The European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) comprises an international membership of more than 50 special-interest magazines, who meet several times a year to assess the very best photographic, video, audio, home theatre, in-car and mobile products on the market. As well as two members from the USA, this year EISA welcomed three Australian members – well, if Eurovision can do it, so can we!
AP is part of EISA’s Photo Panel, alongside 14 of the best photographic magazines across continental Europe. Like us, all these publications employ rigorous testing processes and are respected in their home countries for the quality of their reviews. Every June all the panels meet to determine the year’s winners, and these are then presented at an Awards ceremony in Berlin, Germany. It’s always a difficult job, and it becomes ever more challenging because cameras across the board just get better and better all the time.
We reveal those cameras, lenses and accessories that the Photo Panel selected this year as being the cream of the crop, the crème de la crème, the besten der besten and so on. Each of these winners is deserving of the prestigious EISA 2017-2018 award.
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.eu/awards.
EISA Prosumer Compact System Camera 2017-2018: Sony 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 touchscreen 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.
EISA Consumer DSLR Camera 2017-2018: Canon EOS 77D
The Canon EOS 77D adopts many key features from the semi-professional EOS 80D. The 24.2-million-pixel CMOS sensor achieves a better dynamic range than its predecessor.
A big advantage is the Dual Pixel CMOS AF that enables a very fast and smooth autofocus during live view and video. Combined with STM or Nano USM lenses, the focus is very quiet. The viewfinder autofocus is also greatly improved, with 45 cross-type points. The new DIGIC 7 processor delivers enough power for fast continuous shooting (6 frames per second) and Full HD-video with high frame rates (1080/60p). The top-plate LCD and the quick control dial allow fast operation.
Other modern features are the articulated touchscreen and Wi-Fi, which is accompanied by Bluetooth for easy access.
EISA Professional DSLR Camera 2017-2018: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is the tool of many professional photographers all over the world. Compared to its predecessor, the EOS 5D Mark III, Canon has increased the still image quality significantly with higher resolution and wider dynamic range, while the autofocus has become more sensitive. The video function is also much more advanced with high-quality 4K recording and fast autofocus in live view mode.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV also features the innovative new Dual Pixel Raw feature, which allows sharpness and background blur to be fine-tuned later. All in all, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV will remain a class-leading camera for several years to come.
EISA Compact Camera Camera 2017-2018: Sony RX100 V
The Sony RX100 V is a high-tech masterpiece in a very compact body. Like its predecessor, the RX100 IV, the RX100 V 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 1,000 frames per second, silent shooting and a multi-function control ring for personalised use.
EISA Photo & Video Camera 2017-2018: Panasonic GH5
The Panasonic DC-GH5 focuses all the brand’s know-how in both photo and video. The body is well balanced, weather resistant and has an excellent electronic viewfinder. With a 20.3-million-pixel Four Thirds sensor it delivers good picture quality up to ISO 3200, with excellent autofocus and internal stabilisation.
In video it provides an excellent compromise between image quality, features and price, and allows recording up to 4K/60p 4:2:2 10-bit onto the memory card without recording-time limitation. With high-end features such as a high-speed 6K Photo mode, slow motion, automatic focus transition, Vlog and an XLR module for sound recording, the GH5 offers endless possibilities for creative video production.
EISA Consumer Compact System Camera 2017-2018: Fujifilm X-T20
The Fujifilm X-T20 is a compact, mirrorless consumer camera that produces sharp, clean images and 4K video quality at a competitive price. At the heart of the camera is its 24.3-million-pixel X-Trans CMOS III sensor and X-Processor Pro, which are jointly responsible for the extraordinary image quality. Despite its comparatively affordable cost, the X-T20 uses the same high-quality sensor and processor as the highly regarded X-T2 and X-Pro2. The touchscreen operation and custom AF-C setting are also big pluses. Finally, the X-T20’s sharp and highly detailed 4K video recording makes this camera a great all-rounder.
EISA Prosumer DSLR Camera 2017-2018: Nikon D7500
The D7500 is an advanced DSLR camera that packs much of the innovation of the acclaimed D500 into a lightweight, robust and more affordable body. Using the same 20.9-million-pixel image sensor, processor and wide ISO range as the D500, the D7500 is a capable and versatile tool in the hands of a passionate photographer.
With a burst speed of 8 frames per second and Nikon’s proven 51-point AF system, it is well suited to capturing fast action. Thanks to Nikon’s SnapBridge technology, transferring images to a smart device is fast and seamless.
EISA Superzoom Camera 2017-2018: Sony RX10 III
At just 1,095g, 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 1,000 frames per second for a dramatic 40x slow-motion effect.
EISA Professional Compact System Lens 2017-2018: Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS
The Sony FE 70-200mm is an impressive lens covering the most popular angles for sports and action photography. Sharpness is extremely high and even 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 Alpha zoom lens for the first time, that contributes to an impressive minimum focus 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 a9. Finally the Sony FE 70-200mm is built for heavy use under all weather conditions.
EISA Compact System Zoom Lens 2017-2018: Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-200mm f/4 IS Pro
The M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200mm f/4 IS Pro is an incredible travel lens as well as a general-purpose zoom lens. It covers an 8.3x zoom range with a constant f/4 maximum aperture and built-in optical stabilisation. Built to withstand dust, moisture and rough use, the M.Zuiko 12-200mm is as sharp as many prime lenses from super-wide to telephoto and its smooth and silent focusing makes it a favourite for video as well as stills photography. Combined with Olympus’ latest pro cameras, it reduces camera shake by up to 6.5 stops, and at just 562g you can take it anywhere.
EISA DSLR Lens 2017-2018: Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM | Art
The SIGMA 135mm F1.8 DG HSM | Art is an extremely capable performer. The sharpness is better at its maximum aperture of F1.8 than its competitors are when stopped down. There is simply no reason to not use this lens wide open. SIGMA has managed to make the autofocus fast and accurate, which is impressive for such a bright lens, and the wide aperture creates a particularly beautiful background blur (bokeh).
EISA DSLR Zoom Lens 2017-2018: Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
The second generation (hence ‘G2’) of Tamron’s SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di VC USD ultra-telephoto zoom lens makes an attractive lens even better. The speed and accuracy of the autofocus system have been improved, as has the effectiveness of the built-in VC (Vibration Compensation) system. A ‘Flex Zoom Lock’ mechanism keeps the lens barrel fixed at any chosen focal length. The fluorine coating and moisture-resistant construction make the lens less vulnerable to dirt, dust and moisture. The optional TAP-in Console allows the owner to easily update the firmware as well as customise features including fine adjustments to the autofocus and vibration compensation.
EISA Professional DSLR Lens 2017-2018: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
The Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L III USM has been long awaited by many professional photographers and exceeds expectations. It’s better built than its predecessor and gives astounding sharpness over the entire image, even at its full opening of F2.8. At 16mm it actually outperforms many ultra-wide-angle prime lenses. Distortion is low, while the anti-reflective coating very effectively reduces ghosting and flare. The Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L III USM is built for everyday professional use and delivers an image quality that will satisfy even the most demanding users.
EISA Compact System Lens 2017-2018: Sony 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.
EISA Photo Innovation 2017-2018: Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD
The Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD challenges our preconceptions about what we can expect from a superzoom lens. In addition to offering the broadest zoom range of any interchangeable lens in the world, at 22.2x, it also includes an effective three-stop image stabilisation system to improve sharpness at lower shutter speeds, and weather-resistant seals to allow users to keep shooting even in adverse weather conditions. Although especially suited to travel, safari and sports photographers, the Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD will also appeal to any photographer looking for a single lens solution to cover all their shooting needs.
EISA Instant Camera 2017-2018: Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10
The Instax SQUARE SQ10 is the first hybrid instant camera that lets you take and print square photos (62x62mm). You can brighten, darken or add vignettes to your images or choose from 10 creative filters to apply, before you decide to print them. The bright LCD viewfinder makes it easy to create and edit your pictures, which are recorded in the internal memory or on a microSD card, so you can share them with your friends and family.
EISA Product of the Year 2017-2018: 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.
EISA Photo Display 2017-2018: EIZO ColorEdge CG2730
The EIZO ColorEdge CG2730 fulfils the needs of a professional photographer. With a screen size of 27in and a high resolution it can show an image at A3 size and still leave ample space for the adjustment palettes of your software. The picture quality is outstanding, with a high contrast ratio (1500:1), the ability to reproduce deep blacks, and marvellous colours that cover 99% of the Adobe RGB colour space. The most innovative feature is its easy-to-use built-in calibration sensor, which swings onto the screen when calibrating and allows different profiles to be saved, eliminating the need for third-party devices. Furthermore, the display comes with a shading hood.
EISA Smartphone Camera 2017-2018: Huawei P10
Huawei’s latest flagship is an improvement in almost every respect. Starting with its design, including a diamond-cut chassis and brave new colours, through to the faster and more secure Kirin 960 Octa-core chipset, and finishing with the shining star – the Leica-branded cameras. The dual system on the back of the Huawei P10 now has a 20-million-pixel monochrome sensor, and a 12-million-pixel colour sensor, enabling the introduction of a brand-new Portrait mode for stunning portrait photography.
On the front is an 8-million-pixel F1.9 selfie camera, also supporting the portrait mode and including Leica technology that is smart enough to recognise if there are more people in the picture, and consequently make the shot wider. For an even more professional photography experience, EISA recommends the Huawei P10 Plus.