What's happening at Yokohama?
Japan's annual Camera & Photo Imaging Show (or CP+) has always been a treat for photography fans, whether it's because of the abundance of models (both human and photographic), or the plain charm of the Japanese exhibitors who always do their best to accede to our requests despite the difficulties in language.
There's always a large crowd of camera-toting fans, many of them with extremely serious gear. All the talks and presentations are still conducted in Japanese only, making it seems a little more like a domestic trade show, but with companies like Lytro, Manfrotto, and drone builder DJI all making a presence on the show floor, it's definitely anything but.
1.) Casio Exilim ZR1600
As has been the case for a while, Casio's focus remains on the selfie (and now the wefie), and so it's looked to improve your options by adding Bluetooth Smart and Wi-Fi connectivity to its new Exilim, the ZR1600. This 16-megapixel camera features an 18x optical zoom (expandable to 36x), a 25-81mm lens, and of course, a flip-up LCD screen for selfies and wefies.
Bluetooth Smart is Casio's answer to NFC, which it thinks is a better solution as you won't even need to tap your phone to your camera each time to activate sharing (after you've done an initial set-up). Once paired, just activate the feature from your ZR1600, and it will send images over to your phone - even if it's in your bag.
Unfortunately the ZR1600 will remain a Japan-only model for now, but we're told an equivalent for the international market will be released later in the year, so we'll be sure to update you when that happens.
2.) Panasonic Lumix CM1
It's not the first camera-phone Panasonic has attempted, but the Lumix CM1 certainly seems like it has potential to go mainstream.
For starters, it's based off Android 4.4 (KitKat), has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.3Ghz (quad-core) processor, and features a 1-inch, 20-megapixel MOS sensor that has an ISO range of 125-12,800 (expandable to 25,600).
It shoots to RAW, does 4K video recording, and supports 4G, 3G, and 2G mobile networks, which means it shouldn't be too difficult to adapt one for overseas networks. Of course, there's also a microSD slot for easy expansion.
We do like the control ring on the front, and the fact that it isn't much larger or thicker than today's smartphones.
The one thing that did stand out to us though, is that despite the fact that focus and capture seem to be fairly speedy, the CM1 takes a fair amount of time processing image data before it's ready for the next shot. Still, the concept does seem to be promising.
The Lumix CM1 has been launched in Japan for 120,000 Yen (~S$1,370), but no dates are announced regarding an international launch.
3.) Pentax K-S2
It's been barely a year since the K-S1 was launched, and now the K-S2 brings weather sealing and dust resistance to a body that measures about 122.5mm wide and 72.5mm deep.
There's also a flip-out LCD, and the camera now features Wi-Fi and NFC support for easy smart device control.
Also new are Shake Reduction and Dust Removal capabilities to the 20-megapixel CMOS sensor, which goes up to a max ISO of 51,200. There's even a secondary button that can be configured to work as a shutter when you hold the camera in reverse to take those selfies!
The LED strip that distinguished the original K-S1 seems to be gone, but the features on this entry-level camera definitely sound attractive.
This will be going for about 109,630 Yen (~S$1,251) in Japan, but there isn't an international release date as yet. It's definitely something to look out for if you're a fan of the Pentax system.