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Insights & Thoughts

Best and Worst Gear of 2013

By Anthony Thurston on December 24th 2013

While 2013 has seen some awesome gear released, at the same time there has been some pretty big duds. Now that the year is pretty much over, I think it would be a great time to look back at some of the bright spots and some of the dark spots of the year.

We will be doing a whole vote on the subject for you guys later this week, but today I just wanted to share my opinion on the best and worst gear of 2013.

Best of 2013

The year 2013 has had a ton of great gear released so naming the top gear is a lot harder than it sounds. As always I can only base my opinions on my personal experiences, so you may not agree with me (and that is perfectly ok). So here we go…

      – Best Lens of 2013 – Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8

sigma-18-35-f1.8-review

This revolutionary lens is the fastest zoom lens ever made for mainstream DSLRS (yeah I know Olympus made a few back in the day). Unfortunately, it is only available for crop sensor cameras. It is sharp throughout the range, and is incredibly cheap given what you are getting at only $799.

      – Best Camera of 2013 – Sony A7/A7r

Sony A7R

Again, another revolutionary device is what takes the cake in my opinion. The Sony A7/A7r series finally brought a full frame sensor to the mirrorless market, and not only did they do it, they did it well (for the most part). It has its quirks, no doubt, but those can be fixed. This may very well be the future of photography.

      – Best Tripod of 2013 – MeFoto

Youtube picture

I love the MeFoto tripods, not only are these some of the sturdiest “photography tripods” that I have used they are some of the nicest to look at! Coming in many different colors you can get one that fits your taste in addition to one that fits your needs. From the small travel sized to the larger sized, these MeFoto tripods are a great buy all around.

       – Best Trigger of 2013 – PocketWizard Plus X

pocketwizard_plusx

This one was tough for me as I am a huge fan of many budget triggers from brands like Yongnuo. When it comes down to it though, you can’t deny that the Plus X triggers from PocketWizard are a great addition to the trigger market. They are cheap, well built, and have that Pocketwizard reliability.

Worst of 2013

Luckily, the ratio of good gear to bad gear released in 2013 is pretty heavily favoring the good gear, but as they say, there is always a bad apple here and there. I didn’t want to limit the worst of 2013 to categories (since they are all mostly cameras), so I’ve just listed the worst. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest head scratchers of 2013…

       – Hassleblad Lunar

hasselblad-lunar-0704-970x623

This has got to be one of the ugliest cameras that I have ever seen. Let’s hope that Sony and Hasselblad take note of 2013 and realize that repackaging basic cameras in an expensive shell is not good business. Consumers are not stupid, an old junker car with a new paint job is still an old junker.

      – Nikon D610

nikon-d610-front-1-splash

OK, this is not so much about the camera itself and more about the whole situation surrounding it. The D610 (just as the D600) is a great camera, but the way that Nikon handled the whole D600 sensor oil issue really rubs me the wrong way. Rather than owning up to problem and replacing the shutter for D600 owners, Nikon elects to release a new camera body (where essentially the only difference is a new shutter that doesn’t spray oil on the sensor). Really bad form here from Nikon in my opinion.

      – Samsung NX Series

Samsung-NX2000-front

Samsung’s foray into the mirrorless markets with their android powered NX series of camera also makes my list as some of the worst gear of 2013. Again, the camera itself gets the job done for consumer’s but the whole idea of having a camera powered by android is just silly to me. You can download apps and everything, I mean who is going to get a camera so that they can play angry birds on it?

Nominate Gear for the Readers Choice Poll

What is your favorite or least favorite gear of 2013? Later in the week we are going to have our readers choice poll on the best and worst of 2013 and we need your help to make sure the polls have the best options available.

Please comment below with your best and worst of 2013, or if you prefer feel free to email me at athurston@slrlounge.com with your nominations.

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Ido

    Dissing the Samsung NX series because of Android is just stupid. Out of the four current models, only one runs Android – the Galaxy NX. All the rest – NX300M, NX300, and NX2000 – are “normal” mirrorless cameras with excellent implementation of wireless connectivity, with proprietary camera software, NOT Android!

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  2. Tom

    What about the vibration problems being reported for the Sonys?

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  3. Mytolol

    Best camera of the year: Olympus E-M1. Pro level body, entry level size, prosumer-level price. Best viewfinder in the camera world, and perfect build, haptics and tactility.

    And speaking of viewfinders, build, haptics and tactility, the worst letdown of 2013 has got to be the Nikon Df. Plasticky, uncomfortable, and with a small, dark and useless viewfinder. Could have been so much more, but the corporate guys decided enough is enough, and didnt bother to finish it properly. Should have had the viewfinder from the F6, as manual focus lenses would have actually worked.

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    • RAWSOUL

      have you even held or shot with the nikon Dƒ?

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  4. Derek

    For best ( thing you needed but didn’t think so): wifi. Maybe even Camranger as a near-universal device.

    For worst let down: canon 6D. It does a lot soooo well, but the rudimentary focus system and the xxD series ergonomics (no joystick) and lack of dual function top plate buttons just kill it for me.

    For worst PR campaign: toss up between Canon 7DmkII ( we’re doing this.,,.no we’re not….yes, we are!) or the Tamron 150-500 in its “staged” release.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I really like my 6D, I agree though that those downsides can be quite annoying at times, but for the most part I have learned to work with them so its not too big of a deal. Technically though the 6D is from 2012 though, so I don’t think it is eligible for a “best/worst” of 2013 post.

      Totally agree on the worst PR thing, lol. So funny.

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  5. F. Husain

    Samsung NX series in the category of worst for using android is little harsh. I am firmly in Sony camp but what Samsung attempted is pretty bold and I was hoping it will catch on. The reason, is not about angry birds, but all the other apps that could be designed to control the camera. I use LapseIt on android phone, it is really good, more intuitive than tons of intervalometers out there. In-camera post processing will become lot easier since android will open doors to hundreds of programmers … and bunch of good apps are already available. Also, uploading to any social media (meaning audience to your work) will be instant. All this will be lot difficult with proprietary software. I want to believe that there will be a huge market for such cameras.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I can see where an implementation of this could be really cool, for the exact reasons that you mention. But at this point I think that the Samsung NX offering falls short of that vision. As of now its just a mediocre camera with an Android OS, nothing to write home about. (In my opinion)

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  6. Golfzilla

    Sorry you don’t like the Hassleblad Lunar. If Santa drops one in your stocking you can send it to me. It sure looks kooler than my stock NEX7.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Sorry, but I would sell it. I don’t care if it comes plated in gold… it is still just an NEX-7 and I would rather save my money for lenses than waste it that.

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    • Jared

      If Santa dropped a Lunar in my stocking I would be very happy. Because I could sell it for a gross amount of money and get a ton of great stuff. :D

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