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Best Gear Of The Year Awards 2015

ePHOTOzine's Best Gear Of The Year Awards 2015 - We pick the best cameras and accessories available in each category.

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This year has turned into another exciting year in the digital camera and photographic market, not only thanks to new and better cameras, but also by the introduction of new camera types, including the first high speed full-frame mirrorless camera (excluding digital rangefinders), the first waterproof interchangeable lens camera, the first large sensor bridge zoom camera and many more firsts.

Best Gear

Here, we have awarded what we believe to be the best of the best; the best in the range, offering not only excellent image quality but also a full range of features, excellent handling and great value for money. If you were to buy any of these cameras, you would not be disappointed. 

 


Best Budget Camera 

Canon Powershot SX610 HS (2)

 

Budget Camera Of The Year 2015

Canon Powershot SX610 HS - The Canon Powershot SX610 HS offers an 18x optical zoom lens, a 3inch screen, built-in Wi-Fi and NFC for quick sharing, and a stylish design with good handling. Available for around £120 in a number of different colours.

"In terms of what the camera does well, the Canon Powershot SX610 HS produces images with excellent colour and reliable exposure. Focus is quick and reliable, and the camera's built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity is good. The battery life is a little short, but can be extended to a much more impressive 400 shots when the ECO mode is enabled."

Canon Powershot SX610 HS Review

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For more details have a look at our Top 10 Best Budget Cameras 2015.

 

Best Waterproof Tough Camera

Olympus Stylus Tough TG 860 Black (2)

 

Tough Camera Of The Year 2014

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-860 - The TG-860 offers some unique features, including an ultra wide angle 21mm equivalent lens, a tilting selfie screen, front shutter release button and side tripod socket. It's waterproof to 15 metres, shockproof from 2.1 metres, as well as being dust and freeze-proof. Available in a number of different colours, it has a 5x optical zoom lens and built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, making it a great travel camera. The Olympus Stylus Tough TG-860 is available for £184.

"The Olympus Stylus Tough TG-860 updates the TG-850 with a number of new and useful additionals, including built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, as well as a customisable front shutter release button and side tripod socket. The camera is also more waterproof, the rating now goes to 15 metres. With an ultra wide-angle 21mm equivalent lens, fast performance and tilting selfie screen, the TG-860 is somewhat unique in this market segment, and with a competitive price, it's difficult to not like this camera."

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-860 Review

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For more details have a look at our Top 10 Best Waterproof Cameras 2015.

 

Best Travel Zoom Camera

Panasonic Lumix TZ70 Black (3)

 

Travel Zoom Camera Of The Year 2015

Panasonic Lumix TZ70 - The Panasonic Lumix TZ70 is the latest version of the perfect travel zoom camera, with a built-in electronic viewfinder, GPS and Wi-Fi, along with a huge 30x optical zoom lens, the camera can even fit in your pocket. With a 12 megapixel sensor, you don't need to worry about noise, and the camera records full HD video. The TZ70 is available for £290.
 

"The TZ70 has all the features you'd want from a travel camera and doesn't disappoint in terms of its image quality. The camera has full manual controls, and shooting RAW didn't slow the camera down. The LVF is a handy extra that you don't see on many compact cameras and its addition will appeal to many, as there are many photographers who much prefer to compose shots using a viewfinder rather than the screen."

Panasonic Lumix TZ70 Review

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For more details have a look at our Top 10 Best Pocket Zoom Cameras 2015.

 

Best Ultra Zoom Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ330 FZ300 (3)


Ultra Zoom Camera Of The Year 2015Panasonic Lumix FZ330 - The Panasonic Lumix FZ330 (aka FZ300) features a 24x optical zoom lens with a bright f/2.8 aperture, full manual controls, 4K video recording, an electronic viewfinder, and excellent image quality. The Panasonic Lumix FZ330 is available for £449.

"The Panasonic Lumix FZ300 offers a high-quality f/2.8 constant aperture 24x optical zoom lens, and this, combined with a 12 megapixel 1/2.3inch sensor results in images that are detailed and crisp, with none of the over processing, and noise associated with higher resolution sensors. Lens quality does not suffer as much as other cameras at the full optical zoom, and the camera is one of the most affordable compact cameras available that is capable of recording 4K video."

Panasonic Lumix FZ330 (FZ300) Review

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For more details have a look at our Top 10 Best Ultra Zoom Cameras 2015.

 

Best Serious Compact Camera

Sony Cyber Shot DSC RX10 M2 (10)

Serious Compact Camera Of The Year 2015Sony Cyber-shot RX10 II - The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Mark II has a bright f/2.8 8.3x optical zoom lens, a 20 megapixel 1inch BSI CMOS sensor, an electronic viewfinder, 4K video recording, high-speed continuous shooting at 14fps, as well as high-speed video recording. The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 II features Wi-Fi and NFC and is available for around £980.

"The introduction of a new high-speed 1inch CMOS sensor enables high-speed video, as well as 4K video recording, and high-speed continuous shooting. Shooting FullHD video at 100fps is also another benefit of the new sensor used in the RX10 Mark II. The inclusion of a microphone and headphone socket, along with numerous video options, means that the camera will be appealing to those interested in video work as well."

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 Mark II Review

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For more details have a look at our Top 10 Best Serious Compact Cameras 2015

 

Best Compact Mirrorless Camera

Samsung NX500 11 Screen Up

Compact Mirrorless Camera Of The Year 2015Samsung NX500 - The Samsung NX500 is a compact version of the high specification NX1, offering the same 28 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, built in Wi-Fi, Samsung NX lens mount, 4K video recording, and tilting Selfie screen. The Samsung NX500 is available for around £505 with lens.

"We were extremely impressed with the performance, features and image quality of the Samsung NX1, but there was one major drawback with that camera: its size. By taking many of the key components from the NX1 and packaging them in a smaller, lighter body, the NX500 is a camera almost without compromise.

Image quality is superb, with excellent detail levels and well-controlled noise levels right up to ISO6400. Video performance is also impressive, especially for this size of camera, as 4K recording has traditionally been associated in this sector with larger cameras."

Samsung NX500 Review

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For more details have a look at our Top 10 Best Entry Level Mirrorless Cameras 2015

 

Best DSLR-Style Mirrorless Camera

Seagull MRC80plus LED Off Camera SJF 9078 1446222652

EVF-Style Mirrorless Camera Of The Year 2015Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - The E-M5 Mark II builds on the original E-M5 with impressive new features including a high-resolution 2.36m dot electronic viewfinder, 3inch vari-angle touchscreen, 16 megapixel sensor, 5-axis image stabilisation, Wi-Fi, 10fps continuous shooting, built-in mic socket, and a high-resolution mode that can take 40 megapixel photos. Using the Micro Four Thirds lens mount there is access to a wide range of lenses. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 II is available for £763 body only.

"The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is a compelling camera, with a range of features to suit all aspects of photography, from the video enthusiast, who will benefit from the 5-axis image stabilisation and improved video options, or someone looking for high resolution (stills) photography, the 40 megapixel mode will be very appealing, and the camera is much cheaper than any alternative 36mp+ camera. The camera produces excellent images when shooting in the usual 16-megapixel mode, with an abundance of options and settings available."

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review

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For more details have a look at our Top 10 Best EVF Mirrorless Cameras 2015

 

Best Advanced Mirrorless Camera

Sony Alpha A7R II (2)

Advanced Mirrorless Camera Of The Year 2015Sony Alpha A7R II - The 42.4 megapixel Sony Alpha A7R Mark II offers a backlit full-frame CMOS sensor, 4K video recording, 5-axis sensor based image stabilisation, ISO50 to ISO102400, 5fps continuous shooting, and a tilting 3inch screen. There is a large, high resolution electronic viewfinder (2.36m dots), and built-in Wi-Fi. The Sony Alpha A7R Mark II is available for £2499 body only.

"If you have the money to invest in a high-resolution full-frame camera, then the Sony Alpha A7R Mark II should be very high on your list, and as an upgrade from an earlier Sony Alpha 7 series camera, the A7R-II is a culmination of all of the best features rolled into one fantastic camera."

Sony Alpha A7R Mark II Review

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For more details have a look at our Top 10 Best EVF Mirrorless Cameras 2015

 

Best Innovation of 2015

Leica SL Typ601 (5)

Best Innovation Of 2015Leica SL (Typ 601) - The Leica SL (Typ 601) is the fastest full frame mirrorless camera available, shooting at 11 fps, it also offers the World's highest resolution electronic viewfinder with 4.4 million dots and high magnification. With weather sealing, built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, touch-screen and weather sealed lenses, it is designed to be a modern update to the professional Digital SLR.

"Another great feature of the Leica SL is the built in CINE-4K recording, without the need for an external recorder, something only available on a small number of other cameras. The Leica SL features weather-sealing, and can shoot at 11fps, something other full-frame mirrorless cameras lack. As a camera that will meet a large number of needs, the Leica SL (Typ 601) delivers excellent performance, with advanced features and controls, and for those with the financial backing to invest in the camera, it should provide many years of highly satisfying results."

Leica SL (Typ 601) Review

 

Best DSLR Entry Level Camera

Pentax K S2 (5)

Entry Level DSLR Camera Of The Year 2015Pentax K-S2 - The 20 megapixel Pentax K-S2 features a tilting vari-angle screen, built-in Wi-Fi, full HD video, mic socket, sensor-based shake reduction, and rare for an entry level camera, also features a weather sealed camera body and weather sealed kit lens. The Pentax K-S2 is available for £399 body only

"The Pentax K-S2 is highly impressive and performs flawlessly. I immediately liked its predecessor, but the K-S2 manages to top that, fitting the hands like a glove and performing superbly in every respect. In many ways, I prefer this design to the more expensive K-3, although we have to recognise that there are still some advantages to the more expensive model. In its class, the enthusiast-orientated K-S2 is absolutely superb, and I would very happily use one for the photography I do."

Pentax K-S2 Review

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For more details have a look at our Top 10 Best APS-C DSLRs 2015

 

Best DSLR Mid-range (APS-C) Camera

Pentax K 3 II (8)

Mid-range DSLR Camera Of The Year 2015Pentax K-3 II - The Pentax K-3 II features a 24 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, as well as a shake reduction sensor that can also be used to record images with improved resolution. There's also a weather sealed body, a large optical viewfinder, built in GPS, 8.3fps shooting and a 3.2inch screen. The Pentax K-3 II is available for £680 body only.

"Pentax continue to offer rugged, weather-resistant DSLRs that offer outstanding image quality at a very attractive price. Coupled with high-quality lenses, this continues to be a winning combination. The new Pixel Shift Resolution feature looks like a winner and the inclusion of GPS and Astrotracer will be welcomed by many."

Pentax K-3 II DSLR Review

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For more details have a look at our Top 10 Best APS-C Digital SLRs 2015

 

Best DSLR - Full-Frame Camera

Nikon D810 (12)
 

Full-Frame DSLR Camera Of The Year 2015Nikon D810 - (2nd year running) - The D810 takes the best from the Nikon D800 and D800E and combines them into the best full-frame Digital SLR money can buy. The D810 is extremely desirable and image quality is stunning with a 36.3-megapixel full-frame sensor. The D810 is available for £2399 body only.

"The Nikon D810 updates the already excellent Nikon D800 and D800E with improved image quality and enhanced features making it the best DSLR currently available. To get the best results, as with the D800 and D800E, you will need to use the best lenses available."

Nikon D810 Digital SLR Review

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For more details have a look at our Top 10 Best Full-Frame Digital SLRs 2015

 

Best Accessory - Memory Cards

Samsung 64GB SDXC PRO PLUS Card (5)

Samsung PRO+ SD Memory Card - This is one of the fastest and toughest memory cards available, and with a 10-year warranty, it is a memory card you can rely on.

"The Samsung PRO+ SDXC memory card offers some of the fastest read and write speeds available as well as offering a 10-year warranty that is also backed up by the card being waterproof, temperature proof, shockproof, x-ray proof and magnet proof making it much more likely to survive when compared to more fragile cards."

Samsung PRO+ SD Memory Card Review

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For more details have a look at our Top 10 Best SD Memory Cards 2015.

 

Best Accessory - Filters

PROND 1000 Filter

HOYA PROND1000 - HOYA released a truly neutral screw thread circular ND filter so that you can take colour long exposure photographs without having to worry about colour shifts during exposure. You can also stack the filters for additional light reduction.

"The HOYA PROND1000 is excellent for colour reproduction, being a truly neutral density filter, and detail is good. The HOYA PROND 1000 also offers excellent value for money, being priced very competitively compared to the competition available."

HOYA PROND1000 10 Stop Filter Review

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And ePHOTOzine's Overall Camera Of The Year 2015:

 

ePHOTOzine Camera of The Year 2015


Sony Alpha A7R Mark II - The Sony A7R II is the World's first full-frame camera to feature a back-lit CMOS sensor, meaning that the camera has impressive noise performance despite the high megapixel count of 42.4 megapixels. It also features sensor based 5-axis image stabilisation which means it will work with any lens mounted on the camera. The Sony Alpha A7R II can be used with a number of lenses from other manufacturers with adapters available for either manual focus or auto focus, and the camera's built-in focus peaking makes manual focus much easier than on most Digital SLRs. The Sony Alpha A7R II is available for £2499 body only.

Sony Alpha A7R II (2)

"If you have the money to invest in a high-resolution full-frame camera, then the Sony Alpha A7R Mark II should be very high on your list, and as an upgrade from an earlier Sony Alpha 7 series camera, the A7R-II is a culmination of all of the best features rolled into one fantastic camera."

Sony Alpha A7R Mark II Review

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Found your perfect camera? Don't forget to pick up a bag for it to protect it - have a look at our complete guide to bags. If you want a memory card for your camera, have a look at our complete guide to memory cards.

This is the 5th year of the ePHOTOzine Camera of the Year Awards. If you'd like to have a look back at previous winners, or simply have a trip down memory lane, then you can view previous winners here: 2014201320122011.


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Comments


dannyr 9 46 United Kingdom
17 Dec 2015 2:43PM
Nice to see Samsung get some notice, shame they are now rumoured to have quitted the camera industry and sold off the technology to Nikon (Still only a rumour though).

Really nice to see Pentax get some well deserved praise.

Not so sure Leica deserves it though. Not that I dislike Leica, just that I don't think a mirrorless camera that big with lenses bigger than an elephants........(you know) should be considered innovative.

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ChrisV Plus
12 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
17 Dec 2015 4:34PM
I guess these things are all subjective to some degree, but I wonder what it is that makes the EM5 MkII the pick of the 'DSLR style' mirrorless? The EM1 is still better built and ergonomical, it has better focusing and weather resistance [to a greater level]. Several Panasonics outclass it in video on a number of fronts and the GX8 is the current state-of-the-art in terms of sensor technology in the format.

That just leaves the differentiation of the sensor shift high resolution mode for the EM5II. Does that really make it stand proud of the pack? I suppose it must do for the reviewer. For me it would be the GX8 [or perhaps the GH4s if I were seriously into video].

The A7RII is perhaps the easiest call here - and I would put that well ahead of the Leica in terms of innovation - but perhaps that would be showering it with just too many awards. (I'm not a Sony owner btw - I just think it's difficult to ignore what a breakthrough piece of kit the A7RII is).
StrayCat 15 19.1k 3 Canada
17 Dec 2015 8:55PM

Quote:(I'm not a Sony owner btw - I just think it's difficult to ignore what a breakthrough piece of kit the A7RII is).


I agree. I had a chance to handle one, and talk to an owner of one, and his complaint is a huge lack of affordable glass; he was using an old lens with an adapter, shame on Sony.
richmowil Plus
10 369 2 England
30 Dec 2015 4:21PM
Nikon D810 Body Currently 1,845 until 6th January 2016 at Greys of Westminster!! Not as listed above or by preferred suppliers!!
Snapper_T 15 867 United Kingdom
1 Jan 2016 1:12PM

Quote:
Quote:(I'm not a Sony owner btw - I just think it's difficult to ignore what a breakthrough piece of kit the A7RII is).


I agree. I had a chance to handle one, and talk to an owner of one, and his complaint is a huge lack of affordable glass; he was using an old lens with an adapter, shame on Sony.



Definitely is a breakthrough, but I don't see whey its a shame on Sony. I can understand if someone is starting from fresh with no other kit, but if you already have Alpha/Minolta glass, or coming from another brand and want to keep you favourite lenses then use an adapter.

From the start they havn't had a mass of lens choice, as Canon, Nikon etc, but have created quite a few since. What they do have is very useful focal lenghts, with good glass (zeiss), their own adapters for Alpha glass, and many adapters available for photographers to marry older and more exotic glass to the A7 line up.

Surely its a chance to explore and develop our photography.

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