Favourite Gear of the Year 2016

Gear of the Year 2016

Below is my personal list / preference for the best or most exciting camera releases of 2016 divided into various catagories.

If I was asked to sum up 2016 I’d say it was the year that mirror-less CSC’s systems really came of age and in doing so they now offer a real and genuine alternative to their bulky DSLR rivals.

Anway here’s list of my prefered cameras.

Full Frame DSLR

The Pentax K-1

(Quality, value for money , a spec sheet to die for, a real dark horse)

High End APS-C ( cropped) DSLR

The Nikon D500 (puts Canon’s EOS 7D II to shame?)

High End Mirror-less CSC

Fujifilm X-T2 (Suberb) and Sony Alpha A6500 (Excellent but expensive)

Entry – Mid-Level DSLR / CSC

Panasonic Lumix G80 & Pentax K-70 (Great value, superb spec’s)

Full Frame Mirror-less CSC

Sony Alpha A7R II (reigns supreme at the moment)

High End -Enthusiast Fixed Lens Compact

Panasonic Lumix LX15 & Canon PowerShot G5X

Superzoom – Bridge Camera of the year.

Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 III (so long as money is no object)

Disappointment of the Year

Canon EOS 5D IV

( Over priced, lacks 000mph’s & just isn’t exciting and I used to be a EOS owner)

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 V (£1000 for a compact, DOH, come on Sony)

Wildcard – Surprise of the Year

Olympus OM-D EM1 II

( Micro Four Thirds enters the “Pro” world, unchartered waters for Olympus)  

Mark Baynham (Decemeber 2016)

 

EISA Awards 2016-17

The European Imaging and Sound Association ( EISA) have published their product / catagory awards 2016-17 and here’s a few of the winners:

Professional DSLR Lens

Canon EF 35mm f1.4 II

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Review Image

DSLR Camera

Canon EOS 80D

Canon EOS 80D Review Image

Professional DSLR Camera

Canon EOS 1DX Mark II

Canon EOS 1D X Mark II Review Image

Professional Compact System Camera (CSC)

Fujifilm X-Pro 2

Fujifilm X-Pro2 Review Image

Compact System Zoom Lens

Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

Fujifilm XF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Review Image

Prosumer DSLR Camera ( ie mid- high range)

Nikon D500

Nikon D500 Review Image

Consumer Compact System Camera

Olympus OM-D EM10 II

Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Review Image

Photo Innovation

Panasonic’s dual IS System

Travel Compact Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ100

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ100 Review Image

Smartphone Camera

Samsung Galaxy S7 / S7 Edge

DSLR Zoom Lens

Sigma 50-100mm f1.8 DC HSM “Art”

News image

Premium Compact Camera

Sony Cyber-Shot RX1R II

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II Review Image

Professional Compact System Lens

Sony FE 85mm f1.4 G

Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Review Image

Prosumer Compact System Camera

Sony Alpha 6300

Sony A6300 Review Image

(NB: Personally I’d have gone for the Panasonic GX80/85)

DSLR Lens

Tamron SP 85mm f1.8 Di VC USD

Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Review Image

My Take:

Other than one winner / catagory I’d pretty much 100& agree with the EISA winners list for 2016-17  there certainly isn’t too much controversy and the winning products do represent best of the best.

I don’t doubt that most Nikon D5 owners may take issue with the Canon EOS 1DX mark 2 scooping the top spot for professional DSLR but on balance feature for feature I’d say the Canon is just ( and I mean just) the more complete work horse?

Mark Baynham (August 2016)

 

 

Gear of the Year – 2015

Below is a personal choice / assessment of photography products released or available in 2015 which in my humble opinion represent the best in market products.
 
I have deliberately omitted any recent Leica releases from the list below except in the final “wild card” section as the list is intended for mere mortals and not the filthy rich or incredible fortunate amongst us.
 
Camera of the Year
 
Sony Alpha A7R II
Sony-a7R-II-mirrorless-camera
 
This is easy, it’s the Sony Alpha A7R II full frame mirrorless / CSC an utter tour-de-force who’s specs and technology pushes the boundaries of digital photography and photography generally onto even greater heights.
 
Cropped (i.e. APS-C) DSLR of the Year
 
Canon EOS 7D II
Canon EOS 7D Mark II review
 
Although I was disappointed with the omission of some specs / features in the Canons flagship APS-C DSLR having tested one I was won over and concede that in overall terms its probably currently the best  APS – C DSLR on the market
 
Mirrorless / CSC of the Year.
 
Panasonic Lumix GX8
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Review Image
 
This is a close call between the Fuji X-T10, Olympus OMD EM5II and the winner, the Panasonic Lumix GX8
 
If you have no interest in video then the OMD EM5II wins but Panasonic has given the GX8 excellent 4K video capture and introduced a new slightly more resolute 20mp four third sensor which out trumps other micro four third camera and hence why the GX8 just nudges it,
 
Entry Level CSC of the Year
 
Fuji X-T10
 
Fujifilm X-T10 Review Image
A great camera and excellent value, the Fuji is a superb camera and if you buy one you also have access to some sublime Fujion optics.
 
Mid- Level Mirrorless / CSC of the Year
 
Olympus OMD EM10 II
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Review Image
 
The new EM10 II is 3/4’s a EM5II for less money and a considerable upgrade on the previous model
 
Prime Lens of the Year (for cropped sensor cameras)
 
Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG “Art” & Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG “Art”
Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Review Image
Sigma 50mm ART review
 
Two winners:
 
Both sigma’s and both in the company’s “Art” range, namely the Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG “Art” and Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG “Art”
 
Zoom Lens of the Year
 
Two winners
 
Olympus Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 “Pro” telephoto len
Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 review
 
A superb optic for micro four third users, the best telephoto lens in the vast m43 range of lenses from Olympus, Panasonic and others.
 
Sigma 24-35mm F2 DG “Art”
Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art Review Image
 
Potentially able to replace several popular prime focal lengths the new Sigma 24-35mm DG “Art” is a very good zoom and although it isn’t optically as superb as Sigma’s 24mm F1.4 & 35mm F1.4 primes it offers the convenience of an all in one solution for full frame shooters. 
 
High End Compact of the Year
 
Panasonic LX100
 Panasonic Lumix LX100 review
A two horse race between the Panasonic Lumix LX100 and Sony RX100 IV, for me the Panasonic LX100 just nudges it
 
Travel Compact of the Year
 
Panasonic TZ70
 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70 Review Image
Another two horse race between established rivals, for me the Panasonic Lumix TZ70 just beats the Sony HX90V
 
Bridge Camera / Super-zoom of the Year
 
Panasonic FZ100
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 Review Image
 
The great value and the excellent spec list offered by the 1″ sensor equipped Panasonic FZ1000 means it betters, the likes of the Canon PowerShot G3X and Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 II.
 
Wild Card (Money no Object) Camera /s  of the Year
 
Leica Q (Type 116) and Sony RX1rII
Leica Q (Typ 116) Review Image
RX1RII_front
 
Ironically two not dissimilar cameras separated by a huge gulf of history, target audience and cost. The Leica is probably the best fixed lens full frame compact ever released whilst the new Sony RX1rII is a poor man’s Leica that actually trumps the Q on may fronts and probably represents good value for money when you factor in its specs.
 
My personal preference would be the RX1rII
 
Mark Baynham November 2015

 

Dpreview Awards 2015

Best Zoom Compact : SonyCyber-Shot RXS100 IV
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV Review Image
Best Prime Lens Compact : Leica Q
Leica Q (Typ 116) Review Image
Consumer Stills / Video Camera: Panasonic DMC G7
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review Image
Best Consumer Crop Sensor ILC: Nikon D5500
Nikon D5500 Review Image
Best high end crop sensor ILC : Samsung NX1
Samsung NX1 Review Image
Best Lens (Crop Sensor) : Samsung NX 16-50mm F2-2.8 ED OIS
Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OIS Review Image
Best Lens (Full Frame) : Canon EF 11-24mm F4
Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Review Image
Best Full Frame System Camera : Sony Alpha A7R II & Nikon D750 (Joint Winners)
Sony A7 Mark II review
Nikon D750 review
Dpreview Innovation Award : Samsung NX1
Samsung NX1 Review Image
Dpreview Product of the Year: Sony Alpha A7R II
Sony A7 Mark II review
 
October 2015
 

 

GEAR OF THE YEAR 2014

Gear of the year 2014
 
This year has proved to be one of the most innovative years for new camera releases. The trend for bigger sensors in smaller camera bodies continues whilst features like Wi-Fi, touch screens and 4K video capture are rapidly being seen in more and more models.
 
What follows are some personal thoughts about the “best” equipment I have been either lucky enough to have tested in the past year or that have received rave reviews from various sources (online / magazine)
 
My overall camera of the Year 2014.
 
Not an easy one this. However several contenders immediately spring to mind:
 
Fuji XT-1 / Sony Alpha A7 / A7R / Sony Alpha A77 Mk II / Samsung NX1 & Nikon D750 are all contenders.
 
For me the camera that I enjoyed the most, and which has received rave reviews is the Fuji XT-1.
Fujifilm XT1 review
 
The best travel compact zoom.
 
This was a surprisingly close call between the established rivals from Sony, Fuji, Canon and Panasonic. However having used a few models this year once again for me Panasonic (with its small EVF and RAW capture) comes out on top with the superb Panasonic TZ60.
Panasonic Lumix TZ60 / ZS40 review
 
The best high end compact camera.
 
I am a bit of a premier high end compact fan. Until a few months ago the Sony RX100 Mk 3 was a dead cert to come out on top, I recently tested one and was mightily impressed. However 2 new cameras namely the Canon PowerShot G7X and Panasonic LX100 are really making the decision difficult.
 
If I had to choose an outright winner the Panasonic LX100 with its bigger m43rd sensor would be my personal choice whilst the Canon GX7 would come second , its more useful focal range giving it the nod over the EVF equipped Sony RX100M3.
 Panasonic Lumix LX100 review
The best high end bridge camera / travel super zoom.
 
This year it’s a two horse race between the Sony RX10 and Panasonic FZ1000.
 
Personally for me the Panasonic FZ1000 with its longer focal range and 4K video capture wins.
 Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 review
The best entry level bridge camera
 
The retro looking Olympus Stylus 1 wins here.
Olympus STYLUS 1 review
 
Best high end Compact Camera System / Mirrorless camera.
 
This is a battle between the full frame equipped Sony Alpha A7 / 7R, the awesome and only recently announced APS-C equipped Samsung NX1 with the video focussed  M43rd equipped Panasonic GH4 pushing both.
 
There is no absolute clear winner as each are excellent in their own right. Until I have read a review of the NX1 I’ll have to reserve judgment plus for me video isn’t an essential part of my photography so I am going to plump for the Sony Alpha A7 / A7R
 Sony Alpha A7 review
Best “entry” / “mid” level CSC / mirrorless camera.
 
The new tiny Panasonic GM5 wins this, although both the Sony Alpha A5000 and Samsung NX3000 come close.
Panasonic Lumix GM5 review
 
Best entry – mide  level DSLR
 
The 24mp equipped Nikon D5300 takes this crown
 Nikon D5300 review
The best fixed lens high end compact
 
The Fuji X100T wins out against the newly announced Panasonic LX100 JUST
Fujifilm X100T Review thumbnail
 
Best mid Level APS-C DSLR type camera.
 
For me the Canon EOS 70D remains on top but only just.
Canon EOS 70D Review Image
 
Best high end APS-C equipped  SLT / DSLR camera.
 
This ends up with a battle between the recently announced Canon EOS 7D Mk2, the Pentax K-3 and Sony’s top end SLT model the Sony A77 Mk2. As there aren’t any reviews of the new Canon I’d go for the Sony Alpha A77 Mk 2 it’s a very impressive camera that comes kitted with an equally impressive “standard zoom”.
Sony A77 II Review Image
 
Best full frame camera (for mere mortals).
 
Easy, the new Nikon D750 wins
Nikon D750 Review Image
 Nikon D750 review
Best full frame camera for the loaded.
 
Again Nikon triumph with the new Nikon D810
Nikon D810 review
 
Best lens of 2012.
 
Two winners here, the Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art and the Fuji XF56mm F1.2R
Sigma 50mm ART review
Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 review
 
Biggest disappointment of the year.
 
Sorry but the newly announced Canon EOS 7D2 has been the camera I was most looking forward to seeing released and yet the one which disappointed the most when II saw the specification.
 
A high end enthusiast – semi pro camera that lacks Wi-Fi, and an articulated screen was bound to disappoint, not to mention the fact the APS-C sensor looks like its simply the one plucked from 70D? OK so it has a very impressive AF system but then so does the new Samsung NX1.
 
As a 7D owner regrettably I wasn’t very impressed and can’t help feeling Canon has missed a trick with the new 7D2.
 Canon EOS 7D Mark II review
News image
Biggest surprise of the year.
 
Easy this, the new Samsung NX1 has a spec list to die for. This new weather sealed CSC has a back-lit 28mp APS-C CMOS sensor, a world first. Throw in Wi-Fi, a 15fps frame rate (with auto focus), WOW,  an articulated touch screen, 4K video capture plus a new line of pro spec lenses and you have a camera which on paper could trounce the opposition, time will tell
 News image
Mark Baynham (November 2013)