Wednesday, January 5, 2011

CES 2011 Looks to be Underwhelming

The new year just started but the camera makers are already rolling out new products as the first big camera/electronics show of 2011, the Consumer Electronics Show, is set to start tomorrow. At the show, new electronic devices of all sorts will be on display before they start finding their way onto store shelves in the coming weeks. So, how are things looking for photo enthusiasts?

Answer: not too good.

Like last year, CES is characterized by the launch of mostly consumer-grade cameras, although Samsung did bring a new dSLR-like camera. For the most part, the launches are many, but the innovations are few. To see just how much stuff is being released, go to Digital Photography Review's home page for all the manufacturer announcements.

In summary, most of the cameras being announced are merely mild updates of models already on the shelves and merely serve as a reason for the manufacturers to charge you the buyer more for something that's essentially yesterday's lunch reheated in the technological microwave. A few more pixels here, a slightly wider/longer end to zoom ranges there, and a few new features (mostly gimmick, non picture improving ones) sprinkled around for hood measure.

However, the one bright spot comes from Kodak, which has launched its first rugged point and shoot pocket cam. For even better news, there's the price: a very reasonable $79.95, which is even less than what I paid for my then cheapest thing going (at the time) Olympus Stylus 550WP. Hopefully, the new Kodak will be able to deliver on the performance end.

Now, don't get too dismayed, CES runs through the 9th, which leaves more room for announcements.  For serious shooters, PMA 2011, which is next month, should bring a slew of new toys more to your liking.

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