The TIPA Awards 2016 were announced in our July/August 2016 issue of Australian Camera magazine. To view all the winners with their judges' comments, click the red button to the right to view the original magazine pages in PDF form. The Awards are also listed on TIPA's own international website: www.tipa.com
 
TIPA Awards 2016
 
With six TIPA Awards judging sessions under our belts at Camera, we’re now becoming old hands, but it still never ceases to amaze just how smoothly the whole process runs. 
 
Admittedly, TIPA – the Technical Image Press Association – has now been doing this for 25 years, so there’s been plenty of time to fine-tune the procedures, but we’re still talking about magazine editors or technical editors from all over the world sifting through hundreds of new products to come up with the best in 40 categories.
 
A few years ago TIPA made a conscious decision to expand beyond its Euro-centric origins and recruit suitable magazines from all over the world. The entry requirements are pretty rigorous, especially in terms of ensuring absolute editorial independence – the cornerstone on which the credibility of the Awards is based – so it’s not been an easy exercise, but now the organisation has expanded to include magazines in the USA, Canada, South Africa, Brazil, China, India and, of course, Australia. The European members come from Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Hungary.
 
Additionally, all the member publications of the Japanese Camera Journal Press Club are represented by a single delegate at the judging session. The potential for it all to go horribly wrong is obvious, but the hard work of TIPA’s Technical Committee keeps everything steadily on track and, consequently, the whole process is actually rather enjoyable as the merits of each short-listed product are debated and discussed. Of course, there 
are inevitably some disagreements, but these are resolved amicably and, in most cases, to everybody’s satisfaction.
 
This year 26 editors (down one – who shall remain nameless – who realised too late that his passport had expired and so couldn’t travel in time) met in San Francisco to consider the offerings of the last 12 months and select worthy winners. Of course, just the last six months has been pretty interesting – and 2016 definitely got started with a bang – but it was important not to forget the significant products which had arrived earlier in this year’s Award’s period of eligibility such as Canon’s EOS 5Ds/R duo, Sony’s A7R II and the Fujifilm X-T10. As it happens, all three feature in these Awards, testimony to just how good they are, seeing off more recently-arrived (and thus potentially better) rivals.
 
As always, the TIPA Award categories are continually being modified to reflect changes in the industry so, for example, this year camera-equipped drones make an appearance. Additionally, the D-SLR categories have been revised to reflect the arrival of more ultra-high resolution models, as well as those with a more ‘hybrid’ design in terms of targeting both photographers and videographers. We now also separate those enthusiast-level bodies with ‘APS-C’ and full-35mm sensor. TIPA is using the term “full frame” for that latter which, of course, is essentially used industry-wide even though, in technical terms, it actually means something else. We at Camera maintain that any sensor is really full frame (because it uses the full area available for imaging) so we’re sticking with “full 35mm” (and “full-645” for the bigger medium format sensors) which we think are much more accurate terms… so there.
 
And still on terminology, the sharp-eyed among you may note that the mirrorless camera categories now actually include the word “mirrorless”. When it became apparent that mirrorless cameras were here to stay, TIPA proposed using a different descriptor given that “mirrorless” didn’t really mean that much unless you knew that an SLR was a reflex camera with a mirror. TIPA proposed the term “compact system camera” – or CSC, for short – which was adopted by a number of the manufacturers, but the reality is that there’s no getting away from the word “mirrorless” and, over time, it’s become better understood too.
 
Over the last few years TIPA has lost a couple of members due to the severe economic difficulties experienced in a number of European countries. The group’s objective has always been to have a membership of 30 titles and it was decided to concentrate this effort on the all-important North American market. 
 
Consequently, it was agreed to admit three new titles this year, two more from the USA and one from Canada. The new American members are both very prestigious publications – the highly-respected Photo District News (PDN) and Rangefinder which is the official journal of the WPPI (Wedding And Portrait Photographers International). The new Canadian member is Photo Solution, the French language sister publication of existing member, Photo Life. French is the official language of the Canadian province of Quebec – which has a population of 8.2 million people – so magazines in French have a much wider circulation than those in English. 
 
TIPA’s new line-up of 30 magazines represents 15 countries across five continents and the addition of new members not only strengthens the organisation in terms of its global representation, but provides even more opportunities for interaction between magazines, something that is very beneficial for we editors as we face the various challenges inherent in special-interest publishing. All our readerships ultimately benefit from our access to a bigger pool of knowledge, ideas and experiences… but it does mean that there will be 30 voices clamouring to be heard at next year’s Award judging! 
 
In the meantime, check out 2016’s honour roll below – and on the PDF pages available by clicking the red button here, each winning product is accompanied by the judging panel’s citation. In some cases these have been edited to suit our ‘house style’ or to take into account local market conditions. The Awards are also listed on TIPA's own international website: www.tipa.com 
 

* Best D-SLR Entry-Level – Sony Alpha SLT-A68

* Best ‘APS-C’ D-SLR Expert – Nikon D500

* Best Full-35mm D-SLR Expert – Pentax K-1

* Best D-SLR Professional/Action – Nikon D5

* Best D-SLR Professional/High Res – Canon EOS 5Ds R

* Best Photo/Video Professional D-SLR – Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

* Best Entry-Level D-SLR Lens – Tamron 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 Di II VC

* Best D-SLR Telephoto Zoom Lens – Sigma 50-100mm f1.8 DC HSM Art

* Best D-SLR Wide-Angle Zoom Lens – Sigma 24-35mm f2.0 DG HSM Art

* Best D-SLR Prime Lens – Tamron SP 35mm f1.8 Di VC USD

* Best Professional D-SLR Lens – Sigma 20mm f1.4 DFG HSM Art

* Best Medium Format Camera – Phase One XF 100 MP

* Best Mirrorless CSC Entry-Level – Fujifilm X-T10

* Best Mirrorless CSC Advanced – Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

* Best Mirrorless CSC Expert – Fujifilm X-Pro2

* Best Mirrorless CSC Professional – Sony Alpha A7R II

* Best CSC Entry-Level Lens – Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f1.7 ASPH

* Best CSC Telephoto Zoom Lens – Fujinon XF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

* Best CSC Wide-Angle Zoom Lens – Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f2.8 PRO

* Best CSC Prime Lens – Sony FE 85mm f1.4 GM

* Best Easy Compact Camera – Canon IXUS 285 HS

* Best Expert Compact Camera – Canon PowerShot G5X

* Best Full 35mm Compact Camera – Sony Cyber-shot RX1R II

* Best Superzoom Camera – Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300

* Best Rugged Camera – Olympus Stylus Tough TG-870

* Best Premium Camera – Leica SL

* Best Camcorder – Panasonic WXF991

* Best Photo Printer – Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000

* Best Inkjet Photo Paper – Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Fibre Gloss

* Best Imaging Software – Serif Affinity Photo

* Best Tripod – Manfrotto 190 Go! Carbon Fibre

* Best Storage Media – Toshiba TransferJet SDHC Memory Card

* Best Professional Flash System – Phottix Indra360 TTL

* Best Portable Flash – Nissin i60A

* Best Photo Monitor – BenQ SW2700PT

* Best Mobile Imaging Device – DXO One

* Best Camera Drone – Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K

* Best ActionCam – Sony HDR-AS50

* Best Imaging Innovation – Nikon SnapBridge

* Best Design – Ricoh Theta S