Magazine Article


PTN's Top Products of the Year 2003

PTN’s Top Products of the Year 2003

by Diane Berkenfeld

Each year PTN asks our readers to choose the Top Imaging Product of the Year—those products they feel are the hottest selling or most innovative new items to come to market in the past 12 months. The votes have been tallied and for the fifth year in a row, the Overall Top Product is a digital SLR—Canon’s groundbreaking EOS 300D Rebel.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a digital camera has again been chosen Top Product. Six of the last seven Overall Top Product honors have gone to digital cameras. This year also marks the end of Nikon’s run as Top Overall Product winner, having been the Overall winner from 2000 through 2002. The Overall Top Product Runner-up is also a Canon digital SLR: the EOS 10D. Both cameras also took the top spot in the digital SLR category, respectively, proving how well these models are moving at retail.

In another surprising win, Graphx’s Photogize has won the title of Overall Top Technology, beating out the technologies of two of the largest imaging companies in the industry—Fujifilm’s 4th generation Super CCD sensor and the Olympus Four Thirds CCD sensor. Both imaging sensors are important breakthroughs, offering higher resolutions at lower costs. Graphx’s Photogize technology provides independent photo specialty retailers with the ability to offer online photofinishing to their customers.

Overall Top Product
Canon EOS 300D Rebel Digital SLR

Overall Top Product Runner-up
Canon EOS 10D DSLR
The Overall Top Product runner-up is another popular Canon digital SLR, the EOS 10D. This model features a 6.3-megapixel CMOS imager and Canon’s
proprietary DIGIC image processor.

Overall Top Technology
Graphx Photogize

Overall Top Technology
Runners-up – Tie
The Overall Top Technology race was very close. Graphx’s Photogize took top honors, but the votes were so close for a runner-up that we’ve called it a tie. Therefore, the runners-up are Olympus for its Four Thirds sensor, which is the power behind the new E-1 digital SLR; and Fujifilm’s 4th generation Super CCD sensors.

Tie—Olympus’ Four Thirds Sensor
Olympus’ E-1 digital SLR camera, designed from the ground up as a digital SLR was introduced to the public this year. Olympus created a brand new digital SLR system with a completely new imaging sensor and lens design. The Four Thirds open standard sets a standard for image sensor and lens mount. Because the lenses are directly designed according to the size of the imaging sensor, both the image sensor and lens performance is maximized. The Four Thirds System has been adopted by a consortium of manufacturers including Olympus, Kodak and Fuji.

Tie—Fujifilm’s 4th generation Super CCD Sensors
In PTN’s Top Imaging Products of 2000, Fujifilm received the Overall Top Technology win for its 1st generation Super CCD. One of the most visible distinctions between the Super CCD and other imaging sensors is the shape of the Super CCDs. The reshaped chip allows more light to reach the sensor, which results in sharper, more detailed images. In 2003, Fujifilm improved upon earlier sensors with its 4th generation of Super CCD sensors: the Super CCD HR (high resolution) incorporating a total of 6.63 million pixels, that can record an image up to 12.3-megapixels in size; and the Super CCD SR which incorporates 6.7 million total pixels (3.35 million S-pixels and 3.35 million R-pixels) for a maximum 6.03-megapixel resolution.

Winner Digital SLR
Canon EOS 300D Rebel Digital SLR

Runner-up Digital SLR
Canon EOS 10D Digital SLR
Canon’s EOS 10D Digital SLR features a 6.3-megapixel CMOS imager, and incorporates Canon’s DIGIC image processor. The camera is the first digital SLR that offers direct connectivity to several of Canon’s printers without the need to connect to a computer. Other features include the new Intelligent Orientation Sensor which automatically rotates vertical photos for viewing on the LCD, and the ability for photographers to record images simultaneously in JPEG and RAW formats.

Winner Consumer Digital Camera – Tie
Pentax Optio S4 & Olympus Stylus 300/400 Digitals

The Consumer Digital Camera category proved to be an exciting race, with the Pentax Optio S4 and Olympus Stylus 300/400 Digitals receiving the same amount of votes.

The Pentax Optio S4, sporting a 4.23-megapixel imager and 3x optical/4x digital zoom lens fits inside an Altoids candy tin. The camera utilizes a Sliding Lens system that allows the retracted lens to be completely flush with the body. Other features include a movie mode with sound playback, voice recording memo mode, and 11MB of built-in memory.

Olympus’ film-based Stylus line is one of the best selling camera lines of all time. Olympus has taken the Stylus concept one step further with the introduction of the 3.2MP Stylus 300 Digital and 4MP Stylus 400 Digital. It looks as if the Stylus Digitals are just as popular with consumers as their film-based cousins.

Winner Film SLR
Canon EOS Rebel Ti

Runner-up Film SLR
Nikon N75
Nikon has had a long reign of garnering honors in PTN’s Top Imaging Products voting and this year Nikon’s N75 was the runner-up in the Film SLR category. Last year the runner-up was the Nikon N65, another popular model.

Winner Lens/Shutter Camera (fixed focal length)
Olympus Stylus Epic DLX

Runner-up Lens/Shutter Camera
(fixed focal length) – NONE
No one comes close to the dominance of the Olympus Stylus Epic as the best selling Lens/Shutter Camera with a fixed focal length lens.

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