CES 2013: Mirrorless Digital Cameras

Last month's CES 2013 brought many new cameras to light. Today, we look at the latest news and upcoming mirrorless camera models.
By , Last updated on: 5/18/2014

The mirrorless camera category is continuing to grow. They are a great balance between quality and size, offering large sensors and thus excellent images while not being nearly as large or heavy as traditional SLRs (or single-lens reflex) models, like the big professional Nikons and Canon. Offering interchangeable lenses, there are a number of different systems out there, and the only major downsides are the lack of an optical viewfinder and the fairly high cost compared to point and shoot models (like those we just covered in our roundup).

They're quiet, compact, durable, and though previous generations had some issues with autofocus, those have largely been resolved. If you already have an SLR system, though, it's unlikely that you'll want to switch to incompatible lens types. Also, video quality from mirrorless cameras has continued to improve, almost all of which can now shoot in 1080p high-definition, just like their bigger SLR brothers.

Polaroid's iM1836

One of the most unusual entries is Polaroid's $400 iM1836 Android-powered camera, one that has received a very mixed reception. The idea is sound- Android is a great operating system and should offer an intuitive interface. However, most reports insist that the software is buggy and the hardware not quite up to snuff yet.  It's a fairly new category for them, and so we'll cut them some slack while they figure out the issues. But we hope they reconsider the bizarre design of the image sensor, which apparently disconnects from the body with a lens!

Samsung's NX300 packs an APS-C sensor that can snap 20.3-megapixel stills, along with a fairly typical 100-25,600 ISO range and a solid 3.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen. It can even shoot 3D stills when paired with the $500 3D-capable lens- a nifty addition that we hope to see spread, even if viewing them later is still a bit difficult. The camera itself (with a 20-50mm kit lens) looks to be priced at $750, one of the priciest mirrorless cameras to debut at CES.

Finally, Nikon introduced the J3 and S1, aimed squarely at consumers rather than professionals. The first flavor comes in at $600 with a kit lens, while the S1 looks to be about $100 cheaper. Both are designed as step-up models for current point-and-shoot owners, and don't offer much to be excited about from the spec sheet or basic design.

For mirrorless camera fans, there is lots to be excited about- but don't rush out and buy one of these systems just yet. We'd recommend waiting to see what support is like, since these tend to be fairly expensive investments.


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