Top Products Of The Year

Put editors from 28 photo magazines in one room to pick the Top Products of the Year and you’re bound to have some lively discussions. That’s exactly what happened at the TIPA (Technical Image Press Association) meetings in late April this year, the results of which are in this issue. The selection process begins with numerous candidates in 40 different categories, ranging from all sorts of cameras to lighting, bags, software, accessories, and more. Then editors from Europe, Africa, Australia, Canada, Asia, and the US go through the list and finally vote, with the winners chosen by a democratic (majority) process. We’re proud to say that Shutterbug is the sole US magazine in the group and we congratulate those companies, and the people behind the products chosen, on their achievements.

The selection of categories, especially those in cameras, points out the wide diversity and choices available to photographers today. In cameras alone we have Compacts (integral lens cameras); what we call Compact System Cameras (interchangeable lens but not D-SLR); D-SLRs; Professional; and even Bridge (long-range zoom integral lens). Some of these categories are even subdivided into “levels” of photographic experience and end use. In software, a recently added category is Mobile Photo App, reflecting the trend toward tablet and smartphone processing. Another new category recently added is Digital Accessory, as distinct from Photo Accessory. As the mobile and “connected” trend continues I am sure that other such distinctions will evolve.

As a member of the selection committee I can assure you that picking the top products was no easy task and that numerous other products were considered in each group. I can also tell you that there was often a quite close vote to decide the eventual winner, and that we relied on the collective experience of the TIPA members with each product to help us make a final decision. But to me that’s what makes a TIPA award valid and valuable, and not something that’s one person’s decision who may or may not have had a hands-on relationship with each and every product on the list.

As you read through the issue you may, or may not, agree with the group’s decision. Your favorite camera, lens, or accessory might not have been chosen. We will post the results on our homepage at soon after the issue goes off sale, and we look forward to your comments and feedback on the group’s decisions.

On another note, I wanted to let you know that our very popular Picture This! assignment will be going online this fall. We will still be printing your images in the magazine, of course, but the selection process will switch from your needing to send in prints to an electronic submission process. We think this will make it easier for more readers to become involved, and for all to become part of the process. Details will be published soon in the Picture This! column, but in the meantime you might want to get ready by registering on our site (it’s free) and practicing with the upload process into your own Gallery.