Get your wish lists ready
'Tis the season for photographers to lust after all-new gear for the new year. The past few months have been a horn o' plenty in terms of intriguing camera announcements. Many innovative models were unveiled in late September as part of the Photokina show in Cologne, Germany, and last week's PhotoPlus Expo in New York City showcased all these new cameras on U.S. soil for the first time. Full-frame sensors and cameras with wireless features and apps are two of the biggest trends in 2012. Meanwhile, mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras and premium compact cameras continue to get better and better. Here's an up-close look at the most-interesting new cameras that were on display at the Javits Center.
Full-frame cameras: Sony Alpha SLT-A99
Price: $2800 for body only
Sony's new flagship Alpha SLT-A99, a translucent-mirror camera with a 24.3-megapixel full-frame sensor, was on display at the show. Its unique internal mirror drives a fast phase-detection autofocus system, which makes it a good option for fast-action shooters and sports photographers. The A99's video capabilities also stand out, as it captures 1080p video at 60fps with manual exposure controls enabled. For more information about the Sony Alpha SLT-A99, read our in-depth story.
Full-frame cameras: Nikon D600
Price: $2100 for body only.
If you want a full-frame-sensored DSLR, $2100 is looking like the entry-level price for the category at the moment. For that price, the Nikon D600 offers a 24.3-megapixel full-frame sensor, ISO settings that reach up to a 25,600, a 39-point autofocus system, and 1080p video capture at 30fps. The D600 is one of two new full-frame DSLR bodies available for a little over two grand, and it's the only one available right now; the Canon EOS 6D, which you'll see in the next slide, is due by the end of the year. For more information about the Nikon D600, read our in-depth story.
Full-frame cameras: Canon EOS 6D
Price: $2100 for body only.
Also coming in at $2100 is the Canon EOS 6D, a full-frame DSLR that trades in a bit of resolution (20.2 megapixels as compared to the 24.3-megapixel sensor in Nikon and Sony's new full-frame cameras) for connected features. The EOS 6D offers in-camera GPS for geotagging images and built-in Wi-Fi, which can be used to upload images directly from the camera or pair the 6D with a tablet or smartphone. When loaded with a free Canon app, iOS and Android devices can be used as image viewers, remote shutter release controls, and wireless viewfinders. For more information about the Canon EOS 6D, read our in-depth story.
Full-frame cameras: Sony Cyber-shot RX1
Astonishingly, this little camera also packs a full-frame sensor. The Sony Cyber-shot RX1 shares many of the same core specs as the Sony Alpha SLT-A99—its 24.3-megapixel full-frame sensor, maximum ISO of 25,600, and 1080p/60fps video recording with manual exposure controls among them—but it offers all of those in a compact, fixed-lens body. The RX100's lens has a fixed focal length of 35mm and a fast F2.0 maximum aperture. However, its price isn't as small as its size: At $2800, this pocket Hercules has a steep price of admission. For more information about the Sony Cyber-shot RX1, read our in-depth story.
New mirrorless cameras: Nikon 1 V2
Price: $800 for body only; kit configurations start at $900.
The second-generation V model in Nikon's 1 system of mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras still has an eye-level electronic viewfinder, but it adds a new 14.2-megapixel sensor, a redesigned body, and a physical mode dial to the V1's feature set. While it looks a bit more like a DSLR than previous Nikon 1 models, it's still very compact. The new camera also has faster continuous shooting speeds, which max out at a brisk 15 frames per second at full resolution. For more information about the Nikon 1 V2, read our in-depth story.
New mirrorless cameras: Sony Alpha NEX-6 and NEX-5R
Price: NEX-6 is $1000 as a kit; NEX-5R is $750 as a kit.
Sony's newest compact interchangeable-lens cameras were also on display at the show, and both new models also offer Wi-Fi connectivity and the ability to run custom-built apps. The Sony Alpha NEX-6 (pictured) and NEX-5R both are built around a 16-megapixel APS-C sensor, offer manual exposure controls and ISO settings up 25,600, and capture 1080p/60fps video. The NEX-6 adds an eye-level OLED viewfinder and more physical buttons for adjusting settings. For more information about each camera, read our in-depth stories about the Sony Alpha NEX-6 and Sony Alpha NEX-5R.
New mirrorless cameras: Canon EOS M
Price: $800 as a kit.
Canon's first-ever mirrorless camera is bound to be a big seller this holiday season. The Canon EOS M has a 16-megapixel APS-C sensor tucked inside a very compact body, and most of the camera's core functions are handled with a 3-inch touchscreen. The EOS M also has many of the same in-camera effects and settings as Canon's PowerShot line, so it should be an easy-to-learn step-up camera for those accustomed to a point-and-shoot. For more information about the Canon EOS M, read our in-depth story.
New mirrorless cameras: Fujifilm X-E1
Price: $1000 for body only; $1400 as a kit.
The X-E1 is Fujifilm's second mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera, and at $1000 for the body only, it comes in at $700 less than the company's higher-end X-Pro1. Tucked inside the X-E1's throwback design is a 16-megapixel APS-C sensor, an eye-level OLED viewfinder, 1080p video capture at 24fps, and manual exposure controls for still photos. For more information about the Fujifilm X-E1, read our in-depth story.
New mirrorless cameras: Olympus PEN E-PL5
Price: $650 for body only; $700 as a kit.
The PEN E-PL5 is one of two new compact interchangeable-lens cameras from Olympus that feature the same 16-megapixel sensor and super-fast autofocus speeds found in the company's flagship OM-D E-M5 camera. The PEN E-PL5 (pictured) and E-PM2 offer that high-end skillset in much more compact bodies, with a few notable differences between the two: The E-PL5 has an adjustable touchscreen and a physical mode dial, while the smaller E-PL2 leaves most of its controls to a fixed touchscreen. For more information about both cameras, read our in-depth story.
New mirrorless cameras: Panasonic Lumix GH3
Price: $1200 for body only.
The 16-megapixel Panasonic Lumix GH3 is more in line with the size of a DSLR, and its core features are built as much for video capture as they are for still photography. It captures 1080p video at 60fps with manual exposure controls and fine-tunable audio controls, and it supports dynamic focus adjustments while shooting video by simply touching different parts of its adjustable touchscreen. It's also a Wi-Fi-enabled camera that can link up to iOS and Android devices for remote image viewing, photo browsing, and geotagging. For more information about the Panasonic Lumix GH3, read our in-depth story.
New mirrorless cameras: Pentax Q10
Price: $600 as a kit.
The tiny Pentax Q10 is the smallest new interchangeable-lens camera out there, with a body size that's smaller than some point-and-shoot cameras. The camera's sensor is also more in line with that of a point-and-shoot camera, as it's a 1/2.3-inch-type imager that's a fraction of the size of the APS-C and Micro Four-Thirds sensors found in most other mirrorless models. The Q10 has manual exposure controls, mechanical image stabilization, a built-in neutral density filter, and a hot shoe to go along with its unique pop-up flash.
App cameras: Samsung Galaxy Camera
Price: Unknown; to be offered with an AT&T 3G or 4G contract.
The Samsung Galaxy Camera is the most ambitious connected camera yet, thanks to a very sharp 4.8-inch touchscreen on the back that matches the size of the Samsung Galaxy SIII's display, a quad-core processor, and the ability to run any Android app compatible with the camera's Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system. It's also the first camera I've seen to offer wireless sharing beyond Wi-Fi, as there will be 3G and 4G versions of the camera that can share images and download content via cellular data networks. AT&T has been announced as a carrier, but there are no pricing plans for the service or the camera yet.
App cameras: Samsung Galaxy Camera
Along with its up-to-date Android operating system and connected features, the Samsung Galaxy Camera also has a far-reaching 21X-optical-zoom lens and manual exposure controls, two factors that make it a more-versatile photography device than your average smartphone camera. During some hands-on time at the show, I was impressed with the Galaxy Camera's fast response times and sharp touchscreen; it really is like using a high-end smartphone grafted to the back of a camera. For more information about the Samsung Galaxy Camera, read our in-depth story.
App cameras: Nikon Coolpix S800C
Nikon's new Coolpix S800C also runs a full version of Android, albeit a more-dated version (Android 2.3 Gingerbread) than the operating system found in Samsung's Android camera. The 16-megapixel Coolpix S800C has an ample 10X-optical-zoom lens, a 3.5-inch OLED touchscreen, and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. You can also download Android apps directly to the phone using its on-board Google Play gateway. For more information about the Nikon Coolpix S800C, read our in-depth story.
App cameras: Sony Alpha NEX-5R and NEX-6
Price: NEX-5R is $750 as a kit; NEX-6 is $1000 as a kit.
Sony is betting on the fact that you don't need Android on your camera to run apps. The Wi-Fi-enabled NEX-5R (pictured) and NEX-6 interchangeable-lens cameras will allow shooters to download and run proprietary, Sony-built photography apps. That makes these two new NEX cameras the first to support add-as-you-go photography features to each model's core feature set.
Premium compact cameras: Panasonic Lumix LX7
Panasonic's latest high-end pocket camera is the Lumix LX7, which is fully loaded for its size. It boasts a very bright F1.4 maximum aperture, a very fast autofocus system, 1080p/60fps video capture with manual exposure controls, and a built-in neutral density filter. For more information about the Panasonic Lumix LX7, read our in-depth story.
Premium compact cameras: Samsung EX2F
The Samsung EX2F matches the Panasonic Lumix LX7's bright F1.4 lens, and it even ups the ante with a few of its features. For example, the EX2F has built-in Wi-Fi for sharing photos from the camera and controlling it remotely from a mobile device, and you can adjust its 3-inch OLED display. Manual controls, a built-in neutral density filter, and 1080p/30fps video recording are all in the mix, as well. For more information about the Samsung EX2F, read our in-depth story.
Premium compact cameras: Olympus Stylus XZ-2
The Olympus XZ-2 boasts a very fast autofocus system to go along with its adjustable touchscreen, F1.8 lens, and manual controls, making it a compelling option in the premium compact universe. Two of its unique features are a removable handgrip and a control ring around the lens that can be adjusted to click into place or scroll freely, depending on how you set a front-mounted lever. For more information about the Olympus Stylus XZ-2, read our in-depth story.
Premium compact cameras: Canon PowerShot S110
The latest addition to Canon's popular PowerShot S series of cameras is the Wi-Fi-enabled PowerShot S110. It has the same pocketable size, clickable control ring around the lens, and maximum F2.0 aperture as its predecessors, but there are a couple of big additions in the mix. Namely, its touchscreen interface and its built-in Wi-Fi features for sharing photos and controlling the camera from a mobile device. For more information about the Canon PowerShot S110, read our in-depth story.
Premium compact cameras: Nikon Coolpix P7700
Nikon's latest flagship fixed-lens camera is the Coolpix P7700, which has quite a few differences as compared to its predecessors. It's the first CMOS-sensored camera in the P7000 lineup, and the camera's 7.1X zoom lens, which is a very large optical range for a premium compact camera, now has a brighter maximum aperture of F2.0. The camera's body design is also quite a bit different from previous cameras in the P series, with a slimmed-down, less-boxy look. For more information about the Nikon Coolpix P7700, read our in-depth story.
Premium compact cameras: Canon PowerShot G15
The Coolpix P7700's biggest competition is the new Canon PowerShot G15, which also adds a very fast lens (F1.8) and a CMOS sensor. Canon also claims that the new G-series camera boasts faster autofocus speeds and burst-shooting capabilities than its CCD-sensored predecessors. For more information about the Canon PowerShot G15, read our in-depth story.
Premium compact cameras: Fujifilm XF1
The Fujifilm XF1's faux leather exterior might be the most eye-catching thing about it. In this case, the camera's beauty may be more than skin-deep. The XF1 has a bright F1.8 lens, manual exposure controls, and the same EXR sensor found in the company's X10 premium compact. One unique touch is that the camera's 4X zoom lens is operated manually by twisting the lens barrel; the optics retract into the camera body when you twist the lens to the "closed" position. For more information about the Fujifilm ZF1, read our in-depth story.
Unique point-and-shoots: Nikon Coolpix S01
The smallest camera spotted at the show was the Nikon Coolpix S01, which will fit in the palm of your hand with plenty of room to spare. The tiny 10-megapixel camera somehow has room for a 2.5-inch touchscreen around the back of it, and its 3X-optical zoom lens has a circumference that's about the size of a quarter.
Unique point-and-shoots: Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS
What's cooler than being cool? Being frozen into a solid block of ice. Olympus went to extreme measures to showcase the freeze-resistance of its Tough TG-1 iHS and Tough TG-820 iHS cameras at the show. The Tough TG-1 iHS is one of the only rugged/waterproof/freezeproof cameras with core specs that match those of a premium compact camera, thanks to a F2.0 lens, a dedicated low-light mode, high-speed shooting modes, and 1080p video capture. For more information on the Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS, read our hands-on field test.