EISA – Europe’s Best Products 2013-14
August 28, 2013
It gives me great pleasure to introduce this special section devoted to the awards agreed by the Photo Panel of the European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA). The products mentioned have been voted for after a meeting attended by the editors of Europe’s 17 best photographic magazines.
The process of discussion and voting was relatively painless and swift, as for the most part the answers were pretty obvious, and in the main the products that the AP technical department and I believed should win did win. We certainly have no complaints, and I’m proud to be able to present this field with full confidence.
For a long time, AP has been famous the world over for its in-depth and thorough testing processes, and it is incredibly important to me, and to the magazine, that awards we put our name to are true, meaningful and well deserved. These awards are all three, and the cameras, lenses and accessories presented here are guaranteed by AP and by EISA to keep you more than satisfied.
Damien Demolder, Editor
EISA Photo Panel Members
Editor: Klaus Lorbeer
Editor: Erik Derycke
Editor: Rudolf Stáhlich
Editor: Paolo Namias
Editor: Dirk van der Spek
Editor: Toralf Sandaker
Editor: Krzysztof Patrycy
Other 2013-2014 EISA Awards
EUROPEAN LOUDSPEAKER – Sonus faber Venere 2.5
EUROPEAN STEREO SYSTEM – Pioneer PD-50/A-70
EUROPEAN DIGITAL AUDIO PLAYER – Marantz NA-11S1
EUROPEAN WIRELESS HI-FI HEADPHONE – AKG K935
EUROPEAN HIGH-END AUDIO – T+A MP 3000 HV/PA 3000 HV
EUROPEAN USB DAC – Meridian Explorer
EUROPEAN MICRO AUDIO SYSTEM – LG CM3430
EUROPEAN COMPACT HI-FI SYSTEM – Panasonic SC-PMX9
EUROPEAN WIRELESS SPEAKER SYSTEM – DALI KUBIK FREE
EUROPEAN HI-FI ACCESSORY – AudioQuest Carbon USB cable
EUROPEAN HT LOUDSPEAKER – KEF E305
EUROPEAN HT INNOVATION – Philips Fidelio HTL9100
EUROPEAN HT RECEIVER – Sony STR-DA5800ES
EUROPEAN HT SOUNDBAR – Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 2
EUROPEAN HT HIGH-END – Krell Foundation
EUROPEAN HT UNIVERSAL PLAYER – OPPO BDP-103EU
EUROPEAN PROJECTOR – JVC DLA-X55R
EUROPEAN HT SOLUTION – Loewe Individual 55 Slim Frame/3D Orchestra 5.1 IS
EUROPEAN TV – Sony BRAVIA KDL-55W905A
EUROPEAN HOME CINEMA TV – Panasonic VIERA TX-P60ZT65
EUROPEAN SMART TV – Samsung UE55F8000
EUROPEAN ULTRA HD TV – Philips 65PFL9708
EUROPEAN DESIGN TV – LG 55EA980V
EUROPEAN CAMCORDER – JVC GC-PX100
EUROPEAN IN-CAR HEAD UNIT – Kenwood DNN9230DAB
EUROPEAN IN-CAR NAVI-MEDIA SYSTEM – Parrot ASTEROID Tablet
EUROPEAN IN-CAR AMPLIFIER – Hertz HCP 5D
EUROPEAN IN-CAR SPEAKER SYSTEM – Focal PS 165FX
EUROPEAN IN-CAR SUBWOOFER – GLADEN ZERO 12 PRO
EUROPEAN IN-CAR STREAMING SOLUTION – MOSCONI DSP_AMAS
EUROPEAN IN-CAR INTEGRATION – Focal DSA 500RT
EUROPEAN IN-CAR HIGH-END COMPONENT – Ground Zero GZPA Reference 2T
EUROPEAN MOBILE HEADPHONE – JVC HA-FXZ200
EUROPEAN MOBILE AUDIO SYSTEM – Harman Kardon Onyx
EUROPEAN TABLET – Sony Xperia Tablet Z
EUROPEAN ADVANCED SMARTPHONE – HTC One
EUROPEAN CONSUMER SMARTPHONE – Huawei Ascend P6
EUROPEAN SOCIAL MEDIA PHONE – Samsung GALAXY S4 mini
EUROPEAN GREEN TV – Philips 50PFL5008
EUROPEAN GREEN SMART PHONE – Samsung GALAXY S4
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.
Winners 2013 – 2014
The D7100 is the current flagship of Nikon’s DX camera family,combining excellent image quality and advanced features.Its APS-C sensor is designed without an optical low-pass filter, which allows us to take full advantage of its 24-million-pixel resolution with no loss of sharpness. The fast 51-point AF system and high-speed continuous shooting are perfect for capturing action, while the reliable metering system delivers consistently accurate exposures. The bright optical viewfinder and crisp LCD screen allow both traditional eye-level and ‘live view’shooting modes. Movie shooters will appreciate the clean, uncompressed HDMI output, which can be recorded directly to an external storage device.
Sony Alpha SLT-A99
Sony’s flagship camera, the Alpha SLT-A99, provides the demanding photographer with excellent image quality and a host of innovative features through its use of a full-frame sensor and its SLT electronic viewfinder system. The camera’s Exmor CMOS sensor features 24.3 million pixels which, via the BIONZ image processor, can output 14-bit raw files at a rate of six frames per second, while the camera’s unique dual phase-detection AF system is designed to keep up with fast-moving subjects. Sophisticated video controls and high-quality recording modes make this an excellent choice for shooting moving images too. Sony has used magnesium alloy to create a professional-build body, and has incorporated a very high-resolution vari-angle 3in LCD panel that allows shooting from almost any angle.
Canon EOS 100D
The Canon EOS 100D is the world’s smallest and lightest APS-C digital SLR. As a reflex camera, it offers a very high level of performance, and it is compatible with the accessories and lenses of the EOS family, even though some of the lenses will look big when attached to this tiny model. The miniaturised body will appeal to those looking for a small, lightweight and portable camera that still affords the user the controls needed for creative photography. A collection of automatic modes, and touchscreen operation, make the camera very easy to use for those new to photography, but the 18-million-pixel sensor still produces top-level image quality.
Canon EOS 6D
The Canon EOS 6D offers many of the features and benefits of Canon’s professional full-frame bodies, but at a much more accessible price. Some features even outclass those of the company’s EOS 5D Mark III, such as the camera’s AF performance in low-light conditions – it is both faster and more effective in darker situations. With the full-frame benefits of low noise, expanded exposure latitude and high dynamic range, the EOS 6D also offers a shutter delay of only 47ms and a continuous shooting frame rate of 4.5fps for up to 1,250 pictures. The EOS 6D is the smallest Canon full-frame camera and, with Wi-Fi and GPS, makes a great choice for enthusiast photographers.
Compact, fast, innovative and with superb picture quality, the Samsung NX300 meets and beats the expectations of CSC users in many ways while opening the door for a new generation of connected cameras. It offers a high-resolution APS-C-sensor with 20.3 million pixels, a hybrid autofocus system and a crisp 3.3in AMOLED screen. The NX300 is impressively fast, with a top frame rate of 8.6fps and a maximum 1/6000sec shutter speed. With built-in dual-band Wi-Fi and Near-Field-Communication (NFC) connectivity that is easy to use, the camera is ready for wireless connection to a mobile phone, tablet, PC or (smart) TV so images can be quickly shared with friends and family.
Olympus PEN E-P5
The Olympus PEN E-P5 is a high-speed and technically very modern compact system camera with a retro Sixties design. The camera’s top shutter speed of 1/8000sec is one of the shortest for a compact system model, while the five-axis image-stabilisation system is unique in this category. The camera offers a 16-million-pixel, four thirds sensor with an ISO range of 100 to 25,600, built-in Wi-Fi and many creative shooting modes and art filters. Suitable for using in all types of lighting conditions and photographic situations, the PEN E-P5 is a stylish but practical model that is compatible with a large range of special accessories and grips.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX50/HX50V
Following the tradition of this category’s winner from the 2012-2013 EISA awards, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20, the HX50 is the world’s smallest compact camera with a 30x zoom lens – stretching the limits of the compact zoom segment even more. Equipped with a Sony G-class lens, the DSC-HX50 offers a great balance of worry-free point-and-shoot photography and high-level manual control and customisation. The HX50V also includes GPS to record the exact location where a picture was taken. Other features, like the 20.4-million-pixel Exmor R CMOS sensor, the highly effective optical stabilisation, the 1080p AVCHD video and the dedicated exposure compensation dial, will be very much appreciated by photographers of all levels.
Continuing the successful design and concept of the X100, the Fujifilm X100S advances this lightweight and compact fixed-lens series with a 16-million-pixel APS-C size X-Trans CMOS II sensor. It also features faster in-camera processing, a more advanced hybrid viewfinder but still uses the same excellent 23mm f/2 wideangle Fujinon lens.
Fuji’s unique split-image technology makes manual focusing easy, and the X-Trans sensor achieves extraordinary image resolution by eliminating the low-pass filter. Moiré artefacts are avoided via the unique colour patterning of the X-Trans sensor. The improved viewfinder combines an optical rangefinder with a 2,360K-dot LCD panel for maximum clarity, and the addition of a phase-detection AF system improves focusing in all conditions.
Olympus TOUGH TG-2
The Olympus Tough TG-2 is more than just a shockproof, crushproof, freezeproof and waterproof compact. It is also a very sophisticated compact camera featuring a bright 4x zoom lens (25-100mm equivalent) with a wide maximum aperture of f/2. The high-speed autofocus system makes this camera a solid choice for outdoor action photography, and the 12-million-pixel BSI CMOS sensor delivers good image quality. In Super Macro mode the minimum focus distance is only 1cm, while the camera’s built-in GPS allows you to record exactly where a picture was taken and then place the locations on a map.
Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Macro 1:1
Extremely sharp even when used at its maximum aperture, the Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Macro 1:1 is one of the best macro lenses on the market, comfortably outperforming its legendary predecessor with the same focal length. Not only does it impress with its optical quality but also with its functionality. The lens boasts compelling features such as a moisture-resistant design, quick and near silent autofocus with an ultrasonic motor (USD) and image stabilisation. The Vibration Compensation (VC) system allows shake-free handheld pictures with shutter speeds of up to 4 stops longer than usual. With a remarkably low price for its performance and features, this lens is great choice for photographers interested in macro or portrait photography.
Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x
A great sensation for the optical world, this super telephoto full-frame stabilised zoom lens opens a new era for professional optics. The Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x has a built-in teleconverter that allows the photographer to switch to extended focal lengths in just a second. As the teleconverter is integrated into the design of the lens it can be activated safely in harsh conditions without exposing the camera’s mirror and sensor. With the converter in place the lens becomes a 280-560mm f/5.6, but for those who need even greater reach this optic is compatible with Canon’s Extender EF 2x III. Although for the enthusiast this is an extremely expensive lens, its ultimate optical quality guarantees uncompromised results for sport and wildlife photography.
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
This fast f/2.8 telephoto zoom lens for full-frame SLRs delivers very good image quality and remarkably consistent resolution. The VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabiliser effectively compensates for camera shake in the Canon and Nikon versions of the lens. Weather-sealing around the bayonet makes this lens a good choice for outdoor photography and the ultrasonic motor (USD) provides fast and silent autofocus. Overall, the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD can compete with the best 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses from all other optical brands, so its lower cost makes it an excellent choice for the money.
ZEISS Touit 2.8/12
The Zeiss Touit 2.8/12 is a well-built 12mm wideangle lens, designed specifically for use on APS-C-sized image sensors in compact system cameras. The Distagon construction uses 11 elements in eight groups and Carl Zeiss T* anti-reflective coatings, which improve light transmission and image contrast by minimising surface reflections, lens flare, and ghosting. Its angle of view is 99°, which is the same as an 18mm lens provides on a full-frame camera. Thanks to the nine aperture blades, users will enjoy very smooth and attractive out-of-focus highlights. The Touit lens is built with extreme precision and designed to have a long working life, which is reflected in its price.
Panasonic LUMIX G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6
With this update of the LUMIX G Vario 14-140mm f/4-5.8 ASPH Power OIS, Panasonic offers a much smaller and lighter version of its kit lens, which has a smooth and silent operation mode and looks perfect fitted to the GH3 and G6 LUMIX cameras. The weight reduction of almost 200g and the improved Optical Image Stabilizer Power (OIS) both make this a much more user-friendly lens, while the seven-bladed aperture creates smooth out-of-focus highlights. An all-metal, black-painted finish makes this a very smart looking lens that fits in well with the style of the Panasonic LUMIX G system.
Samsung GALAXY NX
No manufacturer has done more than Samsung in the quest for making cameras that allow the photographer to communicate with the outside world. With the GALAXY NX, Samsung is showing us once again the future world of ‘connected’ photography. This is the first time an advanced system camera has been combined with a modern interactive 4.8in touchscreen tablet. Through its interchangeable lens system and its use of the Android 4.2.2 operating system, the GALAXY NX promises a real integration of high quality digital photography, mobile editing and full-time connectivity.
DxO Optics Pro 8
DxO Optics Pro 8 is a very powerful software application designed for editing camera raw files that offers a host of unique features and functions. High-quality results can be easily obtained using just the application’s automatic settings, as it corrects geometric, colour and shading errors using data held within the image file. High ISO noise is dealt with very effectively, leaving clean and clear images with little loss of fine detail. The software is easy to use, and the presets allow a fast, but good quality process, though manual correction controls are available for the advanced user.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH3
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH3 offers the best video quality of any combined still and movie camera in this price segment – and actually in some higher segments as well. It offers full manual as well as completely automatic video recording, making it ideal for in-the-field shooting as well as more formal situations. It’s also a pretty handy stills camera with a full range of controls, making it an impressively flexible package. The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH3 is very popular with videographers partly because it is a very lightweight and rugged weather-resistant camera that’s serviced by a great selection of high-quality lenses.
The Manfrotto MVH500AH is a lightweight and compact tripod head with a wide sliding plate that is suitable for use with big DSLR telephoto lenses and professional-quality video cameras. It ensures smooth adjustments, fine controls and sharp pictures. As it can be mounted on standard photo tripods, the MVH500AH is an ideal accessory for photo enthusiasts who want to start exploring the video functions of their cameras. The head achieves its smooth motion using professional fluid cartridges on both pan and tilt axes, and a locking system makes it quick and simple to lift the camera out of the head. The MVH500AH is able to support equipment of up to 5kg and an Easy Link 3/8in connector also allows an external monitor or other accessories to be fitted directly to the head.
GoPro HERO3 Black Edition
The GoPro HERO3 Black Edition is the most sophisticated action cam around. Robust, lightweight and compact, it’s an ideal partner for outdoor enthusiasts, from surfers and cyclists to deep-sea divers. Acting as both a camcorder and a stills camera, the GoPro gives users total flexibility over what they shoot – modes include slow-motion, full HD and low-frame-rate 4K/Ultra HD. Accessories in the Black Edition set include a Wi-Fi remote, waterproof housing and adhesive mounts and pivots, so it can be used in many different environments. Pairing with smartphones and tablets lets you monitor and control what you’re filming. Essentially, whatever you want to do, this smallscale cam can do it.