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The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show

My first Consumer Electronics Show was in 1982 when the numbers were a lot smaller than the record breaking 150,000+ that made their way to this year’s event. This crowd was at CES to see more than 3,000 exhibitors displaying their new products.

You’d think I might be weary of CES after 30 years, but I still find excitement in talking to these exhibitors who are making cool stuff that will be on retailers’ shelves in coming months.

CES is huge. This year’s show took up some 1.8 million square feet of space in the Las Vegas Convention Center and several other nearby venues. That’s a lot of walking and so I was sure to wear some comfortable shoes.

This year’s attendance may have been boosted by members of the Photographic Marketing Association. The PMA chose to co-locate their yearly gathering at CES for 2012. Since most of the major photo equipment manufacturers already exhibit at CES, it makes sense for the PMA to join forces.

For the first time that I recall, the show was held from Tuesday thru Friday instead of over a weekend. I’m told that the casinos pushed to “clear” the weekend for other guests because CES folks are not known to be big gamblers.

Before beginning my walk, I stopped at the press room to review some of the hundreds of exhibitor press releases. As you can see in this photo to the right, the Press Room was a busy place filled with 150 or so reporters at any one time. Many were already sitting at workstations with their laptops and wireless connections filing articles and stories.

CES management goes to great lengths to help deliver the marketing message of these exhibitors to the consumer. The flurry of activity in the press room is what eventually fills the airwaves, printed newspapers and magazines with buzz about these new electronic gizmos.

In Part 1 of my report, I’ll mention the photographic items that caught my eye. Excuse me, if I resort to “technicalese” while describing some of the higher end products.

After reading this article, go to A Walk around CES – Part 2 where I cover a few of the other cool gadgets.

 

What follows is a quick rundown of some of the new or upcoming photographic products that I found interesting.


Wireless products were all over the show. Here’s a pair of products from Kodak that take advantage of wireless.


Joel White is holding their new M750 camera. After taking a picture, the image can be streamed directly to the printer. It’s instant photography all over again!


Kodak’s Hero printer conveniently connects to your router wirelessly. And by assigning it an email address, you can also send send images to it remotely.

The M750 camera can also talk to a mobile device such as a smartphone. Then you can use the free app on your mobile device to forward your images to a backup computer or other online apps such as Kodak Gallery, Picassa, Facebook or Flickr. Here’s where you can find out about the Kodak M750 camera.



Next stop was to see a few sport cameras. This is the new EGO, a small, waterproof model that captures HD video with wifi connection. It’s packaged in a bright, rugged case for $149


Skiers can wear their Apex HD model which embeds wifi and GPS into the goggles and also shoots 1080p HD video. Inside the goggles is a small LCD that is visible to skier, $395.

Liquid Image has other models specifically fore underwater, bicycling and other outdoor sports. For more information, go to Liquid Image.



DiCAPac makes underwater protection for electronic devices. This WP-S10 waterproof case is made for most DSLR cameras for shooting in inclement weather or in water to 15 feet. The clear plastic container is solid and the front window is optically corrected and scratch resistant. Price is about $149.


This is WP-MS10 case is for smartphones and can withstand water to depths up to 30 feet. If you can talk under water, I guess it’s useful for emergency phone calls 🙂 Price about $25.

DiCAPac makes other waterproof cases for the iPad, compact cameras and other electronic devices as well. For more information, go to DoCAPac.



GoPro has been on a roll lately as many sports enthusiasts have recorded their accomplishments with their Hero camera. Here are displays of their outdoor, motorsport and surf models.


This is their Hero 2 model which can be accessorized to mount many different ways: wristband, helmet, bicycle, surfboard, airplane wing, you get the idea. Price is $295.

If you would like to see an action video captured with the Hero camera, click here (courtesy of Eastern Sierra Guiding.

GoPro has many accessories for adapting the Hero 2 to a multitude of uses. For more information, go to GoPro.



In the advanced compact camera category, Canon introduced the G1 X with a 1.5″ sensor – about 6 times larger than the the one in the predecessor G12. This tells me that the G1 X will appeal to photographers who value high image quality with greater low-light sensitivity.


The G1X has a 4X optical zoom f/2.8 lens that couples to the optical viewfinder, captures RAW images at 4.5 frames per second, offers full manual control, features a swiveling 3″ LCD screen and records 1080p HD video with stereo sound.

The G1 X will be available in February for $795. For more detailed information, visit Canon G1 X.



For quite a few months Nikon has been dropping rumors of their Nikon D4. I finally had a chance to try it out. Priced at $6000, it’s for those photographers that require its robust set of high end features and a full-frame sensor.


The D4 has an integrated “battery grip”, ISO sensitivity to 12,800, captures 10-11 frames per second for up to 20 seconds, uses a new 51-point continuous autofocus mechanism and records 1080p HD video with stereo sound.

I’m told that this new model will be available sometime in first quarter 2012. For more detailed information, visit Nikon D4.



On the other side of the aisle (figuratively speaking), I took a look at the Canon 1D X. This 18MP full-frame camera with ISO up to 51,200 can pump out 12 frames per second.


The 1D X has a new 61 point autofocus system and extensive HD video controls for professional recording. Like the Nikon D4, it has an integrated “battery pack” which make it quite a bundle to hold.

The 1D X will be available in April for a wopping $6800. For more detailed information, visit Canon 1D X.



I stopped at Fuji to look at the X-Pro 1. While they’ve already delivered two other high end compacts (X10 and X100), this is the first with interchangeable lenses.

The features of the X-Pro 1 that I like are its compact, lightweight body, 16MP APS-C size sensor dual optical/electronic viewfinder. The body style is retro rangefinder, similar to a sleek Leica M-series with easy to operate shutter speed dial and aperture settings on the lenses. The sensor has ISO settings to 25,600.

As I used the X-Pro 1, I thought it was larger and heavier than the other ILCs from other companies. I was surprised to learn that it lacks image stabilization, neither in the camera body nor the lenses.

Fuji will be delivering three high speed lenses for the X-Pro 1: 18mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4 and 60mm f2.4. However, with only these three lenses available, many photographers may feel this to be too limiting to choose the X-Pro 1 for some of their sessions.

The Fuji representative told me that the X-Pro 1 will be available late first quarter 2012, price $1700 for the body. For more detailed information, visit Fuji X-Pro 1.


The NEX-7 is the company’s newest interchangeable lens camera (ILC). Since it does not have a mirror like a DSLR, the NEX-7 is very compact.

As a side note, based on my overwhelming positive experience with the Sony Alpha A55 over the past year, I preordered the company’s NEX-7 last October. Unfortunately, its release was delayed. At the show, a Sony representative told me that shipments have started so I hope to take delivery of one soon.


Although the NEX-7 has a much smaller footprint than the Alpha A55, it packs most of the same innovative features that attracted me to the A55: real-time electronic viewfinder; large swiveling LCD; automatic in-camera HDR; automatic sweep panorama (in-camera stitching) in both 2D and 3D; rapid capture at 10 frame per second; 6-rapid-shot low-noise mode; 1080p HD video with full-time autofocus.


While the NEX-7 has a large LCD as seen here, most of the time I prefer to use the viewfinder. In addition to the newer E-mount lenses, an accessory that looks promising is the LA-EA2 lens adapter for attaching any of their standard A-mount lenses. This adapter has the same translucent mirror in the Alpha A55 and provides full-time, high-performance phase-detection autofocus (translation: fast and accurate).

The NEX-7 is available in limited quantities now with a 18-55mm E-lens for $1395. For more detailed information, visit Sony NEX-7.


Do you want to read more about CES? Go to Part 2 in which I describe a few of the non-photographic products that I found interesting.

 

Written by Arnie Lee

 


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1 Comment »

  1. I don’t know much about the Nex-3 but the Nex-7 is already on order. It has many more features that I’d like compared to the Pen series.

    Comment by admin — February 9, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

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