Madrid, Spain—The Technical Image Press Association announced the winners of the TIPA World Awards 2021. Along with cameras and lenses that cover photo segments from entry level to expert and professional, the award winners in 40 categories represent the wide range of products and services that make up the imaging industry today.
Categories also comprise papers and printers, imaging software, still and video accessories, lighting, monitors as well as photofinishing services.
“We believe that now more than ever our support of the industry and the people who work so hard, be it in production, distribution or marketing, deserve our thanks and appreciation for their efforts to continue to develop new and exciting products that both expand imaging creativity and potential and point the way to new and exciting technologies in the future,” said Thomas Gerwers, TIPA chairman.
“Of course, while the process of nomination and selection of award winners had to adapt to the circumstances, we maintained our usual rigorous standards in our considerations.”
TIPA World Awards 2021 Process
Beginning in late 2020 and through April 2021, nominations within select categories were gathered by the TIPA Technical Committee. Editors from member magazines were consulted; equipment was tested and evaluated; and new categories, representing emerging imaging trends, were also considered.
Moreover, finalists are usually voted on at the TIPA general assembly by representatives from member magazines worldwide, including a Japan Camera Press Club delegate. However, circumstances led TIPA to gather in an online discussion and voting procedure. The vote took place on April 30, 2021.
What’s more, Gerwers also announced that, as of this date, the TIPA World Awards 2021 ceremony will take place at Photopia/Hamburg on September 24, 2021.
TIPA World Awards 2021 Winners
This year, TIPA honorees include longtime industry companies as well as new entrants and those who represent emerging trends in the photo–imaging industry. In addition, while the pandemic had an adverse effect on sales this past year, the industry continued to introduce new and exciting products in the camera and lens categories.
The committee did note, however, that mirrorless introductions “have all but replaced what was once a full house of DSLRs. New full–frame, APS-C and medium–format cameras all offered higher megapixel counts, greater sensitivity and dynamic range, all while being more compact, lightweight and portable.”
Furthermore, the members noted that the influence of vloggers and online content creators made for new categories in both cameras and accessories.
Following are the TIPA World Awards 2021 winners and what the TIPA members had to say about them.
Best Cameras of 2021
APS-C Camera, Entry-Level: Canon EOS M50 Mark II
The versatile Canon EOS M50 Mark II has appeal not only to hobbyists but is also an ideal camera for vloggers and content creators. It features a 24.1MP APS-C sensor and an ISO 100–25,600 range for stills and 4K video in both bright and low light. Image quality is enhanced thanks to its Digic 8 image processor that features an auto lighting optimizer for contrast and color enhancement, plus built-in noise reduction.
In addition, eye-detection AF (stills and video) brings newfound AF accuracy to this camera class. Moreover, its vlogging potential is extensive, thanks to a vari-angle LCD, clean HDMI output and compatibility with Canon’s free EOS Webcam Utility software. The camera even offers livestreaming to YouTube.
APS-C Camera, Advanced: Fujifilm X-S10
The compact X-S10 is suitable for travel and family photography. The 26.1MP lightweight Fujifilm camera sports a vari-angle rear LCD monitor, to capture unique angles of view for both stills and 4K video. Steady images in even challenging light are one of its strong suits; that’s thanks to its 5-axis stabilization mechanism and ability to achieve AF in light levels down to -7.0 EV.
It also boasts framing rates up to 8 fps; shutter speeds of 1/4000 sec; and fast, responsive tracking with face/eye recognition AF that acquires focus in 0.02 sec. As a result, the X-S10 can capture birds on the wing or a child scoring a first goal.
APS-C Camera, Expert: Pentax K-3 Mark III
Fans of DSLR viewfinder cameras will find lots to like in the 26MP Pentax K-3 Mark III’s high brightness pentaprism that delivers a near 100% field of view. The newly engineered camera from Ricoh Imaging captures 12–fps bursts with its enhanced high-density (101) array of focusing points. A built-in 5 EV shake-reduction mechanism allows for expanded ISO, aperture and shutter speed options, even in low light. 4K UHD video as well as Bluetooth and wireless LAN connectivity add to its appeal.
Hands-on, its leaf switch shutter mechanism makes for smooth action that, when combined with an upgraded mirror and shutter drives, provides a pleasurable and effective shooting experience. In addition, its lightweight magnesium alloy body delivers both carry and protection advantages.
Full–Frame Camera, Advanced: Nikon Z 6II
Notables are this Nikon mirrorless ILC’s impressive low-light recording capabilities—a native ISO range stretches to ISO 51,200—and fast processing speeds, 14 fps for 124 consecutive frames. The 24.5MP Z 6II also sports numerous creative modes, including multiple exposure, time lapse and focus shift bursts.
Photographers can record 4K video at up to 60p and Full HD at 1080p and 120–fps for slow motion effects. Dual card slots and dual Expeed 6 processors manage the data flow. Z 6II owners can also enjoy the use of 90+ F-mount Nikkor lenses via the optional mount adapter FTZ. Moreover, while Nikkor Z lenses sync for up to 5 EV steps of onboard image stability, even adapted lenses can deliver 3E V.
Full–Frame Camera, Expert: Nikon Z 7II
Both professional and enthusiast photographers can use this Nikon camera’s capabilities to expand their creative potential as well as the way they record and interpret their world. Specs start with a 45.7MP BSI CMOS sensor and dual Expeed 6 processors that can deliver 10–fps stills and 4K 60p video; this includes 120p Full HD recording.
Dual card slots, one SD and the other CFexpress, handle the data flow with ease. Furthermore, low–light shooting is enhanced by a native ISO that stretches to ISO 25,600, with focus acquisition at -4 EV and built-in 5 EV stability. Eye- and face-detection AF, for both people and animals, are also available in still and video capture.
Full–Frame Professional Camera: Sony Alpha 1
The Sony Alpha 1 offers new dimensions of imaging performance and an efficient workflow. As a result, it gives new creative freedom to professional photographers for sport, wedding, portrait and wildlife capture. The flagship model is designed to be one of the most versatile cameras. At its heart is a 50.1MP full-frame stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor and Bionz XR processor. The achieve blazingly fast 30–fps blackout-free continuous shooting.
The Sony ILC also boasts reduced rolling shutter distortion as well as 8K and 4K 120p video capability. The 1/400–sec flash sync speed of the mechanical shutter and first-time electronic shutter can be used with an external flash; it also enables the use of Real-time Eye AF technology for studio portraits.
Photo/Video Camera, Advanced: Sigma fp L
The compact Sigma fp L can handle just about any imaging task. The mirrorless ILC incorporates a full-frame 61MP sensor that delivers 12- or 14-bit RAW (DNG) files and/or JPEGs in a range of aspect ratios. It also offers a host of 4K UHD video formats, all with linear PCM audio for up to two hours of continuous shooting time.
Moreover, cinema capabilities include the support of three RAW file formats output to external screen recorders over HDMI, plus gimbal controlling. The Sigma fp L also serves as an excellent webcam option. When connected to a PC via a USB Type-C cable, it outputs audio and video. In addition, it simultaneously charges so users can stream video for as long as desired.
Photo/Video Camera, Expert: Sony Alpha 7S III
The Alpha 7S III is a prime choice for hybrid and video-oriented shooters for commercial and cinema production use. It employs the new 12.1MP BSI full-frame Exmor R CMOS image sensor and Sony’s powerful Bionz XR processor. Consequently, it delivers the best 4K imagery with up to 120p recording and pro codecs; an ISO range of 80–102,400; and a 15+ stop dynamic range for movies (S-Log3).
Subjects can be monitored with its 3-type LCD screen and 9.44M–dot OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF). In addition, an optimum workflow is achieved with S-Cinetone, 16-bit RAW output over HDMI for recording/processing video; and Real-time Eye AF in all recording modes. The ILC also offers 5.5 EV in-body image stabilization for steady shots.
Vlogger Camera: Sony Cyber-shot ZV-1
Vlogging is now popular for personal, instructional and promotional use. The Sony Cyber-shot ZV-1 is aimed at established and aspiring vloggers with its 4K UHD output and numerous features and effects purpose-built for content creators. A special grip, close focus capability and a side-flip 3-type LCD allow for constant monitoring during recording.
What’s more, a clearly visible recording lamp and a directional 3-capsule mic ensure that front-facing sound gets priority. There’s even an attachable windscreen to muffle bothersome ambient sound. Other features include a product showcase setting that puts focus on handheld items close to the lens; a background defocus function; a soft skin effect; and image stabilization for smooth footage when the vlogger is moving through a scene.
Professional Video Camera: Panasonic Lumix DC-BGH1
The Panasonic BGH1 is a box–style digital cinema camera that weighs in at 1.2 pounds, making it compact enough for use on a drone or gimbal. Yet, it is also apt for use as a broadcast, livestreaming, vlogging or cinema production device. With a 10.2MP Micro Four Thirds sensor and lens mount, the BGH1 easily links up with other cameras to provide multi-camera environments that allow Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality for monitoring, configuration and control via a smartphone or tablet.
Furthermore, an internal fan keeps the camera cool during long shoots, along with a protective aluminum and magnesium housing. It also features numerous mounting options for flexible rigging; multiple recording modes, including frame rate, resolution and sound recording; and various output options.
Medium–Format Camera: Fujifilm GFX100S
In the distant past, medium–format digital cameras yielded impressive file sizes; however, they were heavy and bulky. This made some photographers hesitant to take them into the field. Fujifilm’s GFX100S shows how far we’ve come. It’s a hand–holdable, grip-handle camera that rivals the size and weight of pro full-frame mirrorless cameras.
Whether viewing through its 3.69M-dot OLED viewfinder or 2.36M-dot three-way tilt touch–screen LCD, handling and controls are at hand. Subsequently, it is a portable “big file” (102MP) still or 4K video camera. Its onboard image stabilization system is effective to 6 EV. It also shoots as fast as 5 fps, with twin UHS-II SD card slots to handle the image data load.
Best Lenses of 2021
Prime Wide–Angle Lens: Venus Optics Laowa 15mm f/4.5 Zero-D Shift
Ultrawide lenses are for creating unique and interesting points of view. Combine an ultrawide lens with shift capability—moving the lens parallel to the image plane to gain greater control over line convergence and keystone effects—and you have the manual focus Laowa 15mm lens. Thanks to a huge 65mm image circle, the lens is available for full–frame and medium–format cameras. Notably, it offers +/-11mm shift control (+/-8mm for medium format) along with a 110º angle of view.
Venus enhanced its creative possibilities even further via a 360º rotation mechanism that photographers can apply in vertical or horizontal directions. Moreover, the lens is available for seven different mounts, for both DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
Prime Standard Lens: Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM
In Sony’s G Master line, this fast f/1.2 lens uses an 11-blade aperture for stunning bokeh for portraiture and nature photography. Its light-gathering ability is also coupled with an advanced optical design that delivers a high degree of sharpness and clarity. The inclusion of three XA (eXtreme aspherical) elements control and virtually eliminate a variety of aberrations, color fringing and distortion.
In addition, Nano AR coating II is applied for flare and ghosting suppression, important for strong backlit subjects. Also, four XD Linear motors ensure quiet, precise and rapid AF that benefits both still and video shooting. Plus, the lens aperture ring can be de-clicked for smooth, silent aperture changes during video recording.
Prime Telephoto Lens: Canon RF600mm f/11 IS STM
For enthusiast photographers, the prospect of working with super long-range telephoto lenses is exciting; however, the price tag is often prohibitive. Canon’s RF600mm is a highly affordable and very long–range prime telephoto lens that is both compact and lightweight. The fixed f/11 aperture was developed as part of the groundbreaking EOS R system.
The lens also has a tripod mount inset on the barrel. Moreover, its retractable design and 5-stop optical image stabilization come in handy. AF is quick and smooth for both still and video recording, thanks to the incorporation of an STM (stepping motor drive). Its unique lens build using gapless dual–layer diffractive optics results in a lighter lens, making for much easier handling and operation.
Wide–Angle Zoom Lens: Nikon Nikkor Z 14–24mm f/2.8 S
Superwide-angle lenses face particular optical challenges, such as ghosting, flare and coma. This smaller, lighter Z version of Nikon’s classic 14–24mm superwide zoom takes full advantage of the company’s latest lens technology to suppress incidental light from every direction. For example, it employs antireflective Nano Crystal and ARNEO coatings on its lens elements.
Plus, the use of aspherical elements and advances in Z mount technology keep pinpoints of light sharp and clear and free from sagittal coma and flare. This is evident in photos made of city lights and starry nights. There’s also a handy in-lens filter slot, which is a great benefit considering the 112mm filter thread. In addition, an AF stepper motor works in near silence—great for quiet video work and smooth still shooting.
Standard Zoom Lens: Tamron 17–70mm f/2.8 Di III-A VC RXD
A mid–range zoom is an excellent choice for family, outdoor and travel photography. When it’s fast (here f/2.8 throughout the focal length range), lightweight (18.5 ounces) and compact (4.7 inches long), it’s a great option for a regular photo companion. Tamron’s 17–70mm RXD lens is built for Sony E–mount APS-C-format cameras, thus the effective focal length is about 25.5–105mm. Photographers can also mount it on full–frame Sony cameras using the camera’s APS-C crop mode.
Furthermore, it incorporates Tamron’s Vibration Compensation system. It can also focus as close as 7.5 inches at the wide setting and 15.4 inches at the telephoto. In addition, its constant f/2.8 aperture means low-light shooting is enhanced with the potential for excellent soft background effects.
Telephoto Zoom Lens: Tamron 70–180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD
This fast, versatile zoom from Tamron serves equally well as a landscape, wedding candid, portrait or travel lens. Versatility extends to its compatibility with various camera features; these include Fast Hybrid and Eye AF technologies. It also boasts a close focusing distance of 33.5 inches and Tamron’s VXD, a quick, quiet linear motor that’s ideal for video and still photography alike. Portability is another attractive feature.
Compact and lightweight, it’s a mere 5.9 inches at the 70mm setting and weighs 28.6 ounces. Additionally, special weather-sealing and lens coatings allow for secure use in inclement weather. Moreover, having a constant aperture throughout the focal length range means photographers can take advantage of bokeh effects for portraits and nature photography alike.
Ultra-Telephoto Zoom Lens: Sigma 100–400mm f/5–6.3 DG DN OS | Contemporary
A long-range zoom creates a whole new way of looking at the world; for many, it profoundly changes the way they see and record nature, wildlife and even photojournalistic assignments. Lightweight (2.5 pounds, L mount), specially sealed and compact for its range (7.8 inches, L mount), this newly crafted lens leverages Sigma’s know-how in long-range telephoto optics and mirrorless technology.
What’s more, a 9-blade diaphragm enhances bokeh and is especially exciting at longer focal length settings. The lens’s stepping motor is also optimized for both phase–detection and contrast-detection AF, so eye tracking is optimized. In addition, there’s a 4–step optical stabilization system that expands shooting opportunities in challenging lighting. The lens also comes in a Sony E-mount version.
Portrait Lens: Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG DN | Art
Aimed directly at professional and enthusiast portrait and fine art photographers, this Art line lens has features that read like a portrait lens wish list. The first, of course, is the potential for bokeh and other benefits of an enhanced optical background effect for portrait and nature subjects. Next, Sigma paid special attention to achieve optimum results at any aperture, especially when wide open.
The lens incorporates an impressive assemblage of high refractive index glass, five special low dispersion (SLD) elements and an aspherical lens. As a result, it achieves an absence of color bleeding and bothersome backlight effects; center to edge sharpness; and a unique presence throughout. Numerous lens controls and functions also make it a choice for both still and video.
Macro Lens: Sigma 105mm f/2.8 DG DN Macro | Art
A macro lens adds a special touch to any photographer’s kit bag, especially one that performs extra duty as a classic portrait focal length lens. This Sigma lens checks all the boxes when it comes to a close-up photographer’s wish list: a maximum aperture of f/2.8; a minimum focusing distance of 11.6 inches; a maximum 1:1 magnification; and also a rounded 9-blade diaphragm. All of these add to the versatile handling of any subject and especially the potential for artistic bokeh effects.
Since a good deal of macro work is done outdoors, a water– and oil–repellent coating protects against inclement weather. Furthermore, numerous on-lens controls (aperture ring lock switch, AFL button, an aperture ring click switch for silent video shooting) add to the creative and practical benefits the lens affords.
Best Accessories of 2021
Fine Art Printing Solution: Hahnemühle Print – Protect – Authenticate Range
Photographers who aspire to enter the fine art market understand that professional presentation and authentication play an important role in preparing their work for sale. Hahnemühle’s Authentication product range gives photo artists a complete package. This includes the company’s world-renowned archival papers, portfolio boxes and special preprinted certificates of authenticity. In addition, there’s now a free online print registry service for establishing provenance.
Hahnemühle inkjet papers have earned high regard among gallerists and curators. Consequently, the association with the brand shows the artists’ high regard for their work. Other tools include the Hahnemühle Signing Pen Duo; it combines a pigment liner and graphite signing pencil that will not bleed through any paper surface. There are also various specialty coating sprays for print protection, preservation and presentation.
Photo Printer: Canon imagePrograf Pro-300
There’s nothing like a quality print to preserve the true impact of a well-done photograph. This 13-inch, 10-ink (Lucia Pro, including a chroma optimizer) pigment inkjet printer makes it easy for photographers and graphic artists to discover the benefits of printing as both a creative outlet and to archive their vision. With stacked sheet as well as single sheet manual feeds (for heavier paper stock), this desktop-sized printer has a 3-inch display.
It also handles panoramas up to 39 inches long and offers easy maintenance and print setting controls. What’s more, a special benefit for those who may print infrequently is Canon’s Nozzle Recovery System, which cuts down on the need for frequent head cleaning.
Imaging Software, Expert: Zoner Photo Studio X
To take advantage of the enhancement of digital camera files, especially RAW files, a full-fledged photo–editing and processing toolkit is required. Zoner Photo Studio X offers a range of workflow, corrections, layer processing and effects in an affordable and easy–to–use format. This PC-only Zoner software has a straightforward interface and fast import capabilities. It also provides keyword tagging and profile corrections.
Furthermore, its subscription price includes both online storage and the ability to create galleries. Access to images is via a panel architecture for sourcing from a hard drive or a memory card, along with a search function that filters by format, user rating and even GPS coordinates. Basic and enhanced color, crop, exposure and rotation tools are also available, plus there are numerous preset options.
Imaging Software, Professional: DxO PhotoLab 4
This is an advanced RAW photo-editing software that combines the most efficient correction and processing solutions on the market with the power of AI (artificial intelligence). In this latest update, DxO PhotoLab 4 now uses DeepPRIME, a revolutionary technology based on AI and trained with deep learning. Using the millions of photos DxO’s laboratories analyzed for 15+ years, DeepPRIME drastically improves digital noise reduction while also delivering more effective de–mosaicing.
Photography aficionados can also enjoy the benefits of unrivaled DxO optical corrections and several powerful editing tools. They comprise ClearView, which effectively reduces atmospheric haze; and Smart Lighting, which maximizes any photo’s dynamic range. In addition to a complete range of local adjustment tools, DxO PhotoLab 4 also features U Point technology, an easy-to-use tool with unmatched efficiency.
Lighting Technology: Profoto AirX
Smartphones have revolutionized photography and bred a generation of new image creators. However, one thing that is missing within smartphone photography is the ability to creatively work with light, as professional photographers do with flash. The Profoto AirX technology synchronizes all Bluetooth-equipped Profoto Xenon flash devices (e.g., A10, B10-series, Pro-11) with a smartphone. Users may connect multiple flash units and control them individually.
Moreover, the number of features and level of control is the same as for taking photos with a traditional camera: automatic exposure mode (TTL); precise manual flash power control; automatic HSS mode; and shutter speeds down to 1/25,000 sec. Profoto AirX also permits a flexible workflow with superior lighting quality. In addition, it is free when downloading the Profoto Camera app from the App Store and Google Play.
Portable Flash: Godox Pocket Flash AD100Pro
Small, highly portable strobes that do not need wired power come in handy for a wide variety of creative tasks. The lightweight (1.2 pounds) and compact (4.7x3x3 inches) AD100Pro from Godox is a 100Ws strobe. It features lithium battery power, an LED modeling light as well as the ability to accept a wide variety of light–shaping accessories. It delivers 1/8000 high–speed sync plus control of multiple flash setups via an optional 32-channel wireless transmitter with a 328-foot range.
What’s more, its rechargeable lithium-ion battery is rated at 360 full power flashes. It also offers a recycling time of 0.01–1.5 seconds and 9-step power adjustment. Creative flexibility is offered through user controls that include manual, auto and strobe settings, plus power output, a modeling light and first– or second–curtain sync.
Tripod: Vanguard VEO 3GO Series
Some photographers hesitate to use a tripod due to the perception they are cumbersome to carry and set up. Created for on–the–go photographers, the Vanguard VEO 3GO kits might well change their minds. The 204CB (carbon fiber), for example, folds down to an eminently portable 13.6 inches and weighs just 1.8 pounds. However, it extends to 51.6 inches and can carry up to a 6.6-pound camera.
The tripod also features an Arca-Swiss compatible T-45 ball head. Further, all 3GO models work as tripods, monopods or as selfie/vlogging sticks. They also provide a smartphone holder and Bluetooth remote capability. Each model allows for setting legs at three angles for perspective adjustment as well as the easy extension of the center column for low–angle or macro work.
Tripod Head: Gitzo Series 4
Professional photographers who want a heavy-duty tripod head that performs in extreme conditions will welcome the Gitzo Series 4 ball head. It’s precisely manufactured using high-tolerance steel and aluminum components. It weighs just 2 pounds; however, it can securely hold an impressive 66-pound load like a pro camera with a 40–600mm lens.
The unit perfectly complements Gitzo’s Series 3, 4 and 5 systematic tripods and comes in both lever and screw plate lock configurations. Moreover, it is rich in features, including an independent friction control for precise adjustments; a bubble level; a 360° independent panning lock; and a short-rotation fast lock. Supplied with the Gitzo’s D profile plates, Gitzo Series 4 ball heads are also compatible with Arca-Swiss style plates from other brands.
Gimbal System: Manfrotto Gimboom and Gimbal System
Content creators and professional video makers can now create dynamic presentations with an affordable yet heavy–duty stabilizer system. It can handle up to 14 pounds of gear and work with both Manfrotto and other makers’ gimbals. The innovative gimbal features a quick install process via a release plate that once set remains in place; this results in quick setup and breakdown.
The gimbal also provides a lockable 3-axis stabilization and motors for smooth shooting. Users can set parameters and change the working mode via its touch screen. In addition, modes comprise a set of creative selections such as time lapse, Vlog selfies and TikTok portrait modes. To expand shooting options, the setup has a wide range of accessories that work with 220–460 gimbals, including follow focus, remote control and gimbal extension.
Enthusiast Photo Monitor: ViewSonic VP2768a
Enthusiast photographers and videographers require a monitor with a high standard of color accuracy, uniformity as well as calibration capability. The VP2768a from ViewSonic provides all of these. It also boasts an integrated workflow that helps clear desktop clutter by recognizing that numerous forms of input and output are all part of the creative process. For example, the DisplayPort output allows for a double monitor chain. Also, connecting a computer via the USB-C port permits transfer of all data through a single cable.
What’s more, an integrated USB 3.0 hub handles keyboard, mouse and flash drives. Furthermore, the 27-inch ColorPro IPS panel delivers a stunning palette of 4.39 trillion colors and is factory calibrated. Pantone validated, it also supports a 100% sRGB color space, color blindness mode and 14-bit LUT hardware calibration.
Professional Photo Monitor: LG UltraWide Thunderbolt 4 (40WP95C)
This 40-inch, ultrawide, 21:9 aspect ratio monitor features a curved Nano IPS display panel with WUHD 5K2K resolution. Its wide color gamut covers 98% of the DCI-P3 color space and 135% of the sRGB color space. Moreover, the LG monitor’s ability to show more visual data on–screen means greater productivity and convenience for content creators or coders who work with several programs/windows simultaneously.
Enhanced connectivity with Thunderbolt 4 also provides users with a universal cable connectivity solution. In addition, it offers expanded capabilities and USB4 specification compliance. It also allows users to charge a laptop connected to the monitor while they work. Further, Live Color Low Blue Light technology helps prevent eyestrain without negatively impacting picture quality. It is certified by Underwriters Laboratories and TÜV Rheinland.
Professional Video Monitor: LG UltraFine OLED Pro (32EP950)
OLED technology is considered to provide the best display experience. The 32–inch UltraFine OLED Pro display is specifically for video content creators in the movie, broadcasting and media industry whose work requires the best color accuracy and HDR/SDR picture quality.
Furthermore, the LG display provides individual dimming of its 8 million pixels, delivering HDR images without any halo effect; true 10-bit color depth; a billion-color reproduction; 99% Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 coverage; as well as a million–to–one contrast ratio. The 4K display has a comprehensive workflow and connectivity toolkit that includes an HDMI port, two DisplayPorts for multiple PC and three USB ports. lg.com
Photo Smartphone: Sony Xperia 1 III
The Xperia 1 III utilizes the expertise of engineers from Sony’s Alpha cameras. It provides four focal lengths with the world’s first variable telephoto lens. The lens pairs with a Dual PD sensor to reach up to a focal length of 105mm from 16mm. In addition, it delivers 12MP and RAW–formatted images. Each lens features Zeiss optics calibrated specifically for the Xperia 1 III.
Fast focus is also enhanced by AI for real–time tracking and allows for 20–fps bursts with 60–fps continuous AF/AE calculations. What’s more, the 4K HDR OLED display is enhanced for video and other mobile apps with a 120Hz refresh rate. Notably, its cinematography pro feature creates movies up to 4K and at 120 fps for slow-motion recording.
Power Accessory: Nitecore SCL10
This 2-in-1 smart camera light and power bank negates the need to fill a camera bag with lots of accessories—batteries, chargers, lights, wires, cards, etc. The multifunction SCL10 from Nitecore serves as a smart camera light and 10,000mAh power bank in one. The light, with the included hot shoe mount, offers 800 max lumen output with a variable color temperature range of 2500–6300K. As a result, it performs perfectly as a fill light for still and video shooting.
Moreover, it also acts as an emergency flashlight. The battery has a maximum runtime of 70 hours as a camera light and is rechargeable via USB-C. In addition, it functions as a power bank for other devices and has an OLED display for brightness, color temperature and remaining battery life status.
Video Accessory: Røde Wireless GO II
The days of difficult video sound setups for content creators doing two-person interviews, vlogging, spot news and even prerecording presentations are over. Røde has made it easy to quickly set up wireless audio for recording to a wide range of devices. With push–button ease, the two small clip-on or mount devices with built-in mics offer secure Series IV 2.4GHz transmission up to 656 feet away.
Controls are also straightforward with clear LCD panels. While dual channels are great for interviews, the transmitters can be single channel or switched on the go, mixed for stereo and even connect to an existing lavalier mic. Users can attach the receiver to cameras, laptops, tablets and also smartphones via numerous port connectors and cables.
Photo Accessory: Hoya Prond Grad Circular Graduated ND Filters
Every landscape photographer knows that half the battle is waiting for the light to appear just right. Hoya’s Prond Grad filters even out the odds by offering a controllable balance between the bright and dark areas (sky and land) of horizontal landscape compositions. Known colloquially as “blenders,” these high–quality filters are made with Hoya’s Accu-ND deposition technology; it distributes graduation equally throughout the glass surface.
A further refinement is the adjustment of the way the specific density starts and fades out inside the image area. Subsequently, they make for a smooth and natural fade that enriches the highlights and lets the darker areas breath. These variable filters are available in 0–4 (Prond Grad 16) and 0–5 stop (Prond Grad 32) strengths.
Best Photo Services for 2021
Retail Finishing System: CEWE Photocenter
Available at photo dealers and other retail outlets that serve family and hobbyist photographers, the CEWE Photocenter offers expanded creative image options that go beyond the standard 4×6 print. Consumers can order numerous premium products, such as posters and canvas surface prints, greeting cards, photo books, calendars, stickers and even photo mugs. Moreover, they can do so in self-service or staff-supported scenarios.
In addition, high–volume locations are equipped with individual and flexible setups for walk-in business. In addition, the system integrates with an order-at-home–app, store pickup model. Ease of ordering is key, as is awareness of image product offerings; both kiosks and online formats guide the consumer along the way. The company also reports strong support and demand for the Photocenter and its products from hobbyist and enthusiast photo fans alike.
Photo Lab: WhiteWall RoomView
The WhiteWall RoomView provides photographers, gallery owners and interior designers with a visualization of how an image will look in a private home, office or on a gallery wall. Once the image is uploaded, it is automatically converted into a 3D product view that contains all the product features, such as glass and frame.
Users upload a picture of their own room or wall, plus supply the dimensions of the space. They can also work with a “sample” wall for various image configuration setups. They can also clear the wall of present content to provide a realistic blank canvas awaiting photo art placement. To top it off, a one-click white point feature matches the preview with the actual color temperature of the room light. Consequently, customers get an individual and true-to-scale visualization of their photograph in their own room.
Photo Service: CEWE Photo Calendar A2 Gold Edition
One of the most popular ways a photographer can share their love of photography is via an attractive wall calendar that will hang year–round. CEWE’s A2-size (approximately 17×24 inches) Gold Edition photo calendar is available in a vertical or horizontal format. What’s more, it is printed on a high-quality matte, low-reflection paper.
The calendar also has a shiny gold–embossed finish that adds an elegant touch. Moreover, it is shipped wrapped in a soft envelope paper with an included greeting card. Downloadable software makes selection as well as arrangement easy. In addition, photographers don’t have to wait for the winter holidays to give one—they can choose any month in the year to start a 12-month calendar.
Imaging Computer: Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 (UX582)
Laptop computers have evolved to incorporate the latest technology in their image–processing flexibility and capability. The ZenBook’s 15.6–inch screen is a 4K touch screen with an OLED display. Additionally, there’s a secondary 14-inch ScreenPad that automatically tilts up to 9.5º and provides access to ScreenPad Plus optimized apps.
It also offers four types of controls; dial, button, slider and scroll capabilities are all accessed by using the App Switcher to launch an app. As a result, it provides a multi-window experience via the full-width touchpad. Asus also includes a second–generation, pressure-sensitive active stylus and pad for more creative options. Notably, the main screen has a 4K OLED HDR NanoEdge display for deep blacks and vivid colors. It also features 32GB of memory and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 laptop graphics.