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.

Quick look: Kodak Playtouch 1080p Camcorder


Kodak-Playtouch

If you’ve got a smartphone, you’re probably already addicted to touchscreen technology. So if I tell you that Kodak’s latest camcorder also has touch screen controls, you might get just a little bit excited. The Playtouch is the latest in the line of ‘Play’ cameras from Kodak, the last being the PlaySport, which was pretty well received.

The Kodak Playtouch is obviously relying on its touchscreen facility to attract new users – and it’s pretty nifty. The 3.2in LCD screen is of the capacitive type – that means it’s along the same lines as the high-end smartphones, rather than the cheaper resistive type, which requires hard pressing to get a reaction. The screen allows you to do some on-screen editing of your HD video, before popping it on the web. This is simple – press the Share button, decide where you want your film to go, pop out the USB arm and your video is ready for the world to see on the web.

The screen is also anti-glare so that you can see what you’re shooting in bright light, and your HD clips (maximum quality 1080p) can be recorded to the 128Mb internal memory or removable SD or SDHC cards.

It is also possible to add voiceover to your footage, add pictures and music to videos and get your friends’ best sides with smart face tracking technology. But it’s not all good news; reviewers who have managed to get their hands on the PlayTouch have reported disappointing quality in footage – and audio – although the still image quality (the camera takes stills at 5mp) has got the thumbs up.

The good news for Mac owners is that the camera is both PC and Mac compatible. Its lithium-ion battery can be charged via USB, and an HDMI cable is included so that you can hook it up to your TV to watch your movies on the big screen.

The question is whether the £179.99 price tag is worth paying for the privilege of that touchscreen facility. That’s up to you…The Kodak Playtouch is available now from Firebox.com.