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)

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