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Saturday, 14 December 2013

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Oooooohhhhhhh, I can tell already I'm not going to like where this is going....

:)

Please don't forget to give Samsung a good dismissal in part 2 or 3 - they have a camera with good looks and a great sensor in the NX300 but not even an option for a plug in viewfinder! Then there's the Galaxy NX with a viewfinder but lots of connectivity options and a touch screen operating system that's just anathema to "real photographers".
They have the technical clout but when will they come up with a camera the photography community takes seriously?

I bought two Fuji X-100's in preparation for a European tour for my wife and I. We were never (and ARE never) disappointed.
My one complaint (of course) is that digital is moving SO fast, it's impossible to keep up. But, God bless the X-100. It continues to perform.
But. anyone remember the good ole days when camera makers (ala Nikon) attempted to keep their cameras up to date ALL THE TIME?
Gawd! Where are we headed? Someone stop the insanity.
Just my two pesos.

Probably not innovative enough for CotY, but the Canon 6D is really, really excellent. I shot Nikon for years until the D600 debacle; clearly I didn't know what I was missing.

Price/performance is exactly right. I'm not very impressed to see that Leica can make a wonderful 37 mp medium format digital camera for more than $20,000. I'm a lot more impressed by Sony's 36 mp alpha a7R for almost exactly 1/10th as much.

As the saying goes, it's not that hard to build a great car that costs $80,000. It's a lot harder to build a great car for $20,000.

Canon SL1 is like Lumix G five years later, but with a mirror. Not sure how they compare side by side but nothing 'new' as such. Also, Canon has a reputation of purposely making their lower end cameras crippled so that they don't compete with higher end models. I can't believe the finder and other important features in SL1 are top notch.

A manufacturer takes an existing body design and updates the electronics, but is not deemed worthy of the award. Another company uses its well proven electronics in a new body and that's deemed a worthwhile advance. Bizarre.

Canon is certainly a large successful company, but I can't imagine they are making huge profits on all the camera lines they now sell. It's sort of the same thing as Kodak, at one time, making 8 Ektachromes within the ASA 64-100 range, adding expenses in production and dividing their own market, cutting profit...I can't believe how many permutations of the Rebel there are in the system...seems like there would be money savings in "right sizing" the line that would result in the ability to cut pricing on them all. I can't imagine that they wouldn't be cleaning up on just offering the SL1, and then a "high-line" APS-C, the 5D MkIII, and then a tip-top FF super-pro. It's a mystery to me...

I think this already justifies my curmudgeonly opinion that 2013 was a very slow year....

@ ronin
And the best price / performance is always found by waiting until the new model comes out and then purchasing last years model on closeout. What once retailed for $1,000 is suddenly available for a quarter of that price. Cheap pixels are the way of the future.

I don't understand your thinking behind not nominating either the X100s or XE2. Updates can be as significant as new models.

Regarding the distress that might be occurring over whether or not the X100s qualifies for camera of the year consideration or not, my personal view is that it is not only camera of the year, but camera of the last four years - on account of the fact that seems to be how often I'm permitted to buy a new camera ;-)

@Mike Farley: Your description suggests to me that electronics are currently "good enough", but that body design is considered to have room for improvement.

I second the choice of the SL1. I've owned a small DSLR (a Pentax *ist DL with the 50/1.4) since '06 and it still works well. However, wanting to downsize the camera for hiking etc, I got a Panasonic G2 with the 20/1.7 lens in 2011. Recently, my girlfriend needed a new camera and we bought a Canon T3i on sale, only to return it in a week and spring for an SL1 at about the same price for the smaller size and better video.

Having shot for two years with the G2, I can honestly say the SL1 is a great deal of fun. It's smaller and _much_ lighter than the Pentax, which itself is a small camera to start with. It's about the exact same size and weight as the G2 (except along the depth dimension because of the mirror). Construction is nice and solid. And the performance is as good as could be desired in an entry-level body.

In fact, I'd stick my neck out and say that _for me_, it's a more satisfying camera than the G2 -- it feels less... electronic (keep in mind my first SLR was a Praktica and the Pentax is a very no-frills camera as well), is very snappy, and is very nicely "sorted". So far I haven't found anything major missing or anything it does badly.

If I were buying an interchangeable lens camera now and didn't want something way smaller (like the GM1), this would be top of my list. Which is not something I could say of any DSLRs compared to m4/3 before this.

Canon SL1....yawn....zzzzz....pardon me while I nod off.

DSLRs are so yesterday. At this point in time, I cannot see any point in owing one unless one is doing sports or combat photojournalism.

I've got a couple of suggestions, two of which are quite serious but slightly unexpected (at least to me), the rest of which are fairly conventional:

4. The Olympus OM-D E-M1: Sure, it's a boring pick. But it's a great camera and the top of the mirrorless heap.

--> Runner-up: The Panasonic GX-7: in most ways, the E-M1 is a better camera, expect one: price. Unless you have some really specific need, it is almost impossible to justify spending 50% more (at least, including lens) for the E-M1 over the GX-7. Believe me, I've tried, and I can't even justify it to myself.

3A. The Sony NEX-6: The GX-7 and E-M1 have stolen a lot of the NEX-6 thunder, but step back and you have to admire it. A fairly small camera with an excellent viewfinder, good sensor and generally good ergonomics. I nominate the NEX-6 not for what it is, in and of itself, but for what it stands for: the NEX-6 seems like the camera that will really allow Sony to get a foothold in the larger photography enthusiast market.

3B: The Sony RX-10: You have to respect the fact that Sony keeps trying out one unconventional idea after another. And frankly, it seems to me that it is succeeding more than it fails (at least from the perspective of producing useful and innovative cameras, even if they aren't market leaders). As with the above, I nominate the RX-10 not for what it is, but what is stands for: the spirit of innovation and risk taking Sony has exhibited.

2 (tie). Canon PowerShot N and Samsung Galaxy Camera: These may be awful cameras you wouldn't dream of owning (I'm not saying they are, this is just a rhetorical point), but they represent an attempt to fundamentally change the idea of a camera and adapt it to modern behavior/culture. Even if they aren't successful, at least Canon and Samsung are trying to rethink how people use their cameras.

***1*** The Panasonic GM1: When I saw the announcement, I dismissed the GM1 out of hand as a consumer-camera style toy. But recently I was in B&H in NYC. I played with the Sony NEX-6 and NEX-7, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and E-M5, the current Fuji lineup, the Panasonic GX7, GH3 and the GM1, the current Nikon "1" models, the Canon EOS M, etc.

The tiny Panasonic GM1 was the most impressive of the bunch BY FAR. It is smaller than my Panasonic LX-5 and about the same size as the Sony RX100 II, yet has a much larger sensor than either, and interchangeable lenses to boot. As far as I'm concerned the GM1 has just killed the large-sensor compact category, except for anyone that needs extreme reach in a compact. The GM1 strikes me as the spiritual successor to my beloved Olympus XA, except that it takes better pictures, has autofocus, a built-in flash, a better viewfinder, a touch screen, etc. It's a tiny m4/3 camera you can easily slip in any pocket and blew me away.

If the Canon SL1 is a nominee for showing how small you can make an SLR, the Panny GM1 should be a runaway winner for showing how small you can make a quality, interchangeable lens camera. Remember, the image quality is the same as from the GX7. IF YOU HAVEN'T HELD ONE IN YOUR HAND, you can't understand how impressive it is. Get thee to your local camera store!

Agree with Charles's statement about the 70D's sensor tech. That dual-pixel tech is creative engineering, rather than imitative or evolutionary. And the AF sensitivity down to f/11--well, that's new. But granted, more of interest to the video crowd.

To me, the SL1 is basically just Canon's take on a K-x. :) Seen a dinky dSLR before. In prettier colors.

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