Overview of the PMA show in CES 2013 – by Norm Towson
January 2013 – This years CES event was the first one to incorporate the PMA (Photo Marketing Association) expo as part of the show. Held in the LVH conference center adjacent to the main LVCC the expo replaced the historic “international pavilion” booths. The camera area was the most crowded at the show day's 1 & 2 Standing 8 deep at the best booths. The driver is the pervasive use of media for all forms of communication, and the availability of low cost imagers for embedded applications. Samsung is now shipping 2.4 B imagers a year, and 3B per year total including digital cameras, it is one hot product space. Wireless Security Cameras, Action Sports Cameras were stars but this new Nikon product is the real deal for pro's.
Huanso.com was showing a number of new wireless security cameras. These new cameras can be put anywhere. They record into an SD Card or can provide a Live Stream 640X480 view @ up to 25 Frames per second with WiFi. They are fully controlled Pan Zoom and Tilt (PTZ) operation also. To reach reomote locations, they can also be battery operated. The wireless cameras are real Plug and Play for windows and feature a H.264, 30 fps codec support for quality video as well as Real Plug&Play MJPEG SD Record IP Camera model.
The WiFI advantages of Plug&Play Models vs the Old MJPEG IP Cameras are that support SD streaming nd recording without the need for a local computer or NVR to record. This makes the MJPEG and/or H.264 models with SD recording as unique and cloud ready, making them very popular in today's market. The H.264 devices use a good deal less memory and compress the data stream a lot further than other models. Some of the new models feature a simplified, 1.3 Magapixel imager resolution. This can provide a real-time VGA(640*480)@ 25frame(PAL)/30 frame(NTSC) image. Both support 3G mobile phone surveillance modes, with Plug&Play apps for Android and Iphone and storage with Micro SD Cards up to 32GB. This will provide a minimum of 3daysx24hours recording. Both have a Microphone & Speaker for two-way audio communication and motion detection, pan tilt and zoom with up to 4X on the zoom. The WiFi Signal is an IEEE 802.11 b/g/n single antenna connection and it support email alarm notification.
Drop Cam was showing a $149.00 model that is available from dropcam.com. The WiFi camera supports up to 720p at 30 FPS, and only needs an internet bandwidth of 2.4 Mbps for upload . Their service offers a Cloud based DVR recording and storage at $10/mth for 7 days or @ $30/mth for 30 days of storage. This seems pricey since 3TB external USB disks are now under $100 and local NAS products are even lower in price. The DropCam product looks easy to use, and it is supplemented by zoom and viewing options from iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices.
One of the most crowded areas at the show was the many new sports / action cameras. These were being displayed to deep crowds each day of the show. This new category has grown rapidly. The devices have evolved and now no longer just record to local flash (SD card) storage but have added WiFi . This connection brings the attempt at bringing local WiFI cells and hot spots on smart phones to more sporting events allowing the action to be shared real time with the audience. The embedded H.264 encoders are reducing bandwidth but it's still too large for just 3G data traffic, and need the supplemental WiFi spectrum. when we asked them to show it live they, of course, said traffic was too bad at show but their bandwidth needs were much too high for even 4G LTE.
Of the devices seen at the show the Go Pro was being positioned as one of the Best Action Cameras by users and retailers alike. The commentary was - Cool! The White Edition has an MSRP of $199.99 and features 1080p30fps/920p30fps/720p60fps video a 5MP imager and WiFi Built In; and Wow! For the Black Edition with an MSRP of $399.99, 1080p60fps,720p120fps,1440p48fps video, a 12M/30fps Burst imager, WiFi Built In with a WiFi Remote Included and improved Pro Low Light Performance.
One of the highlights of the PMA area was the Nikon D5200 Prototype. Also shown in the Central Hall in the main Nikon booth, it was their only new high end camera for CES/America. (This is their next Generation upgrade from the D5100, finally). It comes in 3 colors, Black/Red/Brown. My recommendation is stick with black as others are off the color mark – that means “Ugly”.
To make up for the imperfect color choice , Nikon has good news to uphold the Nikon name - it shoots great. Still Images up to 6000 X 4000 @ 14 bit color JPEG/RAW, AV Recording-up to 1920 X 1080 p @ 50 fps, and Stereo sound. Best new features to me were better & smarter autofocus with many more points selected in the frame. It also supports some cross types down to f8 plus the viewing screen was definitely upgraded and clearer. Image Quality was very very detailed and clear as a bell, even in the not so great trade show light. Stereo sound quality was also clearer than the older D5100.