The Battle For 2008 Camera Of The Year
A few days before the end of 2008 I started to think about choosing the 2008 Camera Of The Year. I had a camera in mind and figured I’d wait until after the New Year and then publish an article with my camera choice. Then I had the bright idea of posting a Quick Poll to find out which camera the photography community thinks should to win. That opened up a big can of juicy, wiggly worms. It’s come down to a battle between digital SLRs with video and the new Micro Four Thirds format in the form of the Panasonic Lumix G1. I have to admit I am surprised by the results – the Panasonic G1 currently has a solid lead with 22% of the votes. Digital SLRs with video – the Nikon D90 and Canon EOS 5D Mark II are tied for 2nd place – each has 18% of the votes. The results are bouncing around with about 1% of variation. But it looks like the world’s first Micro Four Thirds camera is going to keep its lead.
The results of what I’m calling the popular vote for Camera Of The Year have surprised me and really made me think. My original choice is on hold and I’m watching the community’s arguments closely. The camera choices in the poll are:
- Canon PowerShot G10
- Canon EOS 5D Mark II
- Nikon D90
- Nikon D700
- Nikon D3X
- Panasonic Lumix G1
- Panasonic Lumix LX3
- Sigma DP1
- Sony Alpha A900
I expected better poll results for the compact digital cameras – the Canon G10 and Panasonic Lumix LX3. I also expected better results for Nikon’s recently announced 24-megapixel full-frame D3X pro digital SLR. But there’s no doubt about it, the battle is between the new Micro Four Thirds format and the two new digital SLRs with video capture. The question is, which new technology is more important? So far we only have one Micro Four Thirds camera with two consumer level Micro Four Thirds lenses. You can mount the excellent Four Thirds Olympus lenses if you want better glass. But you have to use an adapter mount and that pretty much voids the design goal of the Micro Four Thirds format by making the whole camera package larger than intended. But the promise of a sub-DSLR sized, high-performance, changeable lens camera is absolutely there. Reviews for the Panasonic G1 have been pretty positive – both from the professional review sites and G1 owners.
Initial reaction to the Nikon D90, the first digital SLR with video capability, was mixed. Many serious photographers dismissed video as a legitimate feature for a DSLR. And I confess that I was one of those photographers who thought video was a silly addition to a serious camera. But that quickly changed as professional photographers realized having a camera that could also capture HD video could add a new revenue stream to their businesses. Families shopping for digital SLRs have been very interested in the Nikon D90 because of the performance, price, and HD video capability – it’s a camera that can really do it all. And there’s a lot of buzz about the new Canon EOS 5D Mark II among pro photographers and even video communities. Video samples from the 5D Mark II have been excellent and near professional-level digital camcorder features like 1080p HD resolution and an external mic input make it a compelling option for photographers and videographers who want a camera that can do it all. What many of us first considered to be a gimmick is starting to look like the real deal. Digital SLR video is a solid feature and it’s definitely here to stay.
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