EISA – Europe’s Best Products 2012 – 2013
September 24, 2012
The English poet John Donne told us that ‘No man is an island’, and while in this proudly isolated country we like to believe that our judgement and sense is above that of those who reside beyond our shores, it pays sometimes to hear what foreigners have to say.
When you listen closely, you’ll find they are people just like us, who have the same thoughts, the same priorities and the same requirements – but when they express themselves the words sound different. There is no doubt that the UK is distinct from the rest of Europe, but it is just a way of thinking, a perception of style and a way of believing we live.
When I meet the editors of the best photography magazines in Europe, I am always struck by how alike their readers are to mine, and how their demands of camera equipment are just like ours. They test just as hard as we do, criticise the faults as we find them and doubt the word of the marketing men sometimes even more fiercely than we do. And whether those editors are from Poland, France, Greece, Germany or any of the other 18 nations represented in the EISA Photo Panel, they think as we think, look as deeply as we look and conclude just as we conclude.
Although every year there are so many products that could be nominated, it is the best that always come to the top. When they do, EISA recognises them. And that is exactly as we’d do it, too.
Damien Demolder, Editor
EISA Photo Panel Members
Editor: Klaus Lorbeer
Editor: Erik Derycke
Editor: Rudolf Stáhlich
Editor: Brian Dixen
Editor: Paolo Namias
Editor: Dirk van der Spek
Editor: Tore Holter/
Editor: Krzysztof Patrycy
Super Foto Digital
Editor: João Robalo
Other 2012-2013 EISA Awards
EUROPEAN LOUDSPEAKER – KEF LS50
EUROPEAN TURNTABLE – Pro-Ject Debut Carbon
EUROPEAN HIGH-END AUDIO – Dali Epicon 8
EUROPEAN STREAMING PRODUCT – Pioneer N-50
EUROPEAN HI-FI HEADPHONE – Sennheiser HD 700
EUROPEAN D/A CONVERTER – Audiolab M-DAC
EUROPEAN TWO-CHANNEL SYSTEM – Cambridge Audio Azur 851C + 851A
EUROPEAN WIRELESS HI-FI – Dynaudio Xeo
EUROPEAN HT RECEIVER – Pioneer VSX-922
EUROPEAN HT SOUNDBAR – Harman Kardon SB30
EUROPEAN HT SYSTEM – Samsung HT-E6750W
EUROPEAN HT LOUDSPEAKER – Canton Vento 800.2 System
EUROPEAN HT HIGH-END – Sony VPL-VW1000ES
EUROPEAN HT SUBWOOFER – Bowers & Wilkins PV1D
EUROPEAN BLU-RAY PLAYER – Panasonic DMP-BDT500
EUROPEAN PROJECTOR – Epson EH-TW9000W
EUROPEAN HT SOLUTION – Loewe Connect ID 46 + Home Cinema Set 5.1
EUROPEAN IN-CAR HEAD UNIT – Kenwood DNX4210DAB
EUROPEAN IN-CAR NAVI-MEDIA SYSTEM – Pioneer AVIC-F40BT
EUROPEAN IN-CAR AMPLIFIER – Alpine PDX-V9
EUROPEAN IN-CAR SPEAKER SYSTEM – GLADEN AEROSPACE 165.2 active
EUROPEAN IN-CAR SUBWOOFER – Audison Voce AV 10
EUROPEAN IN-CAR PROCESSOR – Helix C-DSP
EUROPEAN IN-CAR INTEGRATION -MOSCONI GLADEN DSP6to8
EUROPEAN IN-CAR HIGH-END – Ground Zero GZPW Reference 18 + GZPT Reference 28
EUROPEAN SMART CONNECTIVITY – JVC KW-NSX1
EUROPEAN LCD TV – Philips 46PFL9707
EUROPEAN PLASMA TV – Panasonic VIERA TX-P50VT50
EUROPEAN 3D TV – Sony BRAVIA KDL-55HX850
EUROPEAN SMART TV – LG 55LM960V
EUROPEAN FUTURE PROOF TV – Samsung UE46ES8000
EUROPEAN 3D ACHIEVEMENT – Toshiba 55ZL2
EUROPEAN DISPLAY ACHIEVEMENT – LG 55EM970V/975V
EUROPEAN CAMCORDER – Canon LEGRIA HF M52
EUROPEAN MOBILE PHONE – Samsung Galaxy S III
EUROPEAN SOCIAL MEDIA PHONE – HTC One S
EUROPEAN MOBILE PHOTO ACHIEVEMENT – Nokia PureView Pro Imaging Technology
EUROPEAN WIRELESS SPEAKERS – Philips Fidelio A9 (AW9000)
EUROPEAN MOBILE HEADPHONE – Focal Spirit One
EUROPEAN GREEN TV – Philips 55PFL6007
EUROPEAN GREEN SMART PHONE – Sony Xperia P
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.
Award winners 2012 – 2013
This year’s best camera is the Nikon D800. Its 36-million-pixel full-frame sensor offers exceptionally high-resolution capture and, according to EISA magazine tests, no compromises have been made to the extent of the camera’s dynamic range or noise levels at high ISO settings. In a compact and reasonably priced, strong and sturdy body, it offers first-rate metering and a 51-point autofocus system developed from the professional D4. The camera has a clear and bright 100% viewfinder that is very precise and comfortable to use even for glasses wearers. The tiny flash can command additional Nikon flash units and delivers just the right amount of fill-in illumination even in complex lighting conditions. The D800 E-version delivers even higher resolution images without
needing any post-processing sharpening: the image quality comes close to that of a medium-format camera, but with the benefits and versatility of a lightweight 35mm reflex camera.
European SLR Camera 2012-2013
Sony α SLT-A57
The Sony α SLT-A57 is a 16-million-pixel translucent mirror camera with remarkably impressive specification, especially for a model in this price range. The benefits of translucent mirror technology are now beginning to have an impact on entry-level cameras, allowing high-speed AF in movie mode,12-frames-per-second shooting rates as well as Sony’s powerful combination of high-quality imaging sensor and processor. The Sony α SLT-A57 is an excellent tool for the new photography enthusiastic, and is built on a platform from which both the consumer and the manufacturer can develop even more. Features such as the new automatic portrait-framing mode make this a user-friendly camera for the beginner as much as for the more experienced user. Sony’s picture quality continues to be very good, and the SLT-A57 can compete easily with more expensive cameras.
European Advanced SLR Camera 2012-2013
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is an extremely versatile still camera as well as being an easy-to-use, professional-quality DSLR movie camera. While the specification seems similar to its predecessor, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III is a substantial improvement in real-life photography as well as in performance. Its 22-million-pixel CMOS sensor yields great results under normal and low-light conditions, and the camera gets its advanced 61-point AF system from Canon’s new professional models. Additionally, this new EOS 5D generation has significantly improved weather resistance and 6fps continuous shooting speeds.
European Professional Camera 2012-2013
The best professional camera of the year is Nikon’s full-frame 16-million-pixel D4, for its ability to deliver the highest image quality even in extremely difficult conditions. Tests performed by EISA magazines found the camera has an exceptional combination of high resolution, wide dynamic range, very low noise levels even at ISO 12,800, super-fast autofocus, short response time and high frame rates that can be maintained for very long sequences. The body is rugged and well protected against dust and moisture. The viewfinder delivers a sharp, comfortable and very precise view of what will be recorded. Almost perfect handling makes the D4 very easy and pleasant to use, and we especially like the new joystick control that’s available whether the camera is in the horizontal or vertical position. The D4 also delivers very high video quality thanks to its uncompressed output.
European Compact System Camera 2012-2013
Olympus OM-D E-M5
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 is a successful remake of the exceptional OM cameras from times gone by. The camera features a compact, yet sturdy and weather-resistant body that is extremely comfortable to hold, especially when the battery grip is attached. The super-fast single-shot autofocus and the exceptional 1.4-million-dot electronic viewfinder will make you believe you’re shooting with an SLR. There are more advantages, such as the flip-out OLED screen with touch functionality, advanced five-axis image stabilisation, the attractive effects filters and, of course, the excellent picture quality.
European Advanced Compact System Camera 2012-2013
The Samsung NX20 has a compact and lightweight SLR-shaped body that houses a 20.3-million-pixel Samsung-built APS-C-format CMOS sensor with a maximum sensitivity of ISO 12,800. Other distinguishing features include a continuous shooting rate of 8 frames per second, and the customisable i-Function 2.0 that makes it possible to access up to nine of the camera’s features via a button on the lens. A bright flip-out 3in AMOLED screen helps users to get creative with all sorts of shooting angles. The star feature is the built-in Wi-Fi that allows the photographer to email images or post them to social media sites directly from the camera. Wireless connection also makes it possible to control the camera remotely, while the camera’s live-view feed is streamed to your smartphone’s display.
European Professional Compact System Camera 2012-2013
It is a combination of exceptional lens quality, great build and a revolutionary new sensor design that makes the Fujifilm X-Pro1 such a successful camera. The X-Trans sensor, with its more film-like colour filter layout over the pixels, really makes the most of the resolution delivered by the camera’s Fujinon optics to produce images with far more detail than most 16-million-pixel models can manage.
The hybrid viewfinder offers the photographer the best of both digital and traditional optical worlds, and the straightforward layout of controls on the body makes the X-Pro1 simple and pleasurable to use, even if the AF system is not the fastest on the market. Although it isn’t the smallest compact system camera available, its size is more than compensated for by the quality of the images it produces and the enjoyment it brings to the user.
European Compact Camera 2012-2013
Canon PowerShot G1 X
The image quality produced by the Canon PowerShot G1 X is at a level that can compete with many DSLRs. This is quite amazing for a camera with such a compact body. Using a sensor size that is between the APS-C and micro four thirds formats helps this PowerShot to keep noise well under control even at ISO settings as high as 12,800. The powerful Digic 5 processor also plays a major role in reducing image noise and helps to process the camera’s 14.3-million-pixel, 14-bit images at top speed. Serious amateurs and professionals alike will appreciate the camera’s ability to save files in raw and JPEG formats. The 4x zoom, according to EISA magazine tests, offers good image quality for such a compact design, and the built-in stabiliser, that uses the same hybrid IS technology as some professional Canon lenses, is very efficient.
European Advanced Compact Camera 2012-2013
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100
Sony’s Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 is a high-quality and solidly built compact camera designed for advanced amateur photographers. Its unusually large 1in CMOS sensor and the bright 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 Carl Zeiss lens provide very good image quality even in low light. In addition to JPEG format, the RX100 also offers users the chance to save images in raw format, allowing extra flexibility and quality for the serious photographer. The high-resolution, 1.2-million-dot, 3in LCD has proven to be excellent in tests performed by EISA magazines.
European Travel Camera 2012-2013
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V
What makes the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V interesting is that it is a small and portable compact camera that has a 25-500mm 20x optical zoom lens. Its 18.2-million-pixel sensor delivers large printable files, while the metering system consistently produces well-exposed images. The ISO range, the 10fps burst mode and the fine-tuning feature, that provides custom control of brightness and colour saturation, allow the user freedom under a wide range of lighting conditions and when shooting moving subjects. A variety of options through the ‘artistic’ menu, as well as the background defocus function and the full HD 50p video function, allow for freedom, creativity and imagination to take the lead of any project.
European All-Weather Camera 2012-2013
Olympus TOUGH TG-1
The Olympus TOUGH TG-1 is an outstanding outdoor camera that has been designed to be stylish as well as practical. It is guaranteed to be shockproof (to 2m), waterproof (to 12m), crushproof (to 100kg) and freezeproof (to -10°C). At the heart of the camera is a 12-million-pixel BSI CMOS 1/2.3in sensor, which, together with the TruePic VI processor and fast 25-100mm f/2-4.9 zoom lens, delivered excellent quality pictures and low levels of noise in tests conducted by EISA’s photo magazines. The Olympus TOUGH TG-1 has an anti-reflective coating on its 3in OLED display, GPS, full HD 1080p video and an electronic compass so you can see where you are as well as where you’ve been. With the optional waterproof fisheye and telephoto converter lenses, which attach via an adapter, the TOUGH becomes not just a camera but a camera system.
European Lens 2012-2013
Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
With the SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Tamron has managed to come up with a seriously attractive lens for anyone using a full-frame SLR camera. This is a large-aperture standard zoom featuring image stabilisation, silent autofocus and sharpness that easily matches the demands of today’s high-resolution cameras. Tamron’s 24-70mm f/2.8 is also a sturdy and well-built lens with rubber seals protecting it in moist or dusty conditions. It truly feels like a professional lens and also performs like one where autofocus, image stabilisation and image quality are concerned. A lens to rely on, whether you are photographing for a living or simply for pleasure.
European Macro Lens 2012-2013
Sigma APO Macro 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM
The Sigma APO Macro 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM is one of the best-performing macro lenses available on the market. The combination of a long focal length, and thereby good working distance between lens and subject, high sharpness even at full aperture and optical image stabilisation make it perfect for catching dragonflies, butterflies and other elusive insects handheld. But the lens is also excellent for photographing plants or portraits when you want to achieve a really soft and pleasant blurry background. If you also consider how solidly this lens is made, its price makes it a real bargain!
European Compact System Lens 2012-2013
Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm f/2.8 ASPH
Panasonic’s LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm f/2.8 ASPH POWER OIS (24-70mm for 35mm) is a very fast standard lens with conventional rotary zoom ring from Panasonic’s premium X range of lenses. The metal-barrelled construction contains 14 elements in nine groups with Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion (UED) and Ultra High Refractive (UHR) glass to minimise chromatic aberrations and to retain high image quality across the image area. Panasonic’s Nano Surface Coating reduces internal reflections, while the seven-bladed circular diaphragm helps to produce attractive out-of-focus highlights. Being a micro four thirds lens, it is compatible with Panasonic LUMIX G models as well as with cameras manufactured by Olympus. At 305g, this lens weighs less than half of similar full-frame lenses.
European Photo Printer 2012-2013
Canon PIXMA PRO-1
With 12 high-capacity pigment-ink cartridges, the Canon PIXMA PRO-1 is the perfect choice for making long-lasting prints of outstanding quality. This is a printer aimed at serious amateurs as well as professional photographers. Not only is the colour rendering excellent and consistent, but also, with five dedicated monochrome inks, black & white prints are highly detailed and really stand out. In colour, skin tones appear natural and are reproduced with a high level of accuracy.
The printer supports media of up to A3+ and works quickly, taking less than three minutes to print an A3 photograph, and a second paper feed adds extra flexibility for those using extra-thick media. The PIXMA PRO-1 is full of modern technology that delivers excellent quality with relatively low running costs.
European Photo Software 2012-2013
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 is a comprehensive set of tools to manage, develop and publish digital images. The new version can bring out details from shadows and highlights to an extent never seen before, and can apply sophisticated adjustments either globally or locally. The new Map module will organise pictures by location, based on the GPS data captured by the camera. Digital cameras are increasingly being used to capture moving images, and Lightroom 4 can manage and process those video clips as well as it does still images. Photoshop Lightroom 4 allows the photographer to share pictures via social networks and photo-sharing websites, but also to design and order professional-looking photo books.