In 1982 the Editors-in-chief of 5 prominent European photo publications came together to collectively decide upon the ‘Camera of The Year’, and out of that initial meeting and humble beginning was borne EISA, the European Imaging And Sound Association in 1989. Now it is the collective of some 53 expert magazines from 25 countries across the globe, representing the largest editorial collaboration in the world of consumer electronics – essentially ‘celebrating’ the best products for some 35 years. This year, for photography, Sony literally ran away with wins.
Out of 19 categories for photography Sony products took a win in 6, including best camera, which went to the Sony a9. Here is a list of the winners, and description of each in EISA’s words:
Best Camera: Sony A9
The Sony α9 is a groundbreaking mirrorless camera that in many ways surpasses traditional DSLR rivals. Thanks to an innovative design, the 24.2 million pixel full-frame image sensor captures up to 20 frames per second in full resolution with no EVF blackout and offers completely silent, vibration-free shooting at up to 1/32,000th second. The new super-fast autofocus system, with 693 phase detection AF points covering 93% of the image area, ensures that even fast-moving subjects are in focus. The 5-axis image stabilisation allows a 5-step slower shutter speed. The oversampling process and full-frame pixel read-out result in excellent 4K movie quality.
Best Professional Compact System Camera Lens: FE 70-200 f/2.8 GM OSS
The Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS is an impressive lens covering the most popular angles for sports and action photography. Sharpness is extremely high and evenly distributed with almost no visible fall-off towards the edges. Sharpness is retained across the zoom range, even with tele-converters. It features a floating focusing system, implemented in an α zoom lens for the first time, that contributes to an impressive minimum focusing distance of merely 0.96m. The 11 rounded aperture blades ensure a beautiful bokeh, while the autofocus speed is super quick, in particular with the very fast Sony α9. Finally, the FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS is built for heavy use under all weather conditions.
Best Compact System Camera Lens: FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS
This 100mm telephoto prime lens offers the outstanding resolution of the G Master series, combined with STF (Smooth Trans Focus) optics for breathtaking bokeh. This lens has been designed to produce extraordinarily smooth, natural bokeh without vignetting. It also features fast, precise, and quiet DDSSM autofocus, and is capable of shooting 0.25x magnification close ups. Built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation minimises any blur caused by camera movements during long shutter times. The Sony FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS upholds the premium G Master concept in all respects.
Best Superzoom Camera: RX10 III
At just 1095g, the Sony RX10 III is the perfect camera for sports, nature and wildlife photographers looking for an easy to carry all-in-one solution. The stunning ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* 24-600mm lens provides a 25x zoom range with a fast f/2.4-4 maximum aperture, while the Exmor RS 1.0-type sensor, super-fast autofocus and Optical SteadyShot ensure sharp images free from camera shake. In addition to its incredible focal range, the RX10 III can shoot macro from as close as 3cm from the lens, while the silent shutter means you won’t disturb sensitive nature subjects. The RX10 III isn’t just great for stills – it also shoots 4K video and there is also the option to shoot at 1000 frames per second for a dramatic 40x slow motion effect.
Best Compact Camera: RX100 V
The Sony RX100 V is a high-tech masterpiece in a very compact body. Like its predecessor, it offers a 1.0-type sensor and an excellent retractable OLED electronic viewfinder. The new 20.1 million pixel Exmor RS CMOS image sensor, in conjunction with the fast BIONZ X image processor and a new front-end LSI, made it possible for Sony to shorten autofocus response time to 0.05sec and speed-up continuous shooting to 24 frames per second – with AF/AE tracking so that in a series of a moving subject, every picture stays in focus with the correct exposure. Besides the ability to shoot 4K videos, the RX100 V offers super slow motion up to 1000 frames per second, silent shooting and a multi-function control ring for personalised use.
Best Prosumer Compact System Camera: a6500
The α6500 is a very small compact system camera offering professional performance. Whether you are a 4K video or stills photographer, the α6500 offers excellent image quality with its 24.2 million pixel Exmor CMOS APS-C sized sensor, high speed and great choice of lenses. The 5-axis image stabilisation works with Sony E-mount lenses as well as A-mount lenses with adapters. The 425 phase detection AF points cover almost the whole picture frame, while the 3in tiltable touch screen lets you choose focus points with your finger. The camera supports up to 11 frames per second shooting with continuous AF and metering with a buffer that supports up to 269 pictures in one sequence.
Now, I’m sure this is going to have some up in arms, but for those who follow closely, who can see around the bend of the future by truly looking at what’s already present, this should come as no surprise. Perhaps the only surprise is that the recognition is now coming from all angles, and that Sony didn’t just win a category for best camera, but took it home in 3 categories of cameras. That highlights how much of the market they really are leading. The fact remains that regardless of how an individual feels about their own particular brand of choice, Sony is the only company innovating, and that innovation is driving the photography market in sales, and in development. I don’t shoot Sony, but I respect what they do.
Of course these awards aren’t an indicator of individual preference and their titles shouldn’t dictate whether a particular piece of gear is right for you, but even Helen Keller could see the trend here. Though it wasn’t only Sony who took away wins, as Canon, Nikon, Sigma, HuaWei, Tamron, Fuji, and Olympus all had respective representatives on podium. Canon took home the award for Best DSLR for the 5D Mark IV (no doubt to the bewilderment of some given the D500’s existence), Sigma’s 135mm 1.8 for Best DSLR Lens, Fuji took the award for the best Consumer Compact System Camera for the X-T20, and Nikon went home with the award for Best Prosumer DSLR with the D7500.
You can find more at EISA