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2011 Digital Cameras so far: CES Roundup

17 Jan Posted by Matt in News, Reviews |
2011 Digital Cameras so far: CES Roundup

Whilst CES (the Consumer Electronics Show)  isn’t usually a massive event for the digital camera world, this year there have been some notable announcements from several manufacturers.  With so many new products being announced over the last couple of weeks, we’ve picked through them to round up what each manufacturer has come out with.

Polaroid

First up, even though we had an feeling something was about to come from Polaroid, we weren’t expecting to see a set of Camera Glasses being modelled by Lady Gaga.  We’ve already covered the launch of the three products the company unveiled in more detail, but to summarise:

  • Lady Gaga Camera GlassesPolaroid GL30 – The GL30 is a digital re-make of the classic Polaroid instant camera.  It functions like an old Polaroid in so much as you take photos and collect them out of the bottom, but you use a pop-up LCD screen to compose your shot and before it prints your photo out you can apply filters and effects.
  • Polaroid GL10 – The GL10 is basically just the printer part of the GL30 instant camera above, aimed at those who want a neat way to print photos on the go but who already have a smartphone (although not an iPhone) or digital camera that they use to take photos.  You send the photos to it by Bluetooth, and the prints you get are of a dainty 3×4″ variety.  It goes on sale in the US this may for $150.
  • Polaroid GL20 – The bonkers element of the Lady Gaga presentation really kicked in for this; a set of Camera Glasses with built-in, outward facing, LCD screens.  To be honest they look like they’ll be more suited to one of Lady Gaga’s video than on the streets of LA, but each to their own.

Canon

Canon must be feeling the pressure from smartphones finally starting to catch up with the lower end of its’ digital camera range.   Three new PowerShot A-series models (the entry-level series of the PowerShot range) have come in aggressively priced, and with specs that Canon hope will tempt people away from sticking with their phone’s camera.  We like Canon compacts a lot, so these new PowerShots are good news!

Canon PowerShot A1200

  • Canon PowerShot A1200 – The so called ‘camera for seniors’, the A1200 is very refreshing.  Old school camera styling meets modern performance with a proper viewfinder, big controls and use of AA batteries sitting alongside a 12Mp sensor, 720p video and Canons’ excellent Smart Auto mode.
  • Canon PowerShot A800 – The A800 is marketed as the ‘perfect first camera’, and is very much designed to keep things simple.  A 10Mp sensor, a basic 3x zoom lens, and Smart Auto mode should make for photos better than your phone.  The A800 will cost just $90 when it launches in the US, the first sub-$100 camera for Canon.
  • Canon PowerShot A3200 IS/A3300 IS – Essentially the same camera, theA3300′s looks slightly better on paper for the small increase in megapixels (16 over 14.1) and larger rear LCD screen (7.5cm over 6.7cm). Both have a selection of creative filters to try and tempt you away from your phone.  The A3300 IS is now technically the range topping model in the A-series.
  • Canon PowerShot A2200 – Sitting just above the A1200, the A2200 has a similar spec but a slightly more conventional digital camera design.  It’s sleeker and does away with the optical viewfinder, but aside from that the specs are very similar. The A1200 get a Li-ion Battery over AA’s (which may or may not be desirable), and a 14Mp sensor over 12Mp.

As expected, no new Canon SLRs have surfaced yet this year.  We expect one or more to be announced soon though, probably a 1100D or 2000D at the base of the range and a 600D at the top.  Our eyes are on the CP+ show in Japan in a few weeks time.

Samsung

Samsung SH100For what Samsung lack in camera heritage, at the moment they make up for in innovation. Recently the SH100 impressed us with it’s clever Wi-Fi and smartphone integration, and we’ve looked at the clever front-facing LCD screen on the Samsung PL150 before.  CES saw three new Samsung models with front facing LCD screens, and a couple of traditional models.

  • Samsung DualView ST700 – The ST700 is the flagship model of those which feature a front-facing LCD screen. The 1.8” front LCD screen is the largest of the range, whilst on the rear there’s a large 3.0” touchscreen. A 16.1Mp image sensor and 5x optical zoom lens make this a worthy contender for the self-portrait fan who wants quality too.  The ST700 will sell for £249.99/$279.99.
  • Samsung PL170 – The PL170 has a slightly smaller 1.5″ front LCD screen compared to the ST700 and has slightly fewer extra modes, but is otherwise similar.  You get the same 16Mp sensor and a 3.0″ rear touchscreen as the ST700, albeit with a different interface. The PL170 will launch with a price of £179.99/$199.99.
  • Samsung PL120 – The entry-level model with a front-facing LCD, the PL120 has the same 1.5″ front LCD screen as the PL170, but a smaller 2.7″ touchscreen on the rear.  A couple more advanced modes are lost and resolution is down slightly too, although 14Mp is still plenty.  The PL120 will retail at £149.99/$149.99.
  • Samsung WB210 – The WB210 may be a traditional offering with just one screen, but that one screen is a big 3.5″ touchscreen.  With a 12x optical zoom squeezed into a very slim body it’s nice and portable too.  It’s a 14Mp camera and will sell for $279.99 when
  • Samsung PL210 - The PL210 is a fairly middle of the road digital compact, though the 10x zoom lens is generous (and starts at a nice wide angle).  A 3″ rear screen and 14Mp sensor make this a promising ‘normal’ camera, but when it hits the shelves for $199 in the US it won’t be the cheapest in its class.

Olympus

The Olympus range has been a bit split of late, on the one hand they have the excellent PEN line of compact system cameras (one of which won our Best Compact System Camera for Beginners group test), but then their compact cameras of late have been fairly underwhelming.  At CES this year Olympus unveiled the XZ-1, a high-end compact camera that is clearly aimed at taking some market share away from the excellent Canon PowerShot S95.

  • Olympus XZ-1

    Olympus XZ-1

    Olympus XZ-1 – Own a digital SLR but want a more portable camera?  The XZ-1 could be just what you’re after.  It’s a compact camera in size (though bigger than the Canon S95 it’s still small enough) but with physical dials and features that closer resemble a typical SLR.  In a way it’s similar to the PEN line, although obviously this camera has a fixed lens.  It’s a belter of a lens for a compact though; it might only have a 4x zoom but the wide f1.8 aperture will really help you when the lighting is dim.

    A proper flash hotshoe, bright OLED display, large 10Mp CCD image sensor and innovative controls make the Olympus XZ-1 a very capable pro-level compact.  We don’t have an exact release date, but you can pre-order the XZ-1 on Amazon now for £399.99/$499.99.

  • Olympus E-PL2 – The E-PL2 is an evolution of the popular E-PL1 compact system camera. We liked the E-PL1 so much that it won our compact system group test last year, and whilst a slighter larger LCD screen, a few more fun filters, a boost in ISO up to ISO6400 and a bit of cosmetic re-design might not sound a lot, the improvements are all welcomed.  We don’t have UK pricing info yet, but when it launches in the US the E-PL2 will retail at $499.99.

Fuji

Fujifilm went a little bit nuts at CES this year, releasing 16 new models. Yes, 16, which is a good chunk of their entire range.  As well as the lovely looking Fuji X100 being on show, we saw the FinePix AV200, AX300, JV200, JX300, JX350, Z90, T200, T300, XP20, XP30, S2950, S3200, S4000, F500EXR, F550EXR and HS20EXR all launched. Phew.  Rather than go through all of these models, we’re going to concentrate on the HS20 EXR, which replaces the excellent and extremely popular HS10.

  • Fuji FinePix HS10

    Fuji FinePix HS10

    Fujifilm HS20 EXR – The HS20 is the replacement for the HS10, a high-end bridge camera that offered many of the benefits of a digital SLR (sans interchangeable lenses) without the high price.  The HS20 has a new 16Mp image sensor, a massive 30x optical zoom lens and a 3″ tilting LCD screen.  The rest of the specs are impressive too – the HS20 will shoot at 7.6 frames per second, capture 1080p movies and record your images as RAW files if you wish.  It also has a nifty 320fps movies mode for shooting super-slow-motion footage, which is a nice bonus.  The HS20 will ship in March, and will retail at $499.95 in the US.

Sony

Like Fuji, Sony went all out at CES and refreshed practically every camera in their range.  Sony unveiled 11 new Cyber-shot models in total, with the only notable absence being a replacement for the HX1, the so-called ‘megazoom’ camera introduced in 2009.  New models include a range-topping DSC-TX100V, as well as the usually unhelpfully named DSC-TX10, DSC-T110, DSC-HX7V, DSC-H70, DSC-WX10, DSC-WX9, DSC-W570, DSC-W560, DSC-W530 and DSC-W510.  That’s a lot of cameras.  Nearly all the Sony range now use a 16Mp image sensor, though interestingly some use a CCD whilst others use a CMOS, not that there’s much to choose between the two technologies now.  We won’t go through every model, but here are our picks…

  • Sony DSC-TX100VSony Cyber-shot DSC-TX100V – Another Sony and another silly model number, the DSC-TX100V may have the least memorable name imaginable but it does promise a lot in a small package.  The 3.5″ OLED touchscreen is practically the size of whole rear of the camera, and 3D capabilities are novel if not particularly useful. 1080p HD movies are correct and present too, as is GPS for geo-tagging, whilst the 16Mp sensor is backlit for improved low-light performance.The TX100V may only have a 4x optical zoom, but that’s better than nothing and allows for the slimline body.  We expect the TX100V to be available from March, with a price in the US of $380.
  • Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T110 - Designed to be a budget-friendly touchscreen camera, the T110 is a 16Mp camera with a 4x zoom, 720p HD movies, and 3″ LCD screen.  You also get an Intelligent Auto mode and some clever trickery to make low-light photos come out better, which is could to see in a mid-range model.  The T110 will be available soon at a price of £229/$230.

 

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