The best cameras at CES

Wi-Fi, zoom lenses on compact cameras, and powerful full-frame DSLRs with impressive specs and big price tags were all on the menu for photography fans at CES 2012. Fuji announced the X-Pro1 – its new 16-megapixel camera with APS-C X-Trans sensor. This is a mirrorless camera, but Fujifilm claims its sensor can rival that of some of the full-frame DSLRs. It’s a retro-looking camera – rather like its older brothers the X100and the X10.

Fujifilm

Three new XF Fujinon lenses were also unveiled at CES, to go with the new X Mount on the X-Pro1. This new mount is really thin, which should reduce shutter lag, and the lenses have some outstanding apertures: The lenses include an f/2.0 pancake, a 90mm f/2.4 macro lens and a 53mm f/1.4mm lens.

The X-Pro1 is expected to appear in March and the price has yet to be announced.

The Nikon N4, meanwhile, has an intriguing wireless network feature. Connect the D4 to a network using either Wi-Fi or Ethernet and you can use your browser to operate the camera – take photos, change your settings, focus shoot video. You can also see a live feed, although of course how well this works depends on the quality of your connection. One of the most useful features is that you can take photos on your camera and view them on your computer immediately, without having to connect it via USB or place the card in a card reader.

The Nikon D4 is a professional DSLR featuring a 16.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, allowing the shooting of Full HD 1080p and 720p video. Pictures can be saved onto Compact Flash or the new XQD memory card format.

The D4 will be available in February and comes at the professional price of £4799.99

Canon-and-Nikon

Other cameras that focus heavily on connectivity are Samsung’s range, including the 21X-opticazoom WB850F, the 10X optical zoom ST200F and the 18X optical zoom WB150F, which all offer direct uploads and the ability to sync with Android smartphones for sharing and offloading pictures.

Kodak’s EasyShare M750 also allows for direct uploading to sharing sites and can be paired with BlackBerry, Android and iOS handsets.

Camcorders that also offer Wi-Fi include Canon’s Vixia range and Samsung’s QF20 HD camcorder.

Getting rave reviews at CES was the Canon Powershot G1 X, which is a compact camera but still has a 1.5in, 14.3 megapixel sensor  – that’s up there with many DSLRs. So it should give great picture quality (even in low light conditions) without you having to carry around a large camera. It also offers full manual control, 1080p video, and a 14-bit RAW mode

Available in February for around £700.

Lens giant Sigma also announced its new 180mm f/2.8 macro lens for digital SLRS, which features Sigma’s own Optical Stabilizer technology and a wide aperture to offer narrow depth of field and faster shutter speeds.

Sigma also debuted a new range of Micro Four thirds (for Panasonic and Olympus cameras) and E-Mount lenses (for Sony NEX-series cameras) for mirrorless interchangeable lens compact snappers at CES. There are two new lenses – the 30mm f/2.8 EX DN and the 19mm f/2.8 EX DN. Prices and availability to be announced.

Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 scanner review

ScanSnap-Fujitsu

Fujitsu have released a new scanner in the ScanSnap range, the S1300 color scanner. Having tried and tested the scanner, the first thing that strikes you is how small it is. Measuring only 284 x 99 x 77 mm and with a weight of 1.4 kg, it is extremely light and portable. This is now compatible with PCs and Macs.

Fujitsu are the market leaders in document imaging scanners and this evident by their innovation in creating the smallest cross-platform document and image color scanner. It is easy to set up and even easier to use. Within 20 minutes I was setup and most of that time was spent installing the software on the computer. Aesthetically, it looks very professional with a black and silver finish so it is suitable for home and office use. The S1300 has only one button to start the scan. When you open the cover the scanner automatically turns on and when shut it will turn itself off. What is unique about this scanner is its ability to be powered using a USB port on your computer, as well the mains making it portable and useful when on the go.

The time to scan a document is quick. A page took about 10 seconds to scan at 150dpi when attached to the mains although you can increase the resolution to 600dpi which will obviously increase the time of the scan. You can even scan both sides at once so when you want to do a duplex scan the times are halved, compared to a normal scanner. However, when using USB power the time to scan will increase. It can scan about 8 double sides per minute. The scanner has a lot of intelligent features. It can scan business cards and extract the contact information and export to Outlook or a spreadsheet. So for anyone attending trade shows and conferences and returning with a pocket full of business cards, here is your chance to enter those valuable contacts into a database easily.

Check out this video of the S1300:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmXeG8Wpfy0

It can also handle papers of different sizes at the same time so you do not need to feed them manually every time you need to change the paper size. You can put A4 paper, receipts, postcards, and business cards all together in the tray and you will scan all them with no problem. I did not experience any jam and I tried paper of various sizes and thickness. The scanner is so tiny there is not a lot of space for a jam to occur. A very nifty feature is its ability to scan a document to a folder, sharepoint, network or even an editable Word, Excel or PowerPoint file. You can also create searchable Adobe PDFs. You can use your highlighter and add searchable keywords to a PDF. The scanner will correct the orientation of the document if you scan a document upside down and remove blank pages when generating the scanned copy.

The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 is available from the Fujitsu website. At £225, it is not cheap, but it is an innovative and intelligent scanner which produces high quality scans. If you are on the move a lot and looking for a mobile scanner, this would be a very good choice.