With the annual Photo Marketing Association show now all but a memory, CES is typically the first look we get at all the new imaging-related gadgets announced at the dawn of each new year. While the photography announcements are typically dwarfed by the Internet of Things, the stunning progress in VR, the fast approaching reality of driverless cars and the fact robots are soon going to take over the Earth, if you looked hard enough, the photo world was well represented at this year’s CES.
The show’s numbers are always fun to recount. This year, there were reportedly more than 3,600 exhibitors spread across 2.47 million-square-feet, and more than 170,000 people from some 140 countries scurrying around Las Vegas for this year’s event. So then, while finding the major headlines from this year’s CES is a Google search away, we’ll focus on all things photography-related in this space, both big and small.
2TBs of Portable Storage From Samsung
It can’t go unsaid the importance of backing up your image library, but what about the notion of backing up on the fly? There is nothing more frightening to a photographer than the thought of coming back from a photo shoot only to discover your images didn’t come back with you. To that effect, Samsung introduced their new, extremely portable SSD T3, a palm-sized external solid state drive that can store up to 2 terabytes worth of your photos and files while taking up limited space and weight. Weighing in at less than 2 ounces, the T3 is approximately the size of a business card.
The T3 features Samsung’s proprietary Vertical NAND (V-NAND) and SSD TurboWrite technologies that give you read/write speeds of up to 450MB/s. You’re looking at download and upload speeds that are approximately three to four times faster than any other external hard drives currently on the market. It appears as though Samsung designed this one with photographers in mind, as they made the T3 extra durable with an outer metal case that is shock-resistant and able to withstand 1500G of force. Toss in resistance against extreme heat and cold temperatures, and this is exactly the kind of portable storage you want with you on an extended photo-related trip.
A Bevy of Storage Solutions
This is for those of you out there who are getting a bit overwhelmed by your collection of photos and videos. Start-up Lineage Labs debuted a very cool solution to this problem dubbed Bevy. The product is a centralized image storage hub that is essentially an alternative to cloud storage solutions like iCloud, Google Drive or Dropbox, and is designed to store content locally on a connected hard drive placed in the home, which is where the photos and videos from all family members are saved.
This drive, the “Bevy,” is meant to be set up in the family’s entertainment center, as it can also be plugged into the TV to display its content. Currently offered with 1TB of storage, the device works with SD cards from digital cameras and USB flash drives. The full solution includes both desktop (Mac, Windows) and mobile (iOS to start) software that uploads photos to the Bevy drive from any connected device a family member owns. ($349).
A Drone in ‘Plane’ Sight
Yes, of course there were drones. Lots and lots of drones, in fact, that had attendees ducking for safety all over the CES show floor. There were even drone races going on. Parrot’s latest drone, dubbed Disco, was the most intriguing, as it’s more of a gliding airplane than a drone. It includes an autopilot mode, and gets up to 45 minutes of flight time on a single battery charge. The camera is embedded in the nose of the plane with the same 3-axis stabilization as Parrot’s other drones. The stabilization feature demos shown included some amazing video footage that appeared to be shot by someone holding a camera steady while in flight. It connects to the current Parrot ecosystem through Wi-Fi, with the user piloting it with the Skycontroller or the Flight Plan app using the embedded GPS for waypoints.
Major League Smartphone Lens
The accessory smartphone lens category just got really cool as Zeiss announced they are teaming up with ExoLenses to make super high-end lenses for the iPhone. “The impact of an image is decisively influenced by the lens and its technical properties,” Dr. Winfried Scherle, executive vice president of Carl Zeiss AG and head of the Zeiss Consumer Optics business group told us. “The collaboration with ExoLens gives us the opportunity to tap into new target groups and provide ambitious mobile phone photographers with high-quality tools to support their creativity.” They aren’t exactly compact in size and do come with the typically pricey Zeiss cash out: the wide angle and macro lenses come as a package for $299, and the telephoto version will cost $199 on its own.