Thursday, January 19, 2012

Digital cameras to watch for in 2012: A recap of CES announcements

Even after swallowing up the photo industry’s PMA tradeshow, this year’s CES didn’t see as much digital camera action as last year’s show, with most big vendors trotting out fewer cameras this year than last (with the exception of Fujifilm’s 19 announcements, up from 16 last year). Panasonic dropped to just five new cameras this year, while Sony (last year’s second runner up for most cameras with 11), brought out only three. But while the usual point-and-shoot extravaganza was quieter this year, the hottest cameras at the show turned out to be geared toward higher-end shooters such as the Nikon D4 professional dSLR; the Canon PowerShot G1 X, a new big-sensor compact shooter; and the Fujifilm X-Pro1, the company’s new interchangeable lens compact (ILC) camera and worst kept secret. Look for more new cameras to be announced next month at Japan’s CP+ show, which debuted in 2010. Until then, though, here’s a recap of digital camera announcements from CES:

Rather than announcing its budget cameras as usual, Canon blew out the stops by announcing its latest and greatest G series high-end compact, the PowerShot G1 X.

Casio didn’t have anything as exciting as last year’s Tryx up its sleeve, trotting out four entry-level Exilim models along with its top-of-the-line Exilim EX-ZR15.

Fujifilm was the star of the show, coming out with its first ILC, the Fujifilm X-Pro1, as well as a whopping 19 point-and-shoot cameras.

These licensed GE cameras from General Imaging aren’t the most exciting, but they do offer some advanced features at low prices.

Poor, beleaguered Kodak expanded its EasyShare line with the WiFi-enabled EasyShare M750 as well as a 26x megazoom, a waterproof snapshooter, and two budget models.

One of the biggest announcements of the show, the long-rumored Nikon D4 professional dSLR is poised to take on the Canon EOS-1D X announced last fall.

Speaking of beleaguered companies, Olympus tried to make some scandal-free headlines for a change. With its latest ILC line already on the market, Olympus focused on a couple of compact megazoom this CES, as well as the latest addition to its rugged Tough series.

Though Panasonic did announce some conversion lenses for its ILC cameras, its actual camera announcements at CES were mostly mid-range offerings, including a pair of 10x compact zooms and a pair of ultracompact point-and-shooters.

Though not quite as buzz-worthy as having Lady Gaga as a booth babe, Polaroid did create a bit of a stir this year with the first Android-based digital camera. The question is, who needs a “smart camera” if they already have a smart phone?

  • Samsung
    Samsung kicked off the pre-CES camera announcements with its WiFi-enabled DualView DV300F, and then followed up with three more WiFi cameras with long zooms, including a feature-packed 21x compact megazoom.

    Compared to its 11-camera blow out last year, Sony practically took a pass this CES, announcing three measly budget shooters.

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