CES 2019 Editor’s Notebook: Are Cameras Now About the Experience?

CES 2019 Editor’s Notebook: Are Cameras Now About the Experience?


As I walk around the Las Vegas Convention Center on the first day of CES 2019, I harken back to just a few years ago. Then, cameras were close to front and center of the consumer electronics industry. No, we were never the stars of the show, but the innovation that kept focus on us was our hallmark.

On Monday night I attended the Pepcom media event. Other than Nikon, I was hard pressed to find a pure camera manufacturer there. That’s not to say you couldn’t find an “imaging” company; most product offerings had imaging at their core—from smart home technology and security cameras to digital photo frames.

At CES on opening day, I had an interesting chat with Sony’s Mark Weir. He talked about years ago when our most common answer to where the future of our technologies would end up was “you can’t do that.” However, more often than not, we did do that. We shrank the size of camcorders, made mirrorless cameras and drove imaging quality.EditorsNotebook-Collage

Our industry has been blessed with the fortitude to come up with new cameras, lenses and accessories when we thought we had seen and done it all. And we’ve discovered that it doesn’t have to just be about the image.

Alex Stevens, of Blue Pixel Creates, and I chatted about the fact that new camera technology not only improves the image but also changes the experience.

Something as simple as holding a DSLR with a steady hand, versus handling smartphones, may be enough to convince people that it’s worth the investment of a real digital camera. At the same time, the newest Google Pixel 3 smartphone now enables people to take group selfies. So the camera versus smartphone battle will continue.

On the CES 2019 Show Floor

It’s early in the day here, and there is a lot more to cover at CES 2019. I’m heading over to the VR/360º/drone arena, which we’ll cover in our CES wrap-up issue.

Nikon-booth-CES-2019Nikon has the only booth I’ve noticed that is still all about photography! With an active stage show of photojournalists every hour, Nikon is certainly all in when it comes to photography and imaging, which is the core of their business. We like the fact that they consider photography at the heart of consumer electronics.

Sony-Booth-CES-2019While photography is only a piece of Sony’s business here (and a small piece at that), Sony is firmly dedicated to the imaging space. Their commitment to leadership in the imaging arena is reinforced by their displays of lenses. It is also reflected in an active stage of studio photographers showing their techniques.

Canon-Booth-CES-2019Canon continues to invite partners to explore their technologies with the “Empowering Your Future” tagline. Canon hasn’t walked away from photography at this show. However, they certainly seem more excited in the growth of the Canon brand as a technology leader. A smart move for them.

CES-2019-7-Tiffen-2The Tiffen booth is brand new this year, with beautiful graphics and excellent displays of their varied products, from Lowel lights to IR filters. Especially impressive are their drone filters and beautiful drone imagery. It’s a great new look for Tiffen!