Whew! We just got back from a long, fun week at CES. If you're unfamiliar with the Consumer Electronics Show, it's where most of the leading tech manufacturers gather to show off their latest current and upcoming technologies and prototypes. In other words, it's a tech lover's dream, especially if you're into photography equipment...
Now we're back and ready to share some of the most interesting features we came across at the show this year from the realm of digital photography. Today we round up the finest digital photo features aimed at the consumer market, offering far beyond point and shoot:
Photography Technology to Keep an Eye On for 2012:
Sharing Photos Wirelessly, Instantly
This happen to you? Someone takes a great photo or video of you nailing that epic karaoke performance, but you end up having to wait ages for them to send or share the captured moment. Well, those days are gone with the new point-and-shooters like this one from Samsung. With built-in wifi, the Samsung ST200F allows easy photo and video sharing instantly via email or to social sites such as Facebook, Picasa, and YouTube without the need to connect the camera to a computer. Talk about instant gratification.
Samsung ST200F - (Release Date: February/$199)
No more photo bombs. The new feature from Canon allows you to store up to 12 friends on the camera for facial recognition and focus. The 12 people you register on the camera are then prioritized based on age, and searchable through the image view mode. So next time you're at that party and random dude jumps in, the camera will appropriately focus on the right person.
Canon Elph 110HS - (Release Date: February/$250)
Bokeh (Blurry Background) Mode
One of the reasons DSLR pictures look so stellar is because of that lovely bokeh, the blurriness surrounding the focal point. With the new Exilim, Casio is trying to simulate that feature via some on-board processing. Now what was previously only achieved through an optical lens with a shallow-depth-of-field can be replicated with a tiny embedded lens in the form factor of a point-and-shoot. From our hands on experience, the effect isn't yet perfect or pleasant as a prime lens, but it does lend the typical point and shoot, flat image another dimension.
Casio Exilim ZR15 - (Release Date: April/$329)
Shoot Video and Photos at the Same Time
Panasonic doubles the fun with a new 3D camera with two lenses. Shooting 3D isn't the only cool thing the Lumix 3D1 is capable of. Panny thinks outside of the box with a novel "different lenses for separate tasks" feature. In one demonstration, the camera was demoed shooting video with one lenses, while snapping photos with the other. The back of the camera has a touch-sensitive display that shows images from both lenses as you record and shoot, making the dual task process easy.
Panasonic Lumix 3D1 ( Release Date: 2nd Quarter/$499 est)
HDR basically works by overlaying multiple images, with differing exposures, to form one hyper-realistic picture. A feature common in prosumer cameras, this image technique is now trickling its way down to affordable point-and-shoot models. The HDR mode on the Exilim has two options — normal and art. The normal option will recover color and brightness from a dimly-lit photograph in a natural manner. The art option adds extra saturation and brightness to give an HDR look that has been the new hotness the past few years. This is definitely useful to add some interest to what otherwise may be ho-hum shots.
Casio Exilim ZR15 (Release Date/$329)
Smart Photo Selector
Camera shutter trigger-happy types may enjoy this new feature from Nikon. The Nikon 1 J1 offers the option to burst photograph 20 photos in succession. Then using a computer algorithm, the camera determines five of the best of the bunch, with one highlighted as optimal (you can keep all five or discard). What exactly is the "best", you ask? The J1 chooses by reviewing the focal point, comparing sharpness, subject's eyes, and other elements, resulting in the top five. You just got back a few minutes of your precious day.
Nikon 1 J1 - (Available Now/$599)
(Images: 1. Samsung, 2.Canon, 3.Casio, 4.Panasonic, 5. Casio, 6. Nikon)