Today is the last day of CES 2022, the super show that marks the official start of the new technology season for 2022.
The world's biggest tech event has returned to a physical venue this year, taking place live on the show floor in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA for one day shorter than usual – though a digital and on-demand version of the show will once again be taking place (Full information can be found on the CES website).
CES 2021 was a purely digital event, following the last physical show in 2020 where 170,000 visitors crowded the show floors. COVID protocols and travel restrictions will no doubt make it a much quieter in-person event this year, so the online component will be a major part of the show.
Over 2,200 exhibitors are exhibiting at the event, including some of the biggest players in imaging – namely Canon, Sony, Panasonic and Samsung. While it's not a photography or videography specific show, it has been a great launchpad for cameras in the past, so we could see some exciting announcements…
Announced at CES 2022
Canon has debuted a new virtual reality video system named Kokomo, which enables users to make face-to-face, real-time "ImmersiveCall" video calls in an experiential 3D environment. The still in-development software is described by Canon as an "exciting new way of connecting" and "an innovation in virtual reality that combines the 3D experience of beautiful and life-like VR destinations with video calling.
The system will require a VR headset, and will be powered by Canon cameras along with a newly designed app for your smartphone. As you might expect, the system will ultimately accommodate the innovative Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8L Dual Fisheye Lens – a specifically 3D optic designed to deliver immersive 8K VR content for the Canon EOS R5.
Remember Kinect, the gesture- and audio-control device released by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One games consoles? Well, Sony has aped the idea – but released it for its range of Bravia TV sets, rather than PlayStation consoles.
The Bravia Cam enables gesture-based controls, adjusts the surround sound depending on where you're sitting on the couch, enables you to make video calls, and even shouts at you if you're sat too close to the TV. It's admittedly not the kind of camera we were expecting from Sony at CES, but it's still a neat idea.
The revised Skydio 2+ boasts improved 5GHz radio for a range of up to 3.7 miles and batteries lasting up to 27 minutes flight time. The key improvements, though, are to the software, most notably the Skydio KeyFrame tool, which enables a hybrid of the firm’s well-known subject tracking abilities with a flight path set out using points in three-dimensional space.
Don't expect an all-new airframe or camera, though; the blue-and-black shell and six autonomy obstacle avoidance cameras are all the same (each is a 4K CMOS, building a 1-million point-per-second 3D world). In terms of video quality, the retained 1 / 2.3” 12.3MP CMOS has 4056 x 3040 pixels, meaning the drone is far better suited to 4K60 HDR video than capturing high-res stills (though it can capture RAW). The 20mm EFL lens with electronic shutter is the same as the Skydio 2 and video is captured at 100 Mbps to a UHS Class 3 Micro SD.
The newest member of the S21 series, which features a Snapdragon 888 chip and some of the most-loved aspects of the Samsung Galaxy S21, has an RRP of $699.95 / £699 / AU$999 (128GB) and $769.99 / £749 / AU$1,099 (256GB) and goes on sale 11 January.
Samsung has opted for the “If it ain't broke, don't fix it” way of thinking for the FE’s camera system, which features the same excellent setup as the S21, but with a few improvements, like a new Night Mode setting and a better selfie experience, thanks to the S21 FE’s advanced 32MP front camera. There’s also Dual Recording, which enables users to capture views from both lenses at the same time. As well as the 32MP selfie camera, the smartphone features a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 12MP 1/1.76-inch f/1.8 main camera with OIS, and an 8MP f/2.4 stabilized 3x telephoto.
What to expect at CES 2022
As the world's biggest technology expo, we can expect all kinds of fantastic tech breakthroughs to appear. Last year, for example, Canon used technology straight out of The Matrix to create a 100-camera 4K Bullet Time setup!
So what can we realistically expect? Here's what might be on the docket…
Panasonic 8K cameras
After a protracted development, we might be ready to see a development announcement for Panasonic's line of consumer 8K cameras. Last year the manufacturer launched the Panasonic AK-SHB800GJ / AK-SHB800PSJ multi-purpose ROI (region of interest) camera, intended for broadcast use.
Released in time for the scheduled 2020 Olympics, this full-frame 8K camera is capable of 4 simultaneous 1080p feeds, enabling the user to punch into a large 8K frame and effectively crop 4 separate camera feeds. However, Panasonic has stated that it doesn't anticipate a consumer 8K camera until the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Still, with the Canon EOS R5 already delivering 8K to the masses, the Sony A9S rumored to be next to do so, and the Sharp 8K Video Camera supposedly still on the way, we can see Panasonic at least unveiling details of its 8K plans ahead of time.
Perhaps a little bit of a long shot, since Panasonic usually focuses on broader consumer electronics at CES. However, with the manufacturer widely expected to reveal the Panasonic GH6 this year, it would certainly make a big splash on the virtual stage.
Very little is known about the GH6, though a popular rumor is that it could feature the 41MP Sony IMX594CQR image sensor – which would shatter the current 20MP ceiling that currently sits above Micro Four Thirds cameras. We can also expect that, whatever the pixel count of the hybrid-focused GH6, there will be a lower resolution Panasonic GH6S intended purely for video.
Sharp 8K Video Camera
So, this is a picture of the Sharp 8K Video Camera that we took at CES… in 2019. Despite repeated reassurances that it would appear in 2020, the camera was conspicuous by its absence in anything but the most abstract form – such as a throwaway appearance in a photo on the Sharp website in December.
Will we see the 8K 30p body, with a 33MP 16:9 Micro Four Thirds sensor and 5-inch touchscreen, at CES 2021? Sharp is sharing a stand with Toshiba audio, so there's a chance that the product will be on display. If it's not, it probably doesn't bode well for what was the first 8K consumer camera to be announced by any manufacturer.