After reviewing digital cameras for over 7 years, we are happy to see steady – although not constant – improvement in terms of image quality. 2012 in particular brought great advances in digital cameras and stressed the limits of the digital camera ratings established here since 2005.
What happened is that more and more cameras are receiving an Excellent rating, making it increasingly difficult to distinguish the top performers. It would be an impossible task to review the ratings of all cameras, so they have to keep their rating as awarded. This also makes a lot of sense given that our ratings have been reported and aggregated on thousands of pages of around the web.
Room to go beyond excellent is therefore needed. While it was considered to use an open-ended numeric scale, like DxOMark, this results in too fine a comparison for the purpose of choosing a digital camera. Image quality simply cannot be distilled into a single number and it would mislead readers to take that approach here.
Instead, today we introduce the next level of digital camera excellence:
Excellent Plus is a symbol of outstanding image quality by a digital camera. This digital camera rating shall be awarded to those few that show a clear and significant advantage over other cameras rated Excellent in the same class. For the purpose of this rating system, the digital cameras classes are simple: Fixed-Lens, Mirrorless, Cropped-Sensor DSLR and Full-Frame DSLR.
Next week, Neocamera will award the Excellent Plus rating to 5 digital cameras have shown a clear lead among their peers in 2012. These will set the benchmark for future cameras who deserve our highest rating.
Keep in mind that we distinction is only in terms of image quality and both ergonomics and speed of Excellent and Excellent Plus digital cameras are interchangeable.