A camera's Current Grade is usually the same as the Final Grade that we gave it in a review, but sometimes the Current Grade is lower. Think of it this way: The Final Grade is a snapshot of our impression of the camera when we reviewed it. The Current Grade is our ranking of the camera right now, maybe months or years after the initial review, so the standards of what makes a great camera might be totally different.

A camera's Current Grade can decrease for two main reasons: A) Newer and better cameras come along. B) It's been discontinued. A camera's cost generally rises after it's been discontinued, so it no longer offers the same bang for the buck. Usually, both trends factor into our decision. Sometimes, C) An unforeseen defect pops up a few months down the line and affects a swath of users, but this is uncommon.

For more on how we rank cameras, check out our About Us page.