Whirlwind Tour of CES 2015

I had some time off from my official duties for my company at the CES 2015 at Las Vegas earlier this week and did a whirlwind tour of the Central Hall, where most of the major camera makers are. This is a quick write-up of what I saw.

Nikon

Nikon recently released their new DSLR – the D5500 and the new AF-S 300mm f/4G PF ED VR, so I decided to drop by Nikon’s booth to try them out.

Nikon D5500 with AF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II
Nikon D5500 with AF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II

The D5500 is a small upgrade from the previous D5300, and like the D750, it features a monocoque body design with a deeper hand grip. The deeper grip feels nicer in the hands compared to the D5300 which we reviewed earlier.

In our D5300 review, we were disappointed that the screen is not touch-enabled. With the D5500, Nikon has finally added a touch screen. Other than allowing you to change settings with a touch, you can also touch to focus/shoot, swipe through playback images or pinch to zoom, much like you would on a smart phone.

Performance-wise, it felt pretty much similar to the older D5300. Unfortunately, as it’s a pre-production unit, I wasn’t allowed to collect sample images on my own SD card.

Nikon D810 with AF-S 300mm f/4G PF ED VR
Nikon D810 with AF-S 300mm f/4G PF ED VR

This is the lens that YS is particularly excited about. I am amazed at how small and light it is. At 755g, it’s half the weight of the previous version of the 300mm f/4! Again, as it was a pre-production unit, I was unable to get sample images through the lens.

YSSQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE – it’s so tiny! Definitely can’t wait to try it out.

Nikon's Bulletime Setup
Nikon’s Bullet-time Setup

CK: One of the fun things at Nikon’s booth is a 360º bullet-time setup. There’s a long queue of people waiting to be captured Matrix-style by 48 Nikon D750s.

Over at the Nikon School Theatre, small flash guru Joe McNally was giving a presentation on, what else, using the Nikon Speedlights! A model was also on location for McNally’s demos.

Joe McNally and Model On Stage
Joe McNally and Model On Stage

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News Round-up: Photokina Early Announcements

Olympus E-PL7
The first wave of announcements for Photokina arrived over the past week, and usually are not the “Plan A” cameras that the manufacturers will be bringing to the show. So let us start with the more significant camera, the Olympus E-PL7, which is mostly significant in that it seems to signal Olympus’s downsizing of the PEN line. With dual control wheels and a set of specifications pretty much from the OM-D E-M10 (16 megapixel 3-axis stabilised sensor, 3″ WVGA touchscreen, 1080p video at 30 FPS, built-in Wifi), this looks like the PEN update for the next product cycle. Not really surprising too, as the E-M10 at its current price point more or less makes a high-end PEN redundant, and as profit margins are needed to clear Olympus’s debt it looks like the low-end E-PM line is also getting the boot. It’s not a bad camera, though having the LCD flip downwards for the selfie mode seems a bit unfriendly for tripod use.

Arrives later this month for US600 for the body, and US$700 with the 14-42 EZ kit zoom. Also coming is the 12mm f/2 in black without the “Special Edition” price tag.at US$800.
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