The Expert Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) is a group of 60 special interest magazines and websites from 29 countries around the world, covering six subjects: Hi-Fi, photography, mobile devices, in-car electronics, home theatre display & video, and home theatre audio. Each member is renowned for its expertise within its subject area, and for the rigour and integrity of its testing.
As one of the organisation’s founding members, AP is an integral part of EISA’s Photography Panel. We work closely alongside 16 other magazines from Europe, India and the USA, all of which are among the most respected in their home countries. This year’s process for selecting the winners was necessarily rather different than before, being conducted entirely by videoconferencing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But one rule stayed the same; all of the winners, aside from those for innovation, must have been tested in depth by multiple panel members. After long and sometimes heated discussions, we agreed upon a list of the year’s finest products. The awards ceremony for the winners will also be an online affair. This year saw the introduction of one notable new award, for best vlogging camera – a sector that’s sure to get more competitive over the coming years. Alongside cameras and lenses, we also recognised outstanding accessories and software.
EISA Awards 2020-21: Photography
EISA CAMERA OF THE YEAR
Fujifilm’s X-T4 is an outstanding mirrorless camera with a 26-million-pixel X-Trans CMOS sensor. It combines a compact size with very high image quality, impressive speed (up to 20fps at full resolution) and professional video capabilities such as 4K 60fps recording. One of its most important new features is its 5-axis in-body image stabilisation, which compensates for between 5 and 6.5 stops depending on the lens, ensuring pin-sharp shots even with long exposure times. The monitor can now be swung out to the side, allowing easy self-recording. Fujifilm has surely created the best APS-C mirrorless camera yet.
EISA BEST BUY 2020-2021
Nikon Z 50
With its competitive price and excellent quality, the Nikon Z 50 is the EISA Best Buy Camera 2020-2021. This compact mirrorless camera with APS-C (DX) sensor is easy to use and perfect for travel, with a well-built and weatherproof body. It delivers fine image quality with good dynamic range that allows detail recovery both in the highlights and the deep shadows. The Z 50 employs the same EXPEED 6 processor as Nikon’s full-frame models, which allows for 4K video recording at 30fps, or up to 120fps in Full HD. The autofocus is quick and accurate, with a very useful Eye-Detection AF function and (thanks to a firmware update) animal detection as well.
EISA APS-C CAMERA 2020-2021
Canon EOS 90D
With the EOS 90D, Canon has shown that the DSLR is not finished yet. Its 32.5-million-pixel sensor sets a new resolution record for APS-C, while the Dual Pixel CMOS AF ensures fast and precise focusing in live view and video. Other advanced features include the silent electronic shutter, which allows extremely short exposure times of up to 1/16,000sec. The EOS 90D records 4K video without a crop, and in Full HD it allows slow motion at up to 120fps. The touchscreen monitor, which can be swivelled and folded out to the side, rounds off this outstanding DSLR camera.
EISA FULL-FRAME CAMERA 2020-2021
Nikon’s D780 is a full frame DSLR with a 24-million-pixel CMOS sensor. Combined with the fast EXPEED 6 image processor, this delivers native sensitivities up to ISO 51,200, opening up more possibilities for creative photography. Its tilting LCD touchscreen helps photographers and video operators get the shot they want, even from high or low angles. This successor to the Nikon D750 brings a slew of upgrades such as superior image processing, better video capabilities (up to 4K UHD 30fps with N-Log), slow motion and time-lapse. Furthermore, the vastly improved hybrid AF system ensures fast autofocus when shooting and filming using the LCD screen.
EISA ADVANCED FULL-FRAME CAMERA 2020-2021
Sony Alpha 7R IV
The Sony Alpha 7R IV is the first full-frame mirrorless camera to boast an incredible resolution of 61 million pixels. It’s also equipped with one of the industry’s best autofocus systems, including AI-driven Real-time Tracking and Eye AF. Thanks to its 5-axis in-body image stabilisation, blurred pictures due to camera shake are almost non-existent. With its sharp electronic viewfinder and extremely fast BIONZ X processor, this camera is a highly reliable and capable tool that provides the versatility to handle virtually any photographic situation to the highest standard.
EISA PROFESSIONAL CAMERA 2020-2021
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
Canon has made a big effort to renew its top-of-the-line professional DSLR, which is designed for news agencies, sports photographers and capturing wildlife. The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III offers cutting-edge technology, including a newly developed 191-point autofocus system that meets professional sports photographers’ demand for razor-sharp action images. The video functions are also very advanced, with 5.5K capture stored internally in 12-bit Raw format. With advanced connectivity options built in, the EOS-1D X Mark III is also tailor-made for instant delivery of images to media through news agencies.
EISA PHOTO/VIDEO CAMERA 2020-2021
Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H
Developed with the same technical architecture as the Lumix S1 full-frame format, the Lumix DC-S1H hybrid is strongly video-orientated with 6K recording at 24fps, along with 4K capture at 60fps. It offers excellent image quality, especially in low light, and you can record in Log mode for easy colour correction and extended dynamic range. The camera also offers an attractive 4K anamorphic mode, a great feature for shooting big-screen style movies. In addition, it features an excellent electronic viewfinder, in-body image stabilisation, and a beautiful touchscreen in a robust and versatile body.
EISA COMPACT CAMERA 2020-2021
The Fujifilm X100V looks similar to its predecessors in the X100 series, but is in fact an all-new design that quite simply represents the state-of-the-art for compact cameras today. It sports the same sensor and brilliant hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder as the sophisticated Fujifilm X-Pro3 mirrorless camera, and its performance is in the same league too. It boasts a new and improved 23mm f/2 lens, along with a tilting screen that doesn’t add to its size, while allowing full weather sealing. All this in a tiny camera that fits into a jacket pocket, making it ideal for travel and street photography.
EISA VLOGGING CAMERA 2020-2021
This innovative compact camera is aimed at content creators and vloggers, offering great video capabilities such as 4K recording and S-Log gamma. Its high-quality built-in microphone comes with a windshield for outdoor shooting; alternatively an external microphone can be used via the audio input or the multi-interface shoe. The ZV-1 is also a very good photo camera with a fast AF system and versatile vari-angle screen. Together with the optional grip that features a built-in wireless remote control and doubles as a tripod, the ZV-1 is an excellent production tool which lets vloggers easily create and share content.
EISA CAMERA INNOVATION 2020-2021
Canon EOS R5
As the first mirrorless camera to be capable of recording 8K video, Canon’s EOS R5 was the outstanding candidate for our Camera Innovation award this year. This extraordinary stills/video hybrid is capable of recording 4K footage at a remarkable 120fps, and shooting 45-million-pixel still images at up to 20fps. It also claims the world’s most effective image stabilisation. With a high-resolution electronic viewfinder, articulated rear screen and professional-level controls, along with an optional grip that incorporates professional Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, it promises to be the complete all-round package for demanding photographers and videographers.
EISA LENS OF THE YEAR 2020-2021
Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM
The Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM sets a new standard for professional telezoom lenses, and is Canon’s best to date. Its all-new construction is tailored to Canon’s RF mirrorless system, and together with a new optical design, delivers impressive image quality in a very compact lens. It’s also well sealed against dust and splashes, and can therefore be used in challenging situations. In addition, the lens offers very effective 5-stop image stabilisation. It is without doubt the best lens the EISA jury has tested in the past year.
EISA WIDEANGLE ZOOM LENS 2020-2021
Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art
This large aperture, wideangle zoom for full-frame mirrorless cameras provides excellent quality at a very competitive price. It’s available in both Sony E-mount, and L-mount for Leica, Panasonic and Sigma cameras. By optimising the design for mirrorless, Sigma has made a lens that’s considerably smaller and lighter than its DSLR counterpart, yet provides fantastic optical quality. It also boasts fast and silent autofocus, and is weather-sealed for outdoor shooting. The result is a superb lens that’s perfect for a wide range of subjects including architecture, landscapes and astrophotography.
EISA STANDARD ZOOM LENS 2020-2021
Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM
For many professional photographers, a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens is the workhorse they cannot live without. The RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM combines a fast aperture with a built-in 5-stop image stabiliser and provides excellent image quality across the zoom range, with exceptionally low levels of distortion. The smooth and silent Nano USM motor ensures rapid and accurate autofocus, and is perfect for video as well as stills. The RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM offers robust, weather-sealed build quality along with fluorine coating on the front and rear elements to protect them against water and grease.
EISA TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS 2020-2021
Tamron 70-180mm F2.8 Di III VXD
This Tamron lens is a classic telephoto zoom for Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras, with a large aperture of f/2.8. It delivers excellent sharpness and contrast across the frame at all focal lengths, even wide open. It also boasts weather-resistant construction, using lightweight yet durable materials. The optical design exploits several special elements and coatings, while a floating focus system ensures crisp and sharp images, even at close subject distances. With a very quiet but responsive autofocus mechanism, this lens is a bargain in its class, both for photography and video.
EISA TRAVEL ZOOM LENS 2020-2021
Tamron 28-200mm F/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD
This all-in-one zoom lens is the first in its class to offer a fast aperture of f/2.8 at the wideangle end, together with compact size and light weight. Thanks to a combination of special lens elements and intelligent software corrections, the Tamron 28-200mm F/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD achieves an impressive optical performance, giving clean, sharp images. In combination with the fast aperture, a close focus distance of just 19cm allows users to shoot close-ups with nicely blurred backgrounds. The autofocus is fast, accurate and quiet, which is a boon for photographers and video makers alike.
EISA SUPER TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS 2020-2021
Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS
This ultra-telephoto zoom will be appreciated by those who love nature and sports photography but don’t want a heavy lens. It is affordable and lightweight for its class, yet delivers great sharpness even at maximum aperture, which is very important for a lens that will often be used between 400mm and 600mm. Autofocus is very fast, and the large zoom ring moves smoothly from 200mm to 600mm without changing the length or balance of the lens, making it comfortable to use. The range can be extended even further with Sony’s 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters, maintaining full compatibility with autofocus.
EISA PROFESSIONAL TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS 2020-2021
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm F2.8E FL ED SR VR
This powerful telephoto zoom is suitable for professional use in challenging conditions. Its constant fast maximum aperture across the full focal-length range offers advantages in many situations, including portraits, indoor and outdoor sports, and nature photography. Even at its maximum aperture of f/2.8, the NIKKOR delivers exceptional resolution on full-frame DSLR cameras with minimal chromatic aberration, thanks to the use of Nikon’s new Short Wavelength Spectrum (SR) glass. It handles brilliantly too, with effective image stabilisation and comprehensive weather protection. Compatibility with Nikon’s 1.4x and 2x teleconverters brings additional flexibility.
EISA WIDEANGLE LENS 2020-2021
Sony FE 20mm F1.8 G
The compact and lightweight Sony FE 20mm F1.8 G is an exceptional lens that provides really sharp images in all areas of the frame, even at f/1.8. Its optical design features advanced aspherical elements and extra-low dispersion glass to deliver high corner-to-corner image quality with minimal distortion, while suppressing chromatic aberration. The 9-bladed diaphragm allows the photographer to create beautifully blurred backgrounds. Two XD motors guarantee very fast, precise and silent focusing, while the 18cm minimum focus distance (in manual mode) can be used for striking close-ups.
EISA PORTRAIT LENS 2020-2021
Nikon NIKKOR Z 85mm F1.8 S
A stunning addition to Nikon’s mirrorless Z system, this is a superb portrait lens with the classic 85mm focal length, where it stands out among some very tough competition. As Nikon’s best 85mm lens to date, it performs admirably at f/1.8, with just the right amount of edge softness and shading that demanding portrait photographers require, while the optical performance is technically perfect when the aperture is closed down a couple of stops. In addition, this lens has no distortion, provides fast autofocus speed, and is built to high standards, including weather-resistance for use under all conditions.
EISA LENS INOVATION 2020-2021
Canon RF 600mm & 800mm F11 IS STM
These two innovative ultra-telephoto lenses owe their unparalleled low weight to a novel design that combines diffractive optics with a small, fixed aperture. They also employ a retractable sliding barrel that enables a remarkably short packed length. What’s more, the inclusion of optical stabilisation means they can readily be used handheld, without needing a monopod or tripod. Together this provides a combination of portability, affordability and telephoto reach for Canon full-frame mirrorless users that was previously only available with cropped-sensor cameras. As a result, they look sure to become popular for subjects such as wildlife, sport and aviation.
EISA CAMERA DRONE 2020-2021
DJI Mavic Air 2
The DJI Mavic Air 2 is a compact drone that’s very easy to operate and can be folded conveniently for transport. With its 1/2in CMOS sensor, the camera lets you take photos with a resolution of 48 million pixels, and in video mode the drone supports 4K at 60fps.Both photographs and videos are stored on convenient microSD cards, and the amazing gimbal makes sure neither turns out blurred. The Mavic Air 2 has a lot to offer for creative filmmakers, including HDR panorama, 8K Hyperlapse mode, and SmartPhoto mode with scene recognition that optimises the picture depending on the situation.
EISA PHOTO SOFTWARE 2020-2021
Nik Collection 3 By DxO
Nik Collection 3 by DxO is a suite of eight powerful photo-editing plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and DxO PhotoLab, that helps photographers take their images to the next level. Together the plug-ins allow a wide range of effects to be applied quickly and easily to images, such as great black & white conversions, attractive colour adjustments and creative treatments, and new in this version, comprehensive geometric corrections. A new non-destructive mode allows you to export images as TIFF files and tweak your edits, while keeping your original images safe and your adjustments reversible.
EISA MONITOR OF THE YEAR 2020-2021
EIZO ColorEdge CS2740
The EIZO ColorEdge CS2740 is a 27in monitor with a 4K UHD resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, or four times the resolution of Full HD. This high-quality monitor is ideal for creative tasks such as photo and video editing, and offers a wide gamut with vivid and accurate colour reproduction in the Adobe RGB space. Thanks to its high pixel density images are displayed very smoothly. It offers essential features such as colour calibration with the ColorNavigator 7 software, along with modern and versatile connectivity options including USB-A, HDMI, DisplayPort and crucially USB Type-C ports.
Other EISA AWARDS
HI-FI EXPERT GROUP
EISA LOUDSPEAKER 2020-2021
SVS Prime Pinnacle
EISA WIRELESS LOUDSPEAKER 2020-2021
System Audio legend 5 silverback
EISA BEST VALUE BOOKSHELF LOUDSPEAKER 2020-2021
Monitor Audio Bronze 100
EISA BEST VALUE FLOORSTANDING LOUDSPEAKER 2020-2021
Focal Chora 826
EISA AMPLIFIER 2020-2021
EISA SMART AMPLIFIER 2020-2021
NAD Masters M33
EISA HIGH-END INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER 2020-2021
Musical Fidelity M8xi
EISA HIGH-END PRE/POWER AMPLIFIER 2020-2021
EISA TURNTABLE 2020-2021
Thorens TD 1601
EISA BEST VALUE TURNTABLE 2020-2021
EISA DIGITAL SOURCE 2020-2021
EISA BEST VALUE DAC 2020-2021
iFi Audio ZEN DAC
EISA PHONO PREAMP 2020-2021
EISA AUDIO ACCESSORY 2020-2021
HOME THEATRE AUDIO EXPERT GROUP
EISA HOME THEATRE SPEAKER SYSTEM 2020-2021
Arendal Sound 1961 Series
EISA BEST BUY HOME THEATRE SPEAKER SYSTEM 2020-2021
Triangle Borea Series
EISA SMART SOUNDBAR 2020-2021
Harman Kardon Citation MultiBeam 700
EISA PREMIUM SOUNDBAR 2020-2021
Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage
EISA HOME THEATRE RECEIVER 2020-2021
EISA HOME THEATRE SUBWOOFER 2020-2021
SVS SB-2000 Pro
EISA HOME THEATRE HIGH-END 2020-2021
Trinnov Altitude Platform
EISA HOME THEATRE HEADPHONE 2020-2021
JVC EXOFIELD XP-EXT1
EISA HOME THEATRE AMPLIFIER 2020-2021
Emotiva XPA Gen 3
EISA SOUNDBAR 2020-2021
LG DSN8YG (Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands)
EISA BEST BUY SOUNDBAR 2020-2021
TCL TS9030 RAY·DANZ
HOME THEATRE VIDEO & DISPLAY EXPERT GROUP
EISA 8K TV 2020-2021
EISA BEST PREMIUM OLED TV 2020-2021
EISA LARGE SCREEN TV 2020-2021
EISA BEST BUY TV 2020-2021
TCL 65C815K (UK)
EISA HOME THEATRE TV 2020-2021
EISA BEST BUY OLED TV 2020-2021
EISA PROJECTOR 2020-2021
Optoma CinemaX UHZ65UST
Optoma P1 (Australia)
Optoma CinemaX P1 (North America)
COMBINED WITH HOME THEATRE AUDIO EXPERT GROUP
EISA HOME THEATRE MEDIA PLAYER 2020-2021
Zappiti Pro 4K HDR
MOBILE DEVICES EXPERT GROUP
EISA BEST SMARTPHONE 2020-2021
OnePlus 8 Pro
EISA ADVANCED SMARTPHONE 2020-2021
OPPO Find X2 Pro
EISA FOLDABLE SMARTPHONE 2020-2021
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
EISA MULTIMEDIA SMARTPHONE 2020-2021
Sony Xperia 1 Mark II
EISA SMARTPHONE CAMERA 2020-2021
Huawei P40 Pro
EISA IN-EAR HEADPHONES 2020-2021
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 EISA ON-EAR HEADPHONES 2020-2021
Bowers & Wilkins PX5
EISA MOBILE SPEAKER 2020-2021
LG XBOOM GO PL7
LG XBOOM Go PL7W
EISA SMARTWATCH 2020-2021
Huawei Watch GT 2
COMBINED WITH HI-FI EXPERT GROUP
EISA HEADPHONES 2020-2021
EISA MOBILE AUDIO PLAYER 2020-2021
FiiO M11 Pro
EISA PORTABLE DAC/HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER 2020-2021
AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt
IN-CAR ELECTRONICS EXPERT GROUP
EISA IN-CAR HEAD UNIT 2020-2021
EISA IN-CAR SOUND PROCESSOR 2020-2021
Helix DSP ULTRA
EISA IN-CAR BEST VALUE DSP 2020-2021
Ground Zero GZDSP 4-8XII
EISA IN-CAR AMPLIFIER 2020-2021
MOSCONI GLADEN ATOMO 2
EISA IN-CAR DSP AMPLIFIER 2020-2021
Eton Stealth 7.1 DSP
EISA IN-CAR SPEAKER SYSTEM 2020-2021
ESB 8.6K3U LE
EISA IN-CAR SUBWOOFER 2020-2021
EISA IN-CAR HIGH END COMPONENT 2020-2021
Audison bit One HD Virtuoso
EISA IN-CAR DASHCAM 2020-2021
EISA CAMPER VAN HEAD UNIT 2020-2021