Welcome to the 2021 pixel awards. We’re so exciting, very exciting we do this every year, and we pick the best of the best computers, the best pro cameras.
The best consumer cameras, the best innovations, the most significant disappointments we’re going to tell you the camera of the year out of everything we’ve seen this year.
The Best Smartphone Cameras
All right, let’s go over the smartphone cameras. First, this is the new consumer camera. Most people start with this, and I insist they are real cameras.
iPhone 13 pro – 3nd Runner-up of Best Smartphone Camera
The 3rd runner-up is the iPhone 13 pro. This is my smartphone, and I love it for the camera that you have with you at all times.
The advancements in the 13 pro and 13 pro max are pretty amazing. The low-light capability is fantastic, and it’s enough that it will beat your typical under-a-thousand-dollar camera kit in just about every scenario.
No more motion blur even if the subject is moving astrophotography like it’s stunning. However, it was still just the first runner-up. The portrait mode looks good too. It’s perfect.,
Sony Xperia I- Best 2nd Runner-up Smartphone Cameras
Our second-place runner-up is the Sony Xperia I, a pretty amazing and unique take on a smartphone camera that was very much
based on the sony alpha conventional cameras. Then they packed that into a smartphone foam form factor with one instance a big sensor that doesn’t use and then all these as traditional sony alpha controls like an actual shutter button that you can half-press. A user interface that’ll be very familiar to any sony camera user was pretty amazing to have that manual camera experience.
Yeah, but it didn’t win. The winner was the google pixel 6 pro.
Google Pixel 6 pro The Winner of Best Smartphone Camera
This was blowing me away. This had some cool software-based photo stuff like motion blur, so we could track our car and get that excellent panning effect and long exposures, so we took pictures of a waterfall in our review, and it looked perfect. I was so impressed by the image quality in this phone, so congratulations, Google last night, I put it on a tripod, and it took four-minute exposures of the stars, but with Astro tracking in like you had a proper tracker on it.
So no star trails but a four-minute exposure. It’s like it’s stunning what they’re doing.
Best Drone Camera
All right, you love this category. It’s the drones. Everybody should have a drone camera that floats. It lets you get perspectives that you could not otherwise get, but they’re still pretty expensive and complicated, but every year we see innovations. But, unfortunately, it all comes from one company DJI.
Air 2s The Runner-up of Best Drone Camera
Yeah, so the runner-up is the air 2s. This is a great compact drone, and this is the one that I would recommend to someone looking for something more affordable.
So, yeah, it’s only about a thousand bucks. But it does 4k 60, and that’s what we’ve been using for our word all year. So all the drone footage you’ve seen has pretty much been filmed with this, and nobody ever complained, even though it’s 999 dollars.
Okay, but the fun, alluring drone is the DJI fpv which you flew 60 miles per hour into our tree. And into our neighbor’s tree, and you were doing flips, and we made an obstacle course.
DJI FPV The Winner of the Best Drone Camera
This drone is a perfect time, and you can put your goggles on so that it’s like you’re a pilot. This is an entertaining toy. The air 2s got the work done. But the fpv like made my heart race. It’s just fun. Yet it’s an expensive toy, but it’s enjoyable also dangerous.
We crashed it into our new neighbor’s tree, and when they moved in, we had to be like before you moved in, we took out some of your trees with our drone.
Best Lens Of the Year
We apologize that’s going to happen if you buy that happen. The north ropes are annoying all right, so the lens of the year.
Sony 70 -200mm f2.8 g master ii-runner-up Lens Of the Year
Let’s get to the runner-up, the sony 70 to 200 f28 g master ii. This is a beautiful portrait lens. It’s got that various focal length you could use it for landscapes too, and it was just an excellent clean lens even with backlighting.
We put it up against a few other 70 to 200s, and it was terrific. So, it won everything. And maybe the most striking thing was how they improved the autofocus speed because the previous generation had held back our 30 frames per second a1.
However, this one just kept doing 30 frames per second even at close range. So, I’ve been trying to buy one, but they’re not shipping in any volume you want it, though, maybe for Christmas.
Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VDX Lens for Sony E Mount – the best lens of the year
The winner of the best lens of the year is the Tamron 150mm to 500mm, E-mount lens for sony. Finally, like an excellent affordable mirrorless wildlife lens that autofocused accurately and produced excellent sharp results.
We’re always looking for recommendations for that, like a small and light wildlife kit that doesn’t break the bank, and this was it.
If you’re looking for more about this lens, we did a video about a more affordable wildlife lens. This will show up, and we’ll have way more information and sample photos for you. Congrats, Tamron, all right, so the most fabulous accessory of the year.
Best wireless go-to mic for camera
Now there’s one that we use all of the time, and that is the rode wireless go-to mic packs, and these are amazing. They’re so small. They’re smaller than a tic tac container. Also, light, don’t have batteries in them. You charge them with what usbc, and they sound great.
So congratulations rode. You made an excellent portable, lightweight mic pack, and it’s like they designed it for us because we’re a team of two. In contrast, most microphone manufacturers don’t think about needing to record two separate channels, but they did it.
Best Laptop For Photographers
The winner is the MacBook pro with the new m1 chip. It’s so much faster you’ve been timing it and doing all sorts of tests to see how it improves your workflow lightroom imports three times faster final cut exports twice as quickly.
That’s a huge number you usually get a new computer it’s ten times faster. So suddenly, having everything be 300 faster fantastic, especially now that our cameras are like an absurd amount of megapixels.
Best Software For Photographers
The runner-up is the super-resolution feature in lightroom. We’ve written several books on the topic. We also love resolution and pixels.
So when adobe came out and said, hey, we have this software trick, it uses artificial intelligence. It extends your resolution. It quadruples your resolution suddenly. Your 12 megapixel a7s can be a 48-megapixel camera, so what do you do as a nerd.
Best Camera of the Year
Sony a7 III Mirrorless Camera – Best Camera of the Year
The a7 iii fixed the most significant complaints. They gave it a flip screen and increased the resolution.
It’s now like a pretty high-end Camera, and we call it a consumer camera, but I would recommend this to professional videographers to portrait and wedding photographers.
We found no flaws in it. It was just like a good camera. Congrats!, sony. This is the biggest category of the year.
That’s the sony a1 this is our pick for the best camera of the year. We’ve been shooting them side by side for wildlife.
I love it.
The autofocus is impressive, the resolution is incredible, the tracking is excellent battery life wonderful. It is the best camera ever made.
I think we’ve been putting it through the most intense uses possible, which are like fast-flying birds and stuff just in our daily life we do it for fun.
And it’s fantastic, but also I’ll use it for portraits and landscapes, and it’s the one camera that can do everything except I wish I had a flip screen.
But it is the winner of our camera of the year.
Congratulations! sony, you made what I think is the most excellent camera ever made, and you did it at the beginning of the year.
Nikon z9- The Runners Up of Best Camera of the Year
You need that speed, or else you’re just sitting there forever waiting to unload your photos. When we get that new 8k 60 frames per second, Nikon z9.
We’re glad that we just did the canon r3 review, and we took like 4 000 pictures in under an hour. I mean, that’s not typical for us. We have had 16 000 images so far for that project.
So that’s much research we will get back to the camera of the year.
We’re going to get a little salty a little sassy now cause of a bit of fight. The biggest disappointments of the year, let’s get into it.
I need to test this objectively. I need a control right, so I take a standard
picture with a 12-megapixel camera and a 50-megapixel camera. I try comparing them with super-resolution doesn’t compare doesn’t seem to add any detail.
So then I take a single picture, quadruple the size using standard scaling, and crank up the sharpness, and it looks as if all super-resolution does is scale it up and then crank the sharpness to 11. It cranks it way too far.
It accentuates noise. It doesn’t add any detail. There doesn’t seem to be any hint of intelligence, artificial or otherwise, just like scaling and sharpening. Okay, not a fan, no.
Then our biggest disappointment is the ship day on the Nikon z9. We’ve been talking about this camera since march.
I want to get my hands on it. It was supposed to ship earlier in December. Now shipping is being pushed to December 24, which is like who’s getting stuff, then that’s going to push it out till January 2022, probably when I will get this thing.
For the sake of these awards, it means we cannot consider them for the 2021 pixel awards.
It has to be pushed back to 2022. So sorry, Nikon lovers, we reached out to Nikon more than a dozen times. Yeah, also like— hey, we want to try this and make it eligible for the pixel awards.
But they did not reply, okay, so maybe next time and then the winner that wasn’t even the runner up.
The winner of our biggest disappointment is that camera theft has been like through the roof. Our friend got robbed, and a bunch of photographers asked for anti-theft technology and cameras, and we reached out, but they didn’t even respond.
None of them brought it up, so I thought somebody would like to call lewis up and be like, hey, let’s have a zoom meeting. We want to hear what we can do better. But, yeah, nobody even bothered to contact him. So they don’t even they’re not even talking about it.
No, I’m furious we’re going to make it happen. The anti-theft technology will happen, but did they mention it this year?
No, and we’re disappointed! If you want to be a part of the solution, let camera manufacturers know that you don’t like getting robbed in public places.
Yeah, is it going to fix all the problems now, but is it going to make your camera less appealing to steel? Yes, all right, so let’s get on to the next category. And that’s the wtf of the year and the winner. So take a sip of your martini, adding drama.
Best WTF winner The sigma fpl
Last year’s winner was the sigma up, an expensive camera that lacked many essential features. So 2021 sigma decided to update it, and how did they update it? They added some resolution.
However, they didn’t address some other things, just minor things you might expect in a $2500 camera. For example, it doesn’t come with a viewfinder. Also, it doesn’t come with a grip or stabilization or a mechanical shutter.
It has an appalling rolling shutter that makes it useless for any moving subject, much less video.
Yeah, it has it shoots at ten frames per second which is good, right? But it has a 12 shot raw buffer, so it fills up in about one second of shooting okay, it’s sync speed, it’s a studio camera.
Maybe you want to hook it up to some strobes. The sync speed is 1 15 of a second, so useless it doesn’t have a hot shoe built into it.
Anyway, you have to like stick a hot shoe on the side um what is this for? Nobody knows. That’s why it is the 2021 wtf winner.
If you have a good application for this camera you like it you use it, you figured out its niche let us know in the comments. I’m curious about the sigma rep’s okay, so the firmware update stops it.
We cannot burn any more bridges. We have burned every bridge signal lenses, but I don’t get those cameras at all. We’re on Northrop island.
Best Firmware Update – canon r6 and r52
Okay, the firmware update of the year is the canon r6 and r52. Canon did us a truly solid. They issued a firmware update that would improve things generally.
But, in particular, it gave us the ability to write video to both card slots that had been one of our vast complaints with these cameras. So they fixed it, and it was enough that I switched from filming our videos with sony to filming our videos with canon.
Because now I can write two card slots. Oh, I hear you complain all the time that it doesn’t autofocus. Right we’ll save that for another video, another firmware update.
Best vlogging camera of the year
Sony tv Z10- runner-up of the best vlogging camera of the year
I added a drum roll now, okay, our runner-up, the sony tv e10, yeah, so they took the zve1 that we liked but didn’t have the right lens on it. So they made it an interchangeable lens.
And it’s like an excellent all-around vlogging camera. It’s good that my short little arms can vlog with this camera now because I can put a wider lens on it. After all, it was what 24 millimeters before on the fixed lens. So it was more like 28. So yeah, that’s true.
Panasonic gh5 mark ii – winners of the best vlogging camera of the year
And the winner the Panasonic gh5 mark ii, a micro four-thirds camera the original gh5 we used for a long time.
But we struggled with the autofocus and in this revision. Panasonic improved the autofocus enough that in at least in our testing.
It did a pretty good job of tracking us. They also released some new lenses that gave us some shallow depth of field and other effects that we wanted. It was a perfect improvement and a good choice for people vlogging.
Most Significant Innovation of the Year
You’re doing a stellar job, okay, the most significant innovation of the year. Now, there wasn’t a lot this year. It’s been a tough year for innovation. Understandably everything is wild and unpredictable.
But there was one company that came up with something new that was canon, and that is the new canon eye control autofocus. You look through the viewfinder and calibrate it to how your eye is looking. And then, you can move your autofocus point to where you’re looking.
EOS ELAN IIE -Winner of Most Significant Innovation of the Year
It’s pretty cool now that this feature initially came out from canon in like 2000 or something. So yeah, I had the EOS ELAN IIE, and E stood for eye control. And I would not say I liked it, but trying it out in the r3 it’s pretty cool. It’s pretty like you at.
Canon EOS R3 Runners up of Most Significant Innovation of the Year
First, you’re like, how does it know where I’m looking, and then it just becomes unconscious pretty soon? Wherever it is, you look at something and focus on it. Yes, we have a full review of the r3. It’s coming out. We’ll talk more about that because there are some caveats to it.
But still, it is an incredible innovation, and I’m so glad to see a camera company doing something other than just increasing the numbers higher. Yes, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. The first time I liked the direction this is going in, I felt like it’s a good exercise for someone with a lazy eye, be like a consumer camera of the year.
The Most Beautiful Camera of the Year
Nikon Z FC- The runner-up is the Most Beautiful Camera of the Year
I like this camera a lot. So I’m going to let you know I’m going to make a whole new category right here most beautiful camera of the year it was and just like a fun camera because photography should be fun.
These things don’t have to be all serious. But, unfortunately, they all come dressed in totally black-looking 80s SLR looking like some technology funeral.
Congratulations, Nikon. We love this camera. I want to see more of this from you.
Sony a7 iv – Winner of Most Beautiful Camera of the Year
These are my words of encouragement first, talk to me, second more of this, and the winner is the Sony a7 iv, just a tremendous all-around versatile camera they took.
best professional camera pixels
In the final class, the best professional camera pixels doing a drum roll the runner-up is the Canon EOS R3.
They have the unique innovation of the eye control autofocus. It’s an overall excellent camera. It’s I think going to be a fantastic camera for sports photographers.
In particular, it’s got that incredible battery life the big battery it’s light considering its size. It’s got 30 frames per second.
The r3 is what has convinced me that the DSLR is dead, and that’ll have to be a separate podcast, but it is so much better than the 1dx that it’s replacing. It’s fantastic.
I think in any other year, it probably would have won this final category except, but you know who snuck in with a new camera in January 2022? So they got it in just in time for 2021.
All right, are there any that we missed? Put it in the comments below if you think we missed the mark. I know you do. I’m giving you an outlet to vent. And this has been a pretty fun year, huh congrats to sony Nikon canon Panasonic DJI and all the winners and runner-ups.
Thank you and see you next time—happy holidays, merry Christmas, happy new year 2022.