EISA, the Expert Imaging and Sound Association, just released its annual awards of the best photography gear of 2021 and, as usual, there’s a variety of winners on this elite list. While these types of photo industry awards might not be everyone’s cup of tea, as someone who served as a judge for the EISA awards in the past, I can say the evaluation process for picking the best cameras and lenses is thoughtful and rigorous.
EISA is the world’s largest independent collection of magazines and websites focusing on consumer electronics. To win an EISA award, the cameras, lenses, software, and photo accessories under consideration go through a thorough multi-step judging process. In the end, EISA issued nearly two dozen photo gear awards in 2021, including “Camera of the Year” and “Lens of the Year” citations.
You can see the full list of 2021 Photography Awards with accompanying write-ups on EISA’s website, but we’ve selected 10 of the top prizes below to give you a taste of the cream of the crop. We’ve also included links to where you can purchase this outstanding photo gear.
EISA Camera of the Year 2021: Sony Alpha a1
“With the Sony Alpha 1, photographers no longer face a choice between high resolution or high speed,” EISA wrote about the Sony a1. “Instead, it delivers 50-million-pixel images at up to 30fps with an uninterrupted blackout-free view in its electronic viewfinder, thanks to its unique full-frame stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor with integrated memory and a powerful BIONZ XR processor. ”
EISA Lens of the Year 2021: Tamron 17-70mm F/2.8 Di III-A VC RXD
“For enthusiast photographers who use Sony cameras with APS-C sensors and are in search of a high-quality zoom, this might be the perfect choice,” EISA wrote. “It offers a uniquely useful combination of a large maximum aperture and a broad 26-105mm full-frame equivalent focal length range, without compromising on optical quality.”
EISA Best Premium Camera 2021: Canon EOS R5
“Canon’s highly-specified mirrorless all-rounder is feature-filled and built to last. It produces extremely sharp, high-resolution 45-million-pixel images, while being capable of recording both 8K and 4K video. It also boasts a high-speed, high-precision Dual Pixel CMOS AF II autofocus system, up to 8 stops of in-body image stabilization, and high-speed continuous shooting at up to 20fps.”
EISA Best Professional Camera 2021: Fujifilm GFX 100S
“With the GFX 100S, Fujifilm has packed the groundbreaking features of the GFX 100 into a much more compact and affordable camera. Like its bigger sibling, it employs a 102-million-pixel BSI-CMOS sensor that measures 44x33mm, and which includes phase detection pixels for fast, accurate hybrid autofocus.”
Check the price of the Fujifilm GFX 100S on B&H here.
EISA Best Advanced Camera 2021: Nikon Z6 II
“The Nikon Z 6 II is a versatile camera with a 24.5-million-pixel BSI-CMOS full-frame sensor which can record video up to 4K Ultra HD at 60fps. Its next-generation autofocus system can work in light levels as low as -4.5EV, while two EXPEED 6 processing engines provide faster image processing and a larger buffer capacity for continuous shooting compared to its predecessor.”
EISA Best Wide-Angle Lens 2021: Sony FE 14mm F1.8 GM
“This extremely compact wide-aperture ultra-wide-angle prime lens combines Sony’s latest optical design achievements and manufacturing techniques into a rectilinear 14mm f/1.8 lens that is as easy to carry in the field as it is to use in studio. The compact size and weight, however, do not compromise high image quality or weather-resistant build quality.”
EISA Best Photo/Video Camera 2021: Sony Alpha a7S III
“The Sony Alpha 7S III delivers 4K video without any compromise. At its heart is a new 12-million-pixel back-illuminated full-frame Exmor R CMOS image sensor that provides outstanding performance at high ISO sensitivities with minimal rolling shutter effects.”
Check the price of the Sony Alpha a7S III on B&H here.
EISA Best Professional Telephoto Zoom Lens 2021: Nikon Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S
“As to be expected of a lens that’s made for high-end, professional use, this fast telephoto zoom is as advanced as it gets. Optically it’s superb, combining high levels of sharpness with effective suppression of aberrations.”
EISA Best Portrait Lens 2021: Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG DN Art
“Sigma has created a lens that redefines portrait photography by combining an ideal focal length with technology that ensures top-quality results. Designed specifically for full-frame mirrorless cameras, its lightweight and compact body is distinguished by its excellent quality of construction, including dust and splash resistance.”
EISA Best Lens Innovation 2021: Canon RF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM
“While most manufacturers have built up their full-frame mirrorless lens ranges by replicating their most popular SLR designs, Canon has consistently been more imaginative. Its new RF-mount 100mm f/2.8 offers the highest magnification ratio of any autofocus macro lens, at 1.4x, allowing users of its EOS R-system cameras to fill the frame with a subject measuring just 26x17mm.”
Check the price of the Canon RF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM at B&H here.