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All Things Techie

The Consumer Electronics Show has been the face of the electronics industry for almost 50 years. Except for one year, I’ve attended the show continuously since 1980 first as an exhibitor for many years, next as an industry member and lately as part of the press.

CES is held each year in early January in Las Vegas. This makes traveling to CES a respite from the cold and snowy winter weather of my home base in Michigan. I walked many miles through the aisles and took in the breath of new gadgets that may make their way to our homes and businesses in the next months.

Along with 170,000 attendees, I was privy to see some 3,800 exhibitors that occupied 2.5 million square feet of floor space showing their products.

Here are a couple that caught my attention.


DXO One – iOS Camera

One of my first stops was at the DXO Labs booth where their rep Elodie Petiot demonstrated a small, standalone camera that melds seamlessly with the iPhone and iPad.

The DXO One has a high resolution 20MP sensor with a fast f/1.8 32mm equivalent lens and attaches directly to the iOS device through a Lighting connector thereby eliminating the need for a wifi connection. An iOS app provides control over all of the cameras’s features – focus, exposure, shutter speed, aperture setting, ISO setting, more. Captured images are immediately transferred to the iPhone for editing or sharing online.

The suggested price for the DXO One is $475. For more information please visit DXO.


Sony Alpha 7R II Mirrorless

I’ve been using Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras for the past four years, but Sony’s new full-frame a7r II has been on my radar scope since it became available late last year. With a whopping 42-megapixel sensor it should fits into my fondness for landscape photography. Its BSI (back sided illuminated) sensor enables Sony to pack more light gathering power onboard, thereby boosting sensitivity to 102,400. Autofocus speed is said to be 40% faster than the earlier a7R model. Other improvements include five-axis image stabilization and shutter dampening for less camera vibration.

What’s holding me back from purchasing this camera? I’d also have to shell out a big investment for a set of full-frame lenses.

The suggested price of the a7R II is $3200. For more information, please visit Sony.




 
 

Stay tuned for a look at a couple of 3D printers that caught my eye at CES 2016.

Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 
 

The Consumer Electronics Show – Accessories for Photographers

 

I’ve been attending the Consumer Electronics Show for more than 30 years. This huge expo is the premier showcase for new and innovative products that are slated for homes and businesses this year.

 

While walking the several miles of aisles at the Las Vegas Convention Center, a couple of areas especially caught my attention: 3D printers and drones. You can read my show reports here: 3D Printing Technology and Drones.

 

But as someone who also has a keen interest in photography, here are a few of the photo accessories that stood out at the show.


Hisy and Halo Remotes

 

Here’s are two tiny little accessories for those of you who are fans of “selfies”.

 

Basically the Hisy and Halo are bluetooth shutter release for you smartphone. The Hisy is for iOS devices and the Halo is for Android devices.

To the right is the “selfie” of Jackie and myself that we took with her Android smartphone.

They also have the Wing – a selfie stick.

The suggested price of the Hisy and Halo is $24.99. The suggested price of the Wing is $29.95.

For more information, please visit HisyPix.

 



Nanuk Camera Cases

If you’re rough on your camera equipment, you may want to look at Nanuk’s cases. PlastiCase makes some very durable protective cases.

Below is one of their smaller cases. It’s made of a impact resistant plastic, has sure-lock latches, soft-grip handle and is waterproof. This 903 model easily accommodates one of my mirrorless cameras with an 18-200mm lens attached. I’ve removed the foam padding to show the spacing.

The Model 903 has a very affordable suggested price of $25.

 

PlastiCase makes about two dozen different cases in various sizes. For more info, please visit PlastiCase.

 



EnerPlex Solar

EnerPlex is a manufacturer of a variety of solar chargers.

If you’re shooting out in the field for any length of time and run out of juice, these solar chargers may prove invaluable. They are compact, foldable and ruggedized.

On the right, you can see solar chargers built into backpacks. EnerPlex has two backpack models: Packr Executive $130 and Packr Commuter $100.


Kickr IV+ on left produces 6 watts nx Kickr II in center produces 33 watts

Commander-XII produces 19 watts for laptops and tablets

For more info, please visit EnerPlex.

 



Thule Camera Bags

Thule is probably best known as the maker of the well-built and ergonomic car top carriers.

This Swedish company also has a stylish line of camera bags and backpacks.


I found their line of bags to be both attractive and practical.

Their new Legend GoPro Backpack was introduced at the show.

Designed and built for rugged outdoor use, you can mount two GoPro cameras directly to the backpack – one forward-facing the other backward-facing. The outermost compartment has die-cut foam insert for GoPro accessories. It’s lightweight and crushproof (EVA shell) and has several other padded compartments for safe transport of camera accessories, hydration reservoir and smartphone.

Thule tells me that the Legend GoPro Backpack will be available in May. Suggested price is $199.

For more info, please visit Thule.

 



Meikon Diving Equipment

For divers and shooters needing protection against water, Meikon had a large array of waterproof housings and accessories for many popular camera models.

On display were housings for Sony mirrorless, Nikon D7000, Canon 5D, Canon M, Canon T2i, T3i, T4i, T5i, Panasonic GF2, GF3, GF5 and GF6.

Meikon also has a nice selection lighting equipment and brackets.

For more info, please visit Meikon.

 



 
 

This concludes my reports from CES.

As usual, I’m excited when I return home from CES. Maybe a few of my finds will get added to my wish list for this year.
 
 
Written by: Arnie Lee
Updated 02/20/2015
 
 


 

CES 2015 – The Drones

24th January 2015

The Consumer Electronics Show – Drones

 

For more than 30 years, I’ve started the New Year with a trip to the Consumer Electronics Show. CES is the premier showcase for new and innovative techie products that are in line to hit the store shelves.

This year I notice the proliferation of 3D printers and picture-taking drones at the show.

Earlier, I wrote a short article about 3D Printing Technology that I saw at CES.

There’s plenty of controversy surrounding the use drones for commercial purposes, manufacturers from around the world are gearing up for battle as they try to outdo each other on features, price, and speed to market. This article presents several of the picture-taking drones that I saw at the show.


Robotix Ghost+

This is the Ghost+ quadcopter.

Its payload is a GoPro camera mounted on a controllable gimbal and has a GPS receiver, gyroscopic controller for smooth flight, retractable landing skids and can stay airborne for 18 minutes.

The WiFi module lets you stream the video remotely to a smartphone and/or tablet.

The suggested price of the Ghost+ is $1300.

For more information about the Ghost+, please visit Thunder Tiger Group.

 


DJI Inspire 1

This is DJI’s newest model – Inspire 1. It has a bult-in gimbal-mounted 4K video camera that can be remotely positioned, real-time feed to the controller and automatic takeoff and landing.


while in the air, the landing pods fold into the “up” position for obstruction-free video recording

Price is $3400 with dual remotes – one for flight control and the other for camera control.

For more info, please visit DJI.

 


Proto-X FPV

The FPV quadcopter is equipped with a 1280 x 720p video camera.

Notice that the controller has a built-in video screen that displays the captured video in real time. It is gyro stabilized for steady movie.

The suggested price is $350.

For more info, please contact Hobbico 


Zano – the nano drone

Zano calls itself a “sophisticated nano drone”. It’s so small that it fits in the palm of your hand.

Your smartphone or tablet is the controller. Simply tilt your phone left, right, forward or backward and the Zano follows. Other onscreen icons control the altitude, rotation, capture, etc.

This is a prototype model and Zano tells me that production begins in July 2015. Price in UK Pounds £170.

For more information, please visit Zano.


 

As a former participant in the flight simulation industry, I’m in awe of the drone “landscape”.

As I watch these new models flying at CES, I am amazed at how quickly the technology surrounding drones has progressed. In addition to highly competitive prices, these devices are much easier to fly – many with auto takeoff and auto landing capability – and features such as gimbals, streaming and navigation are truly impressive.

Written by: Arnie Lee


 

CES 2015 – 3D Printers

22nd January 2015

The Consumer Electronics Show – 3D Tech

As I mentioned previously, I started this New Year flying from the cold and snowy Midwest to a warm and sunny Las Vegas to attend the CES 2015 industry event as I have been doing for thirty-something years.

I’ve participated at CES on both sides of the aisle. For many years we exhibited our computer software products. For the past several years, I’ve been attending as an industry member. Now I have the opportunity to find out what new gadgets are coming down the tech turnpike.

All things 3D have been progressing at an amazing clip for the past three or four years. An entire section of South Hall was devoted to the 3D technology.

Here’s a few of the neat items that I found at this year’s expo.


Artec Eva 3D Scanner


The 3D scanner is mounted next to a rotating disk on which the subject is standing. The lights fully illuminate the subject.

A couple of minutes later, the completed 3D scan of the subject is displayed on the monitor for everyone to admire. The result is a full body digitized model.

As I was asking the Artec representative questions about how the scanner works, he picks up the scanner and proceeds to give me a “face-on” demonstration. As I stand in place, he walks completely around me, all the time pointing the hand-held device at my head.

About 90 seconds later, my face pops up on the monitor.

This scanner is a high-end model with a high end price – $19,800 to be exact. For more information, please visit The Artec Group.


Innovative Printers from 3D Systems

3D Systems “invented” 3D printing in 1989. Their large booth had several remarkable and innovative products.

 


perhaps “on demand” shoes are in the near future

a full size handbag, 3D produced

Modeling a lengthy 3D garment

One of the 3D chefs

deserts “baked” with 3D printer

making music – guitar and drums made with 3D printer

To find out more about their many different 3D printing devices, please visit 3D Systems.

 


Several New and Lower Priced 3D Printers


MakerBot Replcator Mini – a smaller version of their well-known Replicator printer. This unit sell for $1375.

This model was produced with the Makerbot.

For more info, please contact MakerBot



This is the Robo 3D. Maximum object size is 10″x9″x8″. Sells for $799.

Dave holding a model produced with the Robo. For more info, please visit Robo 3D.


New Matter Mod-t is scheduled for Q3 release with suggested price of $400. For more info, please visit New Matter.

For those who believe that 3D printers are for plastic products, here I spotted a few “wooden” 3D objects.

 
 

Yes, 3D printing technology is advancing rapidly and I look forward to faster, better and less expensive products in the near future.

Stay tuned for a few more reports on other gadgets that I found of interest at this year’s CES. They are coming soon.
 
 
Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 

CES 2015

19th January 2015

The Consumer Electronics Show

If you don’t count the time that my father took me to the CES in New York City during the 60’s, I’ve been consistently attending the annual Consumer Electronics Show each January. Other than the one or two shows that I’ve missed since 1982, I’ve been able to leave the cold and snow of Michigan to spend a few days in the warmth and sun of southern Nevada.

For most of these past 33 years I attended CES as an exhibitor. As a publisher in the computer industry, we used CES to promote and market our lines of software and books. Awhile back however, we sold our interests in computer publishing to follow other opportunities.

So for the last several years, I’ve attended CES as an industry member. I still have a deep interest in the myriad of new electronic gadgets. I want to stay current with the neat, innovative devices that are making their initial appearances.

The recession of 2007-2009 had a profound effect when attendance plummeted. Slowly, the electronics industry has recovered. Last year’s show 2014 was a record-breaking one with 160,000 visitors.

This year’s attendees (to the right) were just as anxious to visit the 3,600 exhibitors who occupied 2.2 million square feet of space.

CES reports that 2015 was another record-breaker with more than 170,000 attendees including 45,000 foreign visitors.

Many exhibitors spared little to promote their brand.


Cisco promoting “video” in the cloud

advertising satellite dish service DirectTV

a slew of curved screen televisions

curved screen, amazing surround video quality

prototype fuel cell powered engine

these robotic window cleaners “climb” the glass

attendee giving directions to a housecleaning robot

here you can clearly see curvature of the screen

 
 
In the next few days, I’ll be preparing several detailed articles covering some of the interesting products that exhibitors showed me during my visit to Consumer Electronics Show 2015.
 
 
Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 

The Backorder Has Arrived

This past October, I was in NYC to cover PhotoExpo 2013. It’s a large trade show for the photographic industry where new equipment, accessories, services and the like are on display.

One of the nicest things about trade shows is that you can have some hands-on time using the new hardware and ask in- depth questions that the reps are able to field.


I was interested in a few new pieces of equipment including Nikon’s newly announced AW1. It’s based on the one year-old Nikon 1 series. These are compact, mirrorless models that have interchangeable lenses. They are small and lightweight but deliver high quality images.

But the kicker here is that the AW1 is also waterproof to 49 feet, temperature resistant to 14F degrees and shockproof to about 6 feet. I was attracted to this camera because of its ruggedness.


I spent about 30 minutes of touchie-feelie time with the AW1 at the Nikon booth. I also peppered Brian – the Nikon rep – with dozens of questions about the camera.

In the end, I came away satisfied that this new piece of equipment needed to become part of my arsenal.

When I returned home from New York, I placed an order for the AW1 with two waterproof lenses. Although the AW1 has been available for sale for about six weeks, the two lens kit was just made available.


However, due to the usual holiday confusion, I have yet to open the carton. In the next few days, I hope to try it out. Since it’s 10 degrees outdoors here in Grand Rapids, I think the underwater testing will have to wait unless I decide to try it out in the bathtub.

But with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) right around the corner (next week), I just might take it with me to Las Vegas and jump into one of the pools. I’ll fill you in when I have more to report.

 

 

Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

 

 

A Walk around CES – Part 2

14th February 2012

More “goodies” at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show

(more…)

This article is a followup to Part 1 in which I describe a few of the photographic items that attracted my attention as I was scouring the venues of the Consumer Electronics Show. In this Part 2 article, I’ll show you some of the other items that I found interesting at this year’s record breaking CES.

I’m a geek at heart. And since I like touching, feeling and learning about devices and gadgets that perform some kind of magic, the miles of aisles taking up some 1.8 million square feet of exhibit space -are a playground for me. Apparently there are a few others that feel the same way; attendance at the show was north of 150,000.

It’s time for CES again

04th January 2012

What’s in store for 2012?

The Consumer Electronics Show kicks off again in less than a week.

 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the CES, it’s a huge technology trade show at which the electronic and associated manufacturers showcase their new products. In recent years, CES has attracted more than 120,000 attendees to the Las Vegas Convention Center and surrounding venues.

 
There are literally miles of aisles lined with home theaters, thundering auto audio systems, pulsating illuminated LED signs, massive large-screen televisions, deafening stereo systems and wacky computer game displays. It’s a crowded, noisy affair.

Despite the negatives, CES has been a “must” show for me. In fact, I find it an exciting place to be. So much so that I’ve been to attending this annual event (for a while it was held twice a year) for more than 30 years to learn and write about the new products that are applicable to our businesses. For the first time, the Photographic Marketing Association trade show is being folded into this year’s CES. I suppose this tells us that photographic equipment is now considered part of the consumer electronics realm. Merging of these trade shows into one makes it even more convenient for me to learn about new photo equipment as well.

On the photography side, I expect these will be the trend this year:

  • There will be more offerings of high end interchangeable lens cameras (ILC). This relatively new breed are imirrorless and use real-time electronic viewfinders and are significantly smaller than DSLRs. The Nikon V1 and Sony NEX5 are current examples that have compelling and innovative features
  • It looks like we’ll see big improvements in the video capability of both DLSRs and ILCs. The norm will be 1080p HD video, full-time autofocus amd complete manual control of exposure. These devices are reinventing the way in which video is recorded.
  • Watch for even better images from cellphones. Some models already have large 8MP sensors with builtin flash. There is a striking difference in quality from last year’s models.
  • Slowing sales of compact cameras hasn’t deterred manufacturers from improving image quality. In particular, the trend is towards better low-light performance by using more responsive image sensors and wider aperture lenses. This will most likely continue but at a higher price.
  • Again with compacts the major brands are also competing aggressively on a feature basis. For example the Samsung SH100 has builtin wireless transfer and several company’s have cameras with builtin GPS. I expect that features such as these will become very popular.
  • Last fall in China, I met with several manufacturers who were pushing easy to use, all-weather still and video cameras. This may become a popular category as the younger generation continues the YouTube tradition of recording and producing movies of their varied outdoor activities.

On the technology side I will be looking at these items:

  • I just read that Microsoft will be showing their upcoming Microsoft Flight at the show This is of special interest to me as one of our other businesses sell software for their older Flight Simulator.
  • There are likely to be a slew of new and improved tablet from a variety of manufacturers. Since the launch of the iPad, these devices have made a dramatic shift in mobile computing behavior. With the recent addition of reading devices such as Amazon’s Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet, the market is heating up quickly.
  • Cellphones have made the most impact on consumer behavior in the last few years and I’ll be interested in seeing the new features that are upcoming.
  • For several years, robotic devices have been randomly appearing at CES. For the most part, this promising technology has been confined to a few areas such as floor cleaning devices and children’s toys. I’m hoping to see new and innovative consumer-level robots at the show.

I’ll report back to you about the show soon.

Yes, I’m looking forward to another CES. By the way, I’m also looking forward to a few days away from the cold and snowy weather here in Michigan.

 

 
Written by Arnie Lee


Neat Stuff at the CES

13th January 2011

The 2011 Consumer Electronics Show

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You might think that after more than twenty-five years of attending the Consumer Electronics Show, I’d grow weary of the annual (CES used to take place twice a year) trek.

Showhow, there’s always lots of excitement in getting your hands on some of the new gadgets that will soon be making their way to the market.