2017 Review: A look back at everything that mattered for photography

Nikon announces centenary celebrations

Nikon celebrated its centenary in 2017, and it formally announced the products that would mark the occasion at the start of April.

These included 100th anniversary editions of the D5 and D500 DSLRs, styling them in a dark metallic grey. Several lenses also made it to the anniversary range, as did some binoculars and a few other extra treats such as camera straps and pins. 

Read more: Nikon's first century

The firm also bulked out its mid-range DSLR line-up with the launch of the D7500 DSLR – a replacement for the D7200 that inherited several useful features from the D500, including its 20.9MP APS-C sensor, its EXPEED 5 processor and the same 180k-pixel RGB metering sensor, as well as the ability to capture 4K video. Read the full review here

DJI Phantom 4 Advanced lands on the scene

DJI updated its drone lineup with the Phantom 4 Advanced. It was, well... an advanced version of the Phantom 4, giving drone photographers a new 1in 20MP sensor to play with, as well as a new mechanical shutter. 

The model's new camera could also capture 4K video at 60 fps, and featured several new smooth automatic flight modes using a Flight Autonomy system with five image sensors.

Panasonic brings out the ZS70 / TZ90 travel camera

Panasonic updated its popular line of travel compacts with the Lumix ZS70 (also known as the TZ90). 

Sporting the same 24-720mm-equivalent lens as previous cameras in the series, the new ZS90 packed a 20.3MP sensor and a new autofocus system. 

Panasonic also took the opportunity to announce a new Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4 APSH lens, and also added 10bit 4:2:2 1080p Full HD video to its hybrid flagship, the GH5.

Read more: Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm F2.8-4.0 ASPH sample images

Fujifilm bolsters G-mount line with fresh optics

Fujifilm gave us a taste of what’s in store for its medium format GFX 50S, releasing a pair of new lenses for the system and updating the roadmap for the future. 

A new GF 23mm f/4 R LM WR lens (equivalent to 18mm on a full-frame camera) came packing a linear focus motor and a nine-bladed aperture, together with various performance-enhancing lens elements, while the GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR sported a similarly enticing spec list.

Read more: Opinion: DSLRs won't kill off medium format systems any time soon

Sony wows with the flagship A9

The Sony A9, a full-frame powerhouse and the first model in a new range, arrived on the scene with a bang. 

Its 24MP stacked CMOS sensor allowed it to reach super-fast speeds, shooting 20fps for up to 241 compressed Raw frames, and providing a 60fps no-blackout live feed during bursts. Read the full review here

AF tracking and calculations also got a serious boost over previous Sony models thanks to the 693 on-sensor phase-detect AF points covering 93% of the frame. Video recording wasn’t forgotten about either, with 4K capture using the full width of the sensor on hand.

The company topped it all off by also announcing a new G Master lens, the FE 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS.

Read more: Sony A9 review

Manfrotto announces innovative Nitrotech N8 head

An intriguing and unusual prospect from Manfrotto: the Nitrotech N8 head. More geared towards video users, the head drew attention for its ‘nitrogen piston mechanism’ that promised to produce smooth, continuous, counterbalanced motion. 

Unfortunately, the rollout was not quite a smooth as the head itself. Manfrotto had to issue a ‘voluntary’ recall a couple of months down the line in order to make a few adjustments to assure peak performance in all situations.

Olympus TG-5 makes a splash

Olympus has long boasted one of the best tough cameras lines in the business, and in May this year the firm cemented that reputation with the release of the TG-5. 

In an unusual move for a new camera release, the sensor in the TG-5 actually featured a lower pixel count than that of its predecessor, dropping from 16MP to 12MP. According to Olympus this was to improve image quality, which had been additionally bettered by the inclusion of the TruePic VIII processor from the OM-D E-M1 Mark II

The body of the camera was also strengthened, ensuring Olympus kept its tough camera crown.

Read more: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II review

Sony broadens pro-grade G Master series

Sony further expanded its G Master range of high-end lenses, introducing the FE 12-24mm f/4 G and FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM for E-mount bodies. 

The former featured an internal focus design that allowed it to focus without changing length – useful for video work – while the latter brought a constant f/2.8 aperture to the Sony full-frame line-up. 

Read more: 10 tips on getting the best out of your Sony camera

DJI aims high with the Spark

DJI went small in May with the introduction of the Spark, its mini drone for entry-level users. 

Weighing just 300g, the Spark was able to fly at speeds up to 50kph and could be controlled via hand gestures. It also featured on-board sensors for collision avoidance, as well as micro-USB charging and Intelligent Flight modes. 

A new QuickShot feature also allowed for quick, automatic creation of shareable 10-second clips.

Ricoh WG-50 surfaces

The TG-5 wasn’t the only tough camera of the month – Ricoh Imaging also announced the WG-50, packing a 16MP BSI-CMOS sensor and a 28-140mm (equivalent) lens, with a six-LED macro ring light built in. 

The WG-50 came with all the tough protection you’d expect, including extensive waterproofing, impact resistance and freeze-proofing.

Nikon unveils lens trio

Nikon saw out May with a new trio of lenses. 

The AF-P DX Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR was an APS-C wide zoom with up to 3.5 stops of Vibration, while the AF-S Fisheye Nikkor 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E ED was a full-frame fisheye with 180-degree vertical and horizontal angles of view at the wide end. There was also the AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.4E ED, the sixth addition to Nikon’s range of f/1.4 primes. 

The company also joined in May’s tough camera fun with the Coolpix W300, a 16MP rugged compact with 4K video recording and an Active Guide mode offering quick access to location data.

Read more: The 8 best portrait lenses for Nikon users

ZEISS announces the super-fast Milvus 1.4/35

ZEISS brought out a new lens for full-frame Canon and Nikon DSLRs, the Milvus 1.4/35. 

With a fast aperture and standard 35mm focal length, the optic appears to have been designed with a range of applications in mind, with a tough construction and images promised to be practically free from chromatic aberrations.

Tamron unveils humongous superzoom lens

Tamron unveiled the "world’s first ultra-telephoto all-in-one zoom", an 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD. Built for Canon and Nikon cropped-sensor DSLRs, the lens offered an effective focal length of 29-640mm and 27-600mm respectively. 

Despite its generous focal range, the lens was pleasingly compact thanks to its HLD motor, measuring just 124mm in length and 79mm in diameter. Later in the month Tamron also improved its 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, adding better AF speeds and image stabilisation to the existing formula.

Read more: Tamron revamps 24-70mm lens with five-stop VC system

And not forgetting...

Arguably the most important photography competition of the year, the Kennel Club Dog Photographer of the Year, announced its 2017 winning images, all of which were of extremely good dogs.

Canon finally replaces venerable EOS 6D and introduces EOS Rebel SL2 / 100D

Almost five years after its popular budget-full-frame EOS 6D, Canon replaced it with the EOS 6D Mark II

Built around a new 26.2MP full-frame sensor and DIGIC 7 processor, the EOS 6D Mark II boasted a top ISO of 40,000 and a 45-point all-cross-type AF system. One particularly welcome addition was the fully articulating 3in touchscreen, and while there was no 4K video to be found, Dual Pixel AF made a welcome appearance. Read our Canon EOS 6D Mark II review here

Launching alongside the EOS 6D Mark II was the EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D), a diminutive DSLR for photographers looking to take a step up from the more basic quadruple-digit models. Read our Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D review here

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Jon Stapley

Jon spent years at IPC Media writing features, news, reviews and other photography content for publications such as Amateur Photographer and What Digital Camera in both print and digital form. With his additional experience for outlets like Photomonitor, this makes Jon one of our go-to specialists when it comes to all aspects of photography, from cameras and action cameras to lenses and memory cards, flash diffusers and triggers, batteries and memory cards, selfie sticks and gimbals, and much more besides.  

An NCTJ-qualified journalist, he has also contributed to Shortlist, The Skinny, ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, The Guardian, Trusted Reviews, CreativeBLOQ, and probably quite a few others I’ve forgotten.