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Friday, 13 December 2013

Comments

Well, it's my birthday (Friday the 13th) so I am obliged to offer my two pesos... and IMHO, the Sony A7r wins hands down!
(It's also on my birthday list if my wife is reading this).

iPhone 5s. You knew I would say this. But the camera in this thing astounds me at least once every three or four times I use it. I think in low light it might actually perform *better* than my old D200 did.

Also this, because 3-d printing!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wanderlust/travelwide-45-camera

Ricoh GR Digital

OK, I'll be the heretic for this one -- the SONY RX10. Good enough stills, near broadcast quality video & pro-level audio options! The other would be the SONY A7R with it's MF quality stills, good enough video & pro audio options. A one-two punch from SONY!

Sony RX10.
The only "One camera, one lens, does everything" without weighing a ton.

Suggestions for you MIke:

ALPA introduced a focal plane shutter body and also a focus upgrade to work with Canon lenses.

SINAR introduced the LANTEC and also a motorised specialty copy camera. (By the way, I guess you are aware that Sinar is now owned by Leica.)

Regards,

Walter

Don't really know what could be new and innovative with view cameras. Chamonix came out with the 045F1 at the beginning of the year...added assymetrical tilt to the rear standard. Not earthshaking but it's not a feature you could find in a low priced view camera before.

As far as digital, I could care less for the most part...

Cheers, Bob

A lot of very interesting cameras this year: Fuji X100s, Olympus OMD EM-1, Sony A7/A7R & RX10 were the ones that most interested me. Honourable mention goes to the Panasonic GM1, GX7, and Canon 70D. It is great to see the camera industry being shaken up a bit.

How about the TravelWide, the one pound 4x5 handheld camera for 90mm and 65mm lenses? Has it begun shipping yet? That'd be a fitting as the LF counterpoint to the Lomo.

The quite wonderful and the quite obvious Olympus OMD E-M1 would get my vote.

.....Indeed....firing my D4 while shooting video with another camera
is some kind of intrusion when folks are in a roundtable discussion
group. Now I run silent and folks have said they don't even notice
when I'm shooting. So, thumbs up for the Lumix GX7 which makes me more stealth and quick.....just what I needed.

It may not be a view camera, but I think the Wanderlust 4x5 belongs on the list!

you are going to get mail...

"Fellow geeks, your nominations please?"

And therein the problem lies. To many geeks and not enough artists amongst the photographic hoards.

I realize it was meant as a connective reference to the paragraph above it, but it does highlight a problem photography has. Seems "geeks", including myself, are attracted to cameras, stereos and cars. We do love all things mechanical/electronic.

I think the Sony QX should be in there - trying for a high quality cell phone camera. Though I suspect it will fail, they should get an "A" for effort.

I nominate, sight unseen, the Wanderlust Travelwide 4x5 camera. I suggest that the combination of (Kickstarter) crowdfunding, the recycling of near-antique lenses (90 mm 1:6.8 Angulon), and the idea of "retro" makes it distinctly 2013. Digital cameras are well past the point of being good enough. Therefore, they don't have as much hobbyist appeal, and we must look elsewhere for entertainment.

It has to be the Sony Alpha 7/7R, hasn't it? They brought full frame to the mirrorless segment, which is no mean feat. Runner-up will be the Olympus OM-D E-M1 (Olympus really have to rethink their model naming system), but by rights the Camera Of The Year accolade should go to the Nikon Df. At least for retro-loving analoguistas like me. And it has an optical viewfinder, something I can't live without.
(The Konstruktor got me intrigued, though...)

Pentax K-3 for its switchable anti-aliasing?

Of course, to qualify, a view camera would somehow have to bring something "appreciably new" to the table.

Nikon DF has to be considered; first sign of the two big digital photo companies jumping on the retro bandwagon.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 (and brother QX100) have to be considered; they certainly bring something new.

The Panasonic GM-1 might be worthy of consideration, though size isn't exactly something new to care about or deliver.

Possibly the Nikon AW-1, it's been a while since we could take an interchangeable-lens camera underwater at all without an add-on case of some sort.

(The Dpreview.com camera listings by company, in chronological order, are tremendously useful for the digital side of this.)

While Fuji released many interesting products, it looks to me like they're exploiting an existing beachhead more than introducing significantly new things. Also for Canon and Nikon, the obviously "significant" cameras are more realizing potential pointed to previously than they are introducing new ideas or potentials, and hence as I read your question, don't rate consideration. I suppose you could consider the Nikon D610 on the grounds that nobody has ever before admitted a flaw in a camera they didn't recall (the oil spots issue in the D600).

I'm hooked on the M4:3 system, and for a "large camera" the Fuji X series. Both superb in their own ways. However, the camera I take most frequently when walking out the door is the Fuji X20 (preceded by an equally astonishing X10). Comes closest to a mini Leica with superb quality zoom and full manual control. I'm sure there are equally small cameras with larger imaging surfaces, faster reactions, sharper lenses, blah blah. It's how Fuji puts it all together - the handling, the solidity, the superb MANUAL ZOOM lenses, the portability, and the results. At 6mb in EXR mode the results were spectacular from the X10 - the noise reduction in the X20 is problematical, but it's still a superb camera in the right modes.

As a big (6' 220lbs) fan of small cameras - this is the closest I've been to total almost-pocketable satisfaction. Progress and 2013? I never quite understood why Minox was able to make a full frame 35mm film camera smaller than any previous (100mm x61mm x31mm) - or why Olympus (102mm x 64mm x40mm) was able to make one not much larger with a teeny rangefinder yet. Sony appears to have the most "Maitani" like engineers - the future is indeed interesting.

Cheers!
Gabe

I hate to sound curmudgeonly when we have so many great cameras to choose from, but this year I didn't find any new camera releases to be that exciting. There are obvious candidates: EM1, A7/r, Df. To me, the EM1 is the pinnacle of m43; an excellent camera, but really, just a better EM5. The A7 & A7r have a lot of buzz, but are really just NEX-7s with FF sensors. The A7 is to NEX what the D610 is to the D7100. Yawn. OK, the UI isn't NEX (thankfully) but is very pedestrian. The Df is just ... weird ... a camera with one or two features that appeal to a lot of people, but one or two things that fight against the good things. It's too schizophrenic.
There's the GX7 which is Panasonic's attempt to make an EM1 - the EM1 is superior in too many ways. And the GM1 which takes miniaturization too far (my RX100 has more usable controls for my average-sized fingers than the GM1) ... and is priced too high (for a camera with no VF !)
The A3000 is the camera the mirrorless manufacturers need (cheap with a VF like the Panasonic G6) but too cheap - the VF is next to useless. The RX10 is interesting, but not interesting enough. (Maybe if you're into video).
The D7100 is a very solid DSLR, but nothing exciting.
So I'm going to toss out a couple non-obvious choices:
- Ricoh GR
- Canon SL1 (I was really impressed with the performance and build of this little "entry level" camera)
- Pentax K-3 (only because it's closer to the long-awaited Nikon D400 than anything Nikon has done recently)
- Nikon 1 AW1

- Dennis

P.S.

Although I am a fan of Sony's innovative engineering, the overwhelming reason I couldn't nominate the new Sony Alpha A7s is the historical Sony lack of lenses.

I saw the Amateur Photographer test first - and in the British "we ain't yellin'" style, one could read between the lines: there are practically no native lenses - yet. Surprisingly Pop "never met a bad camera" Photo also let that little secret leak - in a subtle way - after calling it the camera of the year - and starting a new (devoted to Sony) magazine.

Admirable engineering, big bucks marketing, lack of foresight for the intended market. Look at the size of that adapter!

Cheers!
Gabe

Mike,

This is going to be tough as it has been a good year for new cameras. We have the full- frame goodness of the Sony A7/A7R twins, and the Nikon Df, for APS-C we have the wonderful little Ricoh GR and Nikon A, for M4/3 we have the Olympus EP5 and Olympius EM1, and then from Panasonic the wonderful new GX7 and GM1, moving down the ladder sensor size there is the Sony RX10 and version 2 of the RX100. Lots of good candidates, but only one winner!

Okay, I'll be "that guy" - as good as all the mentioned cameras are, none beat the Sigma Merrills for image quality :o) Okay, maybe the large format rigs, maybe, lol. Mike, you need to take Sigma off your naughty list and give the Merrills a try.

The answer is simple and obvious.

The Leica M240.

If the M240 doesn't qualify due to chronological nit picking, then it would have to be the Leica X Vario.

Leica cameras are always better than all other cameras because, um, well, uh, because their Leicas.

Cassiopeia view cameras are new from this year, I think. They came up on the auction site for the second time.

I nominate the Nikon DF as the anti-camera of the year. Camera sales are tanking, and that camera makes me facepalm the most.

Given all the great new cameras out this year, I'm glad I don't have to pick the winner. But I have to confess I'm smitten by the Panasonic GX7. It's got everything (including a reasonable UI) in such a nice package.

Some of the new interchangeable lens cameras are fabulous but my vote goes to the camera I have been waiting years for.... Nikon FN! Finally the controls where they belong!

I have an EM1 so in the spirit of fairness I will only nominate cameras I would also like to have if money were no object.

1.The Nikon 610, because who needs oil spots and the 600 is pretty cool otherwise.

2. Pentax K3. It just has that old fashioned sturdy appeal that my E5 does, but with a far better sensor.

3. The Canon SL1. I really like the way it looks with the pancake 40mm.

4. Fuji XE2. I want one and several of their lenses.

5. Finally, what I really want did not appear in 2013, a redone Sigma Merrill whatever with all of the bugs and quirks ironed out in both the camera and the software. Perhaps 2014.

A perennially forgotten and underrated brand, but I nominate the Pentax k3. It's the fruition of the template established by the very thoughtfully designed k5. It's the top aps-c dslr for still photography, which is high praise considering its worthy competitors.

The Fuji X-E2 is darn near perfect.

I feel like we've reached some sort of camera design plateau this year. I've been waiting for the digital camera industry to begin looking like the film camera industry some years ago. Back then, for most of us, manual focus film camera design improvements flattened out somewhere in the mid-80's with cameras like the Nikon FE. Then another plateau was reached probably in the late 90's with cameras like the Nikon F100. Once these plateaus are reached, then subsequent models are just evolutionary upgrades with a few new bells or whistles added on.

So, have we reached a new plateau? Does a camera like the A7 or the D600 or the RX1 or the X100s signal this? When cameras like these show up, I have to ask myself "What else do I really need?" I wouldn't be surprised to see, some years from now, that 2013 was the year that the digital revolution ended and the quieter evolutionary phase began.

I think the only camera I bought this year was the EOS-M with the 22mm.
Laugh if you like but is is a great image maker for the 299 dollars that I spent.
So many nice toys out there now, but best to budget for paper and ink.

The D800e.

I know it was introduced in 2012, but I haven't seen anything this year that would tempt me to consider replacing it.

Many refinements in the digital world, evolutionary rather than revolutionary. All good stuff.

I'll throw my vote to the (as yet unseen and un-handled) Wanderlust Travelwide 4x5 camera. I have the lens, the film holders, the rangefinder, and the film, all waiting to be slapped on and/or in, when "my" camera arrives.

Before you're done, almost every new camera of the year will receive a nomination for best camera. And if you ran a request to nominate the WORST camera of the year, you would probably get very much the same list. We all like/dislike what we like/dislike. Chacun a son gout.(sorry, for some reason it won't give me the accents)

FujiX 100 s for people who like to use a camera.
IPhone 5s for anyone else.

I'd like to nominate:

1 Fujifilm X100s
Reason: mostly like a DMD (Decisive Moment Digital)

2 Sony Alpha A7 & A7r twins
Reason: full frame mirrorless with built-in EVF

Ricoh GR
smallest, lightest APS camera with awesome 28/2.8 lens, wonderfully bright LCD, enjoyably light, and the best ergonomics of any digital camera EVER that also fits in your pocket.

Pentax 645D. There aren't many cameras that will yield a better file and when lens costs are factored in (used), it's a bargain.

View camera? Well there's the Sinar p MF-L which turns a Leica S into a view camera (or is it an elaborate lens adapter?). http://www.sinar.ch/en/category/products/cameras/p-mf-l/

As for the camera of the year, I think the the mirrorless large sensor compact is the winner. Not a specific camera--the concept and the category came of age, and most all the players delivered on the promise, whether by refining already good designs or coming up with new ones. Yes, the winner is the DMD--all of them.

The Ricoh GR is the best street camera I've owned in 40 years in the business and scores of cameras in a lot of formats. Brilliant anticipation. It's a camera without an ego - virtually every personal option for fast operation can be simply customised. The fact that it is extremely sharp corner to corner at f2.8 is a boon for low light photography.

The X100s. Could be the camera of the decade. Revolutionary in its own way, while paying homage to the old cameras we loved. Wasn't this the digital camera so many of us had been waiting for, for so many years.

I have used it now for a few months, including a 10 day assignment, and love it. Small, fantastic image quality, high ISO out of this world, very well built, great viewfinder(s). It is fun to use. And gorgeous.

If only they made it in black ...

Canon 100D (SL1 for you Americans).

It's just so... small!

you are all wrong. given the "selfie"-explosion and the life logging style of using the smartphone cameras this is the next logical step, "appreciably new", "of it's time" and the camera of 2013:

http://getnarrative.com/

Ricoh GR. Because it carry on the GR Digital tradition, and because ISO 25600 is actually usable.

I'd vote for the Wanderlust 4x5... but as of the most recent update it hasn't shipped yet and may not make it this year

Nikon d7100 plus afs 80-400.

I would vote for the 4x5 as it is new but where is it?

Hence, I vote for the bird in hand. By itself it is just an iteration but I bought it as a backup to my d600/v1 to bird safari in india. The two just couple like born together and except for the first day I confuse it is all this and that lens. Later do concert pianist photo and even video! Just did a bird watching tour. It is just a tool I am comfortable with.

D4 or d400 would be better but one is not accessible and other not exist. Raw buffer ... Hence back to the bird on hand.

I am tired of sony and it's Evf hurt my eyes. Hence, no hope for a7 or r.

Well, I wouldn't buy one, but doesn't it almost have to be the 2013 version of the Olympus OM-1 look-a-little-alike? It certainly seems to have brought the level of M4/3 up several notches. Other than that, Sony has been the real innovator. I played with an A7 just yesterday and if I were going to move to full frame so I could spend all my money on new lenses, I'd seriously consider that. I haven't kept track of all introduced this year, but the others I recall are pretty much more of the same old thing.

I've seen those plastic kit cameras of various brands around Tokyo and I have been tempted. But I know I would buy a few rolls of film, shoot one and 1/2 rolls, get bored and never bother to develop the film. That's what happened last year in my short-live film revival.

The Petzval lens, seems like the first ones are already shipping too: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lomography/the-lomography-petzval-portrait-lens/posts. I know it's a lens when you asked about cameras. Yet it was so 2013.

I'd go for the A7, as it's the launch I'm most likely to buy, it's a lens adapter's dream. All my Tamron, Canon FD and Contax lenses can have a new life on full frame!

As far as I'm concerned, the Alpha 900 I bought 5 years ago is still the camera of the year. It sensor still has not to envy to many current designs.

GR here as well because, for the first time, we have all the performance of a big camera in a pocket. Ergonomics are the best ever, and the sensor/lens combo give a distinctive rendering not found in other digital cameras. It's not just whiz-bang technology, but a photographer's camera. Really quite an achievement and something the rest of the industry should follow.

The EM1, The X-E2, the X100s, all fine cameras, but variations on a theme, evolutionary and not revolutionary, and thereby not really advancing the camera maker trade by a real lot.

So as far as new cameras for 2013, the top nominees:
the A7- a risky and expensive leap (assuming they will ever ramp up tooling to make it a true family) to deliver an unprecedented package for this format.
the Df- a risky and expensive leap- specialty niche offerings by mainstream manufacturers with a premium price- will it start a trend?
the GX7- Not excelling in any one single area, but the package and size and features and results and most of all price make it an everyman's fine camera for the masses.

(As you can see, I rate price/performance as one of the top factors in rating cameras, a factor ignored by 99% of reviewers and embraced by 100% of engineers).

Fuji X100S. Excellent image quality, flexible viewing options, very compact & supported by worthwhile firmware updates.

Maybe I'm just a grinch but I wish someone would release a $20 archival Nielsen frame knockoff. I need that a hell of a lot more than another $2000 camera with marginal improvements over the previous six month old model.

Ricoh GR
APS sensor + great lens in a pocket sized form factor.

2013 has been the year of the electronics companies. While Nikon flounders and Canon poses, the electronic giants have been building innovative cameras. Panasonic finally gets micro four thirds right with the GX7 and Sony has given the world a full frame that is lighter in price and heft in the A7/A7r. Olympus and Fuji seem to be the only camera brands that have anything truly new to add. So my vote goes to the Pentax K3 (fooled you didn't I).

Seriously however I must admit that the Sony A7 twins are the only truly new ideas on the block so they get my vote.

Well, I see that the Travelwide 4X5 has already been mentioned. It probably won't make it for 2013 but by spring of 2014 they should be in production, despite the naysayers. As a early backer I am more excited about this camera than any armload of the latest digital wonderplastic all of which will be old news in a couple of months. Without looking I wonder how many readers could name the "camera of the year", as selected by MJ, for 2010..... 2011?

[Yeah, but I can't remember who won the Superbowl a few years back either, yet it was exciting at the time (and still remembered fondly by the people of the winning city, no doubt). --Mike]

Fuji X-A1. It is my first APS-C camera since I sold my Sony A100 years ago, and if its good enough for Thom Hogan, its good enough for you. I love it, and for $500 it includes a fine kit zoom which starts at 24mm (the holy grail).

Nothing happened in 2013. At least, not to IQ.

Some sensors got PDAF built in (Canon, Fuji), others got repackaged in weenier cameras (A7r, GM1, Rebel SL1), went retro (Df), or upmarket (EM1), or even waterproof (N1 AW1).

Form factor, it seems, is the new IQ. IQ is now only a differentiator on phones. And form factor is a matter of preference.

But even with static IQ, the wealth and heatedness of ever more pointless comparisons of ever decreasing differences has not abated. It's utterly exhausting.

Which is why I am pleased that I found MY ideal form factor in early 2012, and have seen a steady improvement in function and performance through FW upgrades and improving RAW converters ever since. It is like having a new camera every 6 months.

So my nomination for the best camera of 2013 is FW version 3.00 for the Fuji X-pro1. A camera I have never felt inclined to replace since I bought mine in April 2012. That must be something of a record for me.

Cheers Mike,

It's been an uncharacteristic year for me with no new camera and but one lens purchase, so I haven't voted with my wallet. With that said my heart votes for the E-M1, the camera that perhaps finally delivers on what the µ4/3 system promised when first unveiled several years back. I'd be okay if the miniscule GM1 got the nod, because it delivers on the other end of the format's potential.

I'll add that the industry's mainstream cash-cow lineups simply do not inspire. If it weren't for the movement in mirrorless, advanced compacts and so help me, cellphone cameras the entire industry would seem like the US car makers in the '80s and '90s, shoving out big SUVs and pickups with no regard for cars at all.

Maybe decide on your Photo of the Year 2013, and make the camera that took it the Camera of the Year 2013. After all, it did the best job.

I like Joe's "Kaizen" comment a lot, but the truth is that over the past year and a bit, the category of large-scale mirrorless compacts has come of age, with just about all the players delivering on the promise in different ways, whether through refinement or innovation (and copycatting, too). So I'd like to nominate the whole lot of them, call them DMD for short, or something else, but they are all the camera of the year in my book.

And as for view cameras, Sinar introduced the p-mf-l a few days ago, though I'm not sure whether it counts as a camera or is "merely" an accessory.

No body has mentioned the Hassilblad Lunar ( apologies to t New Camera News)

Not that it counts for your purpose, but for me the camera of the year is my new to me Canon 7. Why can't Canon get the retro bug? A aps-c or m4/3 sensor in the form of their old rangefinders would be killer.

Although I have not been in the market for a camera this year because I'm still having a lot of fun with my 5D Mk2, the 2013 camera that has most caught my eye is the Panasonic GX7.

I would vote for the Pentax K3 for it's

1) Unique user selectable AA (anti-aliasing) filter feature

2) 200,000 shutter release life span

3) Dust proof, Weather & Cold resistance

4) Top shutter speed of 1/8000 second

5) Largest and brightest Optical view finder

6) Large buffer

7) Continous 8 fps

8) Inbuilt image stabilisation with any lens

9) Dual SD Card slots

10)Compact and rugged magnesium alloy body.

Sony RX-1 / R. For: (a) innovation in first small form-factor FF, (b) bravery in releasing a fixed-lens camera at its (highish) price point (but cheapish v Leica M models), (c) quality all around of the camera and its lens, (d) design so that it works well with external OVF as well as EVF, (e) listening to customers by releasing the R version without an anti-aliasing filter within 6 months or so, and letting customers make up their own mind about moire, (f) for those betting on the A7/R as the COY, I'd bet a lot that they would have been made if the RX1 wasn't a success (see (a)), and (g) most importantly, not only it is the only camera that I bought this year it has rendered my Nikon outfit mostly redundant in daily use, it has captured my heart in a way that no camera has since I bought a Ricoh 500G in the late '70s as my first 'serious' camera.

Sigma DP Merrills. 1, 2, 3.

I, for one, hope that you won't award the camera of the year to the camera that most excites gear heads. Tyre-kicking, brochure-gazing showroom saunterers who put their heads under the hoods of Ferraris and coo like pigeons.

I hope you won't award it to a camera that is all about the sensor and nothing else, which focuses on IQ as if there were dramatic problems with IQ that needed to be solved or advanced so that photographs could be half decent.

I hope you won't award it to a camera that boasts of its IQ while needing to apologise for its size and weight.

I hope you won't award it to a camera that boasts of its compact full frame sensor body while needing to apologise for the size and weight of the lens system that cancels out its advantage every time you connect it to a lens and carry a few other lenses over the other shoulder in a bag.

I hope you won't award it to a camera that could not possibly serve as it's owner's principal camera, and that needs to be instead considered as an accessory camera for the photographer who has other cameras to do most of his or her work.

I hope you will remember the sweet spot philosophy that you have used in the past to choose your camera of the year. In what direction is the sweet spot moving? Which cameras most exemplify a highly satisfying choice for the new camera buyer, without being a top of the range model (which is never the sweet spot camera)?

I also hope you remember the better half of humanity, who should not be punished by great big lumps of metal if She wants to make photographic works of art with the Camera of The Year.

I haven't thought a lot about nominees, but my sweet spot nominees would be the Fujifilm X-E2 (a minor update but sweetly spotted), the Panasonic GX7 (a significant new standard of compact system camera IMHO), and the Sony RX-10 (the uncompromising bridge camera reborn).

Good luck!

My selfish reason for liking the travelwide is it will help sell more film, at least for the short term. As a camera though it is seriously lacking, and the concept is better executed by many other choices already. (Cambo wide, crown graphic, various cameras by fotoman, chamonix, gaeorsi, the Globuscope, etc. )

Wow, I'm surprised to see a few people mention our humble Travelwide! I truly can't wait to see what people make with this camera. Luckily, I wan't have to wait much longer… We'll be shipping early 2014. I'm working on a preorder website now!

("Wan't" is a fresh new word I just inadvertently coined. Let's say it means "cannot and will not.")

I too will vote for the Wanderlust Travelwide 4x5 camera (don't have on, gonna get one as soon as I can find a reasonably priced lens). Kickstarter funding (so 2013) mixed with old lenses and big film.

Possibly the most unique camera of the year. Everything else is just a (boring?) technological march. ;)

I have the OM-D E-M1. I will NOT vote it because I own it... I got it BECAUSE I tought it WAS the best camera of the 2013 - for what I need:
1- Great base ISO image quality with portability
2- Good (albeit not great) high ISO performance
3- Gorgeous EVF (you HAD to see it to believe!)
3- Ergonomics ("just right" for my hands") and intelligent controls placement
4- Great customization possibility
5- Compatibility with other brands/vintage lens
6- Versatility thanks to an impressive Olympus/Panasonic lens lineup
7- Shiny beautiful black box that screams "quality" (well, just joking... couldn't care less for the packaging).

Will all due respect to other excellent 2013 cameras, I'm sure that there is a particular contender that does better than the E-M1 in one or two characteristics, but for me it is the final gestalt that matters.
Peace.

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