The Best of the Best at the 2012 International CES

The Best of the Best at the 2012 International CES

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BEST PROFESSIONAL DSLR
Nikon D4

The flagship D4 is engineered to give professional photographers speed and accuracy with low-light and Full HD video capabilities. With a host of new functions, it epitomizes rapid response, to catch the moment others miss. Nikon enhanced its 51-point AF system for maximum speed in a range of situations. The weather-resistant D4 employs a 3.2-inch, high-res LCD and a 16.2MP FX-format CMOS sensor coupled with the latest Expeed 3 image processor. Specs say it’s ready to shoot in 0.012 sec, and all image data is funneled through a 16-bit pipeline and written to dual card slots optimized for the latest UDMA-7 CompactFlash cards and the new XQD card. Other features include: 10-fps bursts; ISO 110–204,800;  a button to access Nikon’s picture controls; 1080p video recording at 30/24 fps and 60 fps at 720p, or H.264/MPEG-4 AVC format video; and high-fidelity audio recording control with levels monitored on the LCD. $5,999.95. nikonusa.com

BEST PREMIUM COMPACT CAMERAS
Canon PowerShot G1 X

Canon designed the G1 X for photography enthusiasts looking for digital SLR quality in a compact, point-and-shoot form factor. The PowerShot G1 X features a brand-new, large 1.5-inch, 14.3 megapixel High-Sensitivity Canon CMOS sensor that approaches an EOS DSLR’s APS-C-size sensor. It’s engineered to deliver shallow depth of field, a wide dynamic range and enhanced light-gathering ability, helping ensure brilliant images in even tough low-light conditions. With a Canon 4x optical zoom lens, a versatile aperture of f/2.8 to f/16 for shooting portraits as well as landscapes, and wide-angle capabilities starting at 28mm, the Power-Shot G1 X supplies users with the right optics for most any situation. $799.99. usa.canon.com

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150
This 12.1MP superzoom is at the top of Panasonic’s popular FZ line. It boasts a 24x, 25–600mm Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens and is an advanced photographic tool for recording not only photos but also Full HD video (1,920×1,080 60p) in the new standard AVCHD Progressive (MPEG-4/H.264) format. It can even record stills and video simultaneously (at 3.5MP) and has a stereo zoom mic with a wind-cut function and Dolby Digital Stereo sound. Other key features include: “light speed” AF that focuses in 0.1 sec; 3D shooting; intelligent auto (iA) mode, with intelligent scene selector, which is also available during video recording; intelligent zoom said to extend the zoom range to 32x while maintaining image quality; full manual controls; Power OIS image stabilization; a 12-fps burst rate without autofocus and 5.5 fps with AF; creative control effects; and motion deblur mode. $499.99. panasonic.com

BEST POINT & SHOOT CAMERAS
Samsung DualView DV300F

Introducing Samsung’s latest Dual LCD technology, the DV300F features a 1.5-inch front-facing LCD whose child mode displays an animation, to keep little ones’ attention, and a visual self-timer. This is the first DualView to offer built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, so users can e-mail images or upload them to social sites directly from the camera. Images saved onto its microSD card can be sent wirelessly to a PC by using its auto PC backup function. And cloud services, including Samsung’s AllShare Play, let users share pictures from anywhere. Also featured are: 16MP; a 5x optical zoom, 25mm wide-angle lens; magic frame with 12 backgrounds; the ability to combine a photo with a video clip; split shot, which permits users to merge three images, with pictures imported from other cameras; and in-camera creative features. $199.99. samsung.com

Pentax Optio RZ18
The 16MP Optio RZ18 has a slim, lightweight body that houses a big, versatile, 25–450mm (equivalent), 18x zoom lens. Its intelligent zoom function extends this range to 130x to cover the amazing focal length of a 3250mm super-telephoto lens (equivalent). Powerful technologies, such as multiple Pentax shake reduction options, auto picture and scene modes, face detection and 9-point autofocus, take the guesswork out of capturing photos and 720p video. Also featured are: a 3.0-inch LCD; special effects filters; a 4cm super macro mode; a pet recognition feature; wireless remote-control shooting with optional controller; burst shooting of 40 images at 9 images per sec; and support for wireless Eye-Fi cards. $249.95. pentaximaging.com

Kodak EasyShare Wireless M750
The EasyShare Wireless M750 digital camera is Wi-Fi enabled, so users can e-mail images or upload them to social sites like Facebook. The camera also allows users to share memories the moment they happen with a compatible smartphone or tablet via the Kodak EasyShare camera app for Apple iOS, Android and BlackBerry—no hotspot required—or via their home Wi-Fi network. Also notable is its auto Wi-Fi backup function to a computer. Other features include: 16MP image capture; a 5x Retinar HD optical zoom lens with OIS; a dedicated video record button for HD video capture; a 3.0-inch capacitive touch-screen LCD; and Kodak’s “share” button that tags to Facebook and other sites, like YouTube, Walmart.com and CVS.com. The M750 will be available in April in silver, teal and red. $169.95. kodak.com

BEST COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERAS
Sony Alpha NEX-7

With the NEX-7, speed and style meet DSLR performance and control. With the same size sensor as a conventional DSLR, the pocketable NEX-7 takes 24.3MP photos and Full HD movies in super-smooth 60p or Hollywood-like 24p, or users can choose MP4 video capture for smaller files and easier web uploading. Other features include: a high-res OLED eye-level viewfinder that lets shooters see the results of camera adjustments in real time; a tilting 3.0-inch LCD; 3D sweep panorama to capture scenic vistas in 3D; a selection of picture effects; 10-fps bursts; and a 0.02-sec shutter release time lag. Its Tri-Navi control system provides quick access to commonly used settings via three dials. $1,349.99 with 18–55mm lens. sony.com

Nikon 1 J1
Nikon built its compact camera system and its 10.1 megapixel sensor to provide digital SLR performance and functions in a portable body. The ultracompact 1 J1’s high-speed dual image processors and state-of-the-art hybrid autofocus combine to offer extremely quick autofocus and super fast shooting speeds of 10 fps in AF mode. Ease-of-use features include a smart photo selector that picks the right mode for shooting conditions, and users can snap photos with a press of the shutter button while recording Full HD 1080p movies, capture full-res photos at a blistering 60 frames per sec, or expand their creativity with motion snapshot mode, which combines a photo with slow-mo movement set to a built-in soundtrack. Sporting a 3.0-inch LCD, and available in five colors, the 1 J1 uses Nikon’s new compact 1 Nikkor glass lenses with VR image stabilization. $649.95 with 10–30mm VR zoom lens. nikonusa.com

Fujifilm X-Pro1
Made in Japan with a custom-developed 16 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor with a new filter array that Fujifilm says is capable of delivering resolution superior to other APS-C sensors and equal to some full-frame sensors, the X-Pro1 boasts a second-generation hybrid multi-viewfinder and three prime interchangeable Fujinon lenses. Its new viewfinder instantly switches between an optical viewfinder and electronic viewfinder: for the brightest viewing image, and to keep shutter lag to a minimum, users should choose the optical viewfinder; those wanting focus confirmation, exposure information, white balance information and depth-of-field indicators should switch to the electronic viewfinder, which additionally provides a “live view” of the composition. The X-Pro1 also features a 3.0-inch LCD, Full HD video recording and a hot shoe. $1,699, body only. fujifilmusa.com

BEST NEW CONCEPT CAMERAS
Lytro Consumer Light Field Camera

Lytro announced the first consumer light field camera that captures all the rays of light in a scene to provide new capabilities, like the ability to focus a picture after it’s taken. The groundbreaking, pocketsize camera, with a unique form factor and an 8x optical zoom f/2 lens, creates interactive “living pictures” that can be endlessly refocused. It uses a light field sensor that collects the color, intensity and the direction of every light ray flowing into the camera, capturing a scene in four dimensions. To process the information into an HD photo, Lytro contains a light field engine that lets users refocus pictures on-camera. When pictures are shared online, the light field engine travels with them, so anyone can interact with the photos on nearly any device without downloading software. 8GB, $399, 350 pictures; 16GB, $499, 750 pictures. lytro.com
 
Tamaggo 360-Imager
Billed as the first picture-taking device that captures the environment surrounding the user and creates a navigable record that turns physical experiences into digital events, Tamaggo’s 360-Imager introduces integrated 360° technology to the consumer market. The camera enables users to capture high-res, navigable pictures with just one click. The egg-shaped device is ergonomically designed, fitting comfortably in the palm of a hand, and the company says it “accommodates technology that to date has been available only for sophisticated government and commercial applications.” Led by Dr. James Ionson, a former Polaroid executive, the Canadian tech company chose the name Tamaggo, which was inspired by the Japanese word for “egg,” to represent not only the camera’s shape but also something new. The Tamaggo 360-Imager and accessories will be marketed internationally in Q2 2012 for under $200. tamaggo.com

BEST WATERPROOF CAMCORDER
Panasonic HX-WA2 Camcorder

Engineered to shoot video and photos in outdoor conditions, the HX-WA2 captures underwater activities to a depth of 9 feet, 8 inches. It shoots 14 megapixel photos, and videographers can utilize its panorama mode by panning the camcorder up, down, left or right to capture horizontal or vertical panoramics. Intelligent 15x zoom records faraway subjects in detail while active EIS (electric image stabilization) provides shake correction to help achieve blur-free video and photos. The included HD Writer VE2.0 software, with a “smart wizard,” lets consumers edit videos, copy clips to a PC, burn to a DVD, upload to YouTube and Facebook, set songs as background music, and insert effects and transitions. With its short movie story function, recorded images can be transformed into a short movie; once the image data, theme and background music are selected, the camcorder automatically completes the story, which can be saved to disc and uploaded to the web. Panasonic’s HX-WA2 will come in blue and orange. panasonic.com
 

BEST PORTABLE PHOTO PRINTING SYSTEMS
Mitsubishi 2×6 Multi-Cut Function for CP-D70 Printers

Mitsubishi’s new 2×6 multi-cut function, just added to its high-capacity single-deck and dual-deck professional photo printers (models CP-D70DW and CP-D707DW), enables the printers to multi-cut a 4×6 photo into two 2×6 strips—making the printers perfect for increasingly popular photo booth applications. Both CP-D70 series printers have a print resolution of 300 dpi along with advanced printhead technology to improve image clarity and sharpness. The dual-deck CP-D707DW is one printer with two separate paper paths. It can be loaded with two different sizes of paper, so that it is capable of producing a variety of print sizes at the same time or increasing same-size-media print speeds by about 40%. mitsubishi-imaging.com

HiTi P720L Portable Photo Printer
Continuing its innovations for photo printing applications, HiTi’s newest solution for high-speed, low-maintenance photo printing focuses on large-volume dry lab photo processing to cater to the demands of photo specialty retailers. The roll-type, dye-sub P720L boasts 7.9-sec print speeds for 4×6 prints with a large, 1,000-print capacity, as well as print capacities of 600 5×7- and 455 6×8- or 6×9-inch prints. The P720L also offers savings on print costs due to production efficiencies of the media. This is especially important when processing large numbers of prints quickly to avoid customer wait times in photo booths, for example, allowing for a satisfied customer experience. hiti.com

KG ProPhoto Color Stream CS2 Compact Printer
Powered by Sinfonia, the compact CS2 (model S6145) 6-inch printer is engineered to provide an affordable, reliable solution with easy maintenance, low waste and a jam-free, roll-fed design. The dye-sub thermal transfer printer provides 300-dpi print resolution with the following paper size capacities: 300 6×4-inch prints; 150 6×8; 340 5×3.5; and 170 5x7s. It can also accommodate an optional print size of 2×6 inches for photo strips. Lightweight and portable, the CS2 can achieve a print speed of 11 seconds or less for a 6×4-inch sheet print. kgprophoto.com

BEST NEW TRIPOD
Sirui Professional Tripods and Ball Heads

Argraph introduced Sirui professional tripods and ball heads into the U.S. market at PMA@CES. The tripods are already winning awards, having been cited by Australia’s Camera magazine and the German FOTO magazine, which conducted quality tests on well-known tripod brands: the Sirui M-3204 won with an 87 score, 12 points higher than its closest rival. Pronounced “Sue-Ray,” the line utilizes a new forging technology in the manufacturing process, which causes the structure of the metal to be more welded together and compact, increasing its strength-to-weight ratio. The use of 100% carbon fiber and eight cross-pattern layers makes the lightweight Sirui tripods capable of supporting impressive load capacities. Other features include: retractable steel foot spikes; a free short center column for low-angle shooting; half-turn leg locks; non-twist center column/legs; and the ability to convert to a monopod. The lineup is comprised of six tripod series, a monopod series, and two ball head series. argraph.com

BEST DSLR LENS
Sigma Corp. of America APO 180mm f/2.8 Macro Lens

Sigma’s APO Macro 180mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM is the first 180mm macro lens with a 1:1 magnification ratio and a large maximum aperture of f/2.8. The successor to its 180mm f/3.5 EX DG macro lens, this new lens boasts the company’s proprietary Optical Stabilizer (OS) technology and a wide f/2.8 aperture to allow faster shutter speeds for narrow depth of field. With the OS feature, this lens offers the use of shutter speeds four stops slower than would otherwise be possible, enabling handheld close-up photography. Three “F” Low Dispersion glass elements, which have a performance equal to fluorite glass, are included to provide correction for color aberrations, and an inner focusing system minimizes aberrations that occur as shooting distances change. The lens also features super multilayer coating; Sigma’s hypersonic motor (HSM) to ensure quiet, high-speed autofocus, as well as full-time manual focus; and an 18.5-inch focusing distance. sigmaphoto.com

BEST ACCESSORY LENS
Holga iPhone Lens

For the iPhonegrapher who wants to recreate all those creative stunts the Holga could pull off with style, there’s a nine-in-one lens set with colorful, playful effects for iPhone 4/4S photos. The Holga iPhone lens is a rotating disk equipped with nine different lenses. Just fit the case that it comes on over the back of the phone, and it’s like having nine toy cameras all in one: lenses for dreamy vignettes; vibrant red and green color lenses; multi-image lenses for Spidey-vision (double, triple and quadruple images); a macro lens for close-ups; and red, yellow and blue filters with clear centers for framing subjects. $30. photojojo.com

BEST SOFTWARE
Tiffen Dfx 3.0 Filter Suite

This enhanced video- and photo-editing effects software boasts multi-processor acceleration for faster interaction and rendering of images, more than 10 new filters for optical effects, updated host support and interface improvements—to take image editing to the next level. It now provides more than 120 filter effects, with 2,000+ presets, digital versions of Tiffen filters, film stocks that simulate 113 color and black-and-white photo film stocks (including Kodak, Fujifilm, Agfa, Polaroid and Ilford films), specialized lens correction tools, film grain, color correction, plus natural light and photographic effects, like glow dark, key light, rays, texture and match, which matches the color, detail, grain and tone of one image and applies it to another. New capabilities include: color shadow, which creates a high-contrast image overlaid with a gradient; DeBand for removing banding artifacts by smoothing pixels in banded areas; DeBlock, to remove blocking artifacts; and DeNois, which removes the grain and noise while retaining detail. $169.95. tiffen.comFor the first time, the 2012 International CES featured a number of high-profile imaging companies displaying their wares in the south and central halls, and also hosted PMA@CES at the Venetian. The combined presence sent a message to the 150,000 attendees of the show that the convergence has now hit the mainstream.

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