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Have your say: Best gear of 2021 – winners and final vote!

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Have your say: Best gear of 2021

For the past few weeks, our readers have been voting on their favorite photographic gear released in the past year in a wide range of categories. Now that the first round of voting is over, it’s time to reveal the winners.

Remember though, it isn’t over just yet! It’s time now to pick an overall winner. Don’t miss your chance to cast your ballot – this one’s for all the sweeties.

Best prime lens – Runner-up: Nikon Nikkor Z MC 105mm F2.8 VR S

first up, the runner-up in this year’s vote for best prime lens. Despite its fixed, medium telephoto focal length, the Nikon Z 105mm F2.8 S is an impressively versatile prime. Not only does it offer superb sharpness in the macro range (down to a true macro reproduction ratio of 1:1), it also produces excellent results at medium and long focus distances. Dual stepping motors speed up autofocus and keep it silent too. This makes the Z MC 105mm F2.8 VR S a true all-rounder, useful for portraiture and general use as much as for closeup work.

The Z 105mm F2.8 was so, so close to taking the winning position in this year’s poll, but it just missed out to…

Best prime lens – Winner: Sony FE 50mm F1.2 GM

Just pipping the Z 105mmm F2.8 to the post, the Sony FE 50mm F1.2 GM took your vote for the best prime lens of 2021. The FE 50mm F1.2 provides a long-awaited alternative to the venerable Zeiss 50mm F1.4 for E-mount, and offers substantial upgrades across the board. It handles better and is optically superior in every way: sharper, faster, with fewer chromatic aberrations and smoother bokeh. It’s also the fastest-to-focus lens of its type, racking from minimum focus to infinity in a mere half second.

We love the FE 50mm F1.2 GM on Sony’s high-resolution a7-series mirrorless cameras, and clearly you do, too.

Best zoom lens – Runner-up: Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II

Sony had a busy year in 2021, and in addition to the FE 50mm F1.2, the company also released an updated 70-200mm F2.8. The new FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II might seem like an iterative update to the older model, but in fact it’s all-new, and substantially better – not to mention 30% lighter – than its first-generation predecessor. Autofocus is up to 4x speedier thanks to four ‘extreme dynamic’ linear motors, while sharpness and bokeh are much improved.

A good 70-200mm has long been considered a key part of any professional camera kit, and with the FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II, Sony has provided a superb option for a7 and a9-series shooters.

Best zoom lens – Winner: Tamron 35-150mm F2-2.8 Di III VXD

The FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II is a great lens, but it only claimed the runner-up spot in this year’s readers’ poll. The winner, by a substantial margin was a unique zoom from Tamron. The Tamron 35-150mm F2-2.8 Di III VXD is a fast telezoom for full-frame E-mount, designed specifically with portrait and event photographers in mind. The focal length range allows an event photographer to leave it glued to camera, while the fast apertures enable subject isolation and aid low light photography.

Few lenses released this year sparked as much excitement among our readership as the Tamron 35-150mm F2-2.8 Di III VXD, and this is reflected in the fact that it earned almost 15% of the total vote for best zoom lens of 2021.

Best camera – Runner-up: Sony a1

The Sony a1 is an almost uniquely powerful camera, which offers a combination of speed, technology and resolution that should make it capable of pretty much any kind of photography. Its powerful autofocus system also benefits from an established ecosystem of E-mount lenses with fast-focusing linear motors to tap into for what is, quite often, class-leading focus performance.

Add powerful 4K video features into the mix, and the a1 is the definition of an all-rounder. It’s pricey, but no other camera on the market offers its combination of features, in a form-factor no bigger than an enthusiast DSLR. With 14% of the votes cast, you chose the Sony a1 as your runner-up in our 2021 poll for best camera of the year.

Best camera – Winner: Nikon Z9

With almost 20% of the total vote, the Nikon Z9 ran away with the top spot in our 2021 readers’ poll for best camera. Due to start shipping in the next few days, we’re sure that a lot of DPReview readers are eagerly awaiting delivery of Nikon’s latest flagship, and we doubt that you’ll be disappointed. Nikon addressed nearly every reservation we – and our readers – had about the Z mount system, and then some (can we hear it for the return of a souped up version of 3D Tracking?). The Nikon Z9 is a big, heavy camera, but its packed with technology making it among the most capable cameras of its type. It’s also among the most user-friendly, and most reasonably priced (by pro camera standards)!

Apparently you’re just as excited about the Nikon Z9 as we are.

Have your say – vote for product of the year!

You helped determine the winners in these individual categories, so now’s the time to cast your vote in one last poll! Choose up to three favorites from this list of winners and runners-up between now and Friday Dec 31st 2021 at midnight PT when the final poll closes. Watch for an announcement of the winning products early in the new year.

As always, thanks for casting your votes and being a part of our community throughout the year.


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Have your say

Have your say: Best product of 2021
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Voting is easy – you pick your favorite products by dragging and dropping. You can pick as many products as you like, and rank them in order of priority.

Please note that for the best experience, we recommend voting on our desktop site.

Poll Rules:

This poll is meant to be a bit of fun. It’s not sponsored, promoted or paid for in any way and DPReview doesn’t care how you vote. Our readers’ polls are run on the basis of trust. As such, we ask that you only vote once, from a single account.


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