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Our favorite gear, rewarded: DPReview Awards 2016


DPReview Awards 2016

Here at DPReview we handle a lot of gear. This year, plenty of amazing cameras, lenses, accessories and other products came through our doors, and we hope you’ve enjoyed reading about them as much as we’ve enjoyed writing about and testing them.

Last year, for the first time, we decided to get together as a team and discuss what we thought was the best gear of the year in multiple categories. This year we sat down again and made a list, checked it twice, then talked about it. And then talked about it some more, and then made a shortlist. And then we talked about it again, argued a bit, and finally voted, ranking our choices by first, second and third preference.

After all that, we’re pleased to announce the results. Click through the slides above to learn which products made our list of the best gear of 2016.

If you’d like to have your say, make sure to vote in this year’s Reader’s Poll for best product of 2016, which will be running through December 31st. 

Best accessory

Shortlist:

  • DJI Osmo+
  • Domke Chronicle Bag
  • Fuji Instax Share SP-2
  • Western Digital MyPassport WD Wireless Pro

Runner up: Western Digital MyPassport WD Wireless Pro

There were a lot of new accessories released this year, but the Western Digital Wireless Pro in particular impressed us, which is why it’s the runner-up for this category. A great choice for photographers working in the field, it features its own Wi-Fi network, a built-in SD card slot, excellent battery life and dedicated Android and iOS apps.

Winner: Fuji Instax Share SP-2

It wasn’t even close, the second generation Fuji Instax Share SP-2 printer was our favorite accessory of 2016. Why? Because there’s just nothing quite like holding a physical image in your hands. Faster and sleeker than the original and with more printing options, the SP-2 can easily link up with Fujifilm cameras or print from a compatible phone or tablet.

Best mobile / VR Product

Shortlist:

  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus
  • DJI Osmo Mobile
  • Google Pixel XL
  • Panono 360 camera

Runner up: iPhone 7 Plus

This category includes a wide range of products, from smartphones to hand-held gimbals, all of which have one thing in common: they are non-traditional cameras. The Apple iPhone 7 Plus is this year’s runner-up with its innovative dual lens design. It offers photographers the choice between a 28mm F1.8 and a more portrait-appropriate 56mm F2.8 (35mm equiv.) lens.

Winner: Google Pixel XL

The Google Pixel XL won this category by a wide margin and for good reason: It has an outstanding camera – so good that it received the highest DxOMark score of any smartphone ever. And features like Raw capture, on-sensor phase detect AF and the HDR+ mode only add it to its appeal. Plus, it’s the first product compatible with Google Daydream VR headset.

Best prosumer camera drone

Shortlist:

  • Autel X-Star Premium
  • DJI Mavic Pro
  • DJI Phantom 4 Pro
  • DJI Phantom 4

Runner-up: DJI Phantom 4 Pro

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is a tour de force of just how much modern technology can crammed into a small, prosumer drone. It stands out in its class thanks to a 20MP 1″-type sensor that captures 4K/60p video, support for h.265 recording, 20MP Raw stills, photographer-friendly features like 14fps burst shooting and exposure bracketing, and an impressive collision avoidance system.

Winner: DJI Mavic Pro

The DJI Mavic Pro sets a new standard for portability among prosumer camera drones; it’s hard to believe just how compact it is until you see it in person. In fact, you could easily fit it inside a camera pack (with plenty of room left for other gear), a purse, or even a large pocket in your cargo shorts (wearing cargo shorts is not endorsed by DPReview staff).

Don’t let the Mavic’s size fool you though – it has the same camera as the original Phantom 4, captures 4K/30p video, 12MP stills with DNG Raw support, and boasts a top speed that exceeds that of the Phantoms.

Best zoom lens

Shortlist:

  • Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L III USM
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4 IS Pro
  • Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art
  • Sigma 50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM Art

Runner-up: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4 IS Pro

Every year, more lenses are released than cameras, and this year the competition was especially tough. A lot of great zoom lenses were released in 2016 and of our shortlist of four, two belong to Sigma’s well-regarded ‘Art’ series. But the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4 IS Pro just pulled ahead of both of them to take the runner-up spot in this category.

Winner: Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L III USM

Winner by a considerable margin of votes among the DPReview staff was the Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L III USM. Canon is really on a roll with its high-end L-series, and the new version of the 16-35mm F2.8 is stunning. If you’re a Canon shooter looking for a high quality wide-angle zoom, the 16-35mm F2.8 III is as good as it gets.

Best prime lens

Shortlist:

  • Nikon AF-S Nikkor 105mm F1.4E ED
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm F1.2 Pro
  • Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
  • Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC DN | C

Runner-up: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 105mm F1.4E ED

If competition was fierce among zoom lenses this year, if anything it was even fiercer in the prime lenses category. New releases from several manufacturers really raised the bar, and Nikon’s excellent new 105mm F1.4 portrait lens took the runner-up spot in a very tough field.

Winner: Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art

Realistically, as soon as we sat down to discuss which lens should win this category, there was only one serious contender. Winner by a convincing margin among DPReview staff was Sigma’s 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art. Its big, it’s heavy, and it makes gorgeous pictures. If you’re a fan of the 85mm focal length for portraiture, the Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art is worth serious consideration. 

Best compact camera

Shortlist:

  • Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX10
  • Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V
  • Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

Runner up: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V

There was some tough competition in this category, thanks partly to Sony, which seems set on maintaining its breakneck pace of new product announcements. The latest compact camera in Sony’s RX100-series is the best yet. We argued a lot about which camera should win in this category, and offering incredible speed, hybrid AF and excellent 4K video, the RX100 V took the runner-up spot.

Winner: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX10

The winning position is occupied by the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX10, thanks to its combination of small size, excellent lens and overall image quality. As well as great-looking stills, the LX10 is also capable of excellent 4K video, and hits an attractive price-point compared to the best of its competition.

Best consumer stills/video camera of the year

Shortlist:

  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2500
  • Sony a6500
  • Sony RX10 III

Runner up: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2500

In this category, we’re looking for the best products for stills and video shooters who need one camera to do it all. This category spans compact, fixed-lens cameras up to 4K-capable ILCs, but our shortlist contained only the latter type of camera – testament to the advances that have been made in this category.

Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-FZ2500 takes the runner-up spot in this category this year, thanks to its impressive 4K feature set and video-friendly ergonomics, coupled with excellent still image quality.

Winner: Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III is one of the most impressive products to come through the doors of DPReview Towers in 2016. Although bulky and costly, this 1″ sensor compact can reach places that ILCs just can’t. A stunningly sharp 24-600mm lens, coupled with a class-leading 1″-type BSI-CMOS sensor and excellent 4K and HFR video features meant that DPReview staff were unanimous in voting the RX10 III the best consumer stills / video camera of 2016.

Best entry-level ILC

Shortlist:

  • Fujifilm X-A3
  • Nikon D3400
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF8
  • Yi M1

Runner-up: Nikon D3400

Although it might seem less interesting than other market segments, the entry-level ILC market is critical for manufacturers, who need to persuade new photographers to join their system, and get on the upgrade path. This year saw some excellent entry-level ILCs released, and the Nikon D3400 took the runner-up spot. Small, unflashy and easy to use, the D3400 is a great beginners’ camera and a good entry-point into the wider Nikon system.

Winner: Fujifilm X-A3

The winner of this category is the Fujifilm X-A3. While not as feature-laden as its higher-end X-series peers, the 24MP, WiFi-equipped X-A3 is a great camera for someone just starting out in photography. It offers plenty of scope for beginners to grow, without being confusing or intimidating to use.

Best mid-range ILC

Shortlist:

  • Canon EOS M5
  • Canon EOS 80D
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85
  • Sony a6300

Runner Up: Sony a6300

2016 was a pretty good year for enthusiast photographers, and there was stiff competition in the mid-range ILC category this year. In the end, half of our shortlist was made up of Canon EOS products, but both the EOS M5 and EOS 80D lost out to the Sony a6300, which took runner-up spot.

Winner: Panasonic Lumix DMC- G85

I guess we just gave it away, but the winner of this year’s title of best mid-range ILC is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85, which narrowly pipped the a6300 to take the winning spot. There’s not much that this compact Micro Four Thirds camera can’t do, and we love it for its versatility and excellent 4K video.

Best high-end ILC

Shortlist:

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
  • Fujifilm X-T2
  • Nikon D500
  • Olympus OM-D E-M1 II

Runner up: Fujifilm X-T2

It was a two-horse race in this category, with two products way out in front of the rest of the pack (do horses run in packs?). The Fujifilm X-T2 came a close second place to take the runner-up spot in this category. DPReview staff praised its portability, ergonomics and image quality.

Winner: Nikon D500

With a convincing number of votes among DPReview staff, the Nikon D500 took the winning spot in our best high-end ILC category this year, as a near unanimous first choice. The D500 is one of our favorite ever DSLRs, and in a very competitive market segment it stands as a stunningly capable all-rounder.

DPReview innovation award

Shortlist:

  • Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
  • Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
  • Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V
  • Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III

Runner-up: Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V

We created this category last year to recognize products that we feel raised the bar for innovation in their product class. We narrowed down our selection to a shortlist of products, all of which are either cameras or lenses. Runner-up in this category is the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V, in recognition of the incredible amount of technology that Sony has packed into this tiny camera.

Winner: Olympus OM-D E-M1 II

Just pipping the RX100 V to the post is the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II. We’re still not entirely sure how Olympus packed as much technology into the E-M1 II as it did, but the end result is an incredibly powerful stills and video hybrid camera. As well as ultra-fast capture rates and effective in-body stabilization, the E-M1 II is also built for use in the harshest of conditions. 

DPReview product of the year, 2016

Shortlist:

  • Nikon D500
  • Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
  • Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art
  • Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V

Runner-up: Olympus OM-D E-M1 II

In our discussions about overall best product of 2016, four products kept coming up. In different ways, we were highly impressed by all of the four products in our shortlist, all of which arguably represent the state of the art in their particular market segments, and any one of which could easily have won. In the end, we had to make a final decision. You’ll be able to find out the winner in the next slide, but our runner up for this year’s DPReview Award for product of the year is the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II.

Winner: Nikon D500

What the E-M1 II is for mirrorless ILCs, the D500 is for DSLRs. Although it lacks a really credible 4K video mode, the D500 is nevertheless an impressive all-rounder, combining some of the best elements of the flagship Nikon D5 with a (relatively) compact APS-C form factor, and a 1.5X focal length increase which is extremely handy for sports and wildlife photography. If you’re looking for a versatile, pro-grade DSLR which will still be current in years to come, the Nikon D500 is about as good as it gets. The Nikon D500 is our product of the year, 2016.

As we approach the end of the year, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support, and your feedback. For a chance to vote for your own favorite product of 2016, our final Reader’s Poll is still open, and can be found here. Voting closes at midnight on Jan 31st (PT).



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