We've landed in sunny Las Vegas for the International CES 2014, set up shop outside the Las Vegas Convention Center, and are ready to cover everything the camera world is bringing to the show. But with so many exciting products hitting the market this past fall and CP+ 2014 coming up soon, CES may be light on big-name cameras.
To a certain degree, that's par for the course; for the last couple years, CES has been host to one or maybe two big reveals, along with a horde of cheap point-and-shoots. Last year, Fujifilm stole the show with its X100S. The year before, Nikon outed its professional D4.
At the 2014 show, only three camera manufacturers are holding actual press events: Sony, Panasonic, and Samsung. It's no coincidence that they're the only three for whom photography is just a small part of their larger portfolios.
Sony recently made a big splash in the enthusiast market with its A7 and A7R full-frame mirrorless cameras, but it seems unlikely it will bring anything as exciting to CES. Other companies have already deflated any possible suspense by announcing products early. Samsung, for instance, will showcase its new NX30 and the Galaxy Camera 2. The NX30 will be Samsung's top-end mirrorless camera, though the Galaxy Camera 2 is more of an iterative update.
Smaller players are trying to capitalize on the lack of exciting big-brand news. Polaroid (aka Sakar) is chatting up some new "instant digital" cameras, but we doubt anyone will get too excited about them. The brand's reputation is at an all-time low after Nikon successfully procured an injunction on the Android-based iM1836 mirrorless camera late last year.
For the most part, at this year's CES you can expect "exciting announcements" about stuff you were already aware of. Several companies are showing off wearable automatic cameras, and there are a few different cloud-enabled security cameras branded as fun family companions. Olympus is demoing its lauded OM-D E-M1, while Samsung will highlight additions to its WiFi-enabled SMART line. Oh yeah, and GoPro is featuring its Hero3+ Black Edition. You know, the one that came out just a few months ago.
But don't forget 4K. With this year's planned proliferation of 4K displays, it's only natural that imaging companies will follow suit with devices that produce 4K content. Panasonic in particular seems like a promising candidate; it's about time for a Lumix GH3 successor, and 4K functionality would be a killer feature. Maybe the company's presser will prove bountiful.
While CES 2014 may not prove exciting for cameras, there could be bigger news coming at next month's CP+ show in Yokohama, Japan. We'll be there to cover all the announcements and go hands-on with the latest and greatest cameras, so stay tuned.