It's Raining Compact Cameras at CES 2010

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is kicking off in Las Vegas with over 2,500 exhibitors aiming to woo visitors with the latest & greatest technology. Amongst the widescreen TVs, games consoles and super skinny laptops there are plenty of digital cameras – although it’s suspiciously quiet on the digital SLR & lenses front so far.

Sony Cyber-Shot

Leading the storm of new compact cameras are no fewer than twelve Sony Cyber-Shot cameras, from the range topping HX5 with GPS & 25mm wide-angle lens to the budget friendly S2100:

  • Cyber-Shot HX5: Features a 10 megapixel ‘Exmor R’ CMOS sensor, 25-250mm G-lens, 1080i HD video, GPS & compass and SteadyShot image stabilisation.
  • Cyber-Shot W310, W320, W330, W350, W360, W380 and W390: Yikes! The W380 is highlighted by Sony – 14 megapixel CCD sensor, 24-120mm f2.4 G lens, and 720p HD video.
  • Cyber-Shot TX7: Just 19.7mm deep, 10 megapixel ‘Exmor R’ CMOS sensor, 25-100mm Carl Zeiss lens, 3.5” LCD touch screen and 1080i HD video. Clearly the fashionable one!
  • Cyber-Shot S2100 & S2200: The S2100 features a 12 megapixel CCD sensor, 3x optical zoom, and 3.0” LCD screen. Available in Black, Silver and Orange.

The Sony Cyber-Shot TX7, HX5 and S2100 digital cameras WARNING: The Sony HX5 may caused airbrushed skin & oversized hands for the user.

Olympus Mju & FE

Olympus has been thoughtful with their new compact cameras; it’s not just a slap & dash with a new model number, there are useful new features like internal memory and USB charging (is it just me or does every gadget lover have at least 20 chargers tidied-away tangled in a drawer).

  • Mju Tough 3000: Shockproof up to 1.5m, waterproof to 3m deep, 28-102mm lens, 12 megapixel CCD sensor, USB charging and 1GB internal memory.
  • Mju 5010, 7030/7040 and 9010: With 5x, 7x and 10x zoom respectively, 14 megapixel CCD sensor, 2.7” LCD screen, and 1-2GB internal storage.
  • FE-47, FE-4030/4040 and FE-5030: Features a 14 megapixel CCD sensor, 2.7” LCD screen, USB charging (except the FE-47) and various lens options.

The Olympus MJU Tough 3000 with USB charging & 1GB internal memory

Canon PowerShot

Canon is focusing on the user-friendly ‘A-series’ of budget compact cameras under the PowerShot badge. The new cameras feature face detection, simple menus and new automatic scene detection in Smart Auto mode.

  • PowerShot A490 & A495: 10 megapixel CCD sensor, 37-122mm lens, 13 / 18 scene recognition respectively and FaceSelf-Timer on the A495 (waits for the photographer to enter the scene in a group portrait).
  • PowerShot A3000 IS & A3100 IS: 10 & 12 megapixel CCD sensors respectively, 35-140mm lens, 2.7” LCD screen and re-chargeable lithium-ion batteries (A-series usually take AA batteries).

The Canon PowerShot A495 and A3000 IS

Panasonic Lumix

Panasonic has updated the Lumix camera range to include a sprinkling of touch-screens, ambitious lenses and HD video on certain models:

  • Lumix FS30 & FS33: 28-224mm lens with image stabilisation, 14 megapixel CCD sensor and a 2.7” LCD screen & 3.0” touch-screen LCD respectively.
  • Lumix FS10 & FS11: 12 & 14 megapixel CCD sensors respectively, 28-140mm lens with image stabilisation and 720p HD video.
  • Lumix FP1, FP2 & FP3: Just 18.6mm deep, 35-140mm lens with image stabilisation and 2.7” LCD screen on the FP1 & FP2 & 3.0” touch-screen on the FP3.

The Panasonic Lumix FS11 FS30 and FP3

Samsung PL & ST

Samsung continue to grow their range of dual LCD cameras (front & back) and have added a cutting-edge 3.5” AMOLED touch-screen LCD to the ST5500.

    • ST5000 & ST5500: 14 megapixel CCD sensor, 7x optical zoom, 720p HD video and 3.5” touch-screens (TFT on the ST5000, AMOLED on the ST5500).

PL100 & PL150: 35-105mm & 27-135mm lenses respectively, 12.1 megapixels, 2.7/3.0” back LCD screen (PL100/PL150) and 1.5” front LCD screen.

The Samsung ST5500 with an amazing AMOLED screen

Casio Exilim

Casio are leaving the touch-screens and dual LCD gimmicks to everyone else, focusing instead on crazy high-speed burst modes. The EX-FH100 is capable of a staggering 1,000 frames per second at a resolution of 224x64 pixels, down to 120 frames per second at a more usable resolution of 640x480.

  • Exilim FH100: 10 megapixel CMOS sensor with stabilisation, high-speed movie clips, still images at 40FPS (9 megapixels), 24-240mm lens and 3.0” LCD screen.
  • Exilim Z550, Z2000 & H15: 4x, 5x & 10x optical zoom respectively, 14 megapixel CCD sensor with stabilisation and 3.0” high-resolution 460k LCD screens (2.7” 230k on the Z550).

The Casio FH100 (1000fps) and Z2000 (with an interesting 'design line')

Don’t say we didn’t warn you it was raining compact cameras!

In Summary

Probably too many new compacts from each manufacturer with the increasingly common micro-variation of megapixels or LCD screens which just confuses everyone! The excessive megapixel count is still a problem on some models – cramming 14 megapixels into a tiny 1/2.33” sensor, which is bound to cause tears when it comes to low-light performance.

The bits we do like? The lovely new AMOLED touch-screens, internal memory, USB charging and Casio’s fascination with high speed capture – 1000fps, wow!