Can the EISA Awards Predict the Future of the Camera Market?

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Perhaps this year’s EISA awards indicate where the camera and lens markets will go in 2020/2021.

No doubt you’ve seen the recent EISA award winners splattered all over your news feeds. Honestly, we have to say that some of the results were quite shocking. Overall though, the winners in their respective categories were well chosen. There are a few companies that really made some waves. We’re wondering if this year’s winners show the true direction of the camera marketplace. Can we glean anything from this year’s EISA award winners? Let’s take a quick look after the break.

If you’ve never heard of EISA or the Eisa awards before, don’t worry, we will clue you in. EISA or the Expert Imaging and Sound Association is a group of 61 international, specialist, consumer electronics magazines. Every year they give out awards across various categories, of which photography is one. The EISA awards carry a fair amount of weight within the industry, so any product named a winner should display that sash proudly. We don’t have to agree with all of the decisions, though. This year the EISA awards shed light on which manufacturers are hitting it out of the ballpark, and which ones are tripping over their shoelaces.

EISA Awards lenses

Sony took home six EISA awards, including the best compact camera (RX100 VI), Photo Innovation for real-time eye AF, and best portrait prime lens (135mm f1.8 GM). Sony also secured the best telephoto prime (400mm f2.8 GM OSS), the best wide-angle prime (24mm f1.4 GM), and best photo/video camera (a6400). Can’t say I disagree with these choices: they are all solid.

EISA Awards best full frame camera

Canon received five EISA awards lenses and cameras. Canon received awards for the best Full Frame cameras (EOS RP), the best lens innovation (RF 28-70mm f2L USM), and best standard prime (RF 50mm f1.2L USM). They also won the award for the best super-telephoto prime lens (EF 600mm f4L IS III USM), and the best standard zoom lens (RF 24-105mm f4L IS USM).

As for the rest of the bunch, Fujifilm scored two awards for the best advanced camera (X-T3), and the camera innovation award (GFX 100). Nikon took the EISA awards for the camera of the year (Nikon Z6), and the best professional standard zoom lens (Z 24-70mm f2.8 S).

Panasonic received one award for the most advanced full-frame camera (S1R). Both Tamron and Sigma took home two awards apiece too: Sigma for the 70-200 f2.8 DG OS HSM and their 60-600mm f4.5-6.3, Tamron for their 35-150mm f2.8-4 and the 17-28mm f2.8 Di III RXD.

concert photography

So what do these EISA awards tell us about the current state of the photography union? Well, Sony is dominating on all fronts. This news should come as no surprise. Sony continues to innovate while the others trail in their wake. This is going to continue well into next year and beyond unless others produce cameras that are as feature-packed, and priced as well.

Canon is lagging behind when it comes to their cameras, though they’re beginning to make moves that acknowledge this and move towards correction. Yes, the EOS RP won the best buy for Full Frame cameras, but that’s just down to its price point. The EISA awards do show that Canon still makes possibly the best glass on the planet. If Canon can come out with a camera that finally rivals what Sony has, they may be able to dig out of the hole they got themselves into over the last five years. Their lenses deserve so much more from the cameras they are currently mounted to. 2020 could be Canon’s year, they just have to put the cripple-hammer down when they design their cameras.

The shocker for me is the Nikon Z6 taking home the camera of the year award. Is it a good camera? Yes. Is it the best camera to have been released this year? I don’t think so. There is no doubt that Nikon is off to a fine start. However, much like Canon, they too need to up their camera game like if they want to make headway in the Mirrorless camera market.

As for Panasonic, one award for both of their new Full Frame cameras and new lenses says a lot. Their breakout year in the Full Frame market is stuttering like a car running out of gas, and Panasonic has recently felt the need to slash prices. Hopefully, firmware updates and the new lenses they release in 2020 will help spur them along. It’s not looking good though. Perhaps they and the other L Mount alliance partners will surprise us with a few awards in 2020. Time will tell.

eisa awards innovative camera

Fujifilm is definitely holding their own in the APS-C and Medium Format space. There is no doubt that they will continue to go from strength to strength in 2020, especially with cameras like the X-Pro 3 coming out and perhaps an X-H2 and X-T4. 2020 is shaping up to be a good one for Fujifilm

As for Sigma and Tamron, two awards a piece is pretty good in my opinion. The road for third-party lens makers is always bumpy. Honestly, it wasn’t too long ago that these lens manufacturers were the butt of jokes, so these awards show just how far their lenses have come. Going forward, one can only assume their lenses will continue to improve and will give glass from the likes of Canon a real run for its money.

One thing we can agree on is that the camera and lens world has not been this exciting for quite some time. 2020 is shaping up to be quite excellent. What do you think about the EISA awards? Do you agree with the recipients? Let us know in the comment section below.