CES2012 : Point-and-Shoots Dazzle at 2012 CES
Teaching an old dog smarter tricks.February 2012 By Michael McEnaney
Kodak's Kloud Play
It would be a gross understatement to say Kodak has had an interesting last few months, but its CES booth turned the focus from the brands' financial problems by offering a new Facebook app, a Wi-Fi camera and easier printing options.
The Facebook app allows consumers to take their Facebook albums and easily format and print them straight from the site. The company's new in-store kiosks use Facebook Connect software to access the photos for direct printing as either photobooks or other photo merchandise items.
Connectivity is the watchword for Kodak's new EasyShare Wireless Camera M750 as this model is all about Kodak's renewed interest the cloud-based applications it has recently rolled out. The user can download Kodak's EasyShare app for Android, iOS or BlackBerry devices and immediately share files to Facebook. Consumers can also use this app to print images from or automatically back up photos and videos to any compatible Wi-Fi device.
Samsung Wild Over Wi-Fi
While Wi-Fi is old hat for a company like Samsung, their new line of point-and-shoots (DV300F, WB150F and ST200F) have added what it is calling Wi-Fi radio capability, allowing these cameras to wirelessly upload photos and video to Facebook, YouTube and the like, or back up media using the company's new Auto PC backup feature. Samsung is also billing the connected devices as ad-hoc Wi-Fi networks, allowing consumers to connect the cameras to their computer or smartphone without needing a Wi-Fi hotspot nearby.
Canon's P&S Bar Raiser
Canon, while still resisting the temptation to jump into the interchangeable lens compact (ILC or mirrorless) category, ratcheted up their G series line with the Powershot G1 X, a high-end point-and-shoot with a fairly high-end price tag to match ($799).
Introducing a larger sensor (1.5-inch, 14.3 MP CMOS sensor), 28-112mm (4x) lens, continuous shooting up to 4.5 fps, 1080p video capture and a three-inch articulating LCD, the G1 X brings a point-and-shoot to market that certainly competes with the ILC models. This model is also a bit bulkier than previous G Series models.
Olympus Stretches Zoom Category
Regarding the sudden price drops in the superzoom category, Olympus debuted the SP-620UZ, a 16MP model with a 21X optical zoom priced under $200. With Eye-Fi card compatibility and HD video capture it's easy to see that traditional camera makers aren't going down without a fight.
Feeling the heat from smartphone market, camera manufacturers not only rolled out plenty of new point-and-shoot models, but they also ventured into new directions CES.With the PMA show now a part of CES and re-named PMA@CES, this was a more camera-centric show than past CES affairs. Camera makers are now following new paths in an attempt to hang on to market share amid the improving image-capture technology in smartphones.Among the more interesting trends at CES were dramatic price drops in the superzoom category (well under $200 for some 20X optical zoom models), unique connectivity options, including direct upload to the cloud, more in-camera tie-ins with various print services and an overall increase in feature sets. In short, the task at hand in this market today is to make point-and-shoot cameras smarter and the picture quality better. A few models, applications and service caught our eye.