CES 2013 Highlights

If you’re looking for a mirror-less interchangeable lens camera (MILC), 2013 might be the year to seriously consider one. CES is often a preview for what will be announced at CP+ and at Photokina.

CES 2013 brings the announcement of several new cameras to the mirror-less game from Nikon and from Samsung. There was little movement on the DSLR front, so bets are that we’ll hear more on that front at CP+.

Notably, integrated WiFi is starting to become popular. Having network connectivity built into cameras introduces many interesting possibilities. I imagine in the coming years, we’ll see cameras with SIM card slots for data service. WiFi connectivity used to require add-ons like special SD cards such as the Eye-Fi or an expensive add-on module for a limited number of camera systems.

Mirror-less interchangeable lens cameras seem to be gaining significant traction. They let people give up on the bulk introduced by the prism, mirror, and shutters present in DSLRs. Once freed from these constraints, the same quality sensors and can be packaged in much smaller footprints. If you’re like me, your DSLR gets left at home far too often because of it’s size.

Nikon’s two new entrants are part of the Nikon 1 system: the Nikon 1 J3, a 14.2MP camera featuring WiFi (MSRP $600) and the Nikon 1 S1, a 10.1MP camera featuring WiFi. These two cameras have access to all the existing Nikon 1 system lenses plus the newly released underwater housing. Nikon boasts that the Nikon 1 system is the smallest interchangeable lens camera system. As the camera supports RAW, long exposures and manual exposures, and exposure compensation, it’s likely a good candidate for night photography too. I eagerly await some sample images! It’s smaller CX sized sensor will also help provide greater depth of field at wide open, which helps get sharp long exposures.

Another interesting announcement comes from a consumer electronics superstar, Samsung. Samsung makes all sorts of electronics these days, including televisions, computer monitors, smart phones, printers, phones, dvd players, etc. They’ve taken some of their expertise and put out the Samsung NX300 Smart Camera. It too is a mirror-less interchangeable lens camera featuring WiFi. It’s not as compact as the Nikon cameras, but packs 20.3 mega pixels. It is the successor to their NX200 and NX210. It’s display is touch sensitive, and it can shoot 9fps. With an APS-C sized sensor, it will have a field of view familiar to many DSLR users.

An interesting announcement was Polaroid’s iM1836 Android 4.1-powered mirror-less digital camera, priced at $400, however it has received bad reviews so far. It does, however, hint at the types of phone-camera integration we might see. I’m not sure I want to check my email from my camera, though…

Canon seemed to be relatively quiet. The new Powershot N is a $300 camera, aimed at the younger more connected generation. They’ve moved the shutter to the lens, and there’s integrated WiFi.

On the DSLR front, Nikon showed off their D5200, which has been available for sale (at least in Europe) for a little while already. It’s priced at $900 in a kit that includes the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom. It has an impressive 24.1 DX-format CMOS sensor. It looks like they noticed that WiFi was showing up in just about every camera, and made it work with a relatively in-expensive WiFi dongle called the WU-1a.

Some other product announcements include:
– Panasonic Lumix S30 compact
– Pentax MX1 compact
– Sigma DP3 compact
– Fujifilm X1001s and X20 compact cameras

It looks like 2013 will be another exciting and transformative year in the digital camera industry, as the DSLR format becomes pushed aside for mirror-less cameras.