Today wraps up the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) for 2011. In all, the days-long event in Las Vegas had plenty to offer in terms of high-tech toys for pretty much every single niche of the market. In terms of the cameras, there was a lot to look at for anyone lucky enough top attend, but some products stand out for both the right and wrong reasons.
Fist up, the winner: the Olympus XZ-1. Basically, if it can deliver the goods on image quality, this will be the best pocket camera on Earth, period. While most pocket P&S models are fully automated and require time-consuming (and thus photo missing) menu diving when wanting to do just about anything other than snap the picture, the new Olympus can go from full automation to full manual control and allows the most vital settings to be changed via external dials, thus eliminating the need to go into the menus. Oh, yes, the camera also sports a world’s fastest f1.8-2.5 lens, an accessory hot shoe, and the ability to remotely control external flash units. All in all, if the IQ is good, this is the travel camera for people who take their photography seriously.
Next, the loser, megapixels. After 2010, it seemed as though the megapixel race had pretty much stagnated in P&S camera world, with Canon and Nikon even rolling back the pixel counts on some of their cameras in the hope of boosting high ISO performance, which is what is all the rage today. After CES 2011, it appears that some manufacturers are wanting to resume the race, full speed ahead! Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Fuji, and Casio are now at 16Mp on some of their cameras, which is more than most dSLRs tat have sensors several times the size of those employed in the P&S models. Hopefully, the sensor technology has evolved by leaps and bounds because the laws of physics aren’t changing anytime soon! Oh, yes, the Olympus XZ-1 comes in at a modest 10Mp, following the trend started by Canon and Nikon, which have downed the Mp counts on their serious pocket cams of late.
Finally, the eye-catching. Lady Gaga, both one of the most in-the-spotlight and controversial celebrities, teamed up with camera make Polaroid last year as a creative director. Result: among other things, camera glasses. While they definitely won’t get serious shooters away from their dSLRs anytime soon, the convenience is truly unbeatable, better than both pocket cams and camera phones.
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