Objects of Desire: Our Favorite Gear of the Year

December 4, 2015

By Greg Scoblete

 Like the tides, each new year brings wave upon wave of new products. While we couldn’t test everything that washed up on the industry’s shore this year, we did our fair share of deep dives. Here were a few of our favorites from 2015’s reviews:

Sony a7R II

This 42-megapixel full frame mirrorless camera has earned no shortage of recognition in 2015, and for good reason. Our reviewer Theano Nikitas hailed it as “an excellent addition to the gear bag of any photographer who’s looking for a high resolution, high quality but compact mirrorless camera.” With 2015 serving as something of a coming out party for high-quality Sony FE-mount lenses, pros have a mirrorless camera they can call their own.

Price: $3,198

Canon 5DS

50-megapixels and the use of Canon glass for $3,400? Yes please. Of all the products we tested in cooperation with photographer David Patiño, the 5DS was the only one he went out and bought one for himself when we were done. We caught up with Patiño recently and he told us that he’s been shooting some video with it too and while it’s not as optimized for video as it is for stills, he’s been pleasantly surprised by how well the standard profile renders skin tones. Read our review.

Price: $3,400

Leica Q

Let’s stipulate up front that the Q may not necessarily be the best advanced compact of 2015 (we haven’t tested the less expensive but equally well endowed Sony RX1R II), but it sure was the most fun we had shooting with any camera this year. This 24-megapixel full frame camera is not only built like a tank, but fires off an incredible 10 fps, has an f/1.7 28mm lens and a viewfinder that’s incredibly sharp. It’s a street photographer’s dream, provided they can afford it. Read our review.

Price: $4,650

Panasonic Lumix LX100

Announced at the tail-end of 2014, we think this 4K-recording, Micro Four Thirds sensor compact camera does just about everything you want a high-end camera to do. Unlike the Q and other full frame compacts, it’s actually point-and-shoot size without sacrificing excellent image quality. And the 24-75mm f/1.8 Leica lens is sweet. Read our review.

Price: $697

Epson SureColor P800

Boasting a new, long-lasting pigmented ink set and super-deep blacks, Epson’s SureColor P800 delivers outstanding image quality in an easy-to-operate design. You can print up to 17 inches wide but if you spring for the optional roll media attachment, you can make panoramas that stretch 10 feet. Read our review.

Price: $1,395

Eyefi Mobi Pro

Eyefi has come tantalizingly close to building the ultimate wireless solution for pro cameras that not only facilitates image transferring but cloud backup as well. You get a year’s worth of unlimited photo storage when you spring for the 16GB or 32GB Pro card, after which it’s $50/year–a price that also includes HD video storage too. Read our review.
Price: $80

Profoto B2

When we reviewed the B2 just before its WPPI Show debut, we noted that Profoto was light years ahead of the competition when it comes to industrial design—a verdict that we think still stands as 2015 draws to a close. With the B2, Profoto has expanded on the portability of its B1 battery-driven flash with a light that event, wedding and portrait photographers should value. 

Price: $1,995 

Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD

We mentioned how the Canon 5DS was the only product our co-tester ran out to buy when we were done testing it. This one is next on his list. The versatile wide-angle zoom is an excellent lens for architectural work and is the first full frame lens of its kind with built-in image stabilization. Read our review.

Price: $1,199

Nikon 300mm f/4 PF ED VR

As the smallest and lightest full frame 300mm prime on the market (when our reviewer Theano Nikitas laid hands on it in August), Nikon’s long lens uses a phase fresnel optical element to slim down. “The VR on this lens is simply impressive,” Nikitas concluded.
Price: $1,996