Photo Marketing Association (PMA) & Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 201

We visited the first-ever combined PMA and CES Show in Las Vegas, USA last week and sampled some of the most innovative new ideas in the joint worlds of photography and consumer electronics.

We have already reported in our news pages about the two “stars” of the show (in our humble opinion) being the new FujiFilm X-Pro1 and Canon’s G1 X cameras and on our return it is time to reflect on other changes or introductions that may affect your photographic lives in the coming year.

Most photographic changes showcased appeared quite minor and “beneath the bonnet” by many manufacturers but connectivity and speed were the two themes running through most announcements. Whether it was the Wi-Fi connectivity as in the case of camera manufacturers like Samsung (who are now building this feature into many of their new compact cameras) or Nikon and Sony who have developed a new flash card (QXD) to cope with ever-demanding processing speeds of the improved sensors like those found in the new Nikon D4.Samsung’s new Smart Camera video explains this thinking quite simplistically

Our personal favourite of the show was not a true photographic product but one that would appeal to many educational departments. The HoverCam Impress Book Scanner won a major Innovations 2012 award at the show and if you check out the video you’ll see why.  Essentially it is a portable book, magazine or document scanner that scans up to 12 pages per minute using two 5 MP cameras. The neat bit is that it turns the pages for you automatically. The retail price should be around £300 and we’ll try our best to get this is as a UK model later in the year.

Cubify, exhibited a bizarre new printer that “prints” objects in 3D. This video shows the printer and a simply application use for 3D printing.

This year you’ll find 3D printing is even more accessible than ever with this new invention being able to make 3D images, up to 8 inches tall in full colour ABS plastic. It really is bizarre to see a layered object appearing before your eyes from a basic 2D CAD design.

Priced at a cost of £900 it may seem a little expensive for a typical household, but as I recall, so were most PCs back in the day and the price will inevitably fall as demand increases.
The concept opens up all sorts of opportunities including small scale manufacture on-site but in future copyright issues could be a minefield when compared to relatively “simple” issues in today’s 2D world.

Polaroid showed two new products of note. The first one, the Polaroid SC1630 Smart Camera is a digital camera with an Android phone built-in. With both Wi-Fi and 3G capability and a SIM card included, you can take a snap and upload it online straight away. The other was more interesting to Firstcall. Their Z340Model is their first new instant digital camera. It is full-function 14 MP digital camera and integrated printer that uses ZINK® Printing Technology to instantly create digital 3 x4 inch photos. This noisy Press Release lets you get to grips with this new technology.

At £200 it might be a little overpriced though even if the prints at 50p each are acceptable?

Other non-photographic novelties included a raft of LED TVs without the need for 3D glasses from the likes of Sony, Samsung and Sharp but it was the Sharp Aquos Freestyle Wireless Portable model that caught our eye. Check out this video and you’ll see why we were amazed at their demonstration – you have to reassure yourself that these models are real.



16th January 2012

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