Camera of the Year 2016: Best Enthusiast Cameras

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The largest group of readers on Imaging Resource are undoubtedly what we’d call “enthusiast” photographers. Sure, we have plenty of beginners who pay us a visit, and certainly professional photographers who use our website for various purposes, but it’s the enthusiasts who comprise the core of our readership and who color our comments sections most often.

Of course, your faithful reviewers here are also basically enthusiast photographers, and like yourselves, we’re always looking for the next tool that can help us take our photography to new heights. We’re not as interested in the $6k “best-of-the-best” cameras because they’re either too large or too expensive (or both) for our enthusiast needs and budgets, yet we are not willing to sacrifice on image quality and performance for our more important photographic endeavors.

So bring on the enthusiast cameras! These are meant to represent the optimal balance between solid performance and image quality, while not straining your biceps nor your wallet too much. Below are the cameras from 2016 that we feel make the grade as the soundest investments for the enthusiast crowd, whether you lean towards DSLRs, mirrorless models, fixed lens specialty cameras or perhaps a 1-inch-sensored, all-in-one zoom!

Leica Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH.

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Leica announced today the release of its Summilux-SL 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH. lens and Firmware Version 2.2 for the Leica SL compact system camera. Available from today, the Leica Summilux-SL 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH. is the first prime lens for the Leica SL-System and sets a new standard on the market. Its large maximum aperture makes it the ideal partner in situations with challenging light, enabling the use of shallow depth of field as a creative tool. Fast, precise and reliable autofocus helps guarantee optium sharpness, leaving photographers free to concentrate on composition and creativity.  The combination of its resolving power and soft bokeh in out-of-focus areas clearly isolates subjects from their surroundings, particularly when shooting at maximum aperture. The suggested retail price is £3,850 including VAT. Firmware version 2.2, the latest update for the innovative Leica SL mirrorless camera system, provides improved support for the Mac versions of Leica Image Shuttle 3.5 and Leica Tethered Plug-in 1.1.0. It also supports the new Microsoft Windows version of Leica Image Shuttle 3.5, improving compatibility and workflow efficiency for tethered shooting with the Leica SL. Image Shuttle 3.5 also allows users to control the camera from a computer via a USB 3.0 cable connection and manipulate shutter speed, aperture, ISO value and autofocus, displaying images directly on a large monitor screen for assessment. Registered camera owners can log into the Leica Owners’ Area and download the new software and firmware updates.

Camera of the Year 2016: Best Professional and High-End Cameras

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Ready for more? It’s time to take a closer look at the high end of the spectrum! After all, this year saw a somewhat extraordinary conjunction, as both Canon and Nikon unveiled new entries in their flagship camera lines with the Canon 1D X Mark II and the Nikon D5. Which one took the brass ring from us, and did both merit being honored here? Read on!

And what if you don’t need a tip-top “über-camera?” How about mainline professional-level workhorse cameras for portraiture, weddings, “street” photography, nature and architectural fields? We’ll take a closer look at these pro-grade cameras and let you know our votes for the best of the best and additional models to keep your eye on.

Camera of the Year 2016: Best Overall

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We test many good cameras and lenses over the course of a year, but each year some rise to the occasion of simply being outstanding in their class. Our Camera of the Year awards are a chance to let us showcase the cameras and lenses that really shined for us over the past year, and we’re honored to give them the recognition they deserve with our Camera of the Year awards.

The bottom line is, we’ve tried to cull the best of the best for you from 2016, and we’ve decided to reverse the order for this year and start with our Best Overall camera models. It was a very difficult decision picking one above the others, and we feel that these three cameras deserve ample attention for our enthusiast audience. We therefore proudly present to you the “Best Overall” winners in Imaging Resource’s Camera of the Year Awards of 2016!

Olympus E-PL8 Review

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Introduction

The Olympus E-PL8 is a new compact system camera from the brand, which sits in the entry-level or beginner line-up. It is aimed towards bloggers, and has many features which may appeal to those who run their own websites. In many ways it remains unchanged in terms of specifications from the E-PL8. It features the same 16.1MP Live MOS Four Thirds sensor, and the same TruePic VII imaging engine. Other interesting features include inbuilt Wi-Fi, full HD video recording, a tilting touch-sensitive screen and a range of digital ‘art’ filters which can be applied to your images. The Olympus E-PL8 retails for $649 / £499.

Meyer-Optik Nocturnus 50mm f/0.95 II

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Meyer-Optik USA has announced the 50mm f0.95 II lens designed for use on full-frame compact system cameras with a Sony E-Mount. The optical formula comprises ten elements in seven groups and a near-circular iris diaphragm with fifteen steel aperture blades. The clickless aperture ring and smooth focus control operate in near silence, making this lens especially attractive for videographers. Weighing in at 680 grams, the manual-focus Meyer-Optik Nocturnus 50mm f/0.95 II has a minimum focusing distance of 0.5m (19.7″) and takes 67mm screw-mount filters. The lens is expected to begin shipping in January at an estimated retail price of $2,999.