Pop Photo camera of the year: Canon 5D Mark III. Runner up(s): Nikon D800 and Sony SLT A-99. Honorably Mentions: Fujifilm X-pro1 and Olympus E-M5.

Since there's no entry in my lexicon for 'camera of the year methodology' will refrain from a rant flood, and pass you on to the article, as the Pop Photo editors explain the why and how of the whole thing:

"2012 proved a truly great year for cameras. In the wake of 2011’s devastating tsunami in Japan and flooding in Thailand, camera manufacturers released nearly two years’ worth of terrific models in 2012, all within a span of eight months.

But our Camera of the Year choice came down to just three real finalists—the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, the Nikon D800,

and the Sony Alpha 99. Significantly, these are all full-frame DSLR models. And the three share many other characteristics: They possess video capability far advanced from what we saw even a year ago, are backed up by massive lens and accessory systems, and, as expected, put up breathtaking image-quality numbers in the Popular Photography Test Lab. So this Year of the Full Framer might also be called the Revenge of the Legacy 35mm DSLR.

As a result, the decision by our panel of editors was one of the toughest in recent memory. But in the end, we came down squarely on the “refinement” side of our criteria.

Our testing had a lot to do with it. Canon’s 22.3MP EOS 5D Mark III gained just 1.2MP over its predecessor, the still-current Mark II, but that was sufficient for overall Excellent image quality: resolution at 2750 lines per picture height, color accuracy at a Delta E of 6.9, and stellar noise suppression. To be sure, its resolution was not quite a home run among the finalists: The Sony A99 squeaked past it incrementally, and the Nikon D800 beat it by a country mile. But we felt strongly that the Canon produced the best balance across all imaging factors, with Low or better noise up to ISO 12,800, and still acceptable noise at ISO 25,600. And consider that at ISO 51,200, noise crept just barely into our Unacceptable range, which translates into a moderately grainy image that can be perfectly usable for applications such as photojournalism. (Those of us who remember souping Kodak T-Max P3200 in rocket fuel to get gritty-grainy black-and-white at ISO 6400 are seriously amazed.)

Beyond that, Canon improved everything about the 5D in building the new Mark III: There’s faster and more sensitive autofocus, a more logical control layout, addition of a Quick Menu, faster burst speeds (6 fps, up from 3.9 fps), dual card slots rather than a single, better ergonomics. Plus, a recently announced firmware update will allow the Mark III to feed uncompressed HD video to a recording device—breaking Nikon DSLRs’ monopoly on this advanced capability."

 

Thumbnail credit: King Camera for IOS

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