Quick PMA@CES 2013 Wrap-up

I have to say, ever since PMA merged with CES, the cameras announced seem to be less impactful. It looks like the biannual Photokina and the late January CP+ shows are the ones to look forward to now..

On with the wrap-up!

Best of Show

Fujifilm X100S

Fujifilm X100S

As David has already pointed out, there a number of improvements that makes the pretty good X100 into something that anyone who likes that particular field-of-view will want to have. As I’ve never been a fan of the 35mm focal length on 35mm film, I think I will have to pass on this one… but hopefully the improvements make it to the interchangeable lineup.

Still, while a good camera, it pretty much makes best of show by default. What else is there? Consumer versions of the Nikon 1 system? Or the thousands of point-and-shoots that the Japanese camera industry is churning out in a vain attempt to stem the advance of smartphone cameras? Hint: Ship has sailed guys. Better do something before you are stuck with an expensive inventory writedown.

CK:This is definitely something to look out for, especially for people who are into street photography and wants something that looks Leica-ish without the astronomical price. From what I’ve seen from a video of its AF in action, the improvement in AF speeds is tremendous. This alone should also attract the people who liked the original X100 but cannot stand its slow AF.

YS: That focus peaking is also something to look forward to, along with another retro nod, the split-image focusing aid.

Best Attempt at Nostalgia

Pentax MX-1

Pentax MX-1 Black

Pentax brought out the MX-1 premium compact with top and bottom plates using brass instead of more modern materials like aluminium or magnesium alloy. There was even a press image showing how it will eventually wear out (the old “brassing” effect):

Pentax MX-1 Brassing

Other than the fact I never liked the worn-out brass look, this move feels rather desperate to me. If you look closely at the MX-1, it is still a modern digital camera at heart. A motorised zoom using a lever at the shutter release, a rear common dial that electronically controls shutter speed, and a very typical digital camera layout. I feel Pentax missed something with this, but then, as a somewhat struggling camera maker, I guess they have to minimise the risk-taking.

CK: Is Pentax trying too hard on this one? At least do what Olympus did with their OM-D E-M5 and release something which looks similar to the K1000 or the classic MX (which is probably where the MX-1 model number came from.) That should look classier than this “neither here or there” attempt. The brassing does remind me of my old black Nikon FE though.

Most Potential for Vapourware

Polaroid’s Android Cameras

Seriously Polaroid. When you create instant confusion on where the sensor is supposed to be (is it in the body or in the lens?), bring poorly-working or non-working prototypes to the show floor, and generally give an air of dodginess…well, I think we will pass.

CK: With all the interest over “toy cameras” like the Holgas, Dianas and Lomos, I think Polaroid might do better re-introducing their classic instant cameras and film. At least they’d have a niche market of fans. Personally, I am still not sold on this “Android Camera” thing.

(Image Credit: Respective Manufacturer’s Press Images)

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