The first Photography News of 2024 is out now and it’s one you won’t want to miss. We reveal the winning products and services from the PN Awards, as voted for by you, the readers. Find out which pieces of kit came out on top. If you’re in a buying mood, we’ve got tests of Fujifilm’s GFX100 II, Canon’s RF 24-240mm and Benro’s Cyanbird, plus there’s a guide to holidays and courses, the latest news and more!
ISSUE 113 23 Jan-11 Mar 2024 photographynews.co.uk
Pg30 Big test:
Pg39 Holidays and courses / Make plans to get away and improve your photography!
Pg43 Canon 24-240mm / Is this RF mount zoom the only lens you need?
GFX100 II / Medium format comes of age
PN Awards: your winners revealed! The wait is over! Here are the best products and services voted for by you in our prize-giving extravaganza
to share your opinions – everyone at Photography News , along with the industry, will be eternally grateful for your support. So who won? If you’d like to cut straight to the feature itself, head to page 13. Alternatively, turn the page for some edited highlights. Continued on page 3
In case you missed the voting, products and services were grouped into more than 40 categories, with every aspect of the imaging world catered for. PN readers didn’t let us down when voting opened in late September. By the time the closing date came around in December, thousands of you had taken the time
As a result, the industry now eagerly awaits the results. Has that new feature helped their camera scoop a top prize? Is that lens as unique as they think it is? Has that new service proved as popular as they hoped it would? Rest assured, they’ll be as keen to get their hands on this issue as you are.
of industry experts to make all the decisions, we thought it was a far better idea to get the equipment- buying public to choose. After all, you know which pieces of kit you can’t do without and the services you rely on month in, month out. We formulate the shortlist of products and services to vote on, and you do the rest.
DRUM ROLL PLEASE... as we announce the imaging industry’s best products and services – voted for by you, the Photography News readers! This annual event was introduced in 2016 specifically to recognise and reward all that’s wonderful in the worlds of photography and video. But, rather than get a group
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Continued from page 1
In the camera categories, this year was the first time that no award was handed out in the DSLR class. Reflecting the shift in the market to mirrorless models and the reduced investment in R&D, we decided it was best to retire it entirely. Despite this, familiar names were still top of the pile, with Nikon triumphing in three categories: best enthusiast APS-C mirrorless camera for the Z fc, best top-end full-frame mirrorless camera for the Z 9 and best video-focused camera for the Z 8. The remaining prizes in camera categories were split evenly between Canon, Leica, Fujifilm, Panasonic, OM System, Polaroid and Sony – all of which picked up the one award each.
EDITOR’S LETTER ROGER PAYNE
This time last year, my wife and I were unpacking boxes following a week-before-Christmas house move to North Norfolk. Admittedly, a fair number of boxes remain unpacked, but let’s not talk about that. I was hoping our relocation would inject new life into my photographic endeavours, as it’s an undeniably beautiful part of the country – and I’ve achieved that with a moderate degree of success. I haven’t taken as many images as I might have hoped for (and that’s for a number of reasons), but I have learnt some valuable lessons. The most salient has come from my early-morning dog walks, which I’m now lucky to do on a beach rather than a pavement. My pooch and I head to the coast in all weathers – sun, rain, wind, the lot – and I’ve begun to appreciate just how much a landscape changes on a daily – in fact, hourly – basis. The same landmarks are there, but they always look different. As a result, I’ve found myself looking closely at subtle changes in light, the sky, the surrounding flora and fauna; it’s a constantly changing environment that always presents new opportunities. And that’s before you include the people interacting with the environment, which offers even more options. Roger Payne
Nikon won again in the lens categories, picking up a couple of awards in the superzoom and standard lens categories. Sigma also picked up two awards: best macro lens for the 105mm f/2.8 DG DN Macro and best wide-angle for the 14mm f/1.4 DG DN Art. Other optic winners included Zeiss, Samyang and Canon. If lighting is more your bag, Rotolight picked up some prizes: one voted for by you, the AEOS 2 Pro winning best LED light; one selected as an Editor’s Choice award in the best on-camera flash category for the Neo 3 Pro. Meanwhile, Godox picked up a brace of gongs, with the AD400 Pro securing best portable flash and the V1 nabbing best on-camera flash. Elinchrom and Nanlite picked up wins in mains flash and LED light. Services are always hotly contested categories. MPB – clearly a PN reader “If lighting is more your bag, Rotolight picked up some prizes”
I now take a camera with me every time we go out for a walk. While I’m not always happy with the results, looking back at the images does show how much the landscape changes over the seasons. It’s helped me see familiar locations in an entirely new light. To the issue, which sees us announce the PN Awards winners for 2023. Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote. Find all the winners on page 13 (or some edited highlights to the right). I have also been testing Fujifilm’s GFX100 II – read my review on page 30. It’s quite something (the camera, that is). Enjoy the issue and your photography in 2024. Stick with us and we’ll keep you up to date with all things photography.
SWEET VICTORY Both the Nikon Z fc (above) and Sennheiser MKE 400 (top) won in their respective categories favourite – continued its remarkable run of victories by retaining its best used specialist retailer award, while Chiswick Camera Centre overcame some massive names to scoop best retailer. Amazing Internet walked away with best photo website provider, and a well-deserved win for Chris Simmons Photography saw him retain best training provider for the second year running. The full list of winners, plus the other nominated products, starts on page 13. Our congratulations to all our winners and nominees, not to mention a huge thanks to everyone who took the time to vote. Same time next year?
TOP DRIVE The Sandisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2 is among the winners
What’s inside 03 News Winners from the Photography News 2023 Awards, plus a tasty selection of new products, including a tiny macro lens from Panasonic 09 Samsung word search Pit your word-finding wits against our photo- focused puzzle. A 256GB Samsung memory card awaits one lucky winner!
13 Photography News 2023 Awards: The winners You voted, we counted, and now it’s time to reveal the best products and services in the imaging industry. If you’re looking to purchase some new gear, take a look at what your fellow readers believe to be the best 30 Big test: Fujifilm GFX100 II A big test for a big camera. Fujifilm’s medium format GFX100 II looks like a phenomenal all- rounder on paper, but how does it fare out in the field? Roger Payne finds out 39 Buyers’ guide: holidays and courses Making plans for your picture-taking in 2024? You’ve come to the right place, as we round up
a fine selection of options to help you learn, both at home and away 43 First tests Canon’s 10x RF 24-240mm superzoom for mirrorless models is put to the test by Will Cheung, while we also test the mettle of the carbon-fibre and aluminium Benro Cyanbird five-section tripod
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For filmmakers and photographers requiring a compact, yet powerful light in a handy size, Zhiyun’s UK and Ireland distributor has unveiled a pair of Fiveray M20 and M20C professional mini LED lamps. As the naming indicates, these offer 20W output, along with a runtime of 40 minutes that’s powered by a 4500mAh battery capacity. The Fiveray M20 enables precise white-balance control with a colour temperature range of 2700K to 6500K, while the Fiveray M20C with additional RGB LEDs boasts an extended colour temperature range of 2500K to 10,000K and Bluetooth mesh capability. The latter allows users to synchronise multiple lighting devices to cover wider areas for innovative effects, with the ability to stack the units. This wireless lighting control works in conjunction with Zhiyun’s mobile app. Both products are available in two versions – the standard or combo package. The combo adds extras such as a diffuser, barn doors, grid and storage bag. Retail prices for the M20 packages are £89 and £119 respectively; the stand-alone M20C is £139 or £169 for the combo version. zhiyun-tech.com Zhiyun launches compact LEDs
World’s smallest & lightest macro lens from Panasonic
Panasonic has announced what it claims to be the smallest and lightest medium-telephoto, fixed-focal-length macro lens in the world. The Lumix S 100mm f/2.8 Macro for its L-Mount system mirrorless cameras features a newly developed Dual Phase Linear Motor, delivering silent and optimal video functionality, life-size close- up photography and impressive portraiture. With a weight of 298g, fast and precise AF is also promised, as is micro-step aperture control for smooth changes in exposure, plus the choice between linear or non-linear focus ring settings. Arriving at the end of January, it is priced at £999. panasonic.com
SMALL, BUT MIGHTY The Lumix S 100mm f/2.8 Macro delivers great functionality in a tiny package
‘Grape’ idea from analogue specialist Low-cost analogue photography brand Lomography has introduced the new Fisheye No 2 Grape Jam, its latest 35mm film point-and-shoot compact. Some eye-catching features include a grape-purple body with a pop of green on the viewfinder. The aim is to allow photographers of all skillsets to capture unconventional wide-angle, fisheye-effect images in the 35mm format. With a built-in flash, bulb and multiple exposure settings, wide 170° angle of view,
close-ups down to 0.1m, 10mm focal length, f/8 aperture, power from an AA battery and an SRP of £69, the camera has great gifting potential too. lomography.com
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Photography & Video Show reveals speakers as registration opens
After a break in 2023, the UK’s biggest annual event for image makers – The Photography and Video Show – returns to its usual slot of 16-19 March 2024, at the NEC in Birmingham. Free registration for pro photographers, videographers and content creators is now open, with 250+ brands promised to be exhibiting on the show floor and a speaker line-up comprising 350+ talks and demos. A Creator Playground promises to be ‘fun filled’, plus interactive sets and specialist workshops will be led by big names. Just a small selection of the speaker line-up reveals must-see subjects including music photographer Scarlet Page (daughter of Jimmy Page), wedding photographers Sanjay Jogia and Brett Florens, professional photographer Tim Flach, photographer and author Scott Kelby, Getty Images royal photographer Chris Jackson, freelance photographers Gavin Hoey and Ben Moore, portrait photographer Hannah Couzens, pet photographer Jessica McGovern and many more. To get in the mood, you can listen to the latest episode of the show’s brand-new podcast via the event’s official website. photographyshow.com
AI-based binoculars help identify birds and animals
Optical specialist Swarovski Optik has launched what it’s calling the world’s first AI-supported smart binoculars. The pitch for the AX Visio states it marries high-performance, analogue long-range optics and digital intelligence, which assists with the identification of birds and other creatures at the touch of a button. In fact, the AX Visio 10x32 model claims to be able to assist with the identification of 9000 birds and other wildlife, coming complete with an integrated camera that captures photos and videos. In conjunction with the Swarovski Optik Outdoor app, these images can then be shared via a smartphone. Additionally, a ‘share discoveries’ option allows users to guide another person
to an observed object using arrow markers in the display. All device settings are carried out via the app, facilitating future updates and promising a product lifecycle for the device of ‘many years’, according to the maker. With a distinctive look and ergonomic design devised by industrial designer Marc Newson, the device draws on Swarovski’s 75 years of experience. We’re told five of those years alone have been invested in the development and construction of the AX Visio. All this technology doesn’t come cheap, though, and the flagship product is priced at a suggested £3820. Availability is from 1 February. swarovskioptik.com
Music photography awards invite 2024 entries
IN THE LIGHT Ben Moore (top), Hannah Couzens (middle) and Scarlet Page.
The Music Photographer of the Year Awards is back for a second year, this time under a new collective name: the So.co Image of Music Awards 2024. With the honours born from a desire to champion the often-unsung heroes behind the lens, entry is free and open now – but hurry, as they will close 31 January. There are three open-entry categories to choose from this time:
the Image of Music people’s choice award 2024, the music photographer of the year and the young music photographer of the year. The latter spotlights promising talent under 23. Other categories include venue of the year, innovation of the year, the must-see artist of the year and the So.co legend award. Submission and entry guidelines can be found at the URL below, with winners being
announced at London’s Amazing Grace on 26 March 2024. “I am thrilled to announce our music photography awards will return for its second year under the new title So.co Image of Music Awards, as we were blown away by the entries, enthusiasm and interaction around the inaugural awards,” says So.co CEO and co- founder Vince Bannon. “At So.co, our aim is to celebrate the music photographers behind the lens. Seeing a packed room in London with nominees and worthy winners telling their stories was the highlight of the year. We are delighted to bring the awards back bigger and better in 2024; it’s going to be a great night!” so.co/awards
Nikon pioneers new image provenance function for cams
The photographic industry is recognising the perceived threat to digital image infidelity from AI, particularly in newsgathering and photojournalism professions. Case in point: Nikon has newly partnered with Paris-based news agency AFP (Agence France- Presse) to involve the agency’s photographers in verifying a new image provenance function recently developed for its cameras. This feature generates images with embedded watermark data directly within the camera system, ensuring image authenticity even if metadata compliant with the
Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA) is deleted by accident. Nikon says that this is designed to protect individuals and enterprises from falsification and/ or unauthorised use of images, enabling photographers to securely conduct professional activities. The objective is to improve the reliability of new photos and streamline the fact-checking process. According to Nikon, the plan is to incorporate the watermarking function in its upcoming products. The exact timing will be announced separately, once determined. nikon.co.uk
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Displaying success: WhiteWall innovation wins coveted award ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Innovative international photo lab WhiteWall, already known for its quality and design when it comes to presenting its customers’ photographic prints, is beginning the new year on a high by being rewarded for doing just that
THE BIG NEWS is that, for the first time, WhiteWall has won the coveted 2024 German Design Award’s excellent product design category. The prize, awarded by the German Design Council, highlights its commitment to quality. For those readers not in the know, the German Design Award is one of the world’s most prestigious competitions of its kind. Honouring groundbreaking products and projects, it chose WhiteWall’s Design Edition by Studio Besau- Marguerre. The award’s judges were convinced by the photo lab’s commitment to its creative vision and design concept, as well as the functionality and aesthetics of the product. This comes off the back of six Photography News -affiliated TIPA World Awards naming WhiteWall as best photo lab in the world. So what is the award-winning product in question? The Design Edition by Studio Besau-Marguerre presents frames in green, yellow and purple colour schemes. Yet, within these palettes, four different shades are presented. This, believes WhiteWall (and the judges agree), helps create a strong dynamic between the frame and the picture. The differing colour tones direct the viewer’s gaze, ensuring the combination of frame and image comes alive. Nevertheless, the effect is not overpowering or distracting; the frames remain neutral in themselves as all the shades share the same, single colour palette. WhiteWall frames its most recent success
“The award’s judges were convinced by the photo lab’s commitment to its creative vision and design concept, as well as the functionality and aesthetics”
When combined with the gallery- quality prints that WhiteWall also provides, the refreshing hues of these latest frames enable creative minds to add a personal touch to the home. WhiteWall’s managing director Thomas Alscheid enthuses: “The German Design Award is a new accomplishment for WhiteWall. This is the first time we have received an award outside of photography. We are particularly pleased with this outcome and it confirms our idea of working with designers. From the onset of the partnership, collaborating with Studio Besau-Marguerre has been very special, and so to be rewarded with the German Design Award is all the more satisfying.”
As trivial as it may sound to design a frame in a particular colour, WhiteWall adds that it was exciting to focus on frames, thinking about how they interact with the artwork presented, as well as examining how both aspects harmonise. “It’s fascinating to see how much influence a frame has on photography,” says Eva Marguerre of Studio Besau-Marguerre, “because it is a product that often only leads a shadowy existence.”
With their bold colours, these latest and already award-winning frames designed for WhiteWall are guaranteed not to be left in the dark. In fact, the German Design Council emphasised the frames’ four different-coloured strips from the same colour family – whether in yellow, purple or green – ‘enter into an exciting dialogue with their respective motif’. So, inject some colour into your wall displays for 2024. Contact
WhiteWall about its acclaimed Design Edition by Studio Besau- Marguerre and place your own prints in the beautiful frame they deserve to ensure the maximum visual impact.
PICTURE PERFECT With varying shades of yellow, purple or green available, WhiteWall’s frames are sure to make your pictures pop
Issue 113 | Photography News 7
Voted best on-camera microphone by Photography News readers in our annual awards, we hear why the Sennheiser MKE 400 compact directional shotgun microphone will give a real boost to the audio content of your videos Sennheiser MKE 400 is PN’s sound choice
AS CONTENT CREATORS, we now have the opportunity at our fingertips to create high-quality 4K video and capture stills which are capable of reproducing billboard- sized images, all thanks to the latest cameras. However, venturing into video recording may reveal that built-in audio capture is not always a top priority for camera manufacturers compared to visuals. The answer “The Sennheiser MKE 400 means video recordings don’t have to be limited to a specific piece of hardware”
is incorporating an additional accessory microphone, whether it’s used on or off camera. Luckily, there is a winning choice recommended to you by Photography News readers – the Sennheiser MKE 400. The continually innovative, 75-year- old brand remains an industry standard for delivering professional audio. Attaching to a camera via a 3.5mm coiled cable, this product has been awarded best on-camera microphone by the enthusiastic readers of this magazine. So what made it a winner? Excelling in audio An on-camera microphone like the Sennheiser MKE 400 is a great choice for those who want to keep a mirrorless camera or DSLR-equipped shooting rig both highly compact and mobile. This directional microphone weighs just 93.5g and measures a mere
126x67x37mm. It comes supplied with interchangeable 3.5mm coiled TRS and TRRS cables that offer compatibility with a camera or even mobile device. Additionally, a 3.5mm headphone output allows for levels to be monitored while recording is taking place. Its directionality is achieved via an acoustic interference tube, which helps isolate audio in front of the camera and reject unwanted background noise from the sides. Power comes conveniently supplied via two AAA batteries, automatically powering either on or off when connected to DSLR or mirrorless cameras. What sets the Sennheiser MKE 400 apart is the integration of features like the windscreen and shock mount – which are typically separate accessories. The built-in wind protection makes the mic seriously compact and enables consistently great sound. For
MAGIC MIC This compact unit ensures clear and distortion-free audio for your video recordings every time
outdoor shoots, a furry windshield is included, too. The shock mount minimises handling noise, and the fact that it has been integrated into the microphone housing means that cables and other accessories cannot get tangled in it. Furthering the advantages are advanced features such as a three- step gain sensitivity switch, which enables distortion-free sound in any environment. Clear and intelligible speech is provided thanks to its switchable low-cut filter, which helps to eliminate wind noise. Put simply, this is a microphone designed to isolate and enhance the clarity of audio for video capture. Plus, thanks to the range of devices it can connect to, the Sennheiser MKE 400 means video recordings don’t have to be limited to a specific piece of hardware.
As a case in point, smartphone videographers should investigate the MKE 400 Mobile Kit, which includes the MKE 400 microphone, Sennheiser Smartphone Clamp, plus Manfrotto Pixi mini tripod – all of a convenient size for your camera bag. So, make 2024 the year in which you take the first step in upgrading audio and boosting the professional qualities of your video content. When it comes to winning accessories, the Sennheiser MKE 400 directional shotgun microphone is clearly worthy of its place on the podium as the ideal tool for vloggers and videographers.
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Park Cameras unveils new Fujifilm offering
A Samsung memory card! WIN!
Samsung’s updated Pro Plus cards allow you to shoot more, faster. Stunningly fast U3 and Class 10-rated read/write speeds up to 180 and 130MB/s let you smoothly receive and transfer masses of photos. The cards are ready to take on life’s adventures with six-proof protection from water, extreme temperatures, X-rays, magnets, drops and wearout, plus they come with a ten-year limited warranty. Complete the word search below – comprising names of some of 2023’s PN Awards winners – and you’ll find one word in the list that’s not in the grid. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org with that word in the subject box by 11 March 2024, and the card will be yours if your name is drawn at random from all the correct entries received. Only entries from UK residents will be accepted. Congratulations to Lisa Gane, our winner from issue 111. The missing word from issue 112 was ‘party’. samsung.com/uk/memory-cards
Park Cameras’ Burgess Hill and central London branches have spent the past month overhauling the touch and try sections of its stores in partnership with Fujifilm. We’re told it’s now even easier for customers to try out the range of mirrorless X Series and medium format GFX System cameras and lenses, along with the popular Instax instant print cameras, speak to Park Cameras experts, plus match particular products to their shooting needs. Echoing features of Fujifilm’s own flagship London House of Photography store, overlooking the Fujifilm zone in Park Cameras’ Burgess Hill location is a model of Japan’s Himeji Castle. This forms a focal point for customers to try cameras and lenses prior
to purchase. Park’s London store, meanwhile, now has two state-of-the-art kiosks which can turn images captured either on dedicated cameras or smartphones into prints or photo gifts – including canvases and coffee mugs. Park Cameras commercial director Frank Keenan says: “Park Cameras is one of the best locations in the UK to get hands-on with the entire range of Fujifilm products, delivering a truly enjoyable and informative shopping experience with our highly trained staff.” Fujifilm UK head of sales for imaging solutions Jonathan Difford concludes: “Fujifilm continues to invest in high-street stores to ensure customers can get the most from their photo taking and photo making.” parkcameras.com/stores
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Issue 113 | Photography News 9
Medium format power in a relatively compact body, equally adept for shooting stills and video, means the world is adventure and nature photographer Josselin Cornou’s oyster Have a taste for adventure? Choose Fujifilm’s GFX100 II ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE
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FRENCH-AUSTRALIAN LANDSCAPE and nature
photographer Josselin Cornou’s imagery reveals his love of finding the spectacular in the everyday and delivering shots with an instantly Instagrammable wow factor. Combining a love of travel and adventure for him means finding a portable and practically compact camera body, yet one up to the task of delivering high-resolution, saleable images for large print. It’s no surprise, then, the 102-megapixel FUJIFILM GFX100 II is Cornou’s current creative companion. Recently returned from a two- week trip to China, where he visited the Great Wall, Shanghai and its surrounding countryside, Cornou reveals that his favoured pro-grade lenses are the FUJINON GF20- 35mmF4 R WR, GF80mmF1.7 R WR and GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR. Previously, he used the FUJIFILM GFX50S, GFX100 and GFX100S. He now notes about the newer GFX100 II: “The EVF is the biggest pro for me, with 1.0x magnification. When you use a manual focus lens, it’s easy to focus because the image is very bright. It’s the closest thing to using an actual optical viewfinder. “Something else I like is the top screen, which is large and contains all the information I could need. The camera’s autofocus is snappy, too, and the eye detection is actually fantastic. I do feel like lenses such as the GF80mmF1.7 also behave much better, simply because of the improved autofocus.”
GFX100 II SPECS › Sensor 102-megapixel GFX CMOS II HS › Lens mount Fujifilm G Mount › Engine X-Processor 5 › ISO Auto, Stills: 80-12,800 (expandable to 40-102,400) › Image stabilisation In-body sensor shift up to eight stops › Screen 3.2in three-angle tilting touchscreen, 2.36m dots › Shutter speed 60 mins to 1/4000sec (mechanical) or 1/32,000sec (electronic) › Autofocus Intelligent hybrid AF, phase and contrast detection with 425 points › Frame rates Up to 8.7fps (electronic shutter), 8fps (mechanical shutter) › Recording media SD/SDHC/ SDXC, CFexpress Type B › Dimensions (wxhxd) 152.4x117.4x98.6mm › Weight 948g with battery and memory card
“With the FUJIFILM GFX100 II, it’s an all-round system for travellers. When shooting stills and videos, you don’t need to carry two systems any more”
Fast track to the express lane Cornou further rates the FUJIFILM GFX100 II’s provided CFexpress Type B and UHS-II SD card slots, highlighting that not only can they cope with huge file sizes, but also shooting at between 5fps and 8fps with almost no buffering. “When you’re travelling with the camera and want to capture a particular moment or event, it makes it very easy,” he continues. Another plus for him is the camera’s modernistic design, which he says is giving him an experience that’s expected from a contemporary, cutting-edge brand.
Handling and EVF aside, obviously a major selling point for the FUJIFILM GFX100 II is the huge resolution provided, which the photographer also feels is essential for his work. “There are several advantages; first of all in being able to re-frame the shot as you need. Then there’s the prints, especially of landscapes – which look beautiful – allowing you to print quite large because the files are very sharp.” While a lot of Cornou’s photography is editorial, being able to sell high- resolution prints direct is another welcome revenue stream the camera provides. Fujifilm’s unique built-in Film Simulation effects likewise can come in handy for the image maker, particularly when he needs to share something quickly that’s both immediately appealing and doesn’t require significant time to edit. “It’s useful when you’re shooting in the snow; on some cameras this wouldn’t look white. Here, it enables me to get appealing results straight out of the camera and share them swiftly. With the GFX, I’m also finding I don’t need to ‘stack’ photos that often to achieve more dynamic range – so it’s reducing the amount of work I am required to do in post- processing software.” Time saved means more hours spent shooting in far-flung, unspoilt locations. Recently, these have included Australia and Iceland alongside the likes of China, and ultimately leads to more images for the rest of us to enjoy. “With the FUJIFILM GFX100 II, it’s a complete, all-round system for travellers. When shooting stills and videos, you don’t need to carry two systems any more. It’s probably the only medium format system that is such a reliable all-rounder,” the photographer concludes.
CITY STILLS Cornou’s travels have taken him to some breathtaking locations, including the Great Wall of China and Shanghai where he made amazing images
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THE PHOTOGRAPHY NEWS 2023 AWARDS
Welcome to the results of the imaging industry’s most prestigious awards. Each year, we invite our readership to vote for what they consider the best kit and services. With thousands casting their votes, read on for this year’s roll call of victorious candidates
WORDS BY ROGER PAYNE AND WILL CHEUNG
IMAGING HAS NEVER been in a healthier state, judging by the huge number of pictures taken and video footage being shot every day. It’s great news – and shows the appetite for producing content is as strong as ever, fuelled by the kit, software and services at our disposal. The Photography News Awards were first introduced in order to recognise and reward all that’s wonderful in our industry, from the best cameras and lenses to essential peripherals including storage, lighting and colour management. Of course, the business is not just about shiny kit; we need dealers to sell it, hire services to administer it, and insurance providers for their projection when something unforeseen inevitably happens. Put another way, our awards boast categories for virtually every aspect of imaging and we are truly grateful for your support, so thanks to everyone who voted. Without any further ado, here are the winners…
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BEST ENTHUSIAST MICRO FOUR THIRDS CAMERA
BEST MEDIUM FORMAT CAMERA
BEST TOP-END MICRO FOUR THIRDS CAMERA
BEST TOP-END APS-C MIRRORLESS CAMERA
WINNER Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
WINNER Fujifilm GFX100S
WINNER Canon EOS R7
WINNER OM System OM-1
The Lumix DC-G9 sits towards the top of Panasonic’s range as an impressive camera with a vast array of features. Its 20.3-megapixel sensor is devoid of optical low-pass filter to resolve the finest details in a scene, supported by advanced five-axis dual image stabilisation technology with a massive 6.5EV benefit. When more resolution is needed and the subject suits, the Lumix G9 has a high-resolution mode that takes eight images and shifts the sensor between each frame to give 80-megapixel JPEGs and Raws. Add superfast AF, 20fps burst shooting, Depth from Defocus tech and 4K/Full HD video up to 60p and it’s easy to see why the Lumix G9 triumphed.
Fujifilm’s GFX System has made digital medium format photography more accessible to dedicated enthusiasts and professionals, with regular camera introductions and a growing lens range; recent additions included perspective control optics. The GFX100S features an advanced in-body image stabiliser 20% smaller and 10% lighter than its predecessor, and gives a 6EV benefit. This is a brilliant camera and thoroughly deserved award.
The EOS R7 sits as Canon’s APS-C format flagship boasting an impressive compact stature. It’s a great choice when travelling light, especially when paired with a dedicated RF-S lens. Notably, the EOS R7 is favoured by action and wildlife photographers thanks to the format’s 1.6x crop factor and 32.5-megapixel resolution. It can also rattle through frames at 30fps with the electronic shutter and 15fps with the mechanical shutter, which is the best option with moving subjects. Autofocus on Canon’s cameras has always rated highly and that is no different on this year’s winning camera. Its subject and eye detection skills are amazing, quick and responsive enough to keep pace with birds in flight. Well done to the EOS R7 for adding victory in this year’s Awards to its win in 2022. Who’s to say that the EOS R7 won’t run up a hat-trick in 2024.
The OM System OM-1 was last year’s winner, and it once again attracted the greatest number of votes. The OM-1 marked the inaugural camera release by OM System, later adorned with the Olympus name as a tribute to the original film OM-1 launched 50 years prior. It’s fair to say the digital OM-1 has had a similarly seismic impact on the camera market to its famous predecessor. It sports a stacked, back-side illuminated sensor working with a TruePic X image processor to give a superfast performance, and the OM-1 can shoot full Raws at 120fps with single AF and a remarkable 50fps with continuous AF. We don’t have the room here to dig too deep into the OM-1’s long feature list, but the camera’s AF system deserves to be singled out. It uses a 1053 Cross Quad Pixel phase detection system that is configurable to suit almost any scene, alongside very accurate subject eye detection. It gives deadly accuracy and is responsive enough to keep up with the camera’s rapid shooting skills.
ALSO NOMINATED: Fujifilm GFX50S II
Hasselblad 907X 50C Hasselblad X2D 100C Leica S3 Pentax 645Z
ALSO NOMINATED: Olympus PEN E-P7 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV OM System OM-5 Panasonic Lumix DC-G100
BEST TOP-END FULL-FRAME MIRRORLESS CAMERA
ALSO NOMINATED: Fujifilm X-H2 Fujifilm X-H2S Fujifilm X-T5
BEST ENTHUSIAST APS-C MIRRORLESS CAMERA
BEST ENTHUSIAST FULL-FRAME MIRRORLESS CAMERA
Olympus OM-D E-M1X Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 II Panasonic Lumix DC-GH6
WINNER Nikon Z 9
BEST INSTANT FILM CAMERA
The Z 9 is a pro-level, top-of-the-range camera and the first of its kind to have an electronic shutter only. On the face of it, this might seem a gamble, but Nikon’s implementation of the technology was a remarkable feat of design and precision engineering; the Z 9 has proven itself a reliable performer. Imaging is handled by a full-frame 45.7-megapixel CMOS sensor working with the Expeed 7 processor, allowing full-size Raw shooting at 20fps. There is also a 120fps option with lower-resolution JPEGs. Keeping up with the Z 9’s shooting speed is deep-learning hybrid phase/contrast detection AF with 3D focus tracking and a selection of subject detection options including aeroplanes, dogs and birds. Firmware updates since the camera’s launch have further embellished the Z 9’s all-round stills and video skills.
WINNER Nikon Z fc
WINNER Sony A7R III
At the Nikon Z fc’s heart is a 21-megapixel sensor working with Nikon’s Expeed 6 processor. With Creative Picture Control support, this combination ensures excellent out-of-camera JPEGs and Raws rich in detail, exhibiting minimal digital noise even at high ISO speeds. Remarkably, the Z fc boasts a top ISO of 51,200, making it unfazed by low-light conditions. The Z fc has a well-endowed AF system with a comprehensive choice of patterns to cater for all situations. There’s also animal and eye detection AF, working for video as well as stills. The Z fc was Nikon’s first Z series camera with a vari-angle monitor, so it’s ideal for low-level shooting and handy for vlogging and selfies.
Although the A7R III has been around since 2017, its formidable feature list and competitive street price continues to make it a popular purchase. While the 42 megapixels from its back-side illuminated CMOS sensor has been surpassed, its pixel count is still ideal for image makers wanting clean photos at high ISO speeds. The camera’s range spans 100-32,000, which is expandable to 102,400. The A7R III’s sensor is also capable when dealing with extreme contrast even with its generous pixel count. Clearly, it’s still a camera that appeals despite its age.
WINNER Polaroid Now
Instant print photography is enjoying a resurgence, especially among younger image creators; the same applies to film. Classically styled and made from 40% recycled materials, Polaroid Now cameras are dead easy to use and have practical and fun features including self-timer, double exposure, internal battery and a built in-flash.
ALSO NOMINATED: Canon EOS R3 Canon EOS R5 Leica M10-R Leica M11 Leica CL Sony A6600 Nikon Z 8
Canon EOS R6 Mark II Canon EOS R8 Leica SL2-S Nikon Z 5 Nikon Z 6 II Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 II Sigma fp L Zeiss ZX1
ALSO NOMINATED: Canon EOS R10 Canon EOS R50
ALSO NOMINATED: Canon Zoemini S2 Kodak Mini Shot 3 Instax mini Evo Instax Square SQ40 Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan
Fujifilm X-E4 Fujifilm X-S20 Nikon Z 50 Sony A6700
Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R Sony A7R V Sony A1 Sony A7 IV
Issue 113 | Photography News 15
Cameras continued Lenses
BEST VIDEO-FOCUSED CAMERA
BEST WIDE-ANGLE LENS
BEST TELEPHOTO LENS
BEST SUPERZOOM LENS
WINNER Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR
WINNER Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM There are some phenomenal long lenses in our shortlist, but the Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM reigns supreme. Its 5x range enables tighter crops and shots, while the superb performance even at maximum aperture has made this lens a must-buy for wildlife photographer. With a nano USM motor for slick, responsive and near-silent AF and an optical image stabiliser with 5EV benefit (6EV with IBIS-equipped cameras), handling of this lens is exemplary. It also focuses close for a long lens – 90cm at 100mm and 120cm at 500mm. ALSO NOMINATED: Canon RF 100-300mm f/2.8L IS USM Fujifilm XF56mm f/1.2 R WR Fujifilm XF150-600mm f/5.6-8 R LM OIS WR Nikon Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 FE II Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD Zeiss Otus 100mm f/1.4
Extra-low dispersion and aspherical glass elements in this Z lens keep distortion controlled throughout the whole zoom range, while flare and ghosting are minimised thanks to Nikon’s Arneo coating. ALSO NOMINATED: Canon RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3 IS USM Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Fujifilm XF18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Nikon Z DX 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 VR Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Samyang AF 35-150mm f/2-2.8 FE
WINNER Sigma 14mm f/1.4 DG DN Art
WINNER Nikon Z 8
Leading independent lens brand Sigma has an extensive selection of lenses in its range, but this superfast ultra wide is one of its most remarkable. It’s the world’s first 14mm prime lens with an f/1.4 maximum aperture. While it appeals to scenic and interior photographers, there’s an extra attraction to astro shooters where its fast speed comes in useful.
The Nikon Z 8 has brilliant stills skills with its stacked 45.7-megapixel CMOS sensor; it can record Raws at 20fps and its big buffer allows sustained burst shooting. The 493-point AF system has 3D tracking, subject detection and deep-learning algorithms for superfast and accurate focusing. When it comes to video, the Z 8 can shoot up to 8K/30p for 90 minutes and 4K/30p for over two hours. There is a wide choice of recording formats including Nikon Raw, ProRes Raw or in 8- or 10-bit in MOV H.265. Whether you want great out-of-camera footage or Raw video that gives you the potential of colour grading and contrast control in editing, the Z8 does not disappoint.
ALSO NOMINATED: Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM Fujifilm XF8mm f/3.5 R WR Irix 21mm f/1.4 Laowa Argus 28mm f/1.2 FF
Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD
BEST STANDARD LENS
Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S Nikon Z 17-28mm f/2.8 Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-35mm f/2.8 Power OIS Samyang AF 14mm f/2.8 Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art
Blackmagic PCC 6K G2 Canon EOS C70 Canon EOS R5 C Kinefinity Mavo Edge 6K Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 II X Red Komodo 6K Sony FX30 Z Cam E2-F6
Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG DN Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM Tamron 20-40mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Voigtlander 29mm f/0.8 Super Nokton
WINNER Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8
Nikon’s Z series features many exotic optics – this could seem one of its less spectacular. But a closer look shows the smaller zoom range helps keep bulk to a minimum, making it the perfect photowalk lens. ALSO NOMINATED: Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Fujifilm XF16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR Irix 45mm f/1.4 Dragonfly Laowa Argus 35mm f/0.95 FF OM System M.Zuiko Digital 20mm f/1.4 Pro
BEST MACRO LENS
BEST BRIDGE/COMPACT CAMERA
Panasonic Lumix S 50mm f/1.8 Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE II Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Tokina Opera 50mm f/1.4 FF
Editor’s Choice: Samyang AF 75mm f/1.8 FE
WINNER Leica Q3
WINNER Sigma 105mm f/2.8 DG DN Macro
Samyang is renowned for offering impressive performance at affordable prices, and this holds true with the AF 75mm. Weighing just 230g and measuring 69mm, it’s a perfect companion for everyday photography – excelling with portraits. Shooting wide open produces large and beautiful background bokeh, while the advanced optical formula ensures excellent sharpness across the frame with minimal aberrations. AF is delivered by Samyang’s stepping motor working quietly, quickly and accurately even when close to its 69cm minimum focusing distance. Sony E-mount and Fujifilm X Mount camera owners on the lookout for a quality portrait AF lens at a great price should check out this dinky little lens. Roger Payne – Editor
Compact cameras have almost vanished off the face of the earth, but Leica’s unique approach has resulted in stunning machines such as its Q3. The camera offers three resolutions (60, 36 and 18 megapixels) and is fitted with the Summilux 28m f/1.7 lens with a macro mode. It has an advanced AF system with 315 zones and various focus detection options. The Q3 is also built to be durable, and includes IP52 dust- and splash-proof rating.
The Sigma 105mm f/2.8 is available in Sony E-mount and Leica L-Mount. While the lens has a macro tag, the focal length is great for flattering portraits at a comfortable working distance. Notably, the macro potential boasts a minimum focusing distance of 29.5cm, allowing life-size magnification. ALSO NOMINATED: Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Fujifilm XF30mm f/2.8 R LM WR Macro Fujifilm XF80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Laowa 58mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro APO Nikon Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S OM System M.Zuiko Digital ED 90mm f/3.5 Macro IS Pro Voigtlander 110mm f/2.5 Macro APO-Lanthar
Editor’s Choice: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4
The sleek design and smooth focusing action of the Zeiss Otus make it an utter joy. Optical performance proves sharp wide open and improves when stopping down – and it’s resistant to flare. The downside? It’s only made in Canon EF and Nikon F mounts. Roger Payne – Editor
ALSO NOMINATED: Canon Powershot G7 X Mark III Fujifilm X100V Nikon Coolpix P950 Panasonic Lumix FZ2000 Ricoh GR IIIx Sony RX100 VII Sony ZV-1 Mark II
16 Photography News | Issue 113
Issue 113 | Photography News 17
Accessories BEST TRIPOD: ALLOY
BEST TRIPOD FOR VIDEO
BEST FILTER/FILTER SYSTEM
BEST TRIPOD: CARBON FIBRE
WINNER Kase Filters Wolverine Armour 100mm System
The Armour 100mm system merges the benefit of magnetic circular filters with the versatility of 100mm filters. The 100mm alloy holder takes a rear-mounted polariser, which can be rotated in position with a gear wheel. Kase filters are made from toughened Pro HD optical glass that is scratch-resistant and can survive being dropped onto hard ground. Metallic nano coatings make filters easy to clean and give colour-neutral results.
WINNER Manfrotto Befree GT XPro Carbon
WINNER Vanguard VEO 3T+ 234AB
WINNER Benro Rhino FRHN34C + VX30
The Befree GT XPro Carbon’s four-section legs lock securely with lever locks and extend to 135cm with the centre column down. This increases to 160cm when fully extended. On the other extreme, the camera position can be set as low as 8cm. While this tripod is a strong performer in normal use, its innovative design allows the centre column to be set at 90°. The tripod can therefore be applied to shooting macro, flatlays and artwork. Its quality, design and skills make the Manfrotto Befree GT XPro Carbon a very deserving winner of this category, where there are a plethora of fabulous tripods vying for your vote.
ALSO NOMINATED: Breakthrough X3100 Filter System Cokin P-series system Formatt-Hitech Firecrest Magnetic 100mm holder H&Y Revoring Variable ND+CPL Kase Filters Double Grad 100x150mm Lee Filters Lee85 system Marumi M100 100mm system NiSi True Color ND-Vario 1-5 stops PolarPro Summit system
The VEO 3T+ 234AB is an incredibly versatile aluminium pod with a 10kg load capacity that can extend up to 146cm, but folds down to just 48cm for travel. It has four-section legs, one of which detaches to form a monopod that can extend to 150cm. The highlight is Vanguard’s Multi-Angle Central Column (MACC), which lets you set the camera up in almost any direction. That’s perfect for macro and nature work, without compromising stability. It’s a great tripod to use, performs superbly and is affordably priced. Benro Bat 15A + VX20 Benro MeFoto Globetrotter Aluminium Kenro Karoo Ultimate Travel Tripod Kit – aluminium Peak Design Travel Tripod – aluminium Slik Pro 400DX 3 Legged Thing Charles 2.0 Magnesium Alloy Tripod System ALSO NOMINATED:
This thoughtfully designed and feature-rich tripod shows Benro’s designers at their best, combining stability with portability and usability. The carbon legs and supplied head weigh just over 2kg, while its four-section, twist-lock legs give a working height of 144cm, increasing to 174cm if the centre column is also deployed. An added bonus is that one leg unscrews and converts to a monopod, ideal when stability is needed together with freedom of movement – such as when in a crowd.
ALSO NOMINATED: Benro KH26P Benro Rhino FRHN05C + VX20 Libec TH-Z Manfrotto 645 Fast Twin Carbon Sirui BCT-2203
Benro Tortoise 24CLV K&F Explorer Carbon Fibre TC-2834L Kingjoy Solidrock C83 Leofoto Poseidon LP-324C Novo Helix T200 Carbon Fibre Tripod Kit Peak Design Travel Tripod – carbon fibre Slik Pro CF-933 Vanguard VEO 3+ 303CT
BEST SHOULDER/SLING BAG
BEST STUDIO ACCESSORY
WINNER Billingham Mini Eventer
Billingham originally started life just over 50 years ago as a manufacturer of fishing and shooting bags, before switching its attention to photography. The Mini Eventer is made from three-layer waterproof fabric and top-grain leather, perfect for ferrying a small- to medium-sized DSLR or mirrorless camera with a dedicated pocket for an 11in tablet. Colours available include the classic Billingham khaki canvas and tan leather with an olive interior. Billingham is a homegrown success story – and thanks to PN readers for voting its latest bag as this year’s winner. ALSO NOMINATED: Crumpler Frontrow camera half backpack Groundtruth Rikr camera bag Langly Weekender flight bag Lowepro Slingshot SL 250 AW III Tenba Axis V2 6L sling bag Think Tank Retrospective 10 V2.0 Think Tank TR889 Freeway Longhaul 75 Vanguard VEO Range 38
Editor’s Choice: Manfrotto 190XPro Aluminium 4-Section
Editor’s Choice: Sachtler Flowtech75 Aktiv MS
The 190XPro is one of Manfrotto’s standout tripods, offering excellent stability and versatility at a great price. This versatility is provided by the pod’s 90° column system, ideal for shooting macro or flatlays. Closed, it measures 49cm, while the four legs fully extended results in a useful 135cm, growing to 160cm when the centre column is used. Minimum working height is 8cm if you need a worm’s-eye view of the scene. And legs are locked rigidly in position with Quick Power Locks, which are designed to be opened single-handedly in one fluid movement. Roger Payne – Editor
WINNER Dupli Savage background paper
Designed for advanced and professional videomakers, the Flowtech75 is optimised for fast set-up. The Flowtech design allows users to set up and level a shot quickly in any terrain, with its mid-level spreader enabling each leg to be independently adjusted and locked near the 75mm bowl. Weighing 3.5kg (2.9kg without the spreader), the working height range with the mid spreader is 63- 157cm, folding down to 68cm for transport. Roger Payne – Editor
Dupli is a leading supplier of photo equipment and consumables, stocking a wide variey of equipment from cameras, film and processing chemistry to printers, inks and papers. ALSO NOMINATED: Click Props pro photography backdrops Creativity Backgrounds seamless backdrops LuxS 4m Wide background pole set Sekonic L-858D Speedmaster light meter Spudz 6x6in microfibre cloth
18 Photography News | Issue 113
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