This is the first in a series of upcoming articles devoted to showcasing winners from the iF Design Awards 2021, a competition identifying outstanding examples of design around the world.
Though this past year has presented plenty of challenges to making new memories, there has been no shortage of photo-worthy moments. Instead of documenting special occasions and travel, many photographers have enjoyed capturing the world around them in greater detail by documenting local nature or taking quarantine self-portraits.
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While plenty of creators continue to make content on smartphones, experienced photographers know a good camera makes all the difference in quality. Thankfully, the internationally renowned experts of the iF Design Award have just announced the most outstanding product designs of 2021. Leaders in the international design scene sorted through thousands of entries to choose 75 products and projects for the coveted iF Gold Award. This includes the following cameras, selected for their high-quality imaging, user-friendliness and cutting-edge technical innovation.
This list features equipment for all kinds of creators, from instant photography that will liven up parties to professional-grade video cameras with theater-ready quality. If you’re interested in upgrading your photos and videos, look no further than this compilation of the highest quality cameras on the market.
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
The Canon EOS-ID X Mark III, designed by Canon Inc., Sadaharu Matsuo, Katsuhito Yoshio, Shingo Yamazaki, and Chifuyu Tomita.
Canon’s flagship digital single-lens reflex camera supports professional photographers around the world who challenge the limits. The EOS-1D X Mark III is equipped with an optical viewfinder that is highly reliable even under harsh conditions. With a tough dust- and water-resistant structure, shutter durability of 500,000, and further evolution of operability for professionals, the EOS-1D X Mark III provides users with a fast, comfortable and high-image-quality shooting experience.
Canon PowerShot ZOOM
The Canon PowerShot ZOOM, designed by Canon Inc., Yusuke Hokari (PD) and Mayu Asano (UI)
The PowerShot ZOOM is a pocket-sized telescopic digital camera for people who want to observe and shoot subjects that are far away. Conventional telescopes and digital cameras are either focused on «observing» or «shooting», and it is not possible to «capture definitive moments while continuing to observe». With this product, it is now possible to readily enjoy shooting at a preferred timing while observing subjects that are far away, such as while watching sports, birds, children’s soccer practice, etc.
instax SQUARE SQ1
instax SQUARE SQ1 designed by Fujifilm Corporation, Taiki Saito
Part of the Instax series of instant cameras, the Square SQ1 enables users to enjoy shooting and printing onto square Instax film in the moment. Although the main target demographic for such cameras has been women in their 20s and 30s, the SQ1 opens the way for a wider range of users to enjoy instant photography with a simplified, neutral design and easy operation that enables users to take photos simply by turning on the power and pressing the shutter button. Instant gratification at its best!
FUJIFILM X-T4 designed by Fujifilm Corporation, Masazumi Imai
The X-T4 is the fourth generation of the flagship “single-digit” X-T series of mirrorless cameras, which achieve the optimum balance between compact design and the quality required by professionals and creators. This iteration continues the tradition of simplicity while incorporating a feeling of substantiality and functionality. Manual operation has been maintained while improving usability when shooting both video and still images. With the world’s fastest 15fps shooting, five-axis 6.5-stop IBIS, and long battery life, the X-T4 is a truly versatile device without excess size and weight and marks a new peak in performance for the X Series.
Insta360 ONE R
Insta360 ONE R designed by Insta360
Insta360 ONE R is the world’s first action camera with interchangeable lenses. A unique three-part design allows it to be transformed from a 360-degree camera to a premium wide-angle shooter co-engineered with Leica. At first glance, ONE R takes the familiar form of an action camera. However, the bright red battery at its base underlines a radical difference. Unlocking it reveals ONE R’s three interlocking components – a processor, a battery, and a swappable lens Mod, with the choice to equip a Dual-Lens 360 Mod, 4K Wide Angle Mod or 1-inch Wide Angle Mod to shoot the highest image quality ever in an action camera.
The Nikon D6 designed by Nikon Corporation, Yutaka Nikaido
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The D6 is Nikon’s flagship DSLR model for professional sports photographers and photojournalists. It offers the best AF performance in Nikon’s history, enabling accurate focus on the desired part of the target. As the world’s first DSLR with an AF function that prioritizes the eyes, it allows for better concentration when framing shots. Workflow speed is increased with improved operation for communication functions, responding to professionals’ need to instantly deliver their best shots to media outlets. In combination with the diverse lineup of NIKKOR F mount lenses, the D6 can capture decisive moments in a wide variety of scenes.
Nikon Z 6II / Z 7II / MB-N11
The Z Series designed by Nikon Corporation
As the 2nd generation of mirrorless cameras with the large-diameter Z mount, these cameras promise increased reliability in output through the adoption of dual image-processing engines and card slots. While size and operability remain similar to the first generation, on-site workflow efficiency and output reliability have been improved through advances in continuous shooting and AF performance. The addition of the MB-N11 power battery pack, ideal for vertical shooting, increases the number of possible shots while also offering a firmer hold on the camera. It supports hot-swap, making it ideal for extended use such as with video recording.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III designed by Olympus Corporation, Reisuke Osada and Sachie Yamamoto
The OM-D E-M5 Mark III is a Micro Four Thirds standard interchangeable lens system camera that lets you take high-quality shots in any situation. Reliable enough to be used in even the most punishing circumstances, this is a system that means you’ll never have to worry about how and where you shoot. The OM-D E-M5 Mark III embodies the compact, lightweight systems, powerful image stabilization, and high-resolution lenses that Olympus is famous for, and opens up new possibilities of photographic expression.
The Lumix DC-S5 designed by Panasonic Corporation Appliances Company, Design Center,
This hybrid full-frame mirrorless interchangeable lens camera can take high-quality still photos and videos. Performance equivalent to a high-end model, it comes in a small body for various shooting styles, such as by hand or using a gimbal. With intuitive operability and various shooting functions to expand photo/video expression, the goal was to create a tool for creators to express themselves. In addition to being small and lightweight to match the camera body, the included S20-60 mm ultrawide-angle lens starting from 20 mm is ideal for landscape photography and for vloggers.
The Sony FX6 designed by Sony Corporation Creative Center, Takumi Suzuki
Today, small production studios and young creators are increasingly seeking cinematic quality even for the production of short commercial films and online videos. The FX6 comes equipped with a highly sensitive full-frame image sensor in a compact body, delivering low noise, a wide dynamic range, and a shallow depth of field that achieves stunning bokeh effects essential to cinematic expression. Its high-performance autofocus feature and high-speed shooting capabilities give creators the powers of expression, mobility and flexibility equal to cinematographers.
Sony ZV-1 / ZV-1G
The Sony ZV-1 designed by Sony Corporation Creative Center, Ryo Miyake and Takahiro Tsuge
With the popularization of social media and video sharing websites, a growing number of young people are now uploading video content online – from snapshots of their daily lives and fresh reviews of travel destinations to product reviews and makeup videos – to share with the rest of the world. These websites and services are in some ways becoming more influential than traditional TV broadcasts. The ZV-1 video camera enables young creators to convey their message in high-quality video that far outstrips content shot with a smartphone.
Check out the iF World Design Guide for a full list of the 2021 iF Design Award winners.