Top Products Of The Year

What happens when you get editors from 28 photo and imaging magazines from 15 countries into one room and ask them to pick the top products of 2014? As you can imagine there might be some, if you will, amiable contention, particularly in a year when so many amazing products were introduced and the advances in technology were so impressive.

The Technical Image Press Association (TIPA), along with the cooperative partnership of the Camera Journal Press Club, which represents 11 top photography magazines in Japan, met in Vancouver, Canada, this spring to consider and vote upon 40 categories of products, ranging from all manner of cameras and lenses to accessories, printers, and more. We at Shutterbug are proud to be the sole US member of the group, and I made the trip to the meeting to represent us there.

All the products we considered had to be currently available and introduced after our last vote in 2013. In most cases the products had to be available worldwide, although some go under different code or trade IDs in various markets. (Note: I have used the US trade name in our report.) In a few instances there were strong products available in some areas that were not available in others, although in my thinking e-commerce has tended to blur borders, but some had to be dropped from consideration for that reason.

Do I agree with every honoree? No, but this is a democratic vote, and while I might have favored one candidate over another, the ones selected are certainly worthy of top product awards. Do I think the TIPA group overall did a great job in what could be a very difficult task? Very much so, and it’s hard to argue with a consensus of photo magazine editors from around the world, a disparate group united in their love for and dedication to the photographic art and craft.

One of the benefits of these meetings is going on photo shoots, looking at so many different photo magazines, and talking with fellow editors/photographers from around the world. It may be a bit of a cliché, but attending a TIPA meeting reinforces the idea that photography is indeed the universal language. And while there were certainly many cultures represented, when talk turns to photography you realize that we all share many of the same concerns and hopes about the changes taking place and their effect on photographers and the photo industry, as well as the joys of seeing great images and working with photographers and writers who continue to amaze and excite us with their visual explorations.

So, I hope you enjoy this issue and the top product awards, and I look forward to your reaction. To get in touch with me about this and other matters and ideas, just e-mail me at