This year’s CES wasn’t the biggest in terms of photography announcements, but a few companies paved the way, launching new and exciting products. Pocket cameras, which once inundated the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center in CES past, have given way to drone, 360-degree, and AR/VR cameras. Here’s a look as some of the best photo gear we came across at this CES 2018.
Panasonic Lumix GH5S
Panasonic’s GH-series cameras have become a favorite with videographers, particularly with the GH5 it introduced at CES 2017. At CES 2018, the company introduced a companion, called the GH5S, that is designed for video shooters who want a camera that handles low light like a champ. With a new 10MP multi-aspect sensor, the GH5S might not look like much of a change from the outside, but inside it offers improved image quality when shooting in low-light environments, in addition to other video-centric features. It’s not a camera for the mainstream (that remains the GH5), but for its intended user, the GH5S is impressive.
For some early impressions, check out our hands-on review.
Sony RX0 Update
Nikon 180-400mm Lens
Like the Panasonic GH5S, the AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm F/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR lens isn’t designed for consumers — unless you’re into shooting sports and wildlife, and have $13,000 to spare. With a constant f/4 aperture, the lens has a pretty long focal range, but if that isn’t enough, there’s a built-in teleconverter that turns it into a 252-560mm lens. And, it can be turned on by pressing a switch, without ever taking your eye off the viewfinder. Read more about this pro 180-400mm lens.
Yuneec might not have the name recognition of DJI, but it is an equally impressive force in the drone industry, putting out comparative flying machines at a much lower price point.
At this year’s CES, Yuneec gave its lineup a big boost by announcing an update to one of its most popular drones (the Typhoon H), as well as two new models that take Yuneec into territory it hasn’t flown to before.
Typhoon H Plus
The Typhoon H Plus is the successor to Yuneec’s Typhoon H drone, which made its debut two years ago. This second-generation drone is designed with professional photographers and cinematographers in mind, with its six-rotor design and improved imaging capabilities.
Inside the drone, which now produces 40 percent less noise, the Typhoon H Plus has a 20-megapixel one-inch sensor that shoots 4K video at 60 frames per second. The new sensor, combined with the improved lens, offers better low-light performance.
Yuneec also improved the navigational components for the Typhoon H Plus with the help of RealSense technology. It now has collision detection and can avoid obstacles in its path.
The Typhoon H Plus is set to be released in the first half of 2018, for $1,800.
The Firebird FPV is a fixed-wing drone that’s a first for Yuneec. This plane-style drone features a single rotor behind the wings and a 4K camera in the nose.
One of the more unique features is the included first-person-view (FPV) headset, which gives you a bird’s-eye view of the terrain you’re flying over. Yuneec has built-in geofencing, as well as automated return and landing functions integrated into the drone, so the hard stuff should come easy. Yuneec claims the Firebird FPV has a flight time of approximately 30 minutes.
The Firebird FPV is set for release in the first-half of 2018, and will retail for $700.
The HD Racer is Yuneec’s first foray into the world of drone racing. This small four-rotor drone features a 1080p onboard camera that relays low-latency video to a live feed at 60 fps. To help keep repair costs down, the HD Racer is built with durable materials, has protected blades, and even includes an integrated flip-over feature that will turn the drone right-side up in the event it lies upside down in a crash. The HD Racer won’t be out until the second-half of 2018, and is expected to retail for $180.
Read more about Yuneec’s new products.
Lenovo Mirage Camera
In addition to the Lenovo Mirage Solo, the first standalone VR headset that supports Google’s Daydream platform for Android, Lenovo also unveiled a compact camera designed to capture 180-degree photos and videos. It’s called the Lenovo Mirage Camera and it’s made specifically for Google’s VR180 format. The idea is that content creators will be able to easily capture 3D videos with a 180-degree field of view by using two 13-megapixel cameras, without having to worry about a complicated setup. And because you don’t have to fill a 360-degree image, the theory is that you’d get a higher resolution image quality. Better yet, the Lenovo Mirage Camera can even live-stream the video directly to YouTube for an immersive live experience. Read more about the product.
Insta360 VR, Light-Field, and Nano S
Insta360 gave everyone a look at its next-generation cameras, including an eight-lens VR camera and a prototype light-field camera that can be used to create 180-degree video with six degrees of freedom (6DOF).
The eight-lens VR camera can shoot fully spherical 3D video at upward of 10K resolution. With an expected price of $12,000, it’s aimed almost purely for commercial purposes, and the quality should be something that blows everything else out of the water. Detailed specs and a firm release date haven’t yet been confirmed.
The 6DOF Light Field Camera is the other device Insta360 showed off. This massive panel contains 128 individual cameras laid out in a rectangular array. By using video captured from each of these cameras, it is capable of creating 180-degree video that viewers can move around in up, down, left, right, backward, and forward.
This effectively gives viewers the ability to change their view of a scene as they would by moving seats or positions in real life. Insta360 says the technology is currently limited to 180-degree video with its prototype, but specifically mentions the technology is equally comparable with 360-degree video in the future. Pricing and availability are yet to be announced.
Being that CES 2018 is also about consumers, Insta360 also announced the second generation of its iPhone-compatible 360-degree camera, the Nano S. The device, which plugs into an iPhone’s Lightning jack, is nearly identical to the original, but besides wearing a new matte black exterior, the 4K, two-lens camera can now let you conduct video calls in 360 degrees. A new mode, called FreeCapture, lets you crop a part of the 360-degree image for viewing in standard aspect ratio. We will have a hands-on review of the device soon, so stay tuned.
DJI didn’t introduce any new drones to the world at CES in 2018, but they did keep the excitement steady with the announcement of two new handheld stabilizers.
The first of the gimbals is a redesigned Osmo Mobile 2. This pocket-sized stabilizer is designed with cellphones in mind. It uses lightweight materials and simplified controls to make it easier than ever to capture stable footage with your smartphone, both in portrait and horizontal modes. Battery life has also been improved compared to its predecessor, although it’s no longer removable. DJI told us that the new material makes the device much lighter to carry, which we agree. Although it feels less substantial than the original, DJI said it’s just as durable.
Next up is the Ronin-S, DJI’s first handheld gimbal for DSLR and mirrorless cameras. Unlike DJI’s larger gimbals, which require a lot of wires and multiple hands to use, this simple solution takes cues from its Osmo lineup with a single grip. Much like the Osmo Mobile 2, the Ronin-S features simplified controls and intelligent stabilization modes to keep your shots steady, whether you’re using a 5D Mark IV or a Sony A9.
Kodak Blockchain and Super 8
In a move that confused even those familiar with the company, Kodak announced KodakOne, a rights management platform for photographers. Additionally, Kodak revealed it has made its very own cryptocurrency, KodakCoin, as a means of making sure photographers can get paid for their work. With blockchains and cryptocurrency in the news lately, the timing seems appropriate. Find out more about this unusual announcement.
The company also provided new details about its Super 8 camera, which it announced two years ago at CES. The digital-analog hybrid is now expected by end of 2018, but with a $500 price increase — from $2,500 to $3,000. Read more about Kodak’s modern Super 8 camera.
Yi Horizon VR180 Camera
Along with Lenovo, Yi Technology announced its VR180 camera, called the Horizon. Developed in partnership with Google, the two-lens camera can shoot in 5.7K resolution in 30 fps, and supports YouTube and Google Photos. Using Google Cardboard, Google Daydream, or compatible VR headsets, you can view a high-resolution image in 180 degrees. The VR180 format is designed to be stereoscopic, so you also get a 3D-like experience that’s typically missing in most consumer 360-degree cameras. The camera also supports live streaming, and there’s a 2.2-inch LCD for live view and playback. Four microphones let you capture surround sound, and a one-button design gives it the point-and-shoot ease everybody’s familiar with. No announcement has been made on pricing and availability, but it should go on sale sometime in 2018.
Canon has a significant presence at CES 2018, but it didn’t unveil any new products. Instead, it used the opportunity to showcase some concept cameras.
One such camera, seen above, is a new take on the point-and-shoot. With a flip of a switch, the lens can change from 100mm to 400mm — similar to how the dual-lens systems in smartphones work. This particular model borrows from the DxO One, which lets you connect the camera to an iPhone via the Lightning port; the phone then functions as a viewfinder and controller. The camera can also function independently, using a removable viewfinder. Canon also demonstrated a version of the same camera, but in a different body (below).
Canon also showed off another concept — a somewhat take on a lifelogging camera (below). Whether it’s worn or placed on a table, the camera is designed to automatically snap photos, as well as edit them. It has one lens, but because it can rotate on a base, it can track and shoot around it. According to Canon, the camera uses face detection and can shoot when it recognizes faces. Overtime, the camera learns about the users’ habits, environments, and people in their lives, in order to make smart choices in what it automatically captures.
This article has been updated for formatting, additional products, and info.