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

 

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