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Inside CNET Labs: How we test camcorders

new CNET Labs camcorder testing methodologies

Here at CNET Labs, we are always working to improve upon our testing methodologies. We have recently implemented several new tests for camcorders that allow us to even more thoroughly evaluate a camcorder's image quality and make more objective comparisons of similar models. A camcorder's performance and features are important, but most would agree that image quality is a camcorder's most important attribute.

We have expanded our testing regiment with three new image-quality tests: a sharpness test, a color accuracy test and a signal-to-noise test. The first step in these new tests is to capture footage of standardized test targets under daylight-balanced lighting. Then, we analyze that footage and generate objective measurements for color, noise, and sharpness. When combined with our real-world-based testing, this allows us to provide an in-depth evaluation of a camcorder's image quality. There is no substitute for the experienced eyes of our editors and labs staff. But, when performed in conjunction with our hands-on and real-world-based testing, our lab tests allow us to create a system of checks and balances to support our real-world-based findings and to expose potential flaws in a model's performance. Please see our How We Test: Camcorders page for the specifics of these new tests and all of our testing procedures.