Compared to last year’s unveiling of the Nikon D5 and D500, the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show didn’t capture quite the same wow factor for photographers. But while most announcements from major manufacturers were a bit thin, there were some interesting developments, especially from the fringes of the industry. Here are a few of the notable photo gadgets, news, and trends we saw at CES this year.
Panasonic Lumix GH5 and new lenses
The powerful Lumix GH5 mirrorless camera took home our top tech of CES award, and for good reason. While technically announced last fall at Photokina, it was here at CES that we got our first look at a production model GH5 and its final specifications. The headlining features of this $2,000 flagship camera are 4K video at 60 frames per second and a 6K Photo mode that fires off 18MP sequences at 30fps. Panasonic has thrown in plenty of other goodies for professional filmmakers, like in-camera 4:2:2 10-bit video and simultaneous internal/external recording.
Accompanying the GH5 was the announcement of five new lenses: a brand-new 12-60mm f/2.8-4 and updated versions of the 12-35mm f/2.8, 35-100mm f/2.8, 100-300mm f/4-5.6, and 45-200mm f/4-5.6. All the new lenses are weather-sealed and feature new autofocus systems, improved image stabilization, and micro-step irises for smooth aperture adjustments in video.
Nikon D5600 is official in the U.S.
While announced in Japan last fall, Nikon held off the official U.S. unveiling of the D5600 until CES. It represents a slight refinement of the D5500 rather than a complete overhaul, but we don’t see that as a bad thing: The D5500 was always a capable DSLR with excellent image quality; a fantastic option among sub-$1,000 cameras. The D5600 gets enhanced touchscreen capabilities and adds Bluetooth Low Energy for sharing images to a phone or tablet without drawing as much power as Wi-Fi.
The D5600 starts at $700 for the body only and is available for pre-order.
Professional 360 video for less: Insta360 Pro and Hubblo VR
Professional 360-degree video rigs can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars, but two companies are looking to shake up the industry with high-quality, inexpensive alternatives. The Insta360 Pro and Hubblo VR can shoot 4K video in 3D and 360 degrees. The Hubblo does it for just $1,000, while the InstaPro takes things up to $3,000, but adds options for 8K video and photos.
Should these cameras achieve their goal of democratizing 3D 360 video, consumers may soon have much more content to watch on their VR headsets.
Drones go IR: Yuneec H520 and Flir Duo cameras
Yuneec’s H520 drone looks to capture commercial and creative professional users with a modular system that be outfitted with a variety of cameras. Cinematographers have two choices, including a 4K option, and a third offers both thermal (infrared) and night-vision capabilities. The H520 is expected to start at $2,500 and go up from there depending on the camera.
If you like the sound of shooting thermal imagery from the sky but don’t have several thousand dollars laying around, Flir’s new Duo camera will mount to any drone that can carry a GoPro. In addition to 180 x 120 pixel thermal imaging, the Duo captures 1080p visible-light video. The base model is $1,000 while the $1,300 Duo R adds features for commercial use, like accurate temperature measurements.
SteadXP stabilizes video from DSLRs and GoPros
The SteadXP came to CES by way of Kickstarter, where it raised over half a million dollars. It is essentially a box with an accelerometer inside to measure pitch, roll, and yaw — information that can be used to stabilize video the same way a smartphone does it.
Available in two versions, the SteadXP attaches either to any camera with a hot shoe or to the back of a GoPro with a BacPac port. Price is about $272 for one model and $198 for the other.