I just walked around 1.6 million square feet of exhibit space in Las Vegas. Making my way past 140,000 fellow gadget lovers wasn’t always easy and as you can expect I am a bit worse for wear.

This show is a consumer not a professional show. It’s also electronics and not just photography, but there are some things at CES that will be interesting to photographers.

In random order, here are my thoughts.

Coolest thing I saw:

Canon XA10 Professional Camcorder with 10x HD Video Lens

The ultra-compact Canon XA10 Professional camcorder that uses an AVCHD codec and features a 10x Canon HD Video Lens with an eight-blade iris, Canon DIGIC DV III Image Processor and Canon 1/3 inch native 1920 x 1080 image sensor. The XA10 features a detachable handle which, when attached, further enhances the camcorder’s functionality by providing XLR inputs and an external microphone holder. Featuring a 64GB internal flash drive and two SDXC-compatible card slots, the XA10 offers the ability to record simultaneously to two cards for instant backup. The camcorder also features infrared video capture making it capable of shooting video in the dark. (This camera was so cool I already have one on order at Adorama.)

Very Cool:

Samsung Sliding PC 7 Hybrid Notebook/Tablet. This device may be the perfect marriage of tablet and laptop technology. My only complaint with my iPad is that I can’t type on it, but this sliding tablet offers a keyboard and might make this device as attractive to photographers for portfolio presentations as the iPad.


Samsung SH100 – it is a point and shoot with built-in wireless. It can wirelessly back up photos direct to your computer. While it’s not a pro camera, the possibility that this technology – which appears to work very well, could move to pro-level cameras soon.

Semi Cool:

Olympus showed the new PEN E-PL2, the fourth generation of the Olympus PEN family of compact interchangeable lens digital cameras. The new camera also has new in-camera creative features, new auxiliary lenses, a new Close-Up Spotlight accessory (MAL-1) and the new Olympus PENPAL™ Bluetooth accessory.

Semi Cool:

The introduction of the world’s fastest high-capacity CompactFlash card, the 128GB SanDisk Extreme Pro CF card. I haven’t tested it yet, but this kind of capacity may make traveling with extra flash memory a thing of the past. My only concern with cards this large is the old eggs in one basket theory. I should be testing this in March when they are actually available.

General Stuff:

There were so many cars on the show floor featuring cool and crazy technology that for a minute I thought I had wandered into a SEMA show.

There were lots of 3D TVs and lots of tablets on the show floor. Nobody knows how much of it will be vaporware. Did I mention tablets? Oh yeah – I counted about 80 different tablets. I guess Steve Jobs and Apple weren’t that stupid after all to release the iPad. (Bring the hate – I don’t care.)

Speaking of Apple – they stole some of the limelight along with Verizon by announcing (sort of) the new Verizon iPhone. We’re expecting the formal announcement today but it’s the worst kept secret in the world and that leak probably got more attention than anything actually at the trade show.

There were a bunch of new cell phones on the show floor, but as of the leak that Verizon is getting the iPhone pretty much everyone yawned at the other phone news.

The Canon booth was in possibly the worst location I have ever seen. It was in the back along a wall. It looks like they agreed to come into the show last – minute or something.

Did I mention it was crowded?

In closing, I will say that my biggest lesson from CES was that companies like Panasonic and Samsung have gotten deadly serious about photography. I spent a great deal of time with the Samsung folks and I was blown away by how in-depth their photo division is. They make all their own lenses, sensors and cameras and I look for them to break out as a brand we think about when we think photography some day soon. Panasonic also showed a big commitment to the micro 4/3 format and especially hybrid stuff. It was all very interesting.

For now, I’m glad it’s over. I’ll be covering WPPI and NAB later this year – both of which will probably feature more news of interest to the Photofocus audience.
This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store