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Monday, 29 December 2008


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A poor choice, I say.

Sure, all cameras have flaws. But this one has at least two glaring flaws in image quality, which is supposed to be its one true purpose.

The original 5D remains a better camera!

In fact, I'd go so far as to say the 5DM2 is the greatest photographic failure of 2008. It's another black eye for Canon, the last thing they needed after the 1DM3 autofocus problems.

Chuck Westfall got to you.

Camera of the Year...cool. I just unboxed my new Mark II and have shot a few hundred images and have taken a couple of videos, which look amazing. Thank you Mike for all your hard work in reviewing the wonderful cameras that are available to us. You are a 100% correct.... quit the peeking and get out and shoot.

You obviously haven't been reading DPReview forums lately, where according to some people, this thing simply can't focus.

Great camera, and I thank Canon for leaving me no choice but to buy it as a kit if I wanted it early enough. Looks like I'll be able to sell my used 24-105L lens (also supplied new with the kit) for about the same money that I paid for the new one. Brilliant marketing that actually works well for some of us.

Now if I can only find some spare change under my couch to upgrade my ancient laptop to the new Lenovo W700...

"In fact, I'd go so far as to say the 5DM2 is the greatest photographic failure of 2008."

Since you feel that way about it, maybe you shouldn't buy one.

It is hard to see this choice sitting comfortably with the three camera comparison, the Sony really seemed to grab your heart and the Nikon your brain. It also seems a stretch to attach any real "significance" to this camera, both the Sony and the Nikon seemed to be extensions of each company's grasp as opposed to a relatively uneventful evolution (another Canon Mark X). Its predecessor did indeed have legions of faithful (and talented) followers, but the fact that the camera is merely "better" than the previous one only gets you so far; should we not have wanted it to knock their socks off? Is it too much to ask that the COTY evoke a "wow"? One realizes that the COTY need not be the "best" camera, but the gears really seem to grind on this choice when one considers how it fared against its peers. As always, a thought-provoking choice, which is a service to the photographic community. I'm a Nikon user, so have no axe to grind when I say that the Sony seemed to have the best claim on our attention (aside from the S2 perhaps), but I have a nagging suspicion that your runner-up might have been the real COTY. Thanks for another good post.

I should add that Canon has only acknowledged one of the two glaring flaws I mention.

The flaw that Canon does not admit exists was noticed by Mike Johnston and pointed out in his review, under the section "Artifacts".

The flaw is the purple fringing, and it is not lens CA I'm referring to. it is reflections off of the sensor's filter stack, reflecting back onto the sensor.

The 1DSM3 does not have this problem.

This cannot be fixed in a firmware update.

It is the main reason I do not recommend ANYONE buy a 5DM2.

I thought camera-of-the-year was an absolute no-brainer: The Nikon D700!

"Camera of the Year"?

Kind of surprised to see that title.

Not because of your pick (though hmmm.......from your previous thoughts about this particular machine? A best _______ because there is a place for the middle, ... a "jack of all trades, master of none", so to speak?)

Rather just kind of surprised to see one, single digital camera body singled out like this, at least at this blog site. It is kind of a DPR/Pop Photo thing.

While each DSLR seems to be marketed to be all things to all potential users, the offerings are starting kind of fit into different niches.

How can there be "a" camera of the year?

RE the whole FF new bods (from someone not planning on getting any of them):

I still know how and why to use a tripod, and do not care about high ISO.

I want to shoot hand-held in low light, and can use my old wide nikkors.

I know why to use a tripod, but kind of like low noise at high ISO, already have an investment in Canon glass. And gee, video too!

Why so spendy, because we can!

I would agree with Player, I choose the D700 for camera of the year.

I'm historically a Canon guy. My current camera is a 40D.

BTW, I think the 50D is a big mistake, too. The 50D is noisier than the 40D, and marks the first time Canon released a replacement DSLR that is noisier than its predecessor.

Remind me never to fly in an aeroplane designed by MJ :)

Another vote for the Nikon D700! I've been jealous at Canon photographers the moment the 5D launched. I don't have this feeling at all when looking at the 5D. It's only about marketing for Canon, the feature set of the 5DMII.

BTW, a Volkswagen is *not* seen as an econocar in Europe. Especially not the GTI version (of which model??).

On this site:

Sony a900, crazy positive review. D700, print sales galore, you praise it as well. 5dMkII, less coverage than either of the previous cameras, in fact, hardly any coverage at all, save it's feature set, and now this.

It's the same with the panny G1, although there was a little more coverage there (ooh leica adapter).

You have pretty much advocated buying almost every system out there, including the M8, with your nostalgic coverage of leica products.

Favoritism is all well and good, and so is objectivity. But the everyman has to pick a system and stick with it. Gear porn makes the T.O.P. site a little less fun to read because, in the long run, less time is spent on the art of the craft, the photographers themselves and the pictures they take, which I find more important.

Quite frankly, none of the greats ever had the toys we have now... it's the golden age of photography, not the gilded age. Lets try and maintain some perspective, and consider vision as well as craft. Pictures from gear rather than pictures of gear.

Although I agree the gear is almost too fascinating to resist, where are all the great pictures shot from the 5dII? Where is the 5dII gallery that will make me weep, or get emotional with, that could have only been shot with the 5DII? Surely the camera of the year has one such group of images that could only have been shot with the camera of the year.

I agree it's evolution not revolution, but any camera now can take great pictures.

(God I secretly love the gear porn)

I agree with your choice completely. It's not the camera I purchased for many reasons, but it's a fairly significant advancement.

Sometimes I long for that resolution... And then I cough and slap myself and remember how comfortable my D700 feels. :)

It's actually pretty hard to go wrong this year. You can buy a camera that suits reasonably specific needs.

Now if camera designers would just remember that there are other types of cameras than SLRS! (Half a kudos to the G1, but I'm talking about a modern, affordable, rangefinder! I miss you, RD1.)

OK, the Canon 5DM2 might be your 'Camera of the Year' for 2008,
but now please tell us what is your choice for the **Best** Camera of 2008 ??

It's gotta be the Nikon D700 !! :-)

Mike Johnson wrote:
You won't hold a more comfortable camera, even if we think Canon should rethink a few of its ergonomics choices.

Surely that title should go to the Olympus E1!

Even the Olympus had a locking selector dial, why the hell I have to used tape on my brand new 5Dll selector dial I don't know.

Pity Nikon didn't make the 5Dll and the fast wide primes ;-)


2008 will disappear into the history books
in a few short days.

Hopefully the best of the camera models of 2008 will also disappear into the record books.

Methinks there must be one heck of a lot of
individuals with spare money, to be able
to afford any mid-range or top of the line
digital or film camera.

If your own economic world has died, one of the last expenditures on your list will
be a new camera, of some ilk.

For the rest of us minions, life continues
with or without imagery.

Happy???? New Year!


I have yet to handle either the Sony or the Canon so I suppose that I am not really in a position to judge. The reason I haven't tried them is that I cannot put down my D700. To my way of thinking it’s the perfect DSLR and I don’t really care about the others. Besides that, the low light capability of this camera is amazing. I'm naming it my top camera of the year. By the by, I do think (from what I have read) that the 5D Mark II is a seriously flawed piece of technology.



"Chuck Westfall got to you."

I don't believe I've spoken to Chuck in calendar 2008. I should contact him, to wish him and his family a Happy New Year.

Mike J.

"now please tell us what is your choice for the **Best** Camera of 2008 ??"

In a few days (well, I hope), I'll be publishing TOP's Winter Recommended Cameras list. That's the place to look for "best." At least best IMNSHO.

Mike J.

"You have pretty much advocated buying almost every system out there, including the M8"

That's not a particularly close reading of my M8 review. Actually what I said was "as a camera reviewer and magazine writer, I would never recommend that anyone...pay $4,800 for a digital camera," and I concluded that I (meaning me, personally) would not buy an M8 even if it cost $1,500. That's not a purchase recommendation, no matter how you slice and dice it.

Mike J.

But which one would you buy?

I doubt that the so called 'camera of the year 2008' is used to create the 'photo book of the year 2009'.

2009 in :
Blogging about photo(grapher)s

2009 out :
Blogging about boring photographic equipment.

"But which one would you buy?"

Please see the post "Sony vs. Nikon vs. Canon" (Dec. 17th) under the heading"My personal choice."

Mike J.

By "Camera of the Year". I believe you mean the most influential camera. To that end I would have nominated the Nikon D700 and the Sony A900 because they ended Canon's hegemony of DSLRs. These 2 cameras have not just provided competition but out-performed the Canon cameras in their price and class. They have forced Canon to become more innovative and less market-driven. But more importantly, they have given us choice. Unfortunately, 2009 may see some of the smaller DSLR producers disappear or merged.


Thank you for another full year of broad-ranging, enjoyable and amazingly thoughtful posts during 2008.

I especially enjoyed your year-end FF testing marathon, perhaps as much as you have. I've used Canon equipment for most of my imaging work for a good number of years, including more than three with a 5D. For this post today, our opinions differ.

Hoping for a healthy and prosperous 2009 for all!

Fair enough, I'm a sucker for top of the range, bleeding edge gear just like everyone else, although I usually don't succumb...however, when I look at photographs such as those by Fukase, whose "Solitude of the ravens" I have just spent a small fortune on in the 2008 reprint edition, and see the images that he produced from heavily cropped 35mm negatives, it does give me a sense of perspective. I sway between high resolution colour digital and analogue 35mm b/w processed in my kitchen sink. I will be heading back to the kitchen sink for the next few weeks or so at least and know that that is where my heart lies..

This reminds me a bit of the annual flap over the TIME magazine Person of the Year. Readers of that publication routinely get upset if the most-significant-person-of-the-year isn't a personal hero (sometimes villains have been picked), because those readers assume the honor should go to "Everybody's Favorite Person of the Year."

'Taint so. It's about significance, not mere charm. Even Americans who didn't vote for Barack Obama (this year's TIME Person of the Year) would have a hard time naming someone who had a greater impact in 2008.

I like the choice for COTY. To me, what Canon has done with the 5D series is akin to what Henry Ford did for putting Americans (much of the world, in fact) on the road almost a century ago. The Ford Model T was the first affordable car for millions of people - the first car they ever owned - just as the original Canon 5D was for an unprecedented number of photographers the first full-frame camera they ever owned. Then, after years of public begging, speculation, and anticipation (sound familiar?), the company followed up the popular original with the Model A, not quite as groundbreaking (what could be, after all?) but another enormous success, which was for millions their first car with real amenities... just as the Canon 5D II will be for many photographers their *first* video-capable SLR as well as the highest-resolution camera almost all of its buyers have ever owned.

(I'm guessing that both models - of Ford, I mean - had a few teething problems right after their introduction, but those issues diminished neither those products' popularity nor their significance in the minds of anyone except for some Chevy partisans. Sound familiar?)

One need not personally want to own the Camera of the Year to acknowledge its significance. Few can deny that thanks to its *relative* affordability, like its predecessor the 5D Mark II is an Everyman Camera (a "Volkskamera," to reference another famous "People's Car"). Both cameras - first the original and now the Mark II - have made affordable to countless photographers things that no SLR had before.

That sounds pretty significant to me.


For some reason, some people identify so strongly with their cameras that any criticism of the machine seems to be taken as a personal criticism. Whichever camera you picked as COTY you were immediately on a loser. I'm not brave enough to even think about picking a COTY on my blog so well done for doing so!


Film, like Stalin.


This *is* sort of a Pop Photo/Car & Driver concept, but, what the heck -- it's something to talk about. However, I think this is the first year since the beginning of the Digital Age when there wasn't a real "camera of the year," and that might have been the most notable thing about 2008 (other than the election of Barack Obama, which I think runs at least a close second.)

The big question of 2009 is where do Nikon, Canon, Sony, et al go from here? I would hope we'd see a miniaturized pro camera from one of the top companies, but I'm not holding my breath. For a while, until the next big break-through, it looks like refinement will be the name of the game.


The Canon 5D Mark II, come on, you can't be serious!

A "Camera of the year" must be somewhat innovative, and this one is not. OK, it does HD video. But how many serious photographers actually ==need== HD video on a still camera?

The runner-up Panasonic G1 is much more innovative. I would say it's a capital landmark in photographic equipment history. It's the first real digital camera with an interchangeable lens and the most accurate wiewfinder you could dream of. I mean, it's not a hastily updated version of your dad's SLR, like every other model on the market since the first digital camera. Through the lens reflex viewing was the most suitable solution for film cameras, but focusing on the actual electronic image that will be recorded is certainly more accurate on a digital camera. Why trying to implement cumbersome "live view" modes on DSLRs, when it's much easier to get rid of the mirror in the first place?

The Panasonic G1 can also be seen as an actualized version of a rangefinder camera, alias the type of camera Leica should have made years ago.

I guess we will now see dozens of EVIL cameras in the next few years, even in other formats than M43. Who will be the next manufacturer to draw its gun? My guess is Pentax with a Micro-PK mount. Let's hope there will be some affordable full frame 24x36 EVILs. And why not some slim medium format folders?

Being lighter in weight, cheaper to manufacture, quieter, easier to focus and much more versatile, EVIL cameras will eventually supplant DSLRs and rangefinders as the cameras of choice for advanced photographers.

But please, give me a break, not the Canon 5D Mark II!

The waiting list for the D5II is so long at B&H that they won't even allow "notify me when in stock" inquiries.

I was surprised to see you declare a "camera of the year", Mike. As you know I've been extremely impressed with my 5D Mark II, so I am not surprised to see it named.

But given the equally enthusiastic following that the Nikons have garnered, and the reviews indicating nearly equivalent imaging performance, I wonder if either a Nikon should have shared the billing or if any such billing should have been made at all.

Looking forward, however, I wonder if gear fetishism might mercifully abate in 2009. We're staring down the barrel of the toughest economic times most of s have ever seen. Even if times were better, however, what's left to deliver or desire in the 35mm-style dslr market? If someone can't capture a good image today they'd be well advised to take up writing, painting, or skydiving.

So let's raise our glasses to first toast the amazing wonders that Canon and Nikon have delivered to us. Then let's refill and toast again, this time to hail 2009 as the "Year of Photography" when we will finally see far more (as "yunfat" put it) "Pictures from gear rather than pictures of gear".

(Of course I know better. But it's a time of year to hope for the best.)

Am I the only one who noticed that this is YOUR BLOG and you get to pick whatever you want for whatever reason you choose? GEEZ That is why I read YOUR blog, for YOUR opinions.

Keep up the good work My D700 will be ordered shortly!


It's facinating to me that most of the negative posts above are from people who have never picked up the camera of choice. Have they picked up the others??


I can't even dream of affording any of these cameras, but I do enjoy reading these review comments from a "human interest" perspective. Time and time again the author goes outta his way to explicity enunciate the criteria and limitations used in his reviews, and time and time again, comments and criticisms are made as if he never made mention, or even considered...

"...simply can't focus"

Not true. Do not believe what dpreview forum hacks say without actually using the 5Dmk2...it focuses just fine. I never had a single problem in three weeks of use.

And "other MJ", you have made it clear you're very anti-Canon on this one...have you handled the 5Dmk2? Judging by your comments lately I suspect you've been drawn in by spec sheet comparisons and forum posts. I could be wrong about that, I suppose, but your negativity seems to have nothing to do with real-world photography. Just sayin'. Why else would you care so much?

Maybe it's not the best camera out there, but it's an amazing tool, and since I've actually used it I can say without hesitation that if your pictures look bad coming out of the 5Dmk2, it's on you.

A very solid and well reasoned choice, Mike.
As your site has made clear, the market is coming up with an increasingly rich proliferation of insanely capable, fully realized DSLRs.
As you've also noted, choosing between the offerings of certain companies makes people who root for certain other companies crazy.
There's more than a little bit of craziness involved in this passion.
The recent offerings from Nikon and Sony are fantastic. So is the 5D Mk II, and I know that from having worked seriously with it for the last three weeks, watching it eat the dark (to reprise your lovely phrase about the D700), and marveling over the large prints I've been making with it.
I am a Leica M8 owner, among many other cameras, and I spent much of the last two years traveling around China and Africa with pros who use the 5D.
I could make the argument that the M8 held its own with the 5D, even if there were times when I wished I had the Canon on board.
I resisted the purchase, waiting for the replacement that never seemed to arrive.
It has arrived, and there a very few remaining arguments for the M8. (Small size for street use and travel, and the great glass are two good arguments, but ones that have pretty good answers.)
The 5D MkII blows the M8 out of the water in overall IQ, and I've been using adapters with great success for vintage Olympus Zuiko and Pentax lenses that keep the overall size down and add character to the finished image.
Nothing against Canon lenses. I own and enjoy some of them, too.
I'm taking a long overland trip in Africa in March, and already licking my chops about using the Mk II. I'll leave the M8 at home, and carry a film body, either a Hexar RF or my Rolleiflex as a second option.

Howard French


I really think the Sony A900 or Nikon D700 deserved the top honor, and I think 2nd place should have gone to the Pentax K20D - which represents the best APS-C sensor available right now. The K20D can make you see colors outside of the visible spectrum. You don't need drugs, you need the K20D! :)

Let's see, between them Canon and Nikon have about a 90% share of the DSLR market. That means you can't win Mike. The 45% who own Nikon and the other 10% aren't happy that you chose a Canon camera instead of their brand. So in any case the most people that you could make happy with your choice tops out at 45%, That's only if you made all of the Canon owners happy, and that's not likely either!

If the main criteria for COTY is "significance", I feel the Canon 5DII is far from the best choice for the honor. In fact, I think the Panasonic G1 will prove to be the most significant, in terms of impact on the market, of any 2008 release.

The A700 and D700 each will have more impact that the 5DII as they expand the "35mmFF sensor" arena into a truely competitive one instead of a niche supported by one major manfacturer. The 5DII, as good as it may be, is merely an evolutionary catch-up step to keep parity in the expanding arena, hardly significant otherwise.

Perhaps some of those questioning your COTY choice aren't taking an objective point of view.
The buzz being generated by the 5D MK II in the video and stills world is far noisier than Nikon or Sony. The Canon is widely considered a game-changer and a milestone in product in photography and videography. This is why it is back-ordered worldwide.
All the D700 did was put the extremely good image quality of the D3 into a smaller package.

Mike, you must have really struggled with this choice, given the unavoidable feedback that you would expect, most of it based on either brand-loyalty or brand-hate.

Yes, the Canon 5DMk2 is the 'Camera of the Year', but only in the 'more than you really need' category. Maybe there should be more than one category?

In the 5DMk2 we have an SLR for less than $3000 that vastly outperforms Medium Format backs of 3 years ago that cost over $20,000. It has low light capabilities that were literally undreamed of in the days of film (ANY film). It produces marvelous video (albeit with limited exposure control) if you need it. All in all a good evolution over the 'plain' 5D, yet unless you need the low light and huge files, not a necessary upgrade. It has it's flaws, but nothing that even remotely compares to the far less capable Leica M8 and it's flawed IR response.

Finally, FWIW, no self-respecting photographer should be visiting a DPReview forum, except for laughs. The 'black dot' hysteria is about something that can possibly, maybe be seen on photos taken under very special circumstances and printed at a minimum of 7 feet wide. Do any of those people ever use their cameras for anything besides testing their cameras?

First of all, thanks for everything you do for this community through your blog. May you have a great 2009!

As the owner of a vintage 2002 Canon 1Ds (still in use), I have skipped every Canon FF upgrade camera until this one. I have much Canon glass that does a good job for me. I can't wait to get my new 5DM2. COTY or not, I was going to buy one! I'll use it to create my own photo book of the year in 2009. (I'm keeping the 1Ds as well.)

Interesting post Mike with equally interesting responses.

In a few weeks time the new academic year starts in Australia and I'll be faced with a whole gaggle of new photographic students asking me what camera they should buy or is their camera good enough. Every year I go through the same old hackneyed routine of the camera is just a tool and as long as it meets the course minimum requirements (SLR with interchangeable lenses) and they are comfortable with it then its fine. Every year I listen to howls of protest

I get to play with an enormous selection of camera equipment courtessy of the college equipment store. 10x8, 5x4, panoramic, pinhole, 35 mm slrs from Canon, Pentax, and Nikon at just about every price point, and DSLRs from Nikon (D40 to D300, not sure the budget runs to D700 at the moment). Then there is my own personal kit. When I want to take photos I usually pick up the camera that is the most neutral, ie it does not impose its will on me (unless I have a very specific reason that means I must choose a certain camera over another). So it is with this viewpoint that I read this post, and I agree that the Canon 5D was a brilliant camera in that it did everything well without any quirks getting in the way of taking photos. I have not had chance to use the Mkii yet, they are like hens teeth round here at the moment, but I can't imagine that Canon has deviated from the values of the original.

I think we are living in a great time. DSLRs have come of age and there are some remarkable cameras on the market today and consequently we are truly spoilt for choice. The problem is our perception. When told camera x is camera of the year we look at it from the point of if there is a winner the others must be losers. Our tribal instinct is such that we identify with our brand and so if our brand is one of the "losers" then we take that as a personal slight.

I know why blogs and magazines have TOP WHATEVER LISTS, but really, the results are meaningless. It's no different than asking which is "better," a Contax RX, Nikon F100, or Canon EOS3.

There is no single, valid answer. No camera can be 'perfect.' None has every desirable feature and no flaws or compromises. All of them are good enough to do whatever you need to do.

I just got my 5DMkII today. While i wasn't worried, because i didn't have any AF issues with the 5DMkI, i am especially surprised at all of the complaints about the new camera's AF or Canon's failure to improve the AF. It focuses where i want it to, as fast as i want it to. I don't use automatic AF point selection. I choose a single point with the joystick. I use all of the points, as necessary. Even in low light - lower than i would ever hope to shoot a picture - the AF was quick and sure. I just don't get it. I don't, however, use Servo focus. I don't track running dogs. Maybe that's where people are having problems? Tracking illicit nighttime dog races?

Essentially, the 5DMkII is a 1DsMkIII imager in a 5D body. For $2700. That's phenomenal already. Then, they added video, and for someone with skills, the video capability is astounding. And, it's FREE. People complain about it, though.

Essentially, lists are cute if your camera is named. Lists are silly if your camera is ignored. I'm beginning to feel stupid for even replying to this. The same kind of stupid i would feel if i watched an episode of TMZ or American Idol....

"There is no single, valid answer. No camera can be 'perfect.' None has every desirable feature and no flaws or compromises. All of them are good enough to do whatever you need to do....[snip] [snip snip snip snip snip]"

Aw, you're no fun.

Mike J.

Not an unreasonable choice, but perhaps an unexpected choice. However, not only have you actually shot with this year's high-roller cameras, you have a perspective that includes ample shooting and commenting upon film cameras of yore.

Besides, this blog is all about discovering the unexpected. So were I in the position to be buying a new full-frame marvel, and leaning toward Sony or Nikon, this laurel you have bestowed upon the new Canon would give me pause.

Assuming Canon adequately addresses the image-quality quirks of the 5D MkII, it may well reign as proudly as the original 5D, which has put bread on the table of many pros since its introduction in 2005.

I'm also guessing (with a few others) that this would not be the full-framer you would buy for yourself...

The camera of the year is whatever is in your hand when you spot that great photo right in front of you.

About D700:
Nikon took the Canon 5D and spent 3 freakin' years tweaking it to make it better. And you want glory for THAT?

About A900:
We'll revisit this one when the lens line-up matches that of pro-level requirements with T/S and a couple of great Macros. Until then, it's a better camera than D700.

About Canon 5DMkII:
It's better. Oh, yes, it is.

I like the introduction you gave to this article Mike - the corollary is that you can make something the "best of" anything if you move the criteria around!

It's a shame that your camera of the year has only been available in the shops for a fraction of 2008 time - in some cases, no availability until 2009.

In terms of significant “game changers” from 2008 there are in fact two – at the low end we have the new Panasonic camera that can shoot M-mount lenses and at the high end there is the Leica S-series uber-camera thing. You folks forgot about that one already didn’t you?

Quite simply, the Leica S2 series is the Camera of the Year. It is the awakening of a sleeping giant. It is the shot fired across the bow of an industry that least expected it. It is the camera system that Canon could have made if they cared. And it is a Camera of the Year for more people than just those who already own the brand.

"You folks forgot about that one already didn’t you?"

B Grace,
Nope, we didn't. Doesn't count while it's still vaporware. Has to have shipped and be in buyers' hands to count. Check back next year about this time.

Mike J.

Most of the people dissing the 5DMKII either don't own one and are simply feeding off really badly exposed and overprocessed examples (usually at 400%) others have posted or they're fanboys of other cameras just trying to stir the pot. Amazingly, there have been dozens of posts showing that these so-called "flaws" can be avoided by someone who knows what they're doing. It is a lot like a bad cook blaming the pots and pans. This happens EVERY time a new camera comes out. The "pixel-peepers" pile-on to the tiniest perceived piece of evidence of anything less-than-perfect. Eventually the trolls leave as real photographers start posting great photographs. I've only had my 5DMKII for a few weeks, but I can assure you, the quality in the images is astounding - if you know how to technically and artistically make a photograph.

I don't much care about Mike's pick for COTY -- but his discussion of the process (and criteria) of picking was interesting. And a few of the responses have been interesting, too. So I guess that makes the thing a success, from my very selfish point of view.

It's difficult sometimes to distinguish between personal choices and choices others make. Whether the 5D2 is right for any of us individually, the specs and waiting lists for delivery indicate it is significant and worthy of attention. The opinion of the masses does not necessarily mean anything to me, but it is worth noting.

As Mike noted previously, the middle ground the 5D2 occupies makes it difficult to avoid discussing or acknowledging in any camera comparison.

Whether it "deserves" to be COTY is of course arguable. Arguing about Mike's choice of it as COTY is silly, as we are all entitled to our opinions, and he appears to be more informed than most. Make your own choice for COTY, communicate it to yourself (or others), and then be happy.

At any rate, gotta love the end of year excitement being generated here and elsewhere on all the top cameras. Good reading!

How about a "Blogger With the Biggest Stones" Award? My nomination: Mike Johnston. Choosing a book of the year? No big deal. Choosing ONE make and model of camera as THE camera of the year - that's really stepping barefoot into a minefield!

Most Camera of the Year awards are chosen by a staff of writers or reviewers. That way, when the unavoidable static comes back from the myriad of "experts" who disagree with the choice, the blame and criticism can be spread around. But not our Mike! He dives into the project solo, knowing that no matter which camera he chooses, he alone will be "wrong". He alone will be accused of faulty logic, hypocrisy, inconsistency, overlooking this or that feature, etc., etc. Of course the readers of TOP are usually polite to Mike in their disagreement, but if you read between the lines . . .

So, my hat's off to you, Mike, for having the grit to name a camera of the year by yourself. Have a great 2009!

Interesting comments here! I have no worries about Mike selecting the 5DMII as the camera of the year for the purposes he set out to review, and the features noted, as well as the general feel that for him and his review were important. The 5DMII seems like a capable piece of equipment, even if it has technical difficulties (what camera doesn't eh?). I loved Mike's time with that D700, and truly enjoyed reading his thoughts about the Sony. I've gotten far savvier about full frame SLRs just reading here, and am grateful for the wonderful site. That being said, I prefer the posts on vision, craft, and working in (and on) photograpy. Oh, and I did enjoy playing with the D700. Add a few tidbits and my photojournalistic/documentary mind would leap this year (emotionally I already want it). : )

Thank you Mike.

Mcomfort said:
"The K20D can make you see colors outside of the visible spectrum."


and... I guess I need to start my own blog so "I" can pick a coty or a top ten or whatever.But for now, I'll just enjoy this one.


Man I love this site. Actual opinions, and a logical rationale behind them. Refreshing.

I'm a Canon guy by virtue of previous investment and there's just no way to change that now. But I shoot with an XTI, a G10, a 1DMk11, a 5D (since the first week it came out) and for the last 3 weeks, a 5DMkII. The naysayers just are wrong. It is a 5D on steroids, it focuses like a champ (on the center point at least, which is my habit) and it is clearly better in low light--like churches and reception halls. It is the right tool for me and personally, I think your reasoning was sound. Oh, and I haven't found a black dot yet.

I don't know how I'm going to sleep at night knowing I don't have The Camera of the Year. I'll take comfort in knowing that I made the most unnecessary camera purchase of 2008 in the 1ds mark lll. It was that or a black leather jacket and motorcycle

Now how about a topic/post of the year, Mike?

So the "camera of the year" draws over 60 responses, while the "books of the year" get about 15. I guess this proves greater interest in the (digital) gear.

I still feel there's a disconnect between the two categories, because digital gear was not used to produce the work in the best books list (although this is perfectly understandable in the older work of Levitt and Abell). And while I accept that good work can be made by any camera (as pointed out on forums ad nauseum), it's still not easy to find great books made with these newfangled DSLRs. My own contenders might be "Son of a BIT" by Uchihara Yasuhiko (with Nikon D200) and "The Places We Live" by Jonas Bendiksen (with Canon 5D). However, I say "might" because I find the former's pictures a bit hit-and-miss, and I don't like Bendiksen's book nearly as much as his previous "Satellites" (shot with film). Are there any others out there?

Perhaps Rob Hornstra (a well-deserved TOP book nominee) was right when he said:

"Not that there’s anything wrong with digital photography, but I can still see the difference myself. Real photographs are just softer. A lot of people claim that the difference isn’t visible to the naked eye any more. But I always see it."

I never cared about Nikon/Canon battles but every time I pick up a Canon dslr I find it mind-numbingly complex where the Nikon just works. Beyond that, Nikon really should be commended for the D700 because they choose to forgo a higher pixel count in favor of opening up a new world of handheld photography by giving us 2-3 extra stops of useful sensitivity.

But how about a cold hard turd for the braindead camera companies who don't get it that we want decent compact, fast prime lenses and would it really be such a bother for them to drop a few left over APS sensors into a compact rangefinder-ish body?

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