Best D–SLR Entry Level: Nikon D40x
With a resolution of 10 megapixels and a sensitivity range from 100 to 3200 ISO, the Nikon D40x is an excellent D-SLR for those entering the world of digital photography, with superb image quality and a very fast shutter response. In a kit package with a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens, it comes with many advanced features and offers a shooting rate of up to three frames per second. The D40x is light, compact and boasts a high quality 2.5in LCD display for camera set-up and image review.
Best D–SLR Expert: Pentax K10D
With a rugged build quality featuring no less than 72 weather and dust seals, the Pentax K10D offers a solid specification: 10MP sensor, image stabilization; 11-point autofocus system; sensitivity range from 100 to 1600 ISO; high definition RAW mode plus JPEG; sensor cleaning system and interchangeable viewfinder screens. The ergonomics have been expertly designed, making the camera a useful tool in the field for the enthusiast photographer. Including an 18-55mm lens and coming in at a price under 1000 euros, this D-SLR represents a genuine, high quality alternative to some more expensive professional camera bodies.
Best D–SLR Professional: Canon EOS-1D Mark III
This is an impressive D-SLR that shoots at a staggering 10 frames per second with a full resolution of 10MP. It also offers an 19-point autofocus system, a weather-sealed body, a triple mode sensor cleaning system, a permanent Live View mode and a full complement of user-defined custom functions. All this adds up to greater control and enhanced creativity for the working photographer, making the Canon EOS-1D Mark III the ideal tool for professional sport, action and wildlife photography.
Best Medium Format Digital System: Hasselblad H3D, series
Developed around a new digital camera engine, the H3D series is Hasselblad´s most recent D-SLR for professional photographers. The new H3D design has also made possible the launch of a new 28mm lens, designed and optimised for digital image capture. The H3D is available in three configurations – the H3D-39 and H3D-22 utilise a high-resolution 48x36mm sensor with 39 and 22 megapixel resolution, and the H3D-31 features an ISO 800 sensitivity, 31 megapixel 44x33mm sensor and a fast shooting rate of up to 1.2secs per image.
Best Rangefinder Digital Camera: Leica M8
The Leica M8 digital range finder camera combines Leica tradition in optical and mechanical components with latest digital technology, and fully preserves the look and feel of the M-Family. The M8 features a 10.3 Megapixel CCD sensor, and images can be recorded on SD Card in JPEG or DNG file formats. A 6-Bit-Code on the M-Lenses enables the M8 to optimize image processing specifically for each lens. The 2.5in LCD provides RGB histogram and clipping information, and the new shutter sports a top speed of 1/8000sec and a flash sync of 1/250sec.
Best Ultra Compact Digital Camera: Fujifilm FinePix Z5fd
The Fujifilm FinePix Z5fd is a compact, technological marvel that combines elegant design with a host of practical features. On top of its Face Detection system, it offers a 6MP Super CCD HR sensor, a top sensitivity of 1600 ISO and an innovative “with and without flash” feature which shoots two pictures in quick succession and allows the user to choose the best. All the Z5fd’s features are dedicated to producing the best possible result for the enthusiast, and to cap it all, this fast, responsive and easy-to-use ultra-compact is on sale at a very attractive price.
Best Compact Digital Camera: Nikon Coolpix P5000
The Nikon P5000 brings the creative controls of a D-SLR into the body of a compact camera. It is designed with a prominent grip for stable shooting, and features both an optical viewfinder and a large 3in LCD that offers an excellent display for image composition and review. For the seasoned photographer, the MASP modes are fast to access, making this camera feel more like a D-SLR in operation. The hotshoe is i-TTL compatible and works fluently with the SB400, SB600 and SB800 Speedlights. To deliver quality images, the P5000 boasts a 10MP sensor, a 36-126mm (equivalent) f/2.7-5.3 zoom lens and an optical image stabilizer.
Best Superzoom Digital Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3
With a 10x Leica DC Vario-Elmar lens equivalent to 28-280mm, the small Lumix DMC-TZ3 provides a new step forward in the battle against blur. Stabilizers can compensate for camera shake, but not for the movement of the subject in low light conditions. Combining the well-known Mega O.I.S. optical stabilizer with the new Intelligent ISO Control feature, Panasonic offers a world-first solution to capture sharp images in most lighting conditions. The camera’s image-processing Venus Engine III is able to detect the movements of the subject and, if necessary, it automatically raises the ISO sensitivity to let the shutter work at a faster speed.
Best Multimedia Camera: Samsung i7
After first inventing the multimedia camera, Samsung have now perfected the concept. The i7 is a slim, high quality 7 megapixel camera equipped with a 3x optical zoom, face recognition, a shake reduction system and 14 shooting modes. It is also a camcorder, an MP3 and multimedia player, a text viewer, a voice recorder and a portable storage drive. Rotate the 3in LCD touch screen display and you will find the feature you need. Exclusive too is the World Tour Guide: 4000 nuggets of information and images from 30 countries in a user-friendly graphical interface.
Best Entry Level Lens: AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm
f/4-5.6G IF ED
This new 3.6x telephoto zoom lens from Nikon makes the Vibration reduction image stabilisation system available to everyone. This feature compensates for the image blurring caused by camera shake, which is particularly prevalent when hand-holding with telephoto zooms. Thanks to the VR mode, it is possible to shoot sharp images with up to 3 stops less light, so for the enthusiast, an aperture of f/5.6 behaves more like f/2.0. This lens, the perfect complement for the standard 18-55mm model, is made with 15 elements (one with extra low dispersion ED glass), and seven diaphragm blades form a near circular aperture to reduce diffraction significantly.
Best Expert Lens: Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DC Macro
Why make it complex, when you can make it simple and still enjoy superb quality? For this telephoto macro lens, Sigma has used a very simple optical design, but has developed and included two decisive ingredients – a group of floating elements and the new SML multiple surface coating. The result is an excellent macro lens that’s purpose-built for D-SLRs with APS-C sized sensors. And there’s more: chromatic aberration is absent, distortion and vignetting are invisible, and the optics achieve a 1:1 reproduction ratio at the minimum focusing distance of 25cm. A great reference lens at an affordable price.
Best Professional Lens: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM
The new Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM has been redesigned to deliver higher contrast levels and improved resolving power to the professional user. To ensure edge-to-edge sharpness and contrast throughout the focal range, the weatherproof lens includes three types of aspherical lens elements (ground, replicated and glass moulded). Two UD lens elements offset chromatic aberration and Supra Spectra coatings surpress flare and ghosting, completing the all-new optical setup. The AF-system provides improved autofocus algorithms and passes distance information to E-TTL II flash units. To round off, a near circular aperture allows for superb rendition of out-of-focus areas.
Best Prestige Camera: Ricoh Caplio GX100
The Ricoh Caplio GX100 is one of the very few digital compact cameras with a true wide-angle zoom lens, starting at 24mm (35mm film equivalent). The optional wide conversion lens enables users to shoot 19mm ultra wide-angle photography. The Caplio GX100 is also the ﬁrst digital camera to support a removable electronic viewﬁnder. This option is great for photography in bright, outdoor environments, while still offering 100% viewﬁnder coverage without parallax error and multi information display similar to a LCD monitor.
Best Innovative Design: Olympus µ 770 SW
The Olympus µ 770 SW compact succeeds in combining a heavy-duty body with an elegant design. But the all-metal finish isn’t merely cosmetic – it can withstand loads of up to 100kg, can be submerged to a depth of 10 metres, can survive falls up to 1.5 metres and still keeps shooting at a temperature of –10°C! With its stylish casing and all-round good looks, the µ 770 SW is as happy in a designer handbag just as much as it is in an outdoor photographer’s camera bag. An entirely unique design, it offers a great range of features beyond its rugged build, including a 3x zoom lens (38-114mm equivalent), a 7 megapixel sensor, and Olympus’ excellent BrightCapture Technology, which allows sharp, high-quality images to be taken in low-light conditions.
Best Flatbed Photo Scanner: HP Scanjet G4050
The Hewlett-Packard Scanjet G4050 gives superior colour accuracy and photo reproduction, thanks to its innovative 6-color, 96-bit scanning engine. It scans up to sixteen 35 mm slides or 30 negative frames, and also can scan other film sizes using a built-in adapter. Dust and scratches on the film are removed at the touch of a button, and faded colour is corrected using the included software. The Scanjet G4050 even automatically removes red eye and enhances details in dark photos using HP Real Life technologies.
Best Small Format Photo Printer: Canon SELPHY ES1
The Canon SELPHY ES1 sports a new all-in-one ink and media cassette, with one-touch operation for greater ease of use. This convenient system also reduces the risk of spoiled prints, because the paper is not exposed to dust. The SELPHY ES1 incorporates Canon’s DIGIC II image processor, based on the same technology used in Canon’s professional digital SLRs, for near-instant start up and fast operation. A new print head controller allows the SELPHY ES1 to achieve a class-leading print resolution for dye-sublimation printers of 300x600dpi.
Best Accessory: Manfrotto 190XPROB
The innovative design of the 190XPROB allows photographers to quickly switch the tripod’s centre column from a vertical to a horizontal position. This is important for macro and nature photographers, and previous versions required the centre column to be unscrewed prior to horizontal placement – a time consuming process. This new model allows the switch to be completed in seconds, and there’s also a refined leglock system to further improve use in the field.
Best Expert Photo Printer: Epson Stylus Pro 3800
The Epson Stylus Pro 3800 is a 17in wide printer using new photographic screening technology. Epson UltraChrome K3 Ink technology features three-level Black ink, along with new colour pigments. A 1in print head allows both photo and matte Black ink to be installed and switched automatically. The Epson Stylus Pro 3800 handles print sizes from 4x6 up to 17x22in and is capable of handling media up to 1.5mm thick plus a single-sheet feeder optimized for fine art papers.
Best Multifunction Photo Printer: Canon PIXMA MP810
The Canon PIXMA MP810 Photo All-In-One offers consumers a versatile device that can deliver 9600x2400ppi colour scans, and can produce a photo-lab quality 4x6in borderless photo in approximately 21 seconds. The five-tank ChromaLife100 ink system supplies long-lasting prints, while the individual ink tanks feature Smart LED lights to alert the user to low ink levels. The MP810 is also easy to use. Canon has reduced the number of buttons by approximately half compared to competing multifunction models.
Best Large Format Printer: HP Designjet Z3100
The HP Designjet Z3100 Photo Printer is a professional printer available in 24 or 44in models. The 12-ink printing system with HP Vivera pigment inks improves gamut, durability and printing quality in colour as well as in black & white. Color control and reproduction is improved due to the embedded spectrophotometer with X-Rite i1 colour technology, which allows the printer to calibrate colour reproduction in an automated process. In addition to this, the HP Designjet provides a complete coverage of standards for colour accuracy in pre-press applications.
Best Fine Art Inkjet Paper: Hahnemühle Photo Rag Pearl 320
Hahnemühle Photo Rag Pearl 320 FineArt Paper is a natural white, OBA-free, pure cotton rag paper with a soft, smooth surface combined with the innovative Hahnemühle pearl coating. The paper features a high Dmax and a large colour gamut that enables the reproduction of the finest colour and black & white images. Due to the exclusive use of cotton rag this premium paper is extremely age-resistant and complies with the highest conservational standards.
Best Imaging Storage Media: Lexar Professional 300x CompactFlash
The new Lexar Professional 300x CompactFlash provides high-speed memory card performance for professional photographers and photo enthusiasts. The Lexar Professional 300x CF memory cards increase card-to-computer transfer rates when paired with a UDMA-enabled reader, improve functionality of the latest rapid-fire D-SLR cameras and provide support for the next generation of high-resolution UDMA-enabled digital cameras. The read/write speed goes up to 300x (45MB/sec) in all capacities and available in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB storage sizes.
Best Storage Back-up: Epson Multimedia Storage Viewer P-5000
The Epson P-5000 Photo Viewer offers 80GB of storage capacity and a large, 4in LCD based on Epson Photo Fine Ultra LCD technology. Besides JPEG and RAW files, a variety of video and audio formats are also supported, making this a true multimedia device. The Epson P-5000 displays 24-bit colour images with up to 16.7 million colors, and compatibility with both sRGB and Adobe RGB colour spaces allow for a more accurate display. The P-5000 provides SD and CF card slots plus a USB 2.0 interface, which allows for fast transfer to and from a PC.
Best Imaging Innovation: Samsung Smart Touch User Interface
This new user interface offers an ingenious and rapid solution for changing camera modes and settings. Instead of the familiar approach, where buttons often need to be pushed a number of times to alter and confirm a choice, Samsung camera models featuring Smart Touch allow the photographer to change settings by touching the switch next to, say, the ISO screen icon, and then simply stroking a finger along the row of touch-sensitive pads to select the desired speed. With a matrix of seven horizontal and six vertical pads, it’s fast, efficient, accurate and a real joy to use.
Best Photo Software: Apple Aperture 1.5
Apple Aperture 1.5 is a high quality, all-in-one post production tool for photographers, that makes shooting in RAW as easy as shooting in JPEG. It features sophisticated file management including ‘Smart Albums’ for automatic searching, comprehensive RAW image support and non-destructive image editing for JPEG and TIFF files. New adjustment options in Aperture 1.5 include a luminance-based Edge Sharpen filter for high-quality sharpening, and a Colour tool that lets photographers tune the hue, saturation and luminance of specific colour ranges within each image.
Best Color Management System: X-Rite i1PhotoLT
The X-Rite i1PhotoLT offers RGB colour management for professionals and high-end enthusiasts. The multi-purpose Spectrophotometer device can be used for colour calibration and ICC profiling of CRT, LCD and notebook displays plus all printers capable of printing RGB data. The system comes with hardware and i1-Match 3.6 software, and a backup board allows test charts to be scanned, too. The i1PhotoLT enables users to build a consistent colour management workflow and can be upgraded to include CMYK capabilities, or profiling of digital cameras, scanners and projectors.
Best Digital Accessory: Delkin SensorScope
Delkin’s innovative SensorScope enables photographers to check their digital camera sensor to see if it needs cleaning, or to see if a cleaning action was successful. Up until now, the latter was only possible by taking a picture of a white surface and checking this on the computer, making cleaning a frustrating process. The SensorScope provides a 5x magnification lens and 4 ultra-bright LED lights, which are focused to completely illuminate the field of inspection.
Best Expert Photo Projector: Casio XJ-S35
This new projector from Casio boasts a slimline body just 43mm thick, and offers a great fusion of portability and technology for photo presentations. Ultra-compact yet powerful (2000ANSI lumen), it can create slick photo shows directly from USB drives and can also add WiFi connectivity through an optional adaptor. Its native XGA resolution is more than adequate for data and image display, and it benefits from a motorised 2x zoom lens which adjusts easily and quickly in any projection environment.
Best Pro Photo Projector: JVC DLA-HD1
The JVC DLA-HD1 is a full HD (1920 x 1080) front projector with a native contrast ratio of 15,000:1, which is the industry’s highest native contrast ratio without the use of an iris. The new optical engine dramatically improves the precision of light polarization, preventing light leakage into the projection lens, thus allowing the closest so far to true black reproduction. The DLA-HD1 offers a 2x zoom lens, a lens shift mechanism, and front fan intake and exhaust for placement flexibility.
Best Film: Kodak Portra II
The latest series of Portra by Kodak includes four colour negative professional films that offer fine grain, excellent resolving power and superb colour precision. These four films are the Portra 160 NC and VC, and the Portra 400 NC and VC. With both NC films, photographers can get the ultimate in neutrality, with accurate, lifelike colours, and with the VC versions, there’s the opportunity to exploit enhanced colour brilliancy thanks to the superior contrast on offer. First created for portrait photographers, these films are also a popular choice with photo journalists who choose silver halide to document the world.
Best Expert Camcorder: JVC HD Everio GZ-HD7
The JVC Everio GZ-HD7 is a consumer-level High Definition 3-CCD camcorder capable of shooting and recording full HD images (1920x1080i). Because JVC’s pixel-shift system uses progressive scan CCDs, signals are processed first as 1920x1080p progressive signals, then converted to 1920x1080i interlace signals for recording. As a result, the system records a higher resolution HD image than an interline (IL) CCD system. To accentuate the image quality, the GZ-HD7 features a Fujinon lens normally used in broadcast video cameras, and this is the first time such a lens has been used in a consumer camcorder.
Best Pro Camcorder: Sony HDR-FX7E
The Sony HDR-FX7E camcorder extends the benefits of 1080-line full HD shooting to a wide range of applications. Its HDMI interface allows digital connection of uncompressed High Definition video and audio signals to HD-ready televisions and other displays via a single cable. The Sony FX7E marks the first-ever use of 3ClearVid CMOS Sensor technology, a process that uses a new pixel distribution to achieve higher resolution and increased sensitivity (4 lux minimum), boosting resolution, sensitivity and colour accuracy compared with conventional sensors.
Best Mobile Imaging Device: Nokia N95
The Nokia N95 is a small mobile wonder and a camera as well. The Carl Zeiss Tessar 5.3mm f/2.8 autofocus lens (35mm equivalent) and the 1/2.5in CMOS 5MP (2592x1944) sensor combine to make sharp, large prints. The adoption of a real mechanical shutter from 1/3 to 1/1000sec lets light hit the pixels instantly, thus avoiding distortions of moving subjects. The Zeiss lens focuses down to 10cm and, if needed, the 20x digital zoom helps the user get closer to distant subjects. The N95 saves images on a microSD card, and edits and transfers them over WLAN, USB or Bluetooth. Beyond other top audio, video and web capabilities, the GPS functionality makes it possible to check street maps in more than 100 countries.
Best Digital Minilab: Fujifilm Frontier 550
Fujifilm’s Frontier 550 digital lab system delivers up to 1200 prints (4R size) per hour in spite of its compact size. Its dry-to-dry processing time is only one minute and 22 seconds, which brings total processing time for a single order of 24 prints down to only 2 minutes and 24 seconds. This performance is achieved by using Fujifilm’s new CP-49E Chemical System and Crystal Archive Paper Type II. Fujifilm’s Frontier Manager lab management system also improves operator workflow and maximizes output capabilities.
Best Photo Kiosk: HP Photosmart Studio
Printed photo albums are becoming more popular every day, but so far they have been time consuming to produce. The Hewlett-Packard Photosmart Studio is the first and only in-store solution where consumers can design creative products in about five minutes and pick them up in one hour or less. Simple and quick to use, the process does not require people to select, crop or place photos into templates on each individual page. Instead, hundreds of photos are laid out in minutes using sophisticated proprietary image management algorithms.
Best Monitor: EIZO ColorEdge CG 211
The EIZO ColorEdge CG211 is a professional colour display for softproofing with 12-bit hardware calibration capability and uniform brightness and colour across the screen. The Digital Uniformity Equalizer (DUE) ensures proper display of colour and the 21-Inch panel runs at an optimum resolution of 1600x1200, with 225 cd/sqm brightness and an impressive contrast ratio of 500:1. The EIZO-developed software, ColorNavigator, offers 12-bit hardware calibration when used with a GretagMacbeth, X-Rite, or ColorVision measurement device. The CG211 also comes with support for portrait mode with both Mac and Windows systems.