LAS VEGAS–It’s been an exceptionally busy and newsworthy past 12 months for cameras — budget full-frame models, 4K action cameras and cinema cameras, full-frame compacts. Unfortunately for CES 2013, most of that happened at Photokina this past fall. So while this show brought a few nice, potentially ownworthy updates to existing product lines, none of it really stands out as particularly whizzy.
In advanced cameras, the most common update has been to autofocus systems, with combo phase-detection/contrast AF starting to take over in camera lines that have traditionally had rather slow performance — new models like the Fujifilm X100S and the Samsung NX300. The X100S has the most technologically innovative advancement, debuting a split-screen electronic viewfinder for improved manual focus control. We had a chance to try it and even though we were never fond of that type of viewfinder on film SLRs, it works well in an EVF (because the viewfinder is brighter than on, say, a cheap SLR).
Perhaps the most notable, though notably good or bad we’ve yet to decide, is Polaroid’s entry into the interchangeable-lens camera market with cheap Micro Four Thirds and Nikon CX-size sensors and mounts. The cameras are extremely plasticky and the sensors are built into the lens, but the company will have adapters for other mounts with built-in sensors. We’re really curious about the photo quality.