Digital SLRs Shine Again in 13th Annual PTN Readership Poll of Best Imaging Products
by Dan Havlik and Diane Berkenfeld
So having said all that, is anyone else noticing another pattern here? That's right, those folks at Nikon have been on quite a run in PTN's readership poll for the last several years. Along with the D100 digital SLR garnering the top product honor for 2002, the N65, a traditional film-based
SLR also from Nikon, finished a close second with our readers this year. Add that to the fact that Nikon captured last year's "Top Product of the Year" with the D1x Digital SLRas well as in 2000, where the D1 and 990 tiedand it just keeps getting better and better for the Big "N."
That's not to say though that Nikon walked away with the entire competition this year. Far from it, actually. Take a look at the wide range of winners and runners-up listed in our 13th annual poll and you'll see quite a cross section of the industry itself, with everyone from Applied Science Fiction to Pioneer, Olympus to Lowepro and Kodak to Canon capturing a coveted gold Top Products seal from PTN this year.
To conduct this year's poll, we sent ballots to a random sampling of our readership, as well as offering a way to vote on our website, www.ptnonline.com. To streamline the process, we dropped the number of categories back down to 19 from the whopping 22 last year, and swapped in some new categories for a few we phased out.
But as the old saying goes, it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game, and with new technologies and innovations changing the rules of photography every day, some manufacturers out there have been playing the game very well indeed.
So to all those who cast their vote this year, we say a grateful "Thank you." And to all those whose products caught the eye of our discerning readership, we send out a hearty and well-deserved "Congratulations!"
Overall Top Product: Nikon N65
This amateur level film-based SLR, which uses Nikon's AF lenses and Speedlights, finished a close second to its big brother, the D100, proving that even when it comes to lower-end SLRs, Nikon's a hit with our readers.
Winner — Overall Top Technology: ASF Digital PIC
Talk to any of the retailers currently Beta testing a kiosk featuring Applied Science Fiction's Digital PIC dry film process, and they'll tell you they're gonna have a hard time giving them up. One dealer we know in New York says he's had a line of people waiting to use this unique device since the day they first installed it. Despite some speculation to the contrary, customers don't seem to mind getting back a CD of their images from the Digital PIC instead of negatives. Best of all, along with doing near instant dry processing of film, the device now being tested around the world also takes digital media.
Overall Top Technology: Nikon D100
Not only did this Digital SLR take top overall product honors, readers were impressed by the technology behind it, mostly wondering how Nikon was able to combine 6.1 megapixels of resolution and a host of features seen only in most top-of-the-line pro cameras, and offer it all at such a reasonable price. Quite frankly, we've been wondering the same thing too. Truly impressive.
Winner — One Time Use Camera: Kodak line
Kodak's line of one-time-use cameras has consistently been in the running for the top products OTU category over the years. Last year it was the runner-up, the year before that, the winner. Whether APS, underwater, with a flash, without, or panoramic, these little OTUs are great for those times you forget your regular camera but still want to capture a moment.
One Time Use Camera: Fuji line
The original creator of the one-time-use camera category, Fuji has flip-flopped with Kodak most years in our poll, last year finishing on top; this year, in second place. Many models include APS, waterproof, with a flash, and the colorful Fuji QuickSnaps.
Winner — Fixed Focal Length Lens/Shutter Camera: Olympus Stylus Epic DLX