CES is in Vegas so I stopped by for a look to see what was happening in the way of photography. This year, there isn’t an abundance of photo news from CES – but I did pass roughly 2000 booths offering iPad and iPhone cases and accessories.

Back to photo – Canon and Nikon had big booths but no major news other than the Canon PowerShot N which is an odd camera that is trying to win back cell phone shooters. Panasonic, Polaroid (yep Polaroid,) Nikon, Sigma, Samsung, Fuji, Olympus and Pentax all offered new compact cameras. Frankly, the camera companies produce so many compact camera models that I have given up trying to stay on top of these. They are sometimes just the same old model in a new color (really.) Our audience here tends to favor cameras that are slightly more capable so I won’t go into any details here.

Fujifilm (odd name for a digital camera maker) showed off the new X100S and X20. These cameras seemed to garner a fair amount of attention. Fuji also introduced their new FinePix SL1000 “super zoom” camera. The X100S looks like a much improved model and should be a very successful camera. Fuji listened and my hat’s off to them.

Mirror-less cameras made a big impression on most of the people at CES and given my own recent experiences, I am hopeful that the professional shows like PPA in Atlanta will shed light on more professional models.

While I am not sure what I think about it – the $300 PowerShot N is probably the most interesting of the bunch. Did I mention odd? Canon seems to have missed that while it’s cool to have a buttonless point and shoot with WIFI built in, you still have to go back to carrying two devices. At $300 I think most people will stick with their phones, but time will tell.

Sigma showed off an interesting idea. Programable lenses via a special lens/USB dock. I don’t know if this will catch on but I give them kudos for thinking outside the box.

Several of the photo distributors like Tiffen were at the show but the place is frankly a disorganized mess. I’ve been to, spoken at, covered and even run my share of trade shows – but this one takes the cake for being poorly put together. There are four venues spread all over town. The photo stuff is spread out all over the place instead of being in one area. Nobody seemed to know where anything is and there were lots of people milling about trying to get from point A to point B only to find out they needed to find point C. I think CES may be about to suffer the same meltdown we saw when COMDEX folded. It’s just getting to big to manage.

As a photographer, I did see a few gadgets here and there that interested me but there were no earth-shattering announcements.

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About the most useful thing I found was a wall outlet that had built-in USB connectors that you could use to directly charge your USB devices. That got me excited. So you can see how my CES went.

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