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Six of the best from CES

January 21, 2010: With PMA now held in September, the CES show staged early January in the US takes on greater importance as a platform for new camera releases.

We’ve turned a strange shade of blue wading through the thick, purple prose contained in the dozens of new product announcements – there were well over 50 new cameras released, even though not all camera manufacturers participated – to present our top six:

Casio Tryx

Casio showed the Tryx digital compact , with a rotating frame design allowing users to rotate the camera body 360 degrees vertically and 270 degrees horizontally around the frame. Users can hold the camera horizontally, in a traditional point-and-shoot style to capture still images or flip out the rotating, three-inch, touch-screen LCD and swivel the body – which can even be set up to be used as a tripod.

It’s thin to the point of anorexia, measuring just 15mm at most, and has a 12-megapixel, back-illuminated CMOS sensor, a 21mm wide-angle fixed lens and a 3-inch, 460K touchscreen LCD.

Records 1080p full HD movies at 30fps, with built-in software for direct upload of images and videos online.

Available in April in the US – sometime later here, we hope. Casio is alleged to have re-launched in Australia with in-house distribution, but its marketing management seems inordinately bashful thus far. Come out, come out wherever you are!

Kodak Easyshare Touch

Kodak showed the Easyshare Touch, one of several new cameras with ‘3-step sharing’, which allows users to email pictures to friends and the Kodak Pulse Digital Frame, and upload them to popular social networking sites.

The Easyshare Touch has a 3-inch high-res touchscreen LCD and features a dedicated video record button that makes it easy to take 720p HD video that you can edit and share in camera. In addition, it has an auto organization feature that simplifies finding the pics you want to share.

It’s powered by a 14 megapixel sensor supported by a 5x wide-angle Schneider-Kreuznach lens, and also features Kodak’s Smart Capture and Face Recognition features, multiple scene and artistic modes – like photo booth and film effects.

And an HDMI connector! (Now you’re talking! Have you seen the monstrous prices they are asking for these fancy bits of wire in the likes of JB Hi-Fi?)

Fujifilm Finepix HS20

According to some reports, Fujifilm alone release over 20 new camera models at CES. Top of the pile, king of the heap, is the Fujifilm FinePix HS20/ EXR.

The HS20 sports a brand spanking new 16 megapixel sensor, 30x optical zoom (24 – 720mm) lens and upgraded 3-inch LCD monitor, (no optical viewfinder, alas). But it shoots in Raw and supports a hot shoe.

Other features:
•Full resolution high speed shooting at 8fps, high speed video capture at up to 320 fps (320 x 112 pixels)
•1600 percent wide dynamic range (whatever that is).
•Electronic horizon level function
•Full HD movie capture using H.264 (MOV) format
•New 27-mode EXR Auto mode
•Colour fringe reduction and improved corner sharpness
•Film simulation modes
•Quick start mode
•360° Motion Panorama mode
•TTL flash control with optional external flashes

Olympus SP-610UZ

We’ve covered two other quite interesting Olympus cameras in previous weeks – notably the XZ-1, and the new M4/3 model, theEPL-2 but the superzoom SP-610UZ deserves a mention in despatches as well.

It’s a lightweight, 22x wide-angle ultra-zoom camera with HD Video capability. Other features include:
– New Magic Filters – make it possible to create special artistic effects in still images and/or movies directly in the camera;
– HD Movie & HDMI Control – high-definition video (HD video) delivers a broadcast-quality movie experience when played back on an HDTV;
– 3D Photo Mode – captures two shots of a scene from two different angles to create still photos that can be viewed with the added excitement and realism of 3D.
– Eye-Fi Card Compatibility – enables automatic wireless uploading of images to the website or PC of your choice (when will we see Eye-Fi in Australia – come on distributors, take a punt!) ;
– In-Camera Panorama – offers quick and easy panorama shots; and AF Tracking – tracks a moving subject automatically and keeps it in focus for optimal image quality.

The 22x wide-angle optical zoom on the SP-610UZ is an upgrade to the SP-600UZ, which provided a 15x wide-angle zoom.

Sensor is 14 megapixels but regrettably in the miniscule 1 /2.3-inch size. Why would you do that to an otherwise very impressively-specced camera?

Sony Cyber-Shot TX100V

Sony showed five new Cybershots, for which it is claiming DSLR-like performance. (Hey, who needs an Alpha. Nex!)

All are 3D capable, but the slickest-looking is maybe the Cyber-Shot TX100V.

It has ‘Dual Rec’ technology for taking still photos during video capture and is claimed to be ‘the world’s first compact digital still camera to include full HD (1920 x 1080/60p) video capability’ Sony says this format provides the least distortion for playback on a high definition television.

Sensor is an all-new 16-megapixel ‘Exmor R’ back-illuminated CMOS number, with improved low-light performance, up to 10fps burst shooting and the Intelligent Sweep Panorama feature.

The TX100V also has a thin 3.5-inch OLED touch screen for deeper blacks and better colour contrast on screen, with a faster response time than most LCDs.

Other features include a 3D Sweep Panorama mode and GPS and Compass. (Swiss Army knife an optional accessory.)

Samsung SH100

Samsung’s SH100 is the latest word in connected image capture.

It’s a Wi-Fi enabled camera that takes shots that you can easily share over the internet and social networks.

It can connect to Android smartphones (or maybe only Samsung models – how knows?), so you can view the shot you’re about to take in real time on your phone. If you’re not happy with it, you can zoom in and out to get the best picture, and then activate the shutter remotely when you’re ready to pose.

Users can even use their phone’s GPS to record exactly where they were when they captured the shot.

The SH100’s built in Wi-Fi can also automatically back up image files to a PC with the push of two buttons, or by using DLNA to wirelessly connect to a HDTV.

Wi-Fi enables you to upload your pictures instantly to social networking sites such as Facebook, Picasa or Photo Bucket, or email them to individual email addresses straight from the camera.

You can also record HD video and share on sites like YouTube.

Oh yes – it has a (tiny) 14-megapixel sensor and 5x zoom lens.

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