Top Products Of The Year

In this issue we feature the TIPA Awards for products in 40 different categories and I thought you might like to know how the finalists were chosen. TIPA, the Technical Image Press Association, is composed of representatives from photographic magazines around the world, editors, who go through the process of first nominating products by a Technical Committee and then voting on what they consider the best or most innovative products in their respective categories. Editors are from pro, advanced amateur, and amateur photo magazines, including those from Australia, Canada, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, from which Shutterbug is the sole member.

In addition, the Camera Journal Press Club of Japan joined the voting this year. In all, the editors represent 29 member magazines.

The meetings, which take place in early April, are open and lively, and while some of the nominations spark little debate—indeed some choices are unanimous—discussion is encouraged and members are free to bring even last-minute nominations to the table. You can imagine what happens when you get a room full of photo magazine editors together and expect them to all agree. Yet the spirit is collegial and the aim is to identify those products and services that stand out in their respective categories, and at the end of the meetings the group chooses products that all could be considered state of the art. The process always reminds me of the phrase, “Photography—the universal language,” and always makes me think about how this art and craft unites people from around the world.

I am sure that there are some awards you will agree with, and others you won’t. If you have comments about the chosen items we will set up a TIPA Awards discussion area on our Forums at if you’d like to join in. I’ll make sure that the TIPA folks take a look at your comments, which I will read with interest as well.

While the TIPA Awards garner deserved attention in this issue we also have a good deal of coverage on lenses with both reviews and “roundups” of some special optical tools. This includes coverage on “fast” primes, a collection of special-purpose lenses, and a workout with the latest Lensbaby tools. Our aim with these articles is to point out that while cameras get all the tech attention they don’t do much good without great glass up front.

And while the workhorse zooms and wides are what you might have mounted on your camera 90 percent of the time, we encourage you to check out these special optical options that can change the way you see and interpret the world. They are both a visual refresher and a potential pathway to making images that might otherwise never be created.
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