Now that CES 2014 is over, it’s time to take a look back at all the things that have been announced during the show. During our time in Vegas, we had the opportunity to take a closer look at some of the announcements: the Nikon D4S, the Panasonic/Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f1.2 lens, the new Nikon D3300 … and more. Here’s our recap of all the hot stuff presented at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.
It all began last Monday, when Fujifilm took the lead with the announcement of its long-awaited 56mm f1.2 portrait lens for the X-system of interchangeable-lens cameras. At the same time, the company also announced a black version of the X100S, the second iteration of its fixed-lens large-sensor compact. And finally, a couple of point-and-shoots were announced: the 50x superzoom models S1, S9400W and S9200, the 36x superzoom S8600 and the water- and shock-proof XP70.
One announcement from Fujifilm came as a bit of a surprise, though: the Instax Share Printer. It’s a portable printer that runs on Fuji’s own Instax film, and it can be used to print pictures directly from your smartphone, while fitting in your jacket pocket. We had the chance to take a quick first look at it.
Canon was also quite busy at CES, announcing a slew of new point-and-shoots as well as a couple of new camcorders. In all honesty though, we can’t really make a lot of sense from these announcements. Point-and-shoots hardly sell anymore these days, unless they’re highly specialized models or have a pro appeal. And camcorders … well, almost any digital camera these days shoots Full-HD video. Unless of course they’re 4K camcorders, which these from Canon aren’t. But maybe we just don’t see the great master plan that Canon’s marketing strategists have worked out.
Some more practical items camer from Lexar this year. Besides a new series of CFast 2.0 memory cards that promise transfer rates of 500 MB/s–albeit only in the very few devices that support the new standard so far–, the company also introduced new 800x and 1066x CF cards with transfer rates up to 160 MB/s, which should work in most current cameras that come with a CF card slot. Lexar also announced new flash drives with capacities up to 256 GB.
Polaroid being no more, the brand name is now being put on various products in numerous categories, not all of which are related to either polarized glasses or instant picture photography. One of the items closer to the companys original product portfolio is the Socialmatic, a boxy camera that looks like the Instagram logo, runs on Android and comes with a built-in printer. Anyone else reminded of Frankenstein?
Another Polaroid-branded product being presented at this year’s CES were these tiny cube-shaped action cameras that don’t sport any form of display, but can be magnetically attached to all sorts of things, as well as each other. Only drawback: they record HD video only.
Speaking of companies that have made brand-licensing agreements, there was also some new Kodak stuff to see at CES. It’s made by JK Imaging, and we concluded that the company–which according to reports has only been founded last year–isn’t quite there yet when it comes to inventing new products. Because frankly, all they did was to copy some old ideas and put a Kodak label on it. And also: point-and-shoots. Need we say more?
But there were even more point-and-shoot cameras announced at CES! Samsung also had a couple of new models, but at least this time they took a step into a different direction and created something unique: the WB2200F, which sports dual grips just like professional DSLRs and comes with a whopping 60x zoom lens. On the downside, it has the same tiny sensor that you’ll find in most p&s cameras, so don’t expect greatness in terms of image quality.
Slightly more interesting products came from Sony this year. Besides the A5000 E-mount camera, which seems to be a successor to both the NEX-3 and NEX-5 lines (see our first impressions here), the company announced a small and affordable 4K camcorder, the FDR-AX100. It comes with a Zeiss-branded 12x zoom lens, records video at a 3840 x 2160 resolution, and will be available for just under $2k in March 2014.
Sadly, even the otherwise highly innovative Sony had to throw a couple of uninspiring new point-and-shoots onto the market.
As was to be expected, Nikon presented a refresh of its entry-level series of DSLRs, the D3300 (our first impressions here.) Not much changes over its predecessor, but the 18-55mm kit lens has been overhauled as well and now comes with a retractable barrel design inspired by the 1-series lenses, which should make the overall package a tad more compact. The company also introduced the new 35mm f1.8 G lens for the FX format, which provides an affordable alternative to Nikons 35mm f1.4 G. And once again, more point-and-shoots.
And then there was the Nikon D4S. Well, to be honest, it wasn’t really there. It was announced, but without any specifications, release date or price. And when it finally made it to Nikon’s booth at CES, it was put behind glass. Probably to protect it from the saliva of all the Nikon fanboys …
Sigma presented not only an updated 18-200mm lens that now comes with a ‘C’ badge indicating that it belongs into Sigma’s new ‘Contemporary’ line of lenses, but also its brand-new and suped-up 50mm f1.4 ‘Art’ lens, which is a completely new and modernized design compared to the company’s previous 50mm f1.4 lens. We took a first look at it, and we were amazed–as we were with all of Sigma’s recent products.
Another lens that got us all giggly and excited came from Panasonic, namely the Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f1.2. This is the first über-fast autofocus lens for the Micro Four Thirds system, and to make it even more lustworthy, it comes with a Leica badge. Again, we had the opportunity to take a first closer look at it, and we were pretty smitten with the amount of sharpness and creamy bokeh it seems to provide when shooting it wide open. This might just be the one lens that’ll make Micro Four Thirds a serious option for wedding and portrait photographers.
For the less serious photographers, or those who just don’t want to carry a huge camera with them all times, there were also a couple of announcements of clever accessories for the iPhone 5. The ladibird case sports a 50mm f1.8 equivalent lens and a “large” sensor (of unspecified size) and will turn the iPhone 5 into a serious device for portraiture and low light photography. The FLIR ONE case is a bit more specialized, as it’ll convert an iPhone into an infrared camera. Both sound like a lot of fun.
On the accessory front, news came in from Tiffen, who announced a new series of 10-stop neutral density filters that promise to be color neutral.
The most unexpected discover we made at CES was this Leica X10 camera. What? Did Leica just take the Fujifilm X10 and put their own label on it? No, not quite. It’s a DIY job that’s supposed to make fun of that whole retro thing currently going on. But we have to admit, we almost fell for it.
And finally, here’s a wall of colorful Ricoh and Pentax camera models to bring some color into your cold and grey winter days. We hope you enjoyed this year’s CES as much as we did!
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