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Two Cameras of the Year Tweet This   Forward This

4 January 2013

Well, last year. This year, all bets are off. But the returns are in for 2012. And while there was plenty of admiration for the Nikon D800/E, two other cameras were cited almost uniformly.


At The Online Photographer, Mike Johnston actually owns two of his nominees, distinguishing his choice of the Olympus OM-D EM-5.

After citing his appreciation for the EM-5's image quality, he added:

"I love Micro 4/3 because I love lenses and there are just more tasty lenses that you can stick on a Micro 4/3 camera than any other kind. And the OM-D E-M5 is the true coming of age of the whole Micro 4/3 category."

Thom Hogan gave his Sansmirror Serious Camera of the Year award to the Olympus OM-D EM-5, too. But he was only looking at mirrorless cameras. So the Olympus beat out the Fujifilm X-E1, Panasonic GH3 and Sony NEX-6. He explains:

"But here's the thing: it takes great pictures, JPEG or Raw. The reason I keep picking it up is that last bit coupled with the wide lens selection that also produces great pictures. That is, after all, the thing that you want to do with a 'Serious Mirrorless Camera:' create great images."

DPReview relied on a user poll to select the Olympus OM-D EM-5 by a whisker over the Nikon D800/E/. Image quality, customizability (what's the word for that?), lenses -- everything but autofocus -- make it "one of the best cameras currently on the market."


PopPhoto tabbed the Canon 5D Mark III. Again image quality was cited as the main reason, even if it wasn't the whole story:

"But we felt strongly that the Canon produced the best balance across all imaging factors, with Low or better noise up to ISO 12,800 and still acceptable noise at ISO 25,600."

Citing "amazing low-light performance, super fast and accurate AF, premium build quality and incredible dSLR film capabilities," Scott Bourne at Photofocus picked the Canon 5D Mark III, too.

Kind of interesting that video performance wasn't a significant factor for any of the sites taking part in this exercise.


What amuses us about this annual tradition is how the camera categories have gotten blurred. A few judges do indeed distinguish between dSLRs, mirrorless cameras, compact cameras and (well, why not?) smartphone cameras.

But with such extensive appreciation for the Olympus OM-D EM-5, the envelope has been pushed beyond the full-frame dSLR to something more manageable without giving up image quality. That may explain why the Nikon D800 was "merely" admired.

And, as we've noted ourselves with Micro 4/3 cameras, the fun of using a variety of glass is back with not only a non-proprietary mount but a wealth of adapters.

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