CES 2012 Preview: Exciting New Pro DSLRs and Mirrorless Cameras, Same Boring Point-And-Shoots

Cult of Mac CES 2012 Press Pass

I’m wearing a big shimmering wrap on my head with a jewel in the middle. There’s incense going, and I’m now ready to make these CES 2012 camera predictions: new pro DSLRs from Nikon and (possibly) Canon will reign supreme; it will be another good year for small mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras, like the new Nikon 1; and in-point-and-shoots, I see more of the same blah.

I also see this year’s PMA show (Photo Marketing Association) being combined into CES, bringing with it imaging accessories galore — but that’s not a prediction — it’s on PMA’s website.

DSLRs

DSLRs aren’t replaced by sexy new models every year like point-and-shoots are. Pro DSLRs are only released once every 2-3 years, so when new models do come out, it’s generally something most photographers get excited about, and boy, are we all giddy.

Friday, January 6th, 2012, Nikon will unveil its new flagship pro camera: the full-frame, 16 megapixel, soon-to-be-king-of-low-light-photography, D4. You may have already heard about it, it’s been leaked here, and strangely, here. And if Lord Xenu hears my prayers, Nikon will have the D4 ready to show on the floors of CES. Chances are they will, I doubt the pre-show announcement is a coincidence. There’s also a glimmer of hope that Nikon will announce their new ultra-high resolution D3X replacement, another pro model, the D800.

Also hotly anticipated is Canon’s new pro DSLR, the EOS-1D X. Canon’s 18 megapixel dreamliner was announced back in October, and is a departure from Canon’s usual cram-those-pixels-in-there methodology. With the 1D X, Canon is forfeiting some millions of megapixels in order to attain better low-light performance, a strategy Nikon has been pursuing for years. I’m sure many Canon fans will welcome the move.

It’s unclear, though, if the EOS-1D X will make an appearance at this year’s CES. There have been murmurings it will be present, but it doesn’t actually ship until this spring, a ways off, so I’m guessing it’ll be a no-show.

Mirrorless Cameras

Moving on to more consumer-grade imaging, expect an ample showing of mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras this year, especially from Nikon.

Nikon surprised many some in September with the announcement of their totally new, built-from-the-ground-up camera, the Nikon 1. And I expect the 1 to have a big presence at this year’s CES. Available in two flavors, the 1 is similar to other Micro Four-Third cameras out there, like the Olympus Pen, but it uses Nikon’s own proprietary sensor and system of itsy-bitsy lenses. And Nikon has a lot riding on the new 1; consumer camera’s account for a majority of its imaging product sales. And with iPhone 4 eating the point-and-shoot business, Nikon is looking to the 1 to help them stay in the game.

Micro Four-Third cameras like the Olympus PEN E-PL3 and the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 are also going to have an important place at CES this year. People are excited about them — they take much better photos than point-and-shoots, which are being replaced by mobile phones anyway, are less expensive than DSLRs, and their compact sizes and airy-weights make them easier to carry around.

Consumer camera companies know that small mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras are likely going to be driving their sales in the years to come, and this year, all the majors players are finally in the game.

Point-and-Shoots

Here’s a category that get’s me yawning like Spaceballs’ Prince Valium: point-and-shoots. Are there going to be any noteworthy models in this dying-wasteland of a product category? Well Samsung will be featuring its just-announced DV300F, a “Dual View” (screens on the front and back) point-and-shoot with Wi-Fi abilities so you can upload photos straight to Facebook. And Fujifilm will be debuting no less than 16 models, including its new FinePix F770EXR, a biggish camera with a 16 megapixel CMOS sensor, on-board GPS, and 1080 HD video.

I’m sure there’ll be more, CES is generally flooded with new, smaller, more feature-rich point-and-shoots. But the question is: will consumers care about any of them? Smartphones cameras are pretty good these days, and you can immediately do something with those smartphone photos, like Instagram them or put them on Facebook. Yes, a point-and-shoot might offer better image performance, especially in low light, but it comes with all the hassles of then actually doing something with those images.

Will this year’s point-and-shoots’ have any noteworthy tricks worth getting excited about? Maybe. But I doubt you’ll care.

  • techgeek01

    Nokia’s N8 successor. That’s what I’m getting excited for.  Rumor points that this windows powered nokia phone will drop mid-year.  Don’t know about the exact specs, but this Phone has always had the best camera in a phone. Period.  Better (and larger) sensor is expected with better lenses.  But there is a rumor that is floating around that this year it will get an optical zoom.  Average person probably won’t get excited about this, but people who love to take photos with their cell phones and are disappointed on the quality of photos, would get excited.

    Well, guess this is not CES or Point and shoot camera.  But it’s still a camera, so it counts and worth getting excited for? 

  • erfon elijah

    hey if it takes photos and you’re excited about it, i’d count it.  i think it’s really interesting how phones like the iPhone and the N8 don’t just have great cameras, but enable us to finally actually do something with all the photos we take

  • Wagner Goldberg

    I just can’t believe Nikon is coming out with a 16mp high end camera. What are they thinking? For that to last 2 to 3 years?? For a camera to last 2 years, they should be aiming for the high 20s or at least 30mp to ensure some longevity. next year all point-n-shoots and cameras will have 16mp or more. And when editing (in photoshop) more megapixels ensure a better image quality!! For a pro level camera in the higher part of 4 figures that is unacceptable.

  • Adam Peariso

    16mp is understandable until they come out with the studio D4x version which, as history shows, will be a much higher Megapixel count. Megapixels are just like the old Megahertz race by CPU makers back in the day, a higher number doesn’t always equal higher quality. I like that it may go down to ISO 50.

  • Mark Galloway

    I recently just bought a Olympus Pen and I love it.  everyone who has seen my pictures now wants one, almost pro like features and quality make this a great camera, plus it is really small.  it also has a sexy almost retro feel to it.

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Erfon ElijahErfon Elijah is the producer and host of The CultCast. When not editing podcasts or watching Mrs. Doubtfire, you’ll find him on Xbox Live hunting CoD Ghosts foes like the Predator. Here are his tweets...

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