The Winners of the 24th TIPA Awards

 

The Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) announced the award winners for the best photo and imaging products launched over the last one year. While the actual voting took place on 5 April in Vancouver, Canada, the announcement was made on 23 April 2014. Better Photography, the only member of TIPA from India, was represented by Deputy Editor—Technical, Shridhar Kunte. The winners were judged under 40 different product categories.

Best DSLR: Entry Level

Best DSLR Entry Level: Nikon D3300

Best DSLR Entry Level: Nikon D3300

One of the first entry-level DSLRs without a low pass filter, the D3300 has a 24.2MP DX-format CMOS sensor, an ISO range from 100–12,800, with a 1EV push available, and 5fps shooting rate. Stills and 1080p Full HD videos can be shared with the Nikon WU-1a adapter.

The compact D3300 measures 4.9 x 3.8 x 2.9 inches, making it one of the new breed of compact DSLRs that compete with CSC cameras for those who might enjoy the DSLR form factor in a more portable and handy size.

For those stepping up to DSLR photography, a built-in Guide Mode provides step-by-step instructions on getting the best results.

Find our review of the Nikon D3300 here.

Best DSLR: Advanced

Best DSLR Advanced:Canon EOS 70D

Best DSLR Advanced:Canon EOS 70D

The Canon EOS 70D features a 20.2 CMOS APS-C sensor and DIGIC 5+ processor that can deliver up to 7 fps and an extended ISO range of 100-12,800, with an extended range to 25,600 ISO. AF is enhanced with a 19-point all cross-type AF system.

The breakthrough in the EOS 70D is the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system that allows for capture of video in Live View with precise AF, as well as very fast AF operation for stills. The Vari-angle Touch Screen 3.0-inch Clear View II LCD monitor sports 1.04 million dots. Built-in wireless allows for sharing or easy upload to smartphones via the Canon Remote app.

Find our review of the Canon EOS 70D here.

Best DSLR: Expert

Best DSLR Expert: PENTAX K-3

Best DSLR Expert: PENTAX K-3

Developed by Ricoh Imaging as the flagship of the PENTAX K digital SLR camera series, the Pentax K-3 with 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor adds the unique “anti-aliasing simulator” to its low pass filter-less design. Housed in a weather-sealed magnesium alloy body, the camera can deliver 8.3 frames per second in bursts of 23 RAW or 60 JPEG images. Utilising the sensor-shift image stabilisation mechanism it adds a controllable “anti-moiré” effect.

The K-3 delivers Full HD video with stereo sound and an upgraded interval movie mode for capturing 4K movie clips. It also incorporates a new PRIME III processor and 27-point SAFOX II AF system, with 25 cross-type sensors. The shutter is now rated at a robust 200,000 actuations.

Best DSLR: Professional

Best DSLR Professional: Nikon D4S

Best DSLR Professional: Nikon D4s

Nikon’s D4s features a newly developed 16.2MP FX-format sensor that works in conjunction with the new EXPEED 4 image processing engine to deliver enhanced still and Full HD video with various frame rates.

A new Group AF function and overall improvements build upon Nikon’s 51-point AF system, while the camera breaks the ISO speed range barrier and goes to a remarkable 409,600 ISO. Overall speed and response has been boosted, capturing full resolution at 11 fps with auto focus and auto exposure, while benefiting from an overall 30% increase in processing power.

The D4S uses CF cards as well as the super-fast XQD card format to achieve the fastest possible transfer and write times.

Find our review of Nikon D4s here.

Best Medium Format Camera

Best Medium Format Camera: Phase One IQ250

Best Medium Format Camera: Phase One IQ250

The Phase One IQ250 is a CMOS-based, 50MP digital camera back with 14-stop dynamic range. ISO range is from 100 to 6400, and exposure times have been expanded to a range of 1/10,000 second to 1 hour.

Live View on the back allows for focus and compositional control, either directly on the back, connected via USB3 to a computer (running the companion Capture One software) or displayed wirelessly to an iPad or iPhone with the Capture Pilot app installed.

The back supports flash sync speeds up to 1/1600 second, allowing for creative latitude especially when balancing ambient and flash in the studio and on location.

Best C SC Entry Level

Best C SC Entry Level: Olympus OM-D E-M10

Best C SC Entry Level: Olympus OM-D E-M10

The nicely designed and extremely compact and metal-bodied OM-D E-M10 convinces with great image quality and operation thanks to the TruePic VII Processor, inherited from the OM-D flagship E-M1, a 16 MP Live MOS sensor, built-in WiFi with QR code scanning technology, a large, 1.4 million RGB dot electronic viewfinder and a tilting 3-inch touch-screen monitor with 1,039k dots high-resolution.

The camera incorporates 3-axis image stabilization, and FAST AF, making this the fastest ever Olympus AF system with 81 target areas covering the entire image. With 8 fps shooting speed, burst rates can deliver up to 16 RAW images and an unlimited amount of JPEGs; with continuous AF, the camera delivers up to 3.5 fps.

Best CSC Advanced

Best CSC Advanced: Samsung NX30

Best CSC Advanced: Samsung NX30

The Samsung NX30 has a 20.3 MP APS-C CMOS sensor, offers a fast 1/8000 sec shutter speed and a 9 frame per second (FPS) shooting rate. It sports a very handy and unique tiltable electronic viewfinder plus a high res 3-inch Super AMOLED swivel and touch-control display.

While many cameras have “connected” options, the NX30 seems to embody the state of the art in this regard, including “Tag & Go” (NFC) functions, “MobileLink” to connect to four distinct smart devices, and “AutoShare”, which” automatically sends every photo to a smartphone or tablet. Dropbox web storage service and Flickr is pre-loaded on the NX30 and usable in select regions.

Best CSC Expert

Best C SC Expert: Fujifilm X-T1

Best CSC Expert: Fujifilm X-T1

The Fujifilm X-T1 is a weather-resistant interchangeable lens camera with an OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) and the company’s latest generation 16.3 MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor. The X-T1 uses approximately 80 points of weather sealing, and the camera body is dust-resistant and water-resistant.

The 3-inch LCD screen has 1.04 million dot resolution and is made of tempered glass for additional protection. Phase detection pixels integrated into the sensor offer the benefit of a “Digital Split Image” manual focusing aid, which helps bring precision to wide aperture or macro shooting. Lens Modulation Optimizer (LMO) technology integrates focal length, aperture, and image data for each lens mounted for optimal results.

Find our review of Fujifilm X-T1 here.

Best CSC Professional

Best CSC Professional: Sony Alpha 7R

Best CSC Professional: Sony Alpha 7R

The Sony Alpha 7R is the smallest and lightest CSC camera with a full-frame chip, it being the 36.4 MP Exmor CMOS sensor with no low-pass filter.

With handling and access to controls and image parameters that will be familiar to and welcomed by photographers, other feature highlights include Auto HDR, numerous Picture Effects, manual focus peaking, 1080p video at 60 and 24 fps, and an ISO range of 100 to 25,600. The Alpha 7R delivers 4 frames-per-second in continuous shooting mode.

In addition, the introduction of the Alpha 7R saw five new and dedicated Sony FE mount lenses. Users can utilize E-mount lenses, which automatically initiate an APS-C crop mode, and A-mount lenses via an adapter. The camera has built-in WiFi with NFC for connectivity.

Find our review of Sony Alpha 7R here.

Best Easy Compact Camera

Best Easy Compact Camera: Samsung WB50F

Best Easy Compact Camera: Samsung WB50F

The 4 x 2.6 x 1 inch Samsung WB50F is a 16 MP CCD sensor camera that allows for still and HD video recording with a 12X optical zoom (24-288 mm equivalent). The unit has a 3-inch LCD monitor and OIS (optical image stabilization) to assure steady shots at longer focal lengths and in low light.

Numerous SMART modes allow for creative interpretations, and there is a “soft flash” feature for more pleasing portraits and close-ups. As with all Samsung models, the camera has a host of connectivity options, including “Tag and Go” for compatible smartphones and mobile devices and the ability to operate the camera remotely with the paired smartphone.

Best Expert Compact Camera

Best Expert Compact Camera: Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II

Best Expert Compact Camera: Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II

Canon PowerShot G series cameras are always highly regarded. The latest, the PowerShot G1 X Mark II, offers 13.1 MP with a multi-aspect 1.5-type sensor, an f/2-3.9 5X zoom (24-120mm equivalent), and numerous custom functions and handling features.

Capture options include 14-bit RAW plus JPEG images, with fast and accurate AF via 31 AF points. Composition options are enhanced with the 3-inch tilt-type touch panel LCD, with 1.04 million sRGB dots and 100% coverage, while exposure and camera control is expanded and enhanced via the new Dual Control Rings on the lens barrel. Full HD is available, as is Wi-Fi with NFC capability. Focusing range begins at 2 inches, full-time manual focus with focus peaking is also available.

Best Superzoom  Camera

Best Superzoom Camera: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ60 / ZS40

Best Superzoom Camera: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ60 / ZS40

The Panasonic TZ-60 is lightweight, at about half a pound, and comes in a very compact form factor (4.3 x 2.5 x 1.35 inches) for a camera with a 30X (35mm equivalent: 24-720mm) Leica integral lens.

The camera has an 18 MP MOS sensor with a 3 inch Live View LCD plus an electronic viewfinder with 100% field of view. It offers RAW format plus video recording, focus peaking and advanced HYBRID O.I.S.+ (Hybrid Optical Image Stabilizer Plus), to effectively suppresses hand movement in both photo and video recording, essential in a small camera with this type of zoom range.

The ZS40 also has a built-in flash, plus WiFi, GPS and NFC capability.

Best Rugged Camera

Best Rugged Camera: Nikon 1 AW1

Best Rugged Camera: Nikon 1 AW1

The Nikon 1 AW1 is the first waterproof (down to 49 ft), shockproof (6.6 ft) and freeze-proof (14 degrees F) CSC interchangeable lens camera.

Befitting its likely used by outdoor enthusiasts, the camera incorporates built-in GPS, an altimeter, a depth gauge, an electronic compass and a visual horizon indicator, as well as WiFi with Nikon’s Wu-1b adapter.

It even has a built-in waterproof flash! The 14.2 MP CMOS sensor, with EXPEED 3A processor, delivers both still and HD video, with a wide ISO range of 160 to 6400. While all 1 Nikkor lenses can be used, two new “sealed” lenses accompany the camera, an 11-27.5mm and 10mm f/2.8, with more to follow.

Best Premium Camera

Best Premium Camera: Nikon Df

Best Premium Camera: Nikon Df

The Nikon Df is a full-frame camera designed along the lines of Nikon’s classic film SLRs, with numerous controls dials that handle photographic functions.

But inside this “retro” magnesium-alloy body sits a 16.2 MP full-frame CMOS sensor, a Nikon EXSPEED processor, 2016-pixel Matrix Metering, and a 39-point AF system.

The camera offers up to five-frame auto-bracketing, 5.5 frames-per-second shooting and ISO speed settings up to 204,800. Nikon’s commitment to lens mount compatibility continues with the ability to use all current Nikkor lenses as well as all Ai and non-Ai classics.

There’s both a glass pentaprism finder as well as a 3.2 inch LCD monitor.

Best C SC Entry Level Lens

Best CSC Entry Level Lens: Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ

Best CSC Entry Level Lens: Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ

This extremely compact (2.4 x 1.9 inches, 3.2 ounces), high-quality yet highly affordable Micro Four Thirds electronic zoom lens from Olympus (equivalent to 28-84mm) is an OM-D E-M10 kit lens that is also available separately.

Even when zooming, the MSC technology delivers rapid and nearly silent AF operation for both still and video recording, thanks to its high-precision screw drive system, a high-speed drive motor with precise stop/start controls, fine tolerance guide shafts, and a low focusing optical mass.

The lens is constructed of 8 elements in 7 groups with 3 aspherical glass elements. Closest focusing distance is 7.87 inches.

Best C SC Expert Lens

Best C SC Entry Level Lens: FUJINON XF10-24mmF4 R OIS

Best C SC Entry Level Lens: FUJINON XF10-24mmF4 R OIS

This 15-36mm equivalent lens incorporates optical image stabilization and has a newly designed optical system using 4 aspheric lenses and 3 extra low dispersion glass lenses. An internal steeping motor and enhanced focusing system, with high-speed AF and internal focusing, makes zooming a silent and rapid process.

Close focusing distance via the macro setting is about 11 inches (to about 10 feet in that range), while normal focusing (about 1.5 feet to infinity) allows for extremely deep depth of field images at narrower apertures or wonderful soft backgrounds at wider ones.

The aperture can be controlled in 1/3 EV steps. Special attention has been paid to reducing ghosting and flare with Fujifilm’s HT-EBC multi-layer coating to all sides of the lenses.

Best C SC Prime Lens

Best C SC Prime Lens: ZEISS Touit series

Best C SC Prime Lens: ZEISS Touit series

Available for Fujifilm X-mount and Sony E–mount series cameras, the ZEISS Touit family of f/2.8 12mm and f/1.8 32mm lenses have recently been joined by the f/2.8 50mm Macro.

Among the top tested lenses, all three raise the quality bar for the CSC format class. Offering 1:1 magnification, the Touit 2.8/50M is also a perfect focal length for portrait work (the crop factor being 1.5X for these lenses). Offering floating element design, it has two aspheric elements and two low dispersion elements, plus a nine-blade diaphragm for fans of bokeh.

The Touit 2.8/12 is of Distagon design, while the Touit 1.8/32 is a Planar design. All three lenses feature T* coating as well.

Best Entry Level DSLR Lens

Best Entry Level DSLR Lens: SIGMA 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM

Best Entry Level DSLR Lens: SIGMA 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM

The amazingly compact (2.8 x 3.4 inches) and affordable 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM (27-300mm equivalent) lens is exclusively for APS-C sized sensors.

It is smaller and lighter than the previous version and offers a closer focusing distance to boot. It also has a newly incorporated SLD glass element plus 3 aspheric elements  among its 16 elements, 13 groups construction.

The lens incorporates an optical stabilizer (OS) system for those cameras that do not have OS built-in, with automatic panning detection to shift the OS to one axis.It has a close focusing range of about 1.5 feet throughout the focal length range, making it extremely versatile for close-up photography.

Best Expert DSLR Lens

Best Expert DSLR Lens:  Tamron 150-600 mm

Best Expert DSLR Lens: Tamron 150-600 mm

The Tamron 150-600 mm lens, for full-frame and APS-C DSLRS (with 1.5X magnification factor) incorporates VC (Vibration Compensation, Tamron’s image stabilization technology), a fast USD (ultrasonic silent drive), and eBAND (extended bandwidth and angular dependency) coating, for flare and ghosting reduction.

The lens employs 20 elements in 13 groups, with the front group containing 3 ED glass elements.  The circular, 9-bladed diaphragm provides exciting bokeh effects and maintains the circular shape even at 2 stops down from maximum aperture.

The included SILKYPIX Developer Studio for Tamron uses optical data to correct any distortion, light falloff and chromatic aberrations.

Best Professional DSLR Lens

Best Professional DSLR Lens: Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x

Best Professional DSLR Lens: Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x

Aimed squarely at professional sports and wildlife photographers, the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens is a high-performance super telephoto zoom lens with an optically matched, built-in 1.4x extender.

The benefit is in applications where it is not possible to change lenses quickly, while also protecting delicate equipment such as a digital SLR camera’s image sensor in environments with dust and high humidity.

The lens incorporates one fluorite and four UD lens elements and a 9-blade circular aperture. A Power Focus mode makes focus shifts quiet and smooth, invaluable for filmmaking. The lens is also highly resistant to dust and water.

Best Photo Printer

Best Photo Printer: Epson Expression Photo XP-950

Best Photo Printer: Epson Expression Photo XP-950

The Epson Expression Photo XP-950 takes the “all-in-one” concept (a multi-function printer that, in the XP-950, includes text and photo printing, scanning and copying) to a new level with 11×17 inch capability using Claria Photo HD six-colour inks.

Delivering 4 x 6 inch photos in less than 10 seconds, the unit also allows for wireless printing from phone, tablet or computer plus mobile solutions using the Epson Connect collection of apps.

Scans up to 4800 dpi are available, as well as direct CD/DVD printing and a dedicated photo paper tray. A dedicated rear tray allows for printing on heavier card stock and a 3.5-inch LCD with “gesture” navigation helps the user make use of all functions and features quickly and easily.

Best Inkjet Photo Paper

Best Inkjet Photo Paper: Hahnemühle Photo Silk Baryta 310

Best Inkjet Photo Paper: Hahnemühle Photo Silk Baryta 310

Photographers who seek the look, feel, and tonal depth of traditional silver halide in an inkjet paper will be quite pleased with this Hahnemühle offering.

The paper’s unique barium sulphate coating offers rich monochrome and brilliant colour reproduction in a weight that speaks to both its high quality and ease of handling for mounting and display.

The 100% alpha cellulose paper is acid-free and meets the criteria for durability according to ISO 9706. It is available in all cut-sheet sizes starting at 8.5 x 11 inches / DIN A4 plus roll on a 3-inch core up to 50-inches wide.

Best Photo TV

Best Photo TV: LG UHD UB980 Series TV

Best Photo TV: LG UHD UB980 Series TV

For those who enjoy viewing photos and videos on their home TV monitor, the LG UHD UB980, consisting of 4 models from 65- to 98-inch size, allows the enhanced viewing benefits of 4K quality and resolution with a wide variety of content.

The units feature 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution and a proprietary chip that both enhances Ultra HD resolution and optimizes overall image quality. An upscaling function takes SD, HD and full-HD content to near Ultra HD quality.

The Tru-Ultra HD Engine Pro supports a technique called 4K Motion Estimation Motion Compensation (MEMC) that makes 4K ULTRA HD content appear free of motion blur. There are numerous connectivity options, including HDMI 2.0, USB and LAN ports.

Best Photo Projector

Best Photo Projector: Epson EH-TW7200

Best Photo Projector: Epson EH-TW7200

While aimed at the home video viewer, the Epson EH-TW7200 also delivers stunning still image quality for the home, camera club, educational and small room photo teaching environments.

The unit offers wide and tele lens shift options, which allows for versatile setups and projection distances, as well as 2000 lumen output in both colour and white light.

Vivid colour and contrast is delivered via a 120,000:1 contrast ratio. Resolution is Full HD 1080p and there’s a manual keystone correction control of up to +/- 30 degrees. Interfaces include USB 2.0, HDMI 1.4, Composite in, Component in and S-Video in. The unit is also capable of delivering 3D content and one set of RF 3D glasses come with the unit.

Best Imaging Software

Best Imaging Software: DxO ViewPoint 2

Best Imaging Software: DxO ViewPoint 2

This software could be thought of as a companion processor for those who enjoy working with wide-angle, and super wide-angle lenses. It can be used to fix both perspective (keystoning, etc) and as a way to restore previously distorted shapes and subjects at the corners of the image.

It can be used as a standalone or as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and Elements as well as Apple’s Aperture. It features automatic distortion correction using DxO Optics Modules, manual distortion correction, and an 8-point perspective correction tool.

ViewPoint 2 can handle all of the current and future DxO Optics Modules that are or will be available in the company’s DxO Optics Pro.

Best Mobile Photo APP

Best Mobile Photo App: Photosmith 3

Best Mobile Photo App: Photosmith 3

Photosmith’s mobile workflow solution helps photographers keep their photos organized by allowing for export of images in the field via the Camera Connector Kit or an Eye-Fi card. Images can be exported directly from the camera onto an iPad into Photosmith.

Photographers can then sort, rate, tag, add copyright and keywords singularly or as a batch. Once done, the images can then be wirelessly synched back into Adobe Lightroom.

Images that have not been labelled, etc. within Lightroom can also be exported to Photosmith and worked on as time allows. The app also allows for native camera Raw rendering for a growing list of cameras, including those from Olympus, Pentax, Sony, Fujifilm, Nikon, Canon and Samsung.

Best Accessory

Best Accessory: SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive

Best Accessory: SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive

The demand for access to a wide range of content on an ever increasing variety of mobile and desktop devices makes the SanDisk Connect a good solution for image creators.

Available in 16, 32, and 64 GB storage capacities, the 3.11-inch device can create wireless connections to 8 devices with 3 simultaneous media streams, including to iPads, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Android devices and Mac and PC computers. The free SanDisk Connect app allows for easy coordination of all operations.

The drive’s battery recharges via USB and offers up to 4 hours of continuous streaming on a single charge. It works without an Internet connection or need for a router, and can operate in a range of 150 ft. from the host device.

Best Tripod

Best Tripod: Manfrotto New 190 collection

Best Tripod: Manfrotto New 190 collection

Manfrotto new 190 collection tripods appeal to advanced hobbyist photographers. Two different configurations are available: either aluminium or carbon fibre. This new collection features the new Quick Power Lock lever, which allows release of all locks on each leg with one hand and a single movement.

A new 90-degree centre column mechanism and flat top disc for the centre column significantly reduces the overall length of the closed tripod, plus allows easy setup of horizontal position for the centre column for macro.

An Easy Link attachment in the top casting allows for attachment of accessories to the tripod, such as an LED light or reflector, which adds to the versatility and shooting opportunities.

Best Storage Media

Best Storage Media: SanDisk Extreme PRO SDHC/SDXC UHS-II Memory Card

Best Storage Media: SanDisk Extreme PRO SDHC/SDXC UHS-II Memory Card

Available in capacities from 16GB to 64 GB, the SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-II cards are optimized for the next generation of high-end DSLRs and pro video cameras that support the UHS-II standard.

The SanDisk card delivers fast write speeds of up to 250 MB/s and transfer speeds of up to 280MB/s, allowing users to take high-resolution images, such as RAW and JPEG, in quick succession. In addition, the card offers the highest video performance available for sustained video capture of 30 MB/s, allowing capture of cinema-quality 4K, 3D and full HD videos.

SanDisk also announced the companion SanDisk Extreme Pro SD UHS Card Reader/Writer with USB 3.0 interface, capable of transferring card content up to 500MB/s.

Best Hybrid Photo/Video Camera

Best Hybrid Photo/Video Camera: Panasonic G4

Best Hybrid Photo/Video Camera: Panasonic GH4

 

The Panasonic GH4 is a mirrorless 16 MP Live MOS Sensor camera housed in a magnesium alloy body that can record 4K video.

It has a newly developed Venus Engine processor that has been enhanced with a quad-core CPU to handle the high data rate. While the GH4 can be thought of as a pro video camera, especially when coupled with the dedicated LUMIX DMW-YAGH pro workflow module, it can also deliver up to 12 frames-per-second still recording with burst rates of 40 when shooting RAW and 100 in JPEG.

The Live-View OLED Finder (LVF) has a remarkable 2.359 million RGB dots, while the monitor has 1.036 RGB dots, both of which make for clear and vibrant viewing.

Best Camcorder

Best Camcorder: Sony FDR-AX100

Best Camcorder: Sony FDR-AX100

4K video offers higher resolution than HD, and the Sony AX100 is among the first to deliver it in a “standard” camcorder design.

The unit has a 1-inch Exmor R sensor and delivers 14 MP and 20 MP still capture. It offers a variety of recording options, including XAVC-S, AVCHD and MP4. The unit has a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens with 12X optical zoom.

A BIONZ X processor can deliver 120 fps recording with Optical SteadyShot image stabilization with Active Mode. Viewing is through EVF or a 921K LCD. Smartphone connectivity is via WiFi and NFC, including the ability to work with a remote control via a mobile device.

Best Mobile Imaging Device

Best Mobile Imaging Device: Sony QX series

Best Mobile Imaging Device: Sony QX series

Rather than rely on the smartphone for making quick images and videos on the go, Sony’s DSC-QX100 (20 MP, Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* lens) and DSC QX-10 (18.2 MP, Sony G lens) are “lens style” cameras that use the smartphone as the transmitter of high-quality images and videos it records.

Using Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile app, the units connect wirelessly to a smartphone and convert the phone’s LCD to a real-time viewfinder with shutter release, video activation and adjustment of various settings. They can be attached to the phone with an adapter or used independently.

Images can be saved to both the smartphone and lens/camera and then shared instantly to various sites.

Best Professional Lighting System

Best Professional Lighting System: Profoto B1 Off-Camera Flash

Best Professional Lighting System: Profoto B1 Off-Camera Flash

Battery-powered and cordless, the Profoto B1 has become an instant hit with pros that understand the benefits of the freedom and facility off-camera flash shooting affords. The system’s Air Remote TTL controller attaches to the camera’s hot shoe and becomes a command centre for light output and balance, even for manual settings.

Each monobloc styled flash can be assigned a channel and controlled from up to 1000 feet away, with results quickly previewed, checked and modified by the photographer without leaving camera position.

The 500 w/s units have a 9-stop range, very fast recycling time and LED modelling light, and are powered by a lithium-ion battery with 220 full-power flash capacity.

Best Portable Flash

Best Portable Flash: Nissin i40

Best Portable Flash: Nissin i40

The small (3.35 x 2.4 x 3.35 inches) and lightweight (203g, without battery and soft  box) Nissin i40 is available in models dedicated (TTL) to Canon, Nikon, Sony, Four thirds and Fujifilm models, and can cover a lens angle of view from 24-105mm, with additional coverage to 16mm with the supplied diffuser.

The Guide Number is 40 at the 105mm setting (meters/ISO 100) and 27 at 35mm. An innovative LED illuminator sits where smaller fill flash modules were in the past, and the light can be used for both still and video recording with 9 steps of output.

The i40 offers rear, front curtain and high-speed sync, wireless slave and can be swivelled up to 180 degrees right and left and 90 degrees vertical.

Best Photo Monitor

Best Photo Monitor: LG 21:9 UltraWide 34UM95

Best Photo Monitor: LG 21:9 UltraWide 34UM95

With its innovative combination of a 21:9 aspect ratio and 34-inch size, the LG 34UM95 model offers users numerous display options and versatility for both still and video editing functions. Features include an AH-IPS panel, superb 3440×1440 pixel resolution and over 99% of the sRGB colour space.

Connecting a new Mac Pro to the 34UM95 with its Thunderbolt™ 2 technology, users will experience the fastest cable-based connectivity speed currently on the market (up to 20 Gbps, 4 times faster than conventional USB 3.0). In addition, it comes colour calibrated straight from the factory and supports hardware colour calibration.

It offers a host of connectivity options, including HDMI x 2, Thunderbolt™ 2 x 2, DisplayPort, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.

Best Photo Bag

Best Photo Bag: Thule Perspektiv series

Best Photo Bag: Thule Perspektiv series

Marked by an ergonomic chassis system that provides an excellent balance of support, cushioning and breathability, the Thule Perspektiv series comes in a variety of sizes and configurations to match every camera and gear carrying need.

Their “Cloudburst” construction, with welded and taped critical seams, including a hideaway rain fly, specially treated fabric and YKK RCPU zippers provide excellent protection from all sorts of weather conditions. Included in carriers such as the Daypack are removable SafeZone compartments for advanced protection of fragile gear that can be removed for safe storage in, for example, hotel safes.

The interiors can be fully customized to fit numerous types of cameras and lenses.

Best Photo Service

Best Photo Service: SIGMA Mount Conversion Service

Best Photo Service: SIGMA Mount Conversion Service

While photographers might be attracted to a new format or different brand camera, the ownership and investment in legacy lenses of a specific mount may stop them from exploring new options for their image making.

The SIGMA Mount Conversion Service offers the opportunity to change the mount on a specific set of SIGMA brand lenses, regardless of the mount, to Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Micro Four thirds and Sony E-mount. Pricing depends on the type and focal length of the original lens.

Service details are handled by the local SIGMA representative or distributor within each country, worldwide, and takes from two to four weeks to complete.

Best Actioncam

Best Action Cam: Sony Action Cam HDR-AS100V

Best Action Cam: Sony Action Cam HDR-AS100V

The “actioncam” POV category is hot, and Sony’s AS100V offers a wide variety of WiFi and connection options, built in GPS and both still (13.5 MP) and video (XAVC-S 60p available) recording capabilities.

The diminutive (about 1 x 2 x 3 inches) unit has an advanced image stabilization system and built-in stereo mic, plus an ultra-wide (170 degrees) Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar lens. All functions can be controlled via smartphone, and the unit comes supplied with a waterproof case, adhesive mount and tripod adapter, with various other optional mounting systems available.

Capabilities include interval photo recording ranging from 5 to 60 seconds per shot.

Best Imaging Innovation

Best Imaging Innovation: Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF

Best Imaging Innovation: Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF

Dual Pixel CMOS AF is a phase-detection AF technology conducted directly on the image sensor plane. The benefit is achievement of dramatically improved AF performance over prior EOS cameras during Live View and video shooting.

Because Live View shooting can be used in a manner similar to using the camera’s viewfinder, fast and smooth AF performance is greatly enhanced.

Dual Pixel CMOS AF is currently available in the EOS 70D and as an option in the C100 and C300 cinema EOS cameras, which are in turn compatible with 103 Canon EF lenses, and we look for this advancement to allow for future development of even more responsive image capture and processing capabilities.

Best Design

Best Design: SIGMA dp Quattro

Best Design: SIGMA dp Quattro

It is rare that a company will completely redesign the look and feel of their cameras when bringing forth new and updated sensor technology, but that is what SIGMA has done to in their new dp Quattro line-up.

The SIGMA dp Quattro is a completely redesigned home for the next generation Foveon X3 “direct image” sensor. Each of the three cameras in the line share form and function, but what sets them apart is that each offers a fixed focal length lens (19mm, 30mm, and 50mm, equivalent to 28mm, 45mm and 75mm respectively) with sensor and lens optimized for each.

The unique look, feel and functioning of the camera sets it apart from the norm, and is a bold design statement from the company.

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