The B&H Gear News Roundup: January 9, 2015


This week in the news: Rested, relaxed, ready! Were you missing The Gear Review? Was your Friday feeling empty and incomplete? Well, you can stop worrying, The Gear Review just had a long, restful holiday!


Want to know how the electronics/photo market works? Well, there is a lot of new product that comes out in the months leading up to the holiday but, while The Gear Review is out at the pool in a tropical climate working on its tan, the market is relatively quiet.


And then January... and the International CES... the Consumer Electronics Show hosts more than 3,600 exhibitors, in Las Vegas, to reveal to you all of the stuff you wish had been revealed to you in November, when your loved ones were doing their holiday shopping for you.


So, what did CES bring us this week? Let The Gear Review tell you!



Nikon D5500 DSLR and A Pair of Lenses


CES is known for its releases in the point-and-shoot photography market, but Nikon took advantage of the show to roll out its latest DLSR, the Nikon D5500. Small, light, and portable, the D5500 replaces the popular D5300 in the lineup and features an expanded ISO range to 25,600, a lighter body, and the same capable 24.2MP DX-format sensor. The big splash is found at the  back of the camera, as it features Nikon's first touchscreen LCD.

Also spicing up Nikon's trio of releases is the all-new AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR lens. The Gear Review is a big fan of the last generation of this NIKKOR lens, but the new version looks even cooler. The new lens features what Nikon calls a  "Phase Fresnel (PF)" element. When The Gear Review hears "Fresnel" it immediately thinks, "Lighthouses!" And lighthouses are cool!

The new PF glass element works to correct chromatic aberrations (pesky buggers) along with an extra-low dispersion element. Nikon's Nano Crystal Coat is also at work here, and a fluorine coating protects the front element. The new lens is lighter than its predecessor, as well.

The final Nikon release is the AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II lens that features a retracting design to keep it 20% shorter than previous iterations of this focal length. Also featured is a 4-stop VR system and Nikon's Super Integrated Coating.

Check out the new Nikon lenses and D5500 in this Explora article. Additionally, see our "Hands-On" report from CES on the D5500.



New Photo Gear from Canon


Canon has released a small battery of new PowerShot point-and-shoot cameras as well as a EOS 6D DSLR kit at CES.


The SX710 HS features Canon's newer DIGIC 6 image processor, along with a 20.3MP 1/2.3" CMOS sensor. When compared to the SX700 HS, the new camera features a 25% increase in resolution, expanded ISO sensitivity to 3200, and 6 fps continuous shooting. Full HD 1080p video recording is supported up to 60 fps, and a 3.0" 922k-dot LCD is available for monitoring and image review. The lens is a 30x zoom that gives a 25-750mm equivalent focal-length range with Intelligent IS image stabilization.

Next up is the SX610 HS point-and-shoot camera. It also features a 25% increase in pixels, as well as a slightly shorter 18x zoom lens, which provides a 25-450mm equivalent focal length. The 20.2MP 1/2.3" CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4+ processor give it sensitivity to ISO 3200 and a maximum shooting rate of 7.2 fps. Full HD 1080p recording at 30 fps helps you make movies, and a 3.0" 922k-dot LCD lets you see them.


The new SX530 HS features the crazy-long zoom with its 24-1200mm equivalent focal-length range. This new version ups the zoom magnification from 42x to 50x, and incorporates the same Intelligent IS image stabilization system to ensure sharper results for both stills and video. Inside, a 16MP 1/2.3" CMOS sensor, DIGIC 4+ processor,  ISO 3200, shooting up to 10 fps, and full HD video recording at 30p round out the impressive capabilities. See our CES "Hands-On" review here.


Canon has also released two new pocket-sized ELPH-series of point-and-shoots, the ELPH 170 IS and ELPH 160. Both cameras feature a 20MP 1/2.3" CCD image sensor, DIGIC 4+ image processor, HD 720p video recording, sensitivity to ISO 1600, and shooting up to 2.2 fps. What is the difference between the two? The lens and image stabilization. The ELPH 160 has an 8x zoom that covers a 28-224mm equivalent focal-length range, and the ELPH 170 IS features a 12x zoom to provide a 25-300mm equivalent range with intelligent IS image stabilization.


All of the new PowerShot point-and-shoots work seamlessly with the new Connect Station CS100. This is a very cool addition to your photo bag and The Gear Review is forced to wonder why something like this has appeared only now. Using the cameras’ NFC and Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as directly accepting SD cards or a USB 2.0 connection from Canon cameras released since 2010, it allows you to store photos for on-the-go backups. It provides 1TB of storage for your photos or videos. It also serves as a hub for you to view your images via an HDMI-connected monitor, transfer files to another mobile device, send photos to a wireless printer, or view or transfer imager from your smartphone, tablet, or PC using a web browser. The Gear Review approves!

In the DSLR realm, Canon announced a new kit featuring the full-frame EOS 6D and the recently introduced EF 24-104mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, the first Canon full-frame-compatible lens to feature the near-silent STM autofocus motor.


Check out our take on the new Canon gear in this Explora article.


New Panasonic Lumix Cameras



Panasonic has updated its capable Lumix DMC point-and-shoot lineup with five new cameras.


The zoomiest of the five is the DMC-ZS50, with its 30x zoom Leica DC Vario-Elmar lens that has a 35mm equivalent focal length of 24-720mm. The Leica lens incorporates aspherical and extra-low dispersion elements to help produce sharp, high-contrast imagery for its 12.1MP High Sensitivity MOS sensor, and Venus Engine image processor. Also, the camera features HD 1080p video and an eye-on manual camera control with a lens-mounted Control Ring. It will be available in Black or Silver.

The DMC-ZS45 features a DC Vario 20x optical zoom lens with a 24-480mm equivalent focal range and a 16MP High Sensitivity MOS sensor to record high-resolution still and Full HD 1080p videos. ISO goes up to 6400 and it can shoot up to 10 frames per second, or 2 fps with AF tracking. The LCD screen features a Wink-Activated mode to make taking selfies very simple. It will be available in Black or White.


The slim DMC-SZ10 features a 16MP CCD image sensor and a 12x optical zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 24-288mm with Optical Image Stabilization to reduce the appearance of camera shake for its stills and videos.


Action cams are still hot, and the two Panasonics are built to take on the extremes while disguised, more or less, like a regular point-and-shoot camera. The DMC-TS30 has a 16.1MP CCD sensor, a 24-100mm equivalent DC Vario Lens, and built-in MEGA Optical Image Stabilizer. Stills and HD video can be shot down to 14°F, while being dropped from 5', underwater to a depth of 26', or in a dust storm. It will be available in BlackBlue, or Red.

An expanded zoom range and Leica lens designate the DMC-TS6, which has a 16MP MOS sensor coupled to a 4.5x Leica DC zoom lens with a 28-128mm equivalent focal length. The TS6 dives deeper than the TS30 with waterproofing down to 43' and can be dropped carelessly from heights of 6.6'. It will be available in BlueGreen, Orange, and Red.


For more information on the Panasonic Lumix releases, check out this report.



New Fujifilm Fast Standard Zoom Lens


Fujifilm's CES splash comes in the form of the new  XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens. With a 35mm focal-length equivalence of 24-84mm and a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture, this lens gives a great combination of versatility in the focal range and low-light/shallow depth-of-field capabilities. A rounded 9-blade diaphragm helps to create pleasing out-of-focus areas when shooting with shallow depth of field, and three aspherical and three extra-low dispersion (ED) lens elements work to keep spherical and chromatic aberrations at bay. Fujifilm’s HT-EBC coating and the new Nano-GI coating improve light transmission between the lens elements. How about distortion? Nope, not when you use this lens on the XT-1 and X-E2 cameras. A Lens Modulation Optimizer (LMO) technology automatically corrects for diffraction.

Autofocus is as fast as 0.06 seconds inside this weather-resistant, robust lens design. Purists rejoice! Both the focus and aperture rings are metal, plus metal is used on the exterior of the lens body for a high-quality finish, and seals on the lens barrel provide water and dust protection and allow the lens to operate in temperatures as low as 14°F—important for this week, across the northern United States!

Check out the new Fujifilm lens in this Explora article.



New Sony, Canon, and Panasonic Camcorders




CES is also a camcorder party and we want to share new releases from Sony, Canon, and Panasonic.


Sony's new 4K machine is the FDR-AX33 Handycam camcorder. It features an 18.9MP Exmor R CMOs sensor, delivering Ultra HD-resolution (3840 x 2160) video at 24, 25, or 30 frames per second and Full HD 1080p up to 60 fps using Sony’s efficient XAVC S codec (100 Mbps for 4K and 50mbps for 1080p). It can also capture up to 20.6MP interpolated still images with its Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* lens. The lens has a wide 35mm equivalent focal length of 29.8mm, with 10x optical zoom and up to 24x Clear Image zoom.

Check it out here.


If you don’t need 4K, several new Sony Handycam camcorders bring updates and new features to the lineup. The HDR-CX405 delivers a long zoom, optical image stabilization, and adds the XAVC S codec that allows you to record at 50 Mb/s. The HDR-CX440 and HDR-PJ440 feature 8GB of internal storage and Wi-Fi with NFC capability. Last, Sony’s HDR-PJ670  features a 1/5.8" sensor, larger 3.0" higher-resolution LCD view screen, 32GB of internal memory, and a 25-lumen projector for viewing your footage. Its 24/25p recording capability, in addition to 30/50/60p and manual iris/shutter speed control, raise the PJ670 above the consumer Handycam class of camcorder.


For more info on the Handycam line up, click here.



Canon rolled out three new Full HD VIXIA camcorders: the HF R600HF R60, and HF R62. The trio of camcorders features a 3.28MP CMOS sensor, DIGIC DV 4 image processor, and 57x Advanced Zoom with SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer. New to the lineup is the Framing Assistance function that reduces the zoom magnification when the camcorder loses sight of your subject while zooming, making it easier to find your subject again; and new slow- and fast-motion recording that allows you to record fast motion at up to 1200x and slow motion at 1/2x speed. The HF R60 and R62 models add NFC support to their Wi-Fi capabilities for one-touch connection with NFC-compatible mobile devices and the aforementioned CS-100.


For more on the Canon camcorders, check out this Explora article .


There are a half dozen exciting new Panasonic camcorders to play with now. The HC-VX870 and HC-WX970 models bring UltraHD 4K video capture to Panasonic's consumer market. The HC-WX970, along with the Full HD HC-W570, feature the unique sub-camera attached to the flip-out LCD, which allows you to capture a second angle and superimpose it over the main image. Wi-Fi-enabled smartphone connectivity is new and allows you to supply the second camera angle. This tethering feature is also found on the PAHCVX870 and PAHCV770 models. All but the entry-level HC-V160 feature the latest in Panasonic's ever-evolving image stabilization technology and the HC-V270 and HC-W570 give you the most zoom of the lot, with a full 50x optical zoom.


Check out the Panasonic lineup here.



There is More!


Maybe The Gear Review was not as rested as it thought. For a complete rundown of the new gear at CES, click on this link to see the newest audio gear, televisions, fitness monitors, and other awesome stuff.



... and that's your exhaustive news for the week of January 5th, 2015.


I'm a bit confused about the AX33's gross Megapixels. Sony's website states that 18.9 MP, some other sources say roughly 20 MP, and you say 8.4 MP. I'm really hoping it's 8.4MP because if it's in the double digits, the low light capabilities will be reduced. So does the AX33's CMOS sensor really have percisely 8.4 MP or is that the effective pixels of the sensor? Thanks!


According to Sony, the gross pixels for the Sony FDR-AX33 is approximately 18.9 megapixels.