While high-end camera announcements have been few and far between at CES, smartphone vendors kept things exciting with new phones that push the smartphone photography envelope.
Panasonic disclosed that its Lumix CM1, originally announced at Photokina for European markets, will be coming to the U.S., though pricing and carrier availability were not announced.
Like Samsung’s Galaxy Camera, the CM1 fuses an Android smartphone with some serious photography parts. How serious? How about a 1-inch, 20-megapixel CMOS sensor, the same one found in the company’s FZ1000 camera and a huge upgrade to the tiny sensors crammed into even the highest-end smartphones.
There’s also a 28mm, f/2.8 Leica lens with a manual ring to adjust aperture, ISO, focus and shutter speed. The CM1 has a mechanical shutter and offers DSLR-style shutter priority, aperture priority and manual exposure modes too.
Not to be outdone, it can also record 4K video at 15 frames per second (fps) or 1920 x 1080 video at 30fps.
As far as its smartphone parts, the phone runs Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) on a 2.3GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and a microSD card slot for memory expansion. While the lens juts out of the phone body more prominently than most phones, the overall package is just .8 inches thick, which is slimmer than the Galaxy Camera’s 1.4-inch waistline.
Asus also trotted out what it dubbed was the world’s thinnest Android smartphone with a 3x optical zoom lens. The 13-megapixel ZenFone Zoom features a 10-element lens with an aperture range of f/2.7-4.8 and optical image stabilization. It measures in at .47-inches thick at its thickest point. The phone uses a laser autofocus system and boasts an HD display that’s 5.5-inches in size.
No firm word on when the ZenFone Zoom will hit stores but it’s said to retail for $400.
Kodak (yes, them) has also thrown its hat into the smartphone fray in conjunction with the Bullitt Group. The 1.7GHz Kodak IM5 will be an Android-based phone with a 13-megapixel image sensor and on-board photo editing software for tweaking, sharing and printing images. It features a microSD card slot, its own apps store, and a 5-inch HD display.
No word on pricing but the Bullitt Group said the phone will start its journey to end-users in Europe in the second quarter with worldwide availability thereafter.
Finally, Lenovo introduced its Vibe Xtension Selfie Flash for illuminating your mobile self portraits. The Xtension plugs into your phone’s audio jack and uses eight diffused LEDs to shed light on your visage. Lenovo says the $30 flash is good for 100 flashes per charge and that it will offer 100 percent sync with your phone.