Until last week, the DSLR model page looked like an excersize in repetition. Every model had exactly the same set of icons. Except for megapixels, memory and battery types, all the feature icons were the same: SLR, high-ISO, full-manual controls, custom white-balance, hot-shoe, night photography and action photography.
Of course, DSLR cameras are expected to have all those features, since they form the higher-end of the digital camera market. However, within the DSLR market, there is a range of capabilities, performance and price. Case in point, the Canon EOS 5D costs 7 times more than the K110D! Such price difference could not be justified if all DSLR cameras were all the same.
Given that there are differences among DSLRs, some of them more subtile than others, a new set of Neocamera icons was added for the purpose of distinguishing between DSLR cameras. These new icons are explained directly in the revamped DSLR model list page.
The choice of new icons came down to selecting the major differences which improve the usability and capability of a digital SLR camera. Obvious ones are stabilization which can drastically reduces the cost of lenses, dust-reduction which reduces maintenance and weather-proofing which enables more photographic opportunities. Spot-metering and depth-of-field preview are also among the new icons. Canon and Nikon use these features to separate otherwise similar entry-level models from higher-end models. Ironically, spot-metering is the simplest form of metering and the cheapest to implement.
A more subtle area was viewfinder sizes. For frequent photographers, the viewfinder’s size can greatly affect the usability of a camera. For this, we evenly divided current viewfinder sizes in 4 steps from Small to Extra Large.
The final subset of new icons replace the old continuous drive icon. All digital SLR have continuous drives but their performance vary greatly. As such, the new continuous drive icons indicate relative speed and duration of the drive. Fast is at least 4 FPS, slow is less than that. Infinite means the camera can fill up completely its memory card without slowing down. Long means that a camera can shoot for at least 5 seconds continuously. Short bursts are not that long and are more useful for people photography to capture fleeting expressions rather than to follow action. Note that the slower the drive, the less frames are required to quality for a Long Continuous Drive icon.