Fuji: Fuji had two major refreshes of two major camera models in 2013, the X100s and the X-E2, both of which are particularly successful and desirable cameras. Either one would have to be among the top contenders for anyone looking for a fine compact camera with a high pride-of-ownership quotient.
And yet both have their roots in the original models from previous years (2010 and 2012 respectively). We do note that the improvements in both over the originals are not insignificant.
The very compact mid-line X-M1 is new from Fuji for this year, but our feeling is that if you're going to spring for an expensive, beautiful Fuji, then you should spring for an expensive, beautiful Fuji that has a viewfinder. You won't be sorry.
Hence, no nominees from Fuji this year.
"Littlized" Canon Rebel SL1 next to full-sized Canon 70D, both introduced in 2013. Illustration from camerasize.com.
Canon: As the world's leading cameramaker ("still," it might be tempting to add), Canon remains a safe mainstream choice for professional workhorses. However it is generally in the same situation as Fuji for CoY 2013: the company introduced some very fine cameras that will very naturally be among the top choices for people looking for cameras in each of their respective categories, but each represents an evolution of a well established model—that is, not much "newthink." Again, there's nothing wrong with that. As a purchase decision, an "evolved" model might indeed be a smarter buying choice than something that's all new and different.
But then, this is the 2013 Award, not a Buyer's Guide.
This rules out three very fine cameras introduced this year: The Canon 70D, a class-leading traditional 35mm-style APS-C DSLR; the Canon S120, a top choice as a pocket camera (albeit one with a "tiny" 1/1.7" sensor); and the Canon PowerShot G16, a "Swiss Army Knife" digicam that traces its venerable roots way, way back into the mists of digital camera time.
This leaves two potential CoY nominees from Canon. The first is the quirky PowerShot N, an early attempt at a "social media" camera that brings Wi-Fi and device connectivity to the forefront. As such it is engaged in a hard battle on two fronts, answering the Sony QX and similarly meant to provide an alternative to the smartphone hordes now storming the cameramakers' bastions and battlements.
One condition for nomination for Camera of the Year, however, is the possibility of the camera in question actually winning. There is no chance the PowerShot N is going to end up as our CoY. Hence, no nomination.
The second "possible" from Canon is also an answering gun: the Canon SL1 (called the 100D elsewhere in the world), a super-miniaturized "real" DSLR that apparently constitutes Canon's rebuke to Mirrorless. Canon seems to be asking, "You want small?" And the SL1 is its way of saying "we got small."
The Canon SL1 is a nominee for Camera of the Year.
Original contents copyright 2013 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
ronin (partial comment): "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."
Frances Gigg: "This is the same SL1 that you described back in October as a 'lumpen, stunted little beastie'?"
Mike replies: Put things in writing and they come back to haunt you.... :-)
Phil: "Perhaps you have overlooked an aspect for the 70D (although I know what you mean)? 'The Canon 70D is the new bar against which all other video AF systems will be measured. In Imaging Resource's 15 year history, Canon's Dual-Pixel Autofocus technology is one of the few true breakthroughs we've witnessed, making it this year's Technology of the Year.'"
Charles Maclauchlan: "I understand your criteria and also understand that it's your criteria. I believe however that 'Great' should have a category for evolutionary. In fact, having regretted buying cars with revolutionary engines or transmissions I have great respect for evolutionary. Fuji (you knew I was going there) not only evolved the X-100 into the X-100S but then gave me a firmware update for my X-100 bringing many of those evolutionary features to a discontinued camera. That's pretty 'Great' in my book."
Mike replies: It is, and I see your point. But what we're after here, ultimately, is "The Camera of the Year for 2013." So ask yourself...could that really reasonably be the X100s, when the all-new X100 came out in 2010? That just doesn't seem to fit, to me.