If you don’t know already, the annual Consumer Electronics Show is happening in Vegas right now and several prominent camera makers have chosen to use the event to launch their latest wares. I won’t go into everything that was launched. For that you can pay a visit to DpReview which have been doing a good job on reporting the happenings. Instead, I want to share my thoughts on a few things that piqued my interest.
Fuji X100s and Fuji X20
I’m a big fan of the X100. While I was disappointed with the X Pro 1 and eventually sold mine, I missed the Fuji look and eventually got an X100, which I absolutely love. One of the things that I really like about the X100 is the fact that you can process its raw files in just about any software, and they always come out pretty damn good. Well, kiss that option goodbye with the newly announced replacement, the Fujifilm X100s because they’ve put in the same X-Trans sensor from the X-Pro1 in the x100s. I’m sure that most fuji fans think this is a heretical comment to make, and that this is a great leap forward, but I much prefer the X100 files over the post processing hoop jumping that you have to do if you want to get the best from X-Pro1. On the plus side though, perhaps with more cameras using the propitiatory sensor design a few more companies might add support to their raw converters (I’m looking at you Apple) and maybe Adobe might finally accept that they need to improve Lightroom’s handling of the X-Trans files. There’s lots of other nice features in the update though, including improvements to autofocus, and a very interesting digital split image focus aid. I’m very keen to see that in real life.
The other big news from Fuji is the X20, the successor to the X10, will also get a new tiny cousin of the larger X-Trans sensor found in the bigger cameras. The results should prove interesting. Again, same caveat as the x100s. This means that you can expect far fewer third parties to support the x20s Raw files. Then again, you never know. Fuji are certainly doubling down on their unique sensor technology, so maybe that will spur better support.
Oh, one cool thing about the X20 is that they’ve now added some information as an overlay in the optical view finder. That was something I found sorely missing when I tried out the X10. It looks like a nice camera but to be honest, I can’t see anything competing with the Sony RX100 until someone else decides to up the sensor size.
Nikon 1 Series
Nikon announced two new cameras in their mirrorless range. The “J” series now reaches its third incarnation with the J3, and they also introduced a new “S” series, which is a lower end model. The Nikon 1 series has taken a lot of flak from camera enthusiasts, and yet, for the people who use it and take advantage of its unique features, it’s giving them great results. The biggest surprise for me regarding the Nikon 1 series was recently reading that it was the biggest selling camera in Japan in the lead up to christmas. I guess Nikon knew what they were doing after all. I have to say, anything I’ve seen shot with it looks great. The only problem is getting narrow depth of field shots, but then that isn’t everything. In fact some photographers would benefit from learning to stop down and give us a sharp image the odd time.
On the subject of the Nikon 1 series, I really home that the next version of the “v” line goes back to the original design. The V1 was lovely, but what the hell were Nikon thinking when they released the V2. It’s bloody hideous. If there was an award for the ugliest camera of the year, it would clearly win. It’s just that the V1 (and the J series) are beautifully designed, especially the white ones.