2013 consumer compact of the year

Panasonic Lumix LF1: £339

The Gold Award winning LF1 excels in more ways than one and would make a superb choice for photographers who’d like a long zoom coverage from a pocket compact.

With a 12MP 1/1.7in Live MOS sensor at its heart, it features a 7.1x optical zoom (equivalent to 28-200mm), while the ISO range can be set between 80-6400 and is expandable to 12,800. To keep handheld shots sharp, Panasonic’s O.I.S optical stabiliser technology is built-in, but it’s the LF1’s 200k-dot resolution electronic viewfinder that makes it stand out from the competition.

A 3in, 920k-dot display complements the EVF, while the mode dial, Raw support and Wi-fi and NFC connectivity options will appeal to advanced users who enjoy taking full manual control of camera settings.

Runners-up

 

Canon PowerShot SX280 HS

Panasonic Lumix TZ40

Nikon Coolpix S9500

Sony Cyber-shot WX300

Superzoom of the year

2013 Superzoom of the year


Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR: £349

The past year has seen a wave of bridge cameras hit the shelves, and while some have offered jaw-dropping zoom ranges, the FinePix HS50EXR is the most complete offering.

While not the longest, the 42x optical zoom from 24-1000mm should be more than enough for most people’s needs, while the manual zoom ring provides refined control that just isn’t possible with an electronic unit.

The 16MP 1/2in EXR CMOS II sensor delivers the goods too and is able to alter its colour filter array depending on the shooting situations, switching between High Resolution, Wide Dynamic Range and High Sensitivity and Low Noise options to deliver the best results for the scene.

Coupled with a fast AF and an excellent viewfinder, it’s no wonder the HS50EXR is our pick of the superzoom compacts.

Runners-up

Sony Cyber-shot HX300

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

Sony Cyber-shot HX50

Pentax X-5

Tough Camera of the Year

2013 Tough Camera of the Year

Olympus TG-2: £249

The TG-2 is currently the best underwater camera on the market and shrugs off its competition with a virtually indestructible body and fast lens that boasts a maximum aperture opening of f/2.

The range of the 4x optical zoom (25-100mm) isn’t as long as some compacts, but the way its fast AF system operates with its 5fps burst speed makes it a sprightly performer whether it’s being used above or below water. The 12MP sensor and TruePic VI image processor pair up to deliver consistently rich and correctly exposed images, and as well as being fully waterproof to a depth of 15m, it’s crushproof to a force of 100kg, shockproof to a height of 2m and freezeproof to -10°C.

The TG-2 is an ideal choice for capturing action, adventure or winter holiday snaps.

Runners-up

Panasonic Lumix FT5

Nikon Coolpix AW110

Canon PowerShot D20

Pentax WG-3

Advanced Compact of the Year

2013 Advanced Compact of the Year

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II: £619

The original RX100 was our winner in this category last year, but not wanting to sit on their laurels, Sony’s engineers have tinkered with it a bit more to make it an even better proposition, whether you’re looking for a small compact to complement your DSLR or just want a quality camera to have with you all the time.

This includes a new back-illuminated 1in 20.2MP Exmor R sensor with an improved ISO range, a 3in, 1,229k-dot display that now allows it to be pulled out from the body for more comfortable shooting angles, and Wi-fi and NFC connectivity.

With a fast and sharp f/1.8 zoom lens (3.6x), intuitive control ring that provides quick control of a range of settings and a quality metal finish, the RX100 II is perfect for discreet shooting or travel photography.

Runners-up

Fujifilm X100S

Ricoh GR

Canon PowerShot S110

Fujifilm X20

Consumer CSC of the Year

2013 Consumer CSC of the Year

Panasonic Lumix GF6: £349

The GF6 offers incredible value for money at under £400 with a 14-42mm kit lens.

Its newly developed 16MP sensor and ISO 160-12,800 range makes it a close match to enthusiast DSLRs, but it also caters for those upgrading from a basic point-and-shoot compact with a wide range of scene modes and creative filter options.

The 3in, 1,040k-dot tilt-angle touchscreen offers superb clarity and sharpness; while its rapid AF system is supported by superb touch-AF functionality. Full HD video and continuous shooting at up to 4.2fps are available and its impressive spec is mirrored by an excellent feel in the hand.

With a huge selection of Panasonic and Olympus Micro Four Thirds lenses to choose from, the GF6 is as good as it gets for any newcomer looking for a lightweight CSC.

Runners-up

Samsung NX300

Fujifilm X-M1

Olympus PEN E-PL5

Panasonic Lumix G6

Advanced CSC of the Year

2013 Advanced CSC of the Year

Olympus OM-D E-M1 £1299

We were mightily impressed with the OM-D E-M5 last year, and Olympus has taken things up a notch with the E-M1. The E-M1’s build quality and finish is stunning, with a rugged magnesium alloy body and extensive weather-sealing. Smaller than a lot of comparable high-end DSLRs, it’s a pleasure to pick up and shoot with, plus it’s compatible with Olympus Four Thirds lenses when the MMF-3 adaptor is attached.

The electronic viewfinder is the best we’ve ever used, while the AF performance, thanks to a combination of contrast-detect and phase-detect, is fast and responsive in both single and continuous shooting.

Thanks to a new 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor, the E-M1 delivers rich and detailed images, with results at high ISO being a match for some of the best APS-C DSLRs.

Runners-up

Panasonic Lumix GX7

Fujifilm X-E1

Olympus PEN E-P5

Sony NEX-6

DSLR of the Year

2013 DSLR of the Year

Canon EOS 70D: £1070

There was a close battle for this year’s best DSLR award, but the EOS 70D is our first choice over the impressive Nikon D7100.

Both DSLRs impressed on test, but our head-to-head review revealed that the 70D’s on-chip phase detection AF, which uses two photodiodes for each pixel, helps transform the speed of focusing in Live View and when HD videos are being recorded. The level of detail that’s resolved from the 20.2MP sensor can’t be faulted either, while its 7fps shooting speed makes it ideal for freezing high-speed subjects in motion. Finished with a reassuring rubberised grip that gives it a very satisfying feel in the hand, the 70D is also Wi-fi equipped, allowing instant review of images on tablets and smartphones as well as remote control. In short, it’s the best APS-C DSLR available.

Runners-up

Canon EOS 6D

Nikon D7100

Pentax K-50

Canon EOS 700D

Cameraphone of the Year

2013 Cameraphone of the Year

Nokia Lumia 1020: £579

It’s been a huge year for innovation in the smartphone industry, and Nokia has stolen much of the limelight in the latter part with the release of the Lumia 1020.

To accommodate 41 million pixels, Nokia opted not to make the pixels smaller but to make the sensor bigger and its whopping 1/1.5in chip results in superior light-gathering power, ensures better detail and lower noise, particularly in low light.

As a camera it succeeds in two key areas – producing the best image quality of any phone camera, along with the ability to zoom without image quality disintegrating. It scored well in other areas too, being comfortable to hold, offering an excellent screen, and operating the Windows interface that’s easily customisable, and very intuitive to navigate around. Hats off to Nokia!

Runners-up

Sony Xperia Z1

Samsung Galaxy S4

Apple iPhone 5s

Nokia Lumia 925

CSC Lens of the Year

2013 CSC Lens of the Year

Olympus M.Zuiko ED 75mm f/1.8 £729

Olympus and Panasonic users are spoilt for choice with premium optics, but one that stood out for us this year is the M.ZUIKO ED 75mm f/1.8. Getting the highest score for any CSC or DSLR lens we’ve tested over the past 12 months, this lens exudes quality.

Cased in a full-metal body with a finely grooved manual focus ring, the refined styling complements the Olympus OM-D and PEN bodies. On a Micro Four Thirds body, this lens provides a focal length equivalent to 150mm in traditional 35mm film terms, making it the perfect choice for isolated portraits and discreet low-light shooting.

In our technical testing it delivered an outstanding set of MTF curves, while real-world shooting rendered excellent edge-to-edge sharpness and crisp contrast, with few if any signs of chromatic aberration.

If you own a Micro Four Thirds camera, this should be in your kit bag.

Runners-up

Olympus 17mm f/1.7

Fujifilm 14mm f/2.8

Sony 10-18mm f/4

Fujifilm 18mm f/2

DSLR Lens of the Year

2013 DSLR Lens of the Year

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 £649

There were some strong contenders for this year’s lens of the year category, but the optic that impressed us most was the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM – the world’s first zoom lens to feature a constant f/1.8 aperture throughout its focal length.

Being confined to APS-C sensors, the effective angle-of-view compared with full-frame is 27-52mm, which represents a very versatile range from wideangle to standard focal lengths.

In the field the biggest plus-points are the ability to shoot in low light, the eye-catching nature of the close-range pictures that could be created, and the wonderful bokeh produced by shooting wide-open at f/1.8. To top it off, the price makes it affordable and within reach of what most expect to pay for a premium standard zoom.

Runners-up

Sigma 35mm f/1.4

Sigma 180mm f/2.8

Nikon 28mm f/1.8

Nikon 70-200mm f/4

Innovation of the Year

2013 Innovation of the Year

Sony QX-Series: from £169

There have been a number of interesting innovations this year, but the QX-series cameras from Sony stand out and reinvent smartphone photography as we know it.

The idea behind the QX10 and QX100 is to offer more flexibility and better versatility to smartphone users who demand a longer zoom and superior image quality. Taking the lens and sensor technology from Sony’s WX200 and RX100 II compact cameras, the QX10 and QX100 connect wirelessly to smartphones or tablets via Wi-fi and transmit a Live View display via Sony’s free Play Memories app that’s available for Android and iOS mobile devices.

Remote control of the QX10’s and QX100’s zoom and shutter works up to a 10m range – making them ideal for discreet shooting or where a larger camera isn’t practical.  

Runners-up

Samsung Galaxy NX

Pentax AA Simulator

Nikon 1 AW1

Giottos YTL tripods

Accessory of the Year

2013 Accessory of the Year

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5: £102

With Photoshop this year becoming subscription only, it has left a number of photographers looking for an alternative and with Lightroom 5, you’ve got an incredibly powerful program at your fingertips that doesn’t have to break the bank.

While it doesn’t quite offer the same image-manipulation controls as Photoshop, for those looking to adjust Raw images and manage a stack of images, there’s no better all-in-one editing package out there.

Broken down into modules, the main point of interest for most photographers is the Develop module that offers powerful and advanced control over Raw files, with a range of controls, presets and localised adjustments. Once you start using it, you’ll wonder how you ever got on without it. It’s a must-have for any serious photographers.

Runners-up

CamRanger Wireless Control

Vanguard GH-300T

Joby GripTight

Hahnel UniPal Plus Charger

Camera of the year

2013 Camera of the year

Olympus OM-D E-M1: £1299

We’ve seen a host of cameras this year that have both innovated and impressed us, but when it came to it, it was a unanimous decision among the judging team to award the OM-D E-M1 as our Camera of the Year.

Not only is it a camera that’s bound to appeal to seasoned Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds users, it’s certainly going to tempt DSLR users as well and here’s why.

There’s the comprehensive spec, high level of shooting customisation, pro-spec build that’d shame cameras costing twice the price, compact proportions, fast and accurate AF, an electronic viewfinder that’s so good you don’t miss an optical one, and an impressive AF performance. This is all backed-up by one of the best-supported lens ranges out there, with the option of coupling it to Four Thirds lenses using an MMF-3 adaptor or Olympus or Panasonic Micro Four Thirds optics. There’s no denying it’s the best Micro Four Thirds model we’ve ever used.

  1. 1. 2013 consumer compact of the year
  2. 2. Superzoom of the year
  3. 3. Tough Camera of the Year
  4. 4. Advanced Compact of the Year
  5. 5. Consumer CSC of the Year
  6. 6. Advanced CSC of the Year
  7. 7. DSLR of the Year
  8. 8. Cameraphone of the Year
  9. 9. CSC Lens of the Year
  10. 10. DSLR Lens of the Year
  11. 11. Innovation of the Year
  12. 12. Accessory of the Year
  13. 13. Camera of the year
Page 1 of 13 - Show Full List
  • Christopher Bishop

    An EVF rather than an optical finder may be new, but is it a good thing at the present state of development of EVFs?

    28-200 equivalent seems unbalanced: 24-150 would be more useful.