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Camera purchase decisions - how math helps

By Murray Bourne, 11 Jan 2010

Here's the scenario. You're ready to buy your next camera and you've been searching around using Google or whatever.

You end up on cnet's digital camera reviews or perhaps dpreview. Both sites give you good information, but after you've spent hours trying to compare makes, models and prices, it becomes overwhelming.

Math to the rescue.

At Retrevo (no longer available), you can see a visual representation (using a familiar 2-coordinate system), comparing price (horizontal axis) and value (vertical axis) for a large range of cameras.

Here's a screen shot. The dots represent cameras, and the flags are for the best value cameras (currently a Lumix camera is regarded as best value).


So if you want a cheap camera that is great value, choose one in the top left corner. If you're going for something classy, avoid the duds (expensive but poor value) in the bottom right quadrant.

Over in the printer section (no longer available), we see a rather mathematical way of representing the developmental position of a product (this is the Epson Artisan 810 printer, which is "buzzing" currently):


Apparently the idea is to buy something on the ascendancy, rather than a "has-been".

Expect more of this type of analysis on Web sites, particularly high-traffic ones selling electronics products.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

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