DPReview.com’s test scene is probably the most recognized feature of our reviews. Other tests have come and gone as the need for them has ebbed and flowed, but almost every one of the site’s reviews has included some sort of test scene.
And it’s been at the heart of one of the greatest criticisms of the site: ‘Oh, they only shoot test charts.’ (This despite the real-world sample gallery that accompanied every review and informed all our IQ assessments.) Beyond any other feature, the test scene is what allowed the site to become DPReview.
Here’s where it all started: Phil Askey’s review of the Kodak Pro DCS 520, conducted in 1999 when the site was based in Singapore. It was the site’s fourth review and of a camera that clearly blew Phil away. In it, he shot the Kodak alongside the Canon Pro70, to establish how the two compare. And it’s that need to compare that would eventually prompt the creation of the test scene.
However, it would take several years and many reviews before the full ability to compare arrived.