Olympus is announcing the TG-5 rugged camera which is the replacement for the popular TG-4. It has quite a number of new features and what may be a first for this type of cameras; a sensor pixel density reduction from 16MP to 12MP. A welcomed addition that will ensure better low light quality with a BSI CMOS sensor and speedier data acquisition which lets it output 4k and 120fps 1080p video.
It has also a 720p 240fps mode and a VGA 480fps mode which makes it stand out in the slow motion categories. This camera seems to be aiming at the GoPro Hero 5, Yi 4k+ and Sony Action Camera markets with more features, better usability and the features you expect from a portable camera. It can also be used in drones with some creative placement due to its low weight of 250g with battery!
You have to hand it to Sony for their continued hardware innovation. The sensor technology that brought you the RX Camera series with stacked CMOS Technology; which is DRAM included as a middle layer along with signal processing makes it possible to capture data at tremendous pixel rates in the sensor block which leapfrogs competitors products.
That same 3-Layer stacked design is now unveiled on a cellphone geared sensor with a maximum performance at 1080p 1000fps and 4k 60fps. It is using the same buffer DRAM technology that will let you record for a limited time window and then save and process on your handset. Considering the speed quoted it is not out of the question to expect the Sony RX series of cameras to reach or exceed this level on upcoming iterations.
In a launch that was mostly subdued, a new camera was launched in August; the Panasonic HC-X1 which is a mid range professional fixed lens ENG or EFP camera with some serious specs to go behind it. For starters there is 4k at up to 60fps a format that we hope to see in upcoming ILCs like the GH4 successor and Sony Cameras. The other is 100fps PAL or 120fps NTSC 1080p which is now a must have slow motion standard for any serious camera.
The qualities of the new Panasonic HC-X1 do not stop at higher frame rates; it features a fantastic 3 independent fly by wire ring system for focus, aperture and the last for zoom which starts at a very wide 24mm to 480mm at the long end or 20x optical. The camera also features a built in ND Filter wheel from 1/4th to 1/64th for effortless 180 degree shooting outdoors.
The recently announced Hasselblad True Zoom is an add on module for the Moto Z + Moto Mods™ smartphone platform which lets you add modules to your already very capable phone to increase it’s feature set. A Pico Projector, a much larger battery, a JBL speaker set and now the Hasselblad True Zoom 10x Optical zoom are the current back plate options for this new ecosystem.
What may look like a gimmick to some; it may be the advent of a personalized and very powerful experience for the future of smartphone use. What if you could add the advantages of a larger camera sensor and higher frame rates with built in processing to your phone when needed. What if you could add a built in microscope back plate to the phone for biologists on the field or a sensor module for tracking scientific concepts with the phone as a central part of experiments. The sky seems to be the limit here.
The just announced Olympus SH-3 Camera not only does 4k video at 15fps which is far from ideal but also allows serious HD video performance in a 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm) Sensor fixed 24x zoom camera product with 1080p 60fps and 120fps at 720p with a smaller res 240fps mode that may work for some experimental shots. For owners of the SH-2 of last year the frame rates were already there in the same exact specs except for the 15fps 4k.
There is no question this is a mild refresh of the camera compared to last year’s SH-2. Besides some extra software image filters and 4k at 15fps which is kind of an unusual frame rate and more a gimmick that a usable video format; there is not much else to report as feature improvements.
The Sony DSC-RX1R II is a monster of a fixed lens camera. It has a Full frame 42.4-megapixel Exmor R back-illuminated CMOS sensor with 399-point phase-detect Fast Hybrid AF system. It also has the first ever variable optical low-pass filter which lets you shoot with all of the quality of the sensor or with reduced per pixel quality when you want to avoid moire and aliasing. For landscape and nature photographers this is a great feature as they can shoot unconstrained for quality without having to purchase a body with or without the low pass filter. This is real innovation and shows just how far Sony is evolving the camera space forward.
There is no real competition feature for feature that can rival Sony in the portable camera space. Should we be worried? We think this will push others to innovate and differentiate cameras in the future with real must have features that do what no camera phone can do. However it could also cause stagnation as Sony becomes the go to player while others struggle.
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