EISA Awards 2014-15 - Europe's Best Products
As cameras, photographic equipment and consumer electronics in general get better and better, choosing the very best becomes ever more difficult. But that is the task undertaken every year by the European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA), an association comprising 50 special interest magazines in audio, home theatre, in-car electronics, mobile electronics, photo and video, from 20 European countries. Within this group sits the Photo Panel, composed of the Editors of Europe’s 16 best photographic magazines, including AP.
Over the following pages we present the 19 products chosen by the Photo Panel as being the very best in their class. In more than half of the categories the choice was unanimous, so emphatic is the superiority of the winning product.
In other categories the winner was chosen after lengthy discussion and debate about each product’s relative merits.
Nigel Atherton, Editor
EISA Photo Panel Members
Editor: Klaus Lorbeer
Editor: Erik Derycke
Editor: Rudolf Stáhlich
Editor: Asko Vivolin
Editor: Pascal Miele
Editor: Thorsten Höge
Editor: Menelaos Meletzis/
Editor: Sándor Benkõ
Editor: Paolo Namias
Editor: Dirk van der Spek
Editor: Toralf Sandaker
Editor: Krzysztof Patrycy
Foto & Video
Editor: Vladimir Neskoromny
Super Foto Digital
Editor: Jorge Coma
Editor: Jan Almlöf
Editor: Nigel Atherton
Other 2014-2015 EISA Awards
European Stereo System – Marantz SA8005/PM8005
European Digital Source – Sony HAP-Z1ES
European Hi-Fi Headphone – OPPO PM-1
European High-End Audio – KEF Reference 5
European High-End Audio Solution – Avantgarde Acoustic ZERO 1
European USB DAC – ASUS Essence III
European Analogue Source – Pro-Ject Xtension 9 Evolution Superpack
European Compact Hi-Fi System – JBL Authentics L16
European Multiroom System – Samsung M7
European Hi-Fi Accessory – iFi Nano iDSD
European Loudspeaker System – Bowers & Wilkins 683 S2 Theatre
European On-Wall Loudspeaker System – Dali Rubicon LCR
European HT Receiver – Pioneer VSX-924
European HT Soundbar – Focal Dimension
European HT Soundbase – LG LAB540
European HT Solution – Philips Fidelio E5
European HT High-End – Yamaha CX-A5000/MX-A5000
HT Audio/HT Display & Video
European Blu-Ray Player – Panasonic DMP-BDT700
HT Display & Video
European Full HD TV – Samsung UE55H7000
European High-End TV – LG 77EC980V
European 4K Ultra HD TV – Sony KD-65X9005B
European Smart TV – LG 55LB870V
European Camcorder – Sony FDR-AX100
European HT Projector – Epson EHTW9200W
HT Display & Video/Photo
European Photo & Video Camera – Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4
European Lifestyle Camcorder – Canon LEGRIA mini X
European Smartphone Camera – Samsung Galaxy K Zoom
European Advanced Smartphone – LG G3
European Consumer Smartphone – Huawei Ascend P7
European Headphone – AKG K845BT
European Tablet – Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet
European Mobile Audio System – Harman Kardon Esquire Mini
Expert Group In-Car Electronics
European In-Car HD Media Player – Audison bit Play HD
European In-Car Navi-Media System – Pioneer Avic-F60DAB
European In-Car Amplifier – Mosconi Gladen D2 100.4 DSP
European In-Car Speaker System – Rainbow GL-C6.2
European In-Car Subwoofer – Morel Ultimo 10 Titanium
European In-Car Premium Upgrade – Alpine X800D-ML
European In-Car Integration – Audison AP8.9 bit
European In-Car High-End Component – Ground Zero GZPC 163SQ-LTD
What is EISA?
The European Imaging and Sound Association is a collection of photographic, audio and video magazines in which members pool their skills and knowledge to award the best products in a wide range of categories each year. The awards are intended as a guide for specialist consumers. Only one magazine from each country may belong to any panel. Amateur Photographer, a founding member of the association, represents the UK for the photographic section of the awards.
Learn more about EISA at www.eisa-awards.eu
Best product awards 2014 – 2015
EUROPEAN SMARTPHONE CAMERA 2014-2015
Samsung Galaxy K zoom
The Samsung Galaxy K zoom combines the features and functions of a smartphone and a fully-functioning compact camera into a single body. An Android device based on the famous Galaxy platform, it uses a 4.8-inch AMOLED display, but it also houses an optically stabilized 10x power zoom lens for its camera. The 20.7-million-pixel BSI CMOS sensor behind the lens exceeds the resolution found in many standalone compact cameras, and it delivers great picture quality, especially in low light. Camera settings, such as aperture, shutter speed and ISO can be set manually, or left in the hands of Samsung’s auto-modes. With Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connectivity, images can be shared on social media sites or stored directly to the cloud wherever and whenever they are taken. The package includes special editing and sharing apps that further enhance the photo features of this smartphone.
European LIFESTYLE Camcorder 2014-2015
Canon LEGRIA mini X
The second generation of this small-scale camera takes Canon’s original innovative concept even further. The LEGRIA mini X is multi-talented, with the rotating touchscreen display ideal for taking video ‘selfies’, the adjustable stand allowing the camcorder to be placed on any surface, and the ultra-wide-angle 170-degree lens capturing all the action. Full HD video (25p or 50i) is delivered by Canon’s F/2.8 lens and 1/2.3-type, 12.8-megapixel CMOS sensor in both MP4 and AVCHD codecs, together with uncompressed stereo LPCM audio from the internal microphone. Generous connectivity includes a 3.5mm jack for an external mic, headphone terminal, plus mini HDMI, mini USB and Wi-Fi, allowing easy transfer of files. And with the latter, the LEGRIA mini X can be operated wirelessly from a smart device. Genuinely flexible, this is a perfect partner for your everyday adventures.
European Photo & Video camera 2014-2015
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4
The Panasonic LUMIX GH4 is one of the most feature-heavy cameras on the market. The 16-megapixel Live MOS sensor captures high-quality still images and provides professional 4K video-recording capabilities. It allows users to shoot slow or fast-motion footage using a frame rate of between 2fps and 96fps. Audio can be recorded and monitored using an external microphone, and by using the optional interface it is possible to output high-quality, uncompressed 4K footage via micro-HDMI. The GH4 features a sharp OLED live viewfinder, and a bright 3-inch monitor, and the weather-sealed magnesium-alloy body was designed to withstand professional use.
EUROPEAN PHOTO ACCESSORY 2014-2015
The Manfrotto MT055CXPRO4 is the latest version of the famous 055 series and adds some significant innovations. The QPL (Quick Power Lock) allows users to apply an extra locking power to the leg locks, increasing the stiffness of the tripod and enabling it to support a higher payload, up to 9 kg. The QPL has a one-hand opening mechanism, which reduces the set up time and makes the operation more comfortable. The new horizontal column mechanism, combined with the four leg angles, allows users to easily reach different camera positions without removing the head.
Finally, the new Easy Link connector opens the door to new functionality, by enabling the attachment of lights, reflectors or other accessories.
EUROPEAN COMPACT SYSTEM ZOOM LENS 2014-2015
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-40mm F2.8
Being Olympus’s first PRO lens for micro four thirds, the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-40mm F2.8 is nevertheless affordable for the enthusiast photographer too. This fast and weather-sealed standard zoom has impressive optical qualities, solid mechanical build quality and a superb focus control that combines manual focus with silent, quick AF. It is also a very compact lens in spite of its fast F2.8 maximum aperture. The zoom covers a range from 12mm wide angle to 40mm telephoto, which makes the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO lens suitable for landscapes, architecture and portraits as well as general photography.
EUROPEAN COMPACT SYSTEM LENS 2014-2015
Fujinon XF56mmF1.2 R
Ideally suited for portrait photography, the Fujinon XF56mmF1.2 R is a large-aperture, short-telephoto lens that produces razor-sharp pictures even wide open, with creamy, beautiful-looking background blur. Thanks to two elements of ED (extra-low dispersion) glass, chromatic aberration is kept well under control and is practically never visible. This is a classic-looking, well-built lens that also offers a manual aperture ring to match the traditional dials on the retro-styled cameras in Fujifilm’s X-range.
EUROPEAN DSLR TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS 2014-2015
Tamron SP 150-600 mm F5-6.3 VC USD
The Tamron SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 VC USD lens is an innovative ultra-telephoto zoom lens for Canon, Nikon and Sony full-frame and APS-C-format DSLR cameras. Its VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilisation ensures sharp images, hand-held, at shutter speeds lower than previously achievable, the high-speed AF (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) helps achieve precise focusing even on moving subjects, while the eBand coating works to reduce unwanted light reflections. Wildlife, nature and sports photographers will enjoy the advantages of this ultra-telephoto lens with its superb image quality and affordable price.
EUROPEAN DSLR ZOOM LENS 2014-2015
Tamron 16-300mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD
The Tamron 16-300mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro is a world first, combining a wide angle to super-telephoto focal range in a single lens. Designed for APS-C-format DSLR cameras, its huge 18.8x zoom range is equivalent to 24-450mm on full-frame DSLRs, while its usable maximum aperture of F3.5-6.3 makes use of Tamron’s efficient vibration compensation (VC) to minimise camera movement during shooting. Many photographers will appreciate the close focusing distance of 39cm. In spite of this stellar feature list, the Tamron 16-300mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro is just 10cm long and weighs only 540g.
EUROPEAN DSLR LENS 2014-2015
Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM [A]
In terms of price/performance ratio, the Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM [A] raises the bar to a new level. This bright, full-frame standard lens features superb construction. It is solid, elegant and has a large and smooth focus ring. But most important, when it comes to the optical quality, this lens outperforms almost all competitors on the market, regardless of their price. It is simply one of the sharpest lenses the members of EISA have ever had the pleasure to test. To make it even more impressive, the Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM [A] also has very low amounts of chromatic aberration and vignetting, and is practically free from distortion. All this comes at a price well within reach of enthusiast photographers and professionals alike.
EUROPEAN CONNECTED CAMERA 2014-2015
Samsung has, with the ‘smart camera’ system, a long tradition of connected cameras. The NX30 uses NFC Wi-Fi to establish a quick and efficient connection between the camera and a smartphone. With Photo Beam and Mobile Link you can share pictures with smartphones around you and with AutoShare you can save your pictures immediately to your phone. You can also use your smartphone to control the camera remotely. These wireless capabilities are easy to use – a simple contact between the camera and an NFC smartphone and the connection is active. In addition, the NX30 also features a tiltable electronic viewfinder that can pivot upwards to 90° for vertical shooting.
EUROPEAN TRAVEL COMPACT CAMERA 2014-2015
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ60
Having pioneered the travel compact camera class from the beginning, it’s no surprise that Panasonic is still leading the race with the LUMIX TZ60. This latest-generation travel compact camera introduces an electronic viewfinder as well as raw file support, enhanced video features and a new 30x Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 24-720mm (full-frame-equivalent) zoom lens with an aperture of F3.3-6.4. Sporting an improved hybrid optical image stabiliser for video capture, the TZ60 compensates for camera movement in five directions, making it usable even for hand-held photo and video shooting at long focal lengths. In addition, the TZ60 offers GPS navigation, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity with easy NFC setup, for the benefit of the traveller.
EUROPEAN ADVANCED COMPACT CAMERA 2014-2015
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ1000
The Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 is the first compact camera to bring 4K video to the consumer – and, if needed, an 8-megapixel still picture can be taken from the video feed. But the FZ1000 is also a very good camera for photography, with a big 1-inch MOS sensor that produces little noise and offers a resolution of 20 megapixels, while for the demanding user raw shooting is offered in addition to the JPEG format. In low-light shooting situations, the ISO setting can be turned up to ISO 12,800. The Leica DC-Vario-Elmarit F2.8-4 lens provides a full-frame-equivalent focal range from 25-400mm, with very fast autofocus, offering full flexibility in almost any shooting situation, and with the newest wireless Wi-Fi and NFC technologies built in, the FZ1000 is future-proof in every regard.
EUROPEAN COMPACT CAMERA 2014-2015
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III
With the Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III, Sony has improved on a camera that was already one of the best compacts available. Retaining the high-resolution, 20-megapixel, 1-inch CMOS sensor of its predecessor, the RX100 III manages, incredibly, to squeeze in a high-quality 1.44-million-dot pop-up OLED electronic viewfinder while retaining the same pocket-sized body. Its fast F1.8-2.8 Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens with a full-frame-equivalent focal range of 24-70mm, together with Sony’s BIONZ X image processor, guarantees high-resolution, low-noise images even in low-light conditions. The RX100 III also features a 180-degree-tiltable WhiteMagic LCD 3in display with 1.23 million dots, a built-in 3EV ND filter, full HD movies, and Wi-Fi/NFC connectivity for both wireless image sharing and camera control via smartphone or tablet.
EUROPEAN PROFESSIONAL COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERA 2014-2015
Sony Alpha 7R
By managing to squeeze a 35mm full-frame sensor into such a small mirrorless compact system camera, Sony has created a world first, and at a remarkable price. With 36 megapixels and no anti-aliasing filter, the Alpha 7R offers extremely high resolution, currently the highest of any CSC, and the Sony BIONZ X processor enables high ISO sensitivity up to 25,600, with relatively low noise. The contrast-based AF system is fast and decisive, while the superb electronic viewfinder and 3 inch tiltable screen offer bright, clear viewing. Remote shooting and wireless image transfer are also available courtesy of the built-in Wi-Fi and NFC.
EUROPEAN ADVANCED COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERA 2014-2015
The Fujifilm X-T1 captures the spirit of 35mm SLR photography better than any other digital camera to date. Its retro styling, with a traditional array of dials and buttons, has wide-ranging appeal, but it’s the camera’s performance and image quality that make it an award-winner. The proven X-Trans CMOS II sensor delivers exceptional image quality even at high ISO settings. Its large, high-resolution electronic viewfinder is one of the best available, and the overall performance, from the speed of the focusing and shooting to Wi-Fi functionality, is difficult to fault. All of this inside a light and compact yet rugged, weather-sealed magnesium alloy body makes for a deserving winner.
EUROPEAN CONSUMER COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERA 2014-2015
Olympus OM-D E-M10
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 harnesses all the qualities that has made the OM-D series so successful and brings them together in a more compact body, at a more affordable price. The E-M10 features a magnesium alloy body with an excellent, high quality electronic viewfinder (1.440.000 dots and 120 fps refresh rate) and the tiltable LCD monitor that boasts numerous touch screen control options, including focusing, shooting and exposure control.
The E-M10 is fast, too: the shutter lag is only 0.062 seconds, and in sequential shooting mode it reaches 8 fps, even when shooting both raw and maximum resolution JPEGs. The AF is among the fastest of any CSC and there’s a Focus Peaking option in manual focus mode too. With full HD video and Wi-Fi functionality the E-M10 is one of the best value CSC’s available.
EUROPEAN PROFESSIONAL DSLR CAMERA 2014-2015
Launching two years after the Nikon D4, the Nikon D4s may look almost the same from the outside as the D4 but internally there have been many improvements. The new EXPEED 4 processor has enabled the introduction of a phenomenal ISO sensitivity range of up to ISO 409,600, and an exceptional 11 frames per second with focus tracking. In addition, the improved 51-point autofocus and D-Movie functionality make the D4s much more usable than its predecessor. Overall, extensive testing by the EISA Expert Team has shown the Nikon D4s to be a worthy winner of the Professional DSLR Camera of the Year.
EUROPEAN ADVANCED DSLR CAMERA 2014-2015
The PENTAX K-3 has many of the features you’d expect to find in a professional-level camera: a weather-resistant body with 92 dust and moisture seals; an image-stabilised 24-megapixel CMOS sensor; an advanced 86,000-pixel RGB metering sensor and 8.3fps high-speed burst shooting. Opting to omit the low-pass filter for maximum resolution, RICOH Imaging has developed an ingenious solution to eliminate the risk of moiré – the K-3’s user-selectable AA filter simulator uses the sensor’s stabilisation motors to gently vibrate the sensor during exposure. The Prime III processor enables shooting up to ISO 51,200 with low image noise, while the new SAFOX 11 AF system features 27 points for fast and accurate focusing. With a great feature set, high image quality and a comprehensive range of lenses and accessories, the PENTAX K-3 is a great choice for the enthusiast photographer.
EUROPEAN CONSUMER DSLR CAMERA 2014-2015
Canon EOS 1200D
This compact, lightweight and easy-to-use entry-level digital SLR is intended for both newcomers to photography and experienced users on a budget. Its 18-megapixel, APS-C CMOS sensor, in tandem with its DIGIC 4 processor, delivers high-quality images with good dynamic range and low noise up to ISO 1,600 and beyond. A dedicated smartphone app, EOS Companion, helps new users get the best out of the camera, and with additional features such as a 460k-dot LCD screen, 63-zone dual-layer metering sensor, in-camera lens correction and a range of creative filters, the Canon EOS 1200D offers exceptional value for money.