Top Products Of The Year, 2012 Edition

Every year editors from photo magazines around the world gather to pick what they consider the top photo and imaging products of the year. This is no easy task, for the most part, as there are literally hundreds of products that could vie for the award in each category, and in fact each year there are some new categories that did not exist a few years ago.

For example, what the TIPA group calls “Compact System Cameras,” or CSCs—mirrorless digital cameras that take interchangeable lenses—were not part of the list a few years back but today has offerings from almost every camera maker. And now there’s an award for lenses for these cameras as well. And then there are “mobile apps,” which certainly was not part of the imaging scene until recently, but now merits an award in the TIPA lists.

That’s what makes being part of the nomination and selection process so interesting for us—the awards not only pick among the best in each grouping, but point out how new products, technology, and ways of imaging have changed how we capture, share, and process our images. What is also of interest is how different each editor and magazine is (and there are 29 members from Australia, Europe, Asia, Africa, and of course Shutterbug here in the good old U.S.A.), yet at the same time how each editor shares something common to all of us—an abiding interest and excitement about photography. And while meetings can get somewhat, shall we say, intense when the voting debate begins, that emotion stems from a commitment to each magazine’s readers and a love of photography that is universal among each and every editor in the group.

The result of the long process of nominations, call for comments, and the actual voting takes several months, and along the way new products come to the fore that had not been previously announced, and given that the group has had access to and even tested them, they are considered as well. The result is published in this issue—our Top Products of the Year, 2012 edition. We’ll be publishing this article on our website in the next month or so and await your comments about your favorites and where you think TIPA hit the nail on the head, or missed the mark in their selections. We know that there will be passionate debate on each side, and look forward to your thoughts.

This issue also poses an interesting juxtaposition in terms of imaging expressions, with a report by Roger Hicks and Frances Schultz on Harman’s Direct Positive Printing paper and our look at DxO’s FilmPack software, which is an emulation software that references film “looks” and applies the effect to digital images. The DPP report reminds us of the roots of photography and in some cases how many of us began in this field, with chemicals and silver paper and techniques like “pre-flashing,” photograms, and the like that often draw a blank stare from many printmakers today, but were tried and true technique used by printmakers in “ye old days” of the darkroom.

I’ll close with an invitation to check out our Image Tech section at, where we publish web-exclusive reviews of cameras that have not been published in our pages. Frankly, with so many cameras being introduced it’s near impossible to print test results on them all, and while we are dedicated to making Shutterbug magazine a strong and viable and continuing source of information with articles on great tools and techniques, the web can lend a hand in helping us get even more information about the field we love out into the world.

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