TIPA Awards 2011
BEST DSLR ENTRY LEVEL: Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i / Kiss X5
The EOS 600D continues the legacy of easy operation and high functionality. TIPA members were very impressed with the features such as the 18.0 Megapixel CMOS image sensor, full HD video recording, Live View shooting, Wireless flash photography and a Vari-angle 3-inch LCD monitor. Offering 3.7 frames-per-second shooting rate, a top 1/4000 second shutter speed and up to 6400 ISO sensitivity (plus 12,800 H), the camera allows for the full DSLR experience with ease of operation that makes for a great first camera for those seeking to 'step up' from compact cameras.
BEST DSLR ADVANCED: Nikon D7000
The Nikon D7000 impressed us as the definition of a state-of-the-art DX-format DSLR (APS-C size) with a 16.2 MP CMOS sensor, six frames-per-second framing rate for up to 100 shots and full 1080p HD movies with full-time AF. With twin SD card slots, a 100% viewfinder and bright 3-inch LCD for Live View operation, the camera is extremely versatile in the field. The magnesium alloy top and rear covers, special weather and dust seals plus 150,000 cycle-rated shutter system give it a pro feel.
BEST DSLR EXPERT: Olympus E-5
For a very reasonable price, the Olympus E-5 provides benefits that rival those found in some professional SLRs: complete weather-sealing, comprehensive functions, excellent responsiveness, 100% viewfinder, good noise control, dual CF/SD slots, built-in image stabilisation, all in a rugged magnesium-alloy body. Add to this Olympus' Dust Reduction System, which has proven to be among the most effective solutions in the market. The 12.3 Megapixel Live MOS sensor, combined with the 'TruePic V+' image engine produces images that rival competitors with substantially higher pixel counts.
BEST DSLR PROFESSIONAL: PENTAX 645D
TIPA members appreciated the design, build and feature specs of this 40 Megapixel medium format digital camera. The magnesium alloy body is fully weather-sealed, making it a great choice for outdoor and location photographers, plus the all-glass trapezoid pentaprism finder makes for a dazzling capture experience. Perhaps most impressive is lens compatibility, which encompasses both the new D FA autofocus lenses as well as older 645 lenses.
BEST COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERA ENTRY LEVEL: Samsung NX100
The Samsung NX100’s new body design drastically revises the 'DSLR look-alike' concept found in other compact interchangeable lens cameras, and is a bold step from the company’s previous NX10/11 designs. This brings it into direct competition with other Compact System Cameras. Impressive features include a vivid 3-inch AMOLED screen, an APS-C size sensor and a line of high-tech iFunction lenses. This promising new series of optics blazes new viewing and camera control paths by allowing the user to program numerous functions right from the lens.
BEST COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERA EXPERT: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 is a true 'hybrid' photo and video camera, where video is no longer just an additional function. The DMC-GH2 features full HD 1920x1080, 60i (NTSC) / 50i (PAL) smooth, high quality video recording with 60p (NTSC) / 50p (PAL) output in addition to the high quality photo, a world's first for cameras in this category. The DMC-GH2 can be operated through an intuitive touch control screen. For example, just tapping a subject on the screen will make the camera focus with a speed that rivals the best DSLR's on the market.
BEST GENERAL COMPACT CAMERA: Nikon COOLPIX P300
The Nikon COOLPIX P300 is a stylish compact camera with a remarkably powerful f/1.8 lens, starting at 24mm (35mm equivalent) with 4.2x optical zoom. High Refraction Index glass further ensures sharp images with high contrast. Combined with its powerful 12.2 Megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, this camera gives excellent image quality even in dim lighting conditions. The P300 can film in Full HD (1080p), but also in slow motion with a recording speed of up to 120fps.
BEST EXPERT COMPACT CAMERA: Olympus XZ-1
The Olympus XZ-1 has one of the fastest zoom lenses in its class, the iZuiko f1.8-2.5 6.0-24mm (28-112mm equivalent angle of view in 35mm cameras.) Rather than succumb to the continuing Megapixel race, the light-reception area of each pixel of the 1/1.63-inch, 10 Megapixel CCD has been doubled. The XZ-1’s AF illuminator, Dual Image Stabilisation, Low-Light mode that automatically adjusts the ISO sensitivity up to ISO 3200 and the compact size all add up to an exciting “candid” camera that also offers advanced manual controls.
BEST SUPERZOOM CAMERA: Canon PowerShot SX230 HS
The Canon PowerShot SX230 HS features a 12.1-Megapixel HS System with high-sensitivity CMOS sensor, and a 14x optical zoom (28-392mm equivalent) with optical image stabilisation. A 3-inch LCD screen, with 100% frame coverage, makes for easy viewing and menu control. TIPA members were impressed with features such as Full HD 1080p video with Dynamic Image Stabilizer, a new GPS function (including supplied Map Utility software) and a high-sensitivity CMOS sensor coupled with Canon’s DIGIC 4 processor that reduces noise levels even at the higher ranges (up to ISO 3200).
BEST RUGGED COMPACT CAMERA: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 / DMC-FT3
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3/FT3 is waterproof to a depth of 12m and dust-proof equivalent to the IPX8 and IP6X standard. It has an integrated GPS function, ideal for photographers who want to shoot in the great outdoors and record their exact position during that shoot. The camera has a built-in compass, altimeter and barometer to show and record altitude, barometric pressure and orientation data. The barometer also works as indicator for depth underwater. Thanks to its location awareness, the internal clock of the camera is automatically adjusted to the local time.
BEST DIGITAL BACK: Phase One IQ series
The Phase One IQ180, IQ160 and IQ140 digital camera backs feature maximum resolutions of 80, 60.5 and 40 high quality Megapixels, respectively; the IQ180 and IQ160 both capture in full-frame 645 format. Befitting a medium format camera, the IQ System has a brilliant 3.2-inch, 1.15 Megapixel high resolution display with touch screen operation to zoom, pan and browse images and an extreme viewing angle of 170 degrees. In addition, the IQ series backs are the first digital backs to feature a USB3 connection and a FireWire 800 connection, for very fast tethered capture speeds.
BEST PREMIUM CAMERA: Fujifilm FinePix X100
Fujifilm's FinePix X100 offers unrivalled image quality for a compact camera, thanks to its APS-C format CMOS sensor and Fujinon 23mm f/2.0 lens. The Hybrid Viewfinder uniquely combines the 'bright frame' window-type optical viewfinder found in high-end film cameras, and the electronic viewfinder system of fixed single lens or digital compact system cameras, offering the user 'the best of both worlds’. Added to the package is a newly-developed EXR Processor, which combines all the latest Fujifilm image processing technology.
BEST ENTRY LEVEL LENS: Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD
This premium, state-of-the-art, telephoto zoom lens provides users of full-frame and APS-C format digital SLR cameras with a myriad of features that make it stand out in the telephoto zoom class. Built to exacting SP (Super Performance) standards, it features the first-ever Tamron USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) for enhanced auto-focusing speed and responsiveness. To assist in handheld, low light shooting the SP 70-300mm incorporates VC (Vibration Compensation); Tamron's exclusive low-friction tri-axial image stabilisation system.
BEST EXPERT LENS: Sigma APO 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM
This bright, high quality telephoto zoom lens contains 22 elements (including 3 SLD and 2 FLD glass elements) in 17 groups. This lens covers 24x36mm “full-frame” sensors and has an optical image stabilisation system (OS) that compensates approximately four stops. Its HSM function assures smooth and silent auto focusing. Chromatic aberration is reduced to a minimum and sharpness is at a very high level over the entire focal length range.
BEST PROFESSIONAL LENS: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
The new Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM improves the autofocus speed, the optical image stabilisation and the optical quality of its legendary predecessor, which is no easy feat. The EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM has an increased optical quality and features reduced chromatic aberration thanks to one fluorite and five UD lens elements. The newly developed optical image stabilisation now provides up to 4 stops of correction at all focal lengths. What remained was a rugged, dust-proof and moisture resistant design, for use under the most extreme shooting conditions.
BEST EXPERT PHOTO PRINTER: Epson Stylus Photo R3000
This 13-inch wide printer seems designed for the enthusiast photographer who wants to make prints to show and share. The unit features high-capacity cartridges, networking and wireless connectivity, plus what Epson dubs Advanced Media Handling, which in practice means ease and convenience for the printmaker. We were very impressed by the black and white output of this unit as well, something not common to this class of printers and something many photo enthusiasts desire.
BEST MULTIFUNCTION PHOTO PRINTER: Canon PIXMA MG8150
The Canon PIXMA MG8150 offers advanced printing technology in a beautiful black box design. With the new Intelligent Touch System and direct Flickr® access from the Canon Easy-PhotoPrint EX software, making photo prints from a variety of sources has been made easier for all levels of photographers. The new Full HD Movie Print Function allows users to print their favourite moments from full HD movies, an exciting feature that fits right in with camera trends.
BEST LARGE FORMAT PRINTER: Epson Stylus Pro 4900
The 4900 impressed us as a unit that has wide appeal to serious fine art, studio and commercial photographers with controls that allow even those without print shop experience to get the most from it. This versatile wide format 17-inch sheet and roll printer features an external rotary cutter and an LCD panel for ink, paper and printer maintenance and test controls. Eleven UltraChrome HDR 200ml pigment ink cartridges deliver an extremely wide colour gamut, with prints that, under proper storage conditions and on the proper substrate, are claimed to last 200 years.
BEST FINE ART INKJET PAPER: HARMAN by Hahnemühle series
HARMAN Professional Inkjet by Hahnemühle offers a wide range of impressive archival papers in baryta, cotton base and canvas finishes in both warm and cold tone varieties. The photographer can choose whatever paper fits their visual tastes and needs. TIPA members were impressed by the papers themselves, as well as their appeal to traditional darkroom printmakers in that they have all the most laudable characteristics of the best silver papers of the past now available for inkjet printmakers.
BEST PHOTO PROJECTOR: Mitsubishi HC9000D
Mitsubishi brings the 3D experience to home theatres with its Diamond HC9000D 1080p full HD home theatre projector. The projector has a 120Hz refresh rate for ultra-smooth transitions and very natural images, while a comprehensive management function allows individual adjustment of each colour characteristic without affecting the other colours. Mitsubishi also has incorporated extra-low dispersion glass to minimise chromatic aberration. The HC9000 is not only an excellent projector for those wanting 3D projection but an even better 2D projector.
BEST PHOTO SOFTWARE: Nik Software Complete Collection
Photoshop plug-ins take away some of the most labour-intensive photo manipulations and replace them with an easier to use “script”, or presets. Nik plug-ins go one step further and provide the user with a unique 'U-Point' technology, allowing for customisation of individual image parameters. And all presets can be further customised to each photographer’s taste. We especially note the company’s recent development of unique HDR and black and white conversion software packages.
BEST PHOTO SCANNER: Epson Perfection V330 Photo
The Epson Perfection V330 Photo scanner features an impressive 4800 x 9600 dpi optical resolution, four customisable buttons for easy one-touch operation, a built-in transparency unit for scanning film, and a 180-degree lid for scanning oversized objects. The scanner uses ReadyScan LED Technology for faster scan speeds, no warm-up time and lower power consumption. Epson's Easy Photo Fix Technology allows the user to restore colour in faded photographs and remove the effects of dust on scanned film. It also reduces the visibility of film grain.
BEST ACCESSORY: Kodak PULSE Digital Frame W1030S
Kodak's PULSE Digital Frame allows users to receive photos wirelessly via Email through a WiFi connection, even from mobile phones and Facebook. The Quick Comment button makes it possible to communicate back to picture senders directly from the display, with short colloquial phrases. To save energy, the PULSE contains a built-in activity sensor that automatically turns the frame on when someone is nearby and off when nobody is around.
BEST TRIPOD: Vanguard Auctus Plus 323CT
Members of TIPA were struck by the versatility of the Vanguard Auctus Plus tripod, which makes it equally suitable for both studio and outdoor use. It incorporates a dual-function wheel gear that adjusts central column height securely while supporting heavy gear; solid, sealed leg locks; All-terrain Feet that convert from anti-rust spikes to angled, textured rubber; and legs that adjust to 25, 50 and 80-degree angles for use on uneven terrain and for low-angle photography. The package even includes 'bonus' snowshoes.
BEST IMAGING STORAGE MEDIA: Panasonic "Gold Pro" SDHC UHS-I Memory Card
With read and write speeds of up to 95MB/s and 80MB/s, the Panasonic “GOLD PRO” SDHC UHS-I cards are ideal for high-speed consecutive shooting in HD quality with digital SLR cameras. A Super Intelligent Controller (SICS) provides Power Failure Protection to protect data from sudden power failure, while Smart Data Writing minimises defect risk caused by intensive writing. They are also equipped with “Proof 5” protection (water-, shock-, magnet-, X-ray-, temperature-proof) to withstand severe conditions.
BEST ENTRY LEVEL CAMCORDER: Samsung HMX-Q10
The Samsung HMX-Q10 is the world's first camcorder with the unique Switch Grip (either-handed grip). Now, left-handed film makers can enjoy the same ease-of-use as right-handed people! Responding to the grip position, the magnetic sensor inside the HMX-Q10 recognises the angle and turns the LCD display for easy viewing. Users can easily control functions via the LCD screen. The HMX-Q10 captures video in 1920x1080/60i full HD, and includes advanced optical image stabilisation to compensate for camera shake even if the user is walking while shooting.
BEST EXPERT CAMCORDER: Sony Handycam NEX-VG10
This camcorder could be considered the perfect “convergence” imaging system, equally serving the still photo and video worlds. The novel NEX-VG10 uses most of the electronics of Sony NEX-5 CSC, the same Exmor HD CMOS APS-C size sensor and the same E-mount for interchangeable lenses. However, its architecture and layout clearly favours video with a very remarkable performance thanks to 24Mbps codec AVCHD.
BEST POCKET CAMCORDER: JVC PICSIO GC-WP10
The increased popularity of this new category of imaging devices made choosing among the list of candidates difficult, but the PICSIO emerged as our choice because of its efficient combination of waterproof, rugged body and Full HD 1080p video, supporting both MPEG-4 and H.264 formats. Besides being an able pocketcam, it doubles as a 5MP still camera. The touch control 3-inch display also impressed TIPA members.
BEST RETAIL FINISHING SYSTEM: Fujifilm Frontier DL 600
Fujifilm's Frontier DL 600 “dry” minilab was developed in response to the growing demand from small and medium sized photo shops for a versatile and inkjet-based printing production unit. The DL 600 features a 720 dpi mode for regular printing and a 1440 dpi high quality print mode, and is equipped with a new ink head developed to handle five different coloured inks. Fujifilm’s proprietary Intelligence Image processing technology ensures high quality prints in paper sizes up to 12 inches.
BEST PHOTO KIOSK: Mitsubishi Gift Kiosk
Expanding image “uses” by consumers has always been a goal of the industry and retailers. Packaging a kiosk as a gifting idea centre both makes use of the versatility of digital images and aids consumers in creating unique items from those images. This self-service kiosk offers availability to all popular print sizes, index prints, calendars, greeting cards, CD/DVD burning, albums, photo-boxes and more.
BEST PROFESSIONAL FLASH SYSTEM: broncolor Senso series
The broncolor Senso series combines easily controllable flash power and compact size. The Senso power pack is available in two power versions, offering 13 to 1200 or 26 to 2400 joules (Ws) flash energy for up to three lamps in two channels. Appealing and practical features include constant colour temperature over three f-stops and a built-in radio receiver. Jointly developed for the Senso power packs, the Litos flash head offers flexible handling with a protective cap that can quickly be converted into an umbrella or standard reflector.
BEST PHOTO BAG: Vanguard Skyborne series
The ergonomic Vanguard Skyborne backpacks provide generous space for cameras and lenses and numerous pockets for small accessories. Its cleverly designed bottom and top access points enable the user to go from travelling to shooting mode in just a few seconds, without having to remove the backpack from ones body. The shoulder straps are angled at the base to rest on the shoulders more comfortably, making it a backpack to use for prolonged time. Its advanced design with air-infused cushioning in key areas results in reliable gear protection, and its ergonomic harness system with easy-adjust shoulder straps provide a very comfortable bag.
BEST ENTRY LEVEL PHOTO MONITOR: LG IPS236 / IPS231
High colour accuracy is important to amateur and enthusiast photographers so they can fully appreciate the quality potential in their images. The 23-inch LG IPS monitor series offer excellent image quality at an affordable price point. Compared to conventional technology, IPS panels show a precise colour rendering and allow a better colour impression, independent from the viewing angle. The aspect ratio of 16:9 and 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution match Full HD image specifications.
BEST EXPERT PHOTO MONITOR: NEC SpectraView Reference 271
Professional monitors are key to end result image quality, and TIPA members were very impressed with the NEC SpectraView Reference 271, a 27-inch wide-format LCD. Calibration functionality is enhanced by a state of the art P-IPS Panel with 10-bit performance that can reproduce 1.07 billion colours and 97% usable Adobe RGB colour space. Featuring 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution, professional functionality is enhanced by 3D LUT (look-up table) for separate colour space emulations, a 14-bit LUT to achieve accurate colour calibration via gamma correction and the NEC L*ab 'Profiler' software to create the 16-bit ICC profile.
BEST PHOTO TV DISPLAY: LG Infinia PZ950 series
3D has become a more and more important feature for home cinema enthusiasts as well as for 3D content created by photographers adopting capable still cameras and camcorders. The LG PZ950 uses improved Plasma display technology, achieving a remarkably high standard when displaying 2D and 3D movies and photos. Its picture enhancing technologies result in a very accurate colour rendition. The LG PZ950 is also certified as a THX 3D Certified Display. It uses active shutter technology and features the conversion of 2D into 3D content. With the enhanced TruBlack filter it shows brilliant pictures even in brightly lit conditions.
BEST PHOTO SERVICE: Fujifilm 3D Print service
3D photo and video may be a growing trend, but being limited to viewing photos only on a 3D television at home may cramp its potential. With the introduction of the 3D Print System, Fujifilm revives a process and blazes new ground as it brings 3D printing into the digital age. TIPA members salute the engineering and end result of Fujifilm's thermal sublimation printing system that transfers images directly onto lenticular sheets to create a 3D effect.
BEST DSLR VIDEO ACCESSORY: Redrock nano DSLR rigs
With the heightened interest in video for DSLR cameras, TIPA members recognise that the 'cost of entry' can be difficult for some photographers. This made the Redrock nano DSLR rigs and accessories particularly deserving of attention as the products are designed for low-cost, entry level photojournalism/documentary and even casual family users. TIPA notes that the nano rigs are manufactured to professional standards and can be easily upgraded to more advanced rigs as needed.
BEST FILM: Kodak Professional PORTRA 160
Kodak PORTRA 160 is evidence that the emulsion-builders’ art is not lost and indeed continues to be refined and perfected. The colour negative film features a significantly finer grain structure for improved scanning and enlargement capability in today’s workflow. PORTRA 160 delivers exceptionally smooth and natural skin tone reproduction, and because of its superior 'scanability' it is an excellent choice for portrait, fashion and commercial photography as well.
BEST IMAGING INNOVATION: Sony SLT, Translucent Mirror Technology
Sony has developed translucent mirror technology for a new level of functionality. The advantages of a translucent, fixed mirror technology are evident in the form of real time, phase detect autofocus (also available in Movie Mode) and much increased burst mode speed. By means of SLT design bodies can also be made smaller, thus reducing weight and size without sacrificing functionality and advanced technology benefits.
BEST DESIGN: CASIO EXILIM TRYX EX-TR100
The TIPA Design Award goes to innovative products that combine form and function in new and unique ways, and that is why we choose CASIO EXILIM TRYX EX-TR100. Offering 'freestyle' shooting, the Casio can be used equally well by right and left-handed photographers and can be oriented any which way. The 21mm wide angle lens encourages new ways of seeing, while the touchscreen controls offer simplified operation. The TRYX can capture video at Full HD (1280p) or stills with a 12 Megapixel high-sensitivity CMOS sensor, and includes HDMI output for those who want to share on their home TV set.
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