hands of users, and to keep innovating.

I've been at CNET.co.uk for a month now, and I'm having a great time. I'm also taking more pictures than I've ever taken before, to get the feel for each camera so I can write a fair and balanced review. The first thing I had to work out as CNET's digital camera and camcorder reviewer was standardised tests for the cameras I write about. So here in our shiny 21st century headquarters in sunny South London, there's a corner of our test lab that will be forever cameras.

All the cameras passing through CNET Towers are tested in the lab and the results weighed and checked. Colour, detail and image quality are examined and the performance rated. I've set up a test tableau of mixed colours, shapes and textures to be photographed, with and without the benefit of a tripod, and in different lighting conditions.


Lab assistants Dmitri Mendeleev, Baby Spiderman and Clare the Polar Bear test cameras for you

Assisting me in this testing will be Clare the Polar Bear (for checking contrast in white objects), Baby Spiderman in his little buggy (for colour and detail) and Dmitri Mendeleev, whose periodical table will test colour and high-contrast detail. These three will be the first to tell you that there's more to image quality than megapixels, so we'll be judging cameras on their overall ability rather than being seduced by the number on the front.

There's more to the consumer experience of technology, so I'll be evaluating the useability of every camera in simple terms. I'll be asking how easy is it to use, and -- just as importantly -- how much fun. This is my challenge to manufacturers: to keep pushing the boundaries of camera quality, to keep placing control and flexibility in the hands of users without compromising point-and-shootability, and to keep innovating. Now that's a picture I'll always want to see.