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AP 27/8/2011 - EISA Awards and numbers of categories

Discussion in 'AP Magazine Feedback & Suggestions' started by Malcolm_Stewart, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    Lots of techy stuff to read in this week's AP, and what grabbed my attention were the categories of the EISA Awards:




    And then there were the lenses etc.

    I hope I'm not alone in thinking that the number of categories for the compact cameras group is taking classification to absurdity? Was there a category for a hobbyist or starter SLR? Were any categories short of entrants this year? Were any categories represented by just one entrant?

    Have the nominations (i.e. cameras) in all of these categories been published? I'm not interested in which magazine made the nomination, but want to know how large the field of competition was for the categories.

    Just curious ...
  2. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    You are wise to ask!

    These things became a bit nonsensical years ago. Why no category for Remote Release of the Year? Camera Strap of the Year? :confused: . I've done time writing protest letters - your turn now.

    Choosing the Canon 600D as overall CotY 2011-12, when it has only just been launched is doubly daft if not downright deceptive as well! The 600D might turn out to be a bit of a turkey and while experienced posters here will not be taken in by the hype, Joe Public may well not be quite so discerning. If I was European boss of a Camera Co., especially if a winner, I would be ... ummh ... 'expressing concerns' to the magazines and their umbrella organisation.
  3. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    Before posting I visited the EISA website, and read most of their rules, but certainly couldn't find any hint as to whether there was competition in any of the categories, or non-categories - i.e. one for which this year there was no permissible entrant, and here their rules seemed quite strict on dates etc. They did appear to have strict rules about not disclosing which magazine had made the nominations - if I interpreted things correctly.

    In previous years, I've suggested and had no response
    :- that the organisation creates a specialist test lab where AF of top end and other DSLRs could be properly measured without fear, favour or bias. As an amateur with a heavy investment in Canon gear, I'd love to know whether my failures are all my fault, or whether some are equipment faults. If I mixed with other professionals on a daily basis, I guess there would be enough feedback, but as a lonely amateur, it's not so easy.

    Forgot to add: last weekend I visited a Farmers' market and bought some cheese which had won a bronze medal in some competition. All I can say is that there must have been a special category for hard cheese which had no chance of winning anywhere else! Same principle...
  4. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Very sensible suggestion for all sorts of reasons, not least keeping down cost of magazines. I have a notion that this idea of yours got thru' to someone but cannot remember which mag, because for a while equipment was tested this way in Europe somewhere. Belgium, I seem to recall. And it may have been AP. Or was it PP?
  5. TimF

    TimF With as stony a stare as ever Lord Reith could hav

    You're certainly not alone Malcolm. I asked a similar question in a thread where the link to the winners was placed (in the news board? can't remember now). It also struck me as bizarre that there were both Lens and Zoom Lens categories; both being won by zooms. :p
  6. AGW

    AGW Well-Known Member

    You wonder if somewhwere publishing circles...there is an award for "Camera Award of the year"....?

  7. Damien_Demolder

    Damien_Demolder Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure I understand this point. We tested the EOS 600D some time ago, and it won the award because it is a good camera. I don't know why you feel the need to suggest it isn't. All of the EISA photo magazines have tested it, and all agreed it should win. It is a new camera but it has been on general sale for quite a while. There is nothing deceptive about it.
  8. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    I think the issue is that 2011-2012 has not finished yet. One might argue since it's launch various other cameras have appeared that might be better. Do we know what was in the list of camera in the running at the time of decision? For example the D5100 was launched two months later. Then two months after than the Sony A35.

    The D5100 must have been considered because of the award to the Lumix G3 launched in May 2011 the month after the D5100.

    But doubt in this age of internet and online reviews etc. That award carry as much weight as the past. People can ask real photographers who use the kit what they think. Flickr etc shows what kit can do for real.

    Come on who uses a award to work out a buying decision? :D
  9. Damien_Demolder

    Damien_Demolder Well-Known Member

    Hi all - sorry to take a while to get to this thread, but I've been away since the awards were published. I'll try to address some of the issues raised before you call in the FBI for an investigation. ;)

    I've said it lots of times, and I say it every year, but I'll say it again for your benefit - the EISA awards are straight. If they weren't, AP wouldn't be part of EISA. I hope you trust AP and the judgements we make in our own tests, and if you do you should be able to believe the EISA awards. I play a major role in the way these products are chosen, and believe me, if I thought the wrong kit was being picked, and for the wrong reasons, I'd walk away. EISA takes a lot of my time, and on a weekly magazine I choose how I spend my time very carefully.

    Every year the EISA photo panel can give 16 awards. We have a template that is based on the popular categories, but sometimes there are no products that fit or which are worth an award. Sometimes there is a group of products without an obvious category - so we have some flexibility to close and open categories according to what we think our readers will be most interested in. There is never a category that has only one product that qualifies, and the panel is at the mercy of what camera manufacturers have launched in that year. If there were no travel compacts launched, for example, there would be no award - it would be allocated elsewhere.

    Compact cameras, CSCs and DSLRs are launched every year, but there tend to be fewer lenses released - so making a macro lens award is only an option in a year in which lots have been launched. It isn't complicated.

    We try to pick categories that make sense and which are clear, and which cover products that are relevant to the readers of our magazines. Some categories may work for you personally, and some may not, but you only have to look through the adverts in the back of AP to see the range of products that AP readers buy - we are a broad church.

    The idea of having one lab to do all the testing for the EISA magazines would actually produce a much less meaningful result. The way things stand at the moment 18 groups of people test the same camera/lens and come to 18 slightly different opinions based on personal experience, preferences and the methods used in testing. If four eyes are better than two, thirty two eyes are significantly so. We share results, discuss concerns and come to a group conclusion that covers a much wider range of situations, processes and conditions that one person could ever manage.

    Some of our friends in other UK magazines buy their test results from a central lab in Germany. They don't have to understand what the results mean and have no input into the way those results come about - and neither do they know if they are right or wrong or even representative of what their readers will experience. Your neighbour's cat could write what appears in print.

    The policy at AP is that we do the tests ourselves because we don't trust anyone else to tell us what to say to our readers. We have control of what is tested and how it is tested, the way the results are interpreted and what those results mean to the people that rely on the magazine to guide their purchases. If we didn't do the tests ourselves I wouldn't know when the wrong camera was being awarded - and that would not be a very good situation.

    I didn't mean this to become a long reply, but it has. I can't tell you to believe in the process of the EISA photo panel, and I suspect that even with a TV camera in the room there would be people who feel it is their duty to doubt the integrity of what goes on. If you don't agree with the awards it does concern me, as this is supposed to be a service to people who buy photographic equipment, and I'll listen with interest to what you have to say. If you intend to just pick the awards apart for entertainment that's just a bit disappointing.

    I don't want to be snotty about it, I welcome any open and constructive discussion. I hope I've helped to answer your questions. xxx
  10. Damien_Demolder

    Damien_Demolder Well-Known Member

    It is not unusual to date awards that way so that people appreciate they are current. If they were dated 2010-2011 people would assume the awards were last year's. When AP drops through the door on Saturday 10th the date on the cover says Saturday 17th - so that you know it isn't out of date yet.

    As with anything though, the awards are decided on a certain day, and a new better product could come out the next. But that never makes the awarded item suddenly rubbish.

    What do you think we do then? Admire the cameras on our desks? We do use them, you know, and some of us are real photographers. :rolleyes:
  11. AlecM

    AlecM MiniMe

    I do, though it wouldn't sway me to change manufacturers from my DSLR brand, but I is a way of recognising advancement and development. A bit of competition surely benefits us all eventually...?
    As for asking 'real' photographers, sure, their views (and reviews) play a part in me deciding but I'll balance the inevitable partisan opinions against the trusted objectivity of AP tests too. I am no sycophant either, as I have been critical of AP in the past.
  12. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    What do they say "You can't make all the people happy all of the time" or something like. :D

    The problem as I see it is that every judge is likely to be a seasoned well practiced photographer like yourself Mr DD. If am wrong then I stand corrected.

    So how do judge without all that experience creeping in a new camera from the POV of a virgin user on what is the best camera launched in a given year. Basically you can't. It seems difficult to me.

    Also of cause there is the glaring flaw in the awards that they are worked out very early in the 2011-2012 cycle. They could do with being move abit later in the calendar IMHO. Like Sept/Oct because consumer products globally tend to be launched for the Xmas build up as well.

    It would appear that there is predictive flavour to the award ie that the 600D will be the success camera of 2011-2012 maybe. :)

    I personal have no doubt eveything is done fairly. I cannot see any reason why not. This is a association of magazines and journalists. If a maker comes out with a bad camera they will not shy away from telling their readers the bare facts.

    I believe I know why some might not be happy with the choice of the 600D. The Nikon D5100 performs better at high ISO than the 600D it can do 4fps instead of 3.7fps. Also alot of photographer are not interested in it's video features.

    I take no notice of awards in terms of buying a camera. I trust my own judgement because I would have a set of requirements that would be for me. Any features to do with auto are IMHO pointless. May a time I have switched off everything. Manual exposure, manual focus, manual colour balance & single shot. Such features are aids, icing if you like. Bottom line it is what the camera and lens can kick out at a given price point that is important IMHO.
    The only high priority factor I add is weight but that is a personal requirement many don't care about that and will carry alot of kit. But this is my personal view. Others will come from a different direction on camera choice.

    Must be the holy grail of camera makers.

    Some make their minds up on feel of the camera in the shop. Balance etc.

    But it must be of concern to the EISA if enough readers say they disagree with the outcome. Why?

    Well it would indicate that they are out of tune with their readers possibly.

    When members have come to photography new I always ask, why that camera? How did you arrive at that choice?

    One member said it was just how the camera felt in their hand that made them buy.
  13. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Exactly what kind of wally would think that made any practical difference? :confused:

    The point is that these awards are probably the most meaningful ones, in that these are effectively an average over 18 magazines - so only the best can rise to the top.

    Now as it happens, as part of a kit re-evaluation, I've sold my old 5D and bought a 600D. I can confirm that it really is an excellent camera for a very wide range of users and a wide variety of uses. Is it the best camera of the year? I neither know nor care, but I would be astonished if it hadn't been a serious contender.
  14. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Well not me. :D

    Never been one to really use fps on a camera.

    But you would want the maximum bang for your bucks. :)

    Looking at prices the D5100 with 18-55mm VR lens seems to be cheaper than the 600D with the same kind of lens. In fact at launch the price was lower I believe of the D5100. So the fps is a extra little (very little) bonus.

    But maybe further searching will show the prices the other way.

    Many sites have rated high in the value for money section.

    These two cameras are aimed I believe at new users but above the basic dSLR.
  15. Damien_Demolder

    Damien_Demolder Well-Known Member

    I would say that experience is a good thing - surely - and that we are beginning not to make sense :)
  16. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I can't speak for the Nikon, but as I said, the Canon is suitable for many different types of user - it certainly has pretty much every feature I want in a camera, and several I wish that were included in my 5D II. Image quality is the same as the 60D or 7D, and remember that AP rated the 60D's image quality as better overall than the Nikon D7000, so this camera has a lot going for it in such a competition. For me, though, it produces quality better than my old 5D, with features such as HD video, Live View and a rotating LCD screen in a compact and light package that makes it an ideal second camera. I'm currently on holiday in the US, and I've brought it and my 5D II with me - it's ideal to carry with just my 15-85 when I can't be bothered to carry the heavier kit, as it doesn't sacrifice too much on image quality but gives me every option I need -to consider it as only a beginner's camera is plain ridiculous.
  17. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    If I recall correctly - do correct me if wrong - the camera was announced in February as being available in April. Possibly/probably due to the earthquake & tsunami I think it only reached our shores in May, if then, for retail. Lurking in my memory is receipt of e-mails from dealers saying stocks 'are in their shops now' sometime in late May or early June.

    A potential purchaser who is unaware of all that may think "This camera has won an award - it must be an established, proven device with a track record."

    From what? I consider that deceptive. When the results were announced, the camera at best had had two months in the hands of those consumers lucky to get their hands on supplies.

    So should we consider re-naming the awards 'The Camera Lab and Magazine Test Awards'?

    I realise that the out of kilter dating was probably additionally pressured by those heady days of 2004-2007 when a camera model had a life of twelve months, if that. But now that things are settling down somewhat, would it not be better to have an award system that recognised a camera that had at least established a track record of some sort? Would that not increase the integrity of the Awards?

    If the camera was given title Camera of the Year 2011-2012 in January 2012 or later, then even cynics (which I am NOT being here) would have no claim that 'it is just a marketing ploy!'

    The status of the testing AND the Awards would be enhanced, I think.
  18. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Yes, possibly. But I see the awards affecting new buyers more than anything. Those looking maybe for their first serious camera. Not that high end compacts are not serious.

    But when you have a camera with changeable lenses you are making a big consideration toward image quality etc.

    Interesting point actually. AP own review rated the D5100 at 86% and 600D 83%. So I don't know whether you are allowed to answer these questions:

    Did you back the 600D Mr DD or was the D5100 not in the running?

    I would say I agree with the general position out there the D5100 (new technology by the way) represents great value for money as a consumer dSLR. AP own review of the 600D state that "However, it should also be thought of as a cut-down version of the EOS 60D." I believe the 60D itself is a cut down of the 7D. So you could argue this is 2 year old technology at it's heart.

    We know the D5100 is brand new in most parts. :)
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  19. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    I am not talking about the D7000 I am talking about the D5100 which is in the same price class. Funny enough the D7000 scores lower at 85% but that is possibly because it was overpriced at £1100 for a body only.

    D5100 28/30 AP score on res etc
    D5100 9/10 dynamic range.

    600D 27/30 AP score on res etc
    600D 8/10 dynamic range

    even on metering & AF the D5100 has a higher score.
  20. Richard Sibley

    Richard Sibley AP Deputy Editor

    DD is currently in a meeting.. honestly, he's not ducking for cover and I'm sure will respond later, but just a few points.

    There isn't anything 'deceptive' going on. The European Imaging and Sound Association Awards are clearly shown as being chosen by magazine editors/staff from 18 magazines from around Europe. There is no claim that they are based on the thoughts of consumers, but on the reviews and thoughts of a team of reviewers/photographers/testers. Generally we are fortunate enough to get the first full production samples of many cameras. This is some†imes just a few days before they go on sale, sometimes it can be a month.

    We test the cameras for the market they are intended for - for example, we wouldn't expect an entry-level DSLR would be able to match a Pro DSLR, so we take the expectations of these photographers in mind. This is particulary true of entry-level cameras where some settings may be curiously named, or difficult to access or find.

    Whilst certain parts of a camera test are matter-of-fact, some, such as build and handling are subjective, which is why a panel of 18 is used to decide. When we are test a camera here at AP we ask the opinions of the rest of the technical team for their opinions and thoughts on certain features - this so that a rounded opinion can be formed.

    Although I have not taken part in an EISA panel, i beleive everyone has their say on the nominated cameras, before a decision is made. This may not agree with how all of the individual magazines have rated the cameras, but then it must be remembered that not all testing procedures are identical and different magazines will place a different weighting to their scores. For example, 30% of an AP scores comes from the Noise, Resolution, Sensitivty score, whilst another magazine may offer their equivalent image quality rating 20% or 50%, which will produce a different overall score and ranking.

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