Just in case you didn’t receive your perfect holiday gift, tech and electronic companies kick off the new year with two festivals full of stuff you didn’t even know you couldn’t live without: CES and Macworld. CES is one of those mega-trade shows that’s legend, where all manner of must-have tech toys are debuted. And in recent years, thanks to the juggernaut that is the iPod and the growing demand for all things Apple, Macworld has been increasingly interesting to us, too.
While the great bulk of what’s to be seen at these shows isn’t strictly photographic in nature, there are a few gems we want to make sure you don’t miss. Each of these products offers something unique or paves the way for what’s to come.
Apple MacBook Air
Apple’s formula for success is simple: Select from among the best cutting-edge technologies and components and pack them into ultra-sleek, ever-decreasing form factors. The MacBook Air is the world’s thinnest notebook computer. Slick and polished, it’s just 0.76 inches at its thickest point and weighs only three pounds. The Air integrates a 13.3-inch screen, a full-sized keyboard with backlighting and a multitouch trackpad that lets you pinch, swipe, rotate and zoom items, which is great for viewing photos.
Although there are some things about the MacBook Air that are sacrificed-there’s no internal optical drive, only one USB port, no FireWire and a nonremovable battery-the Air is meant to be ultra-portable at its core. An optional external SuperDrive designed to match the Air reads and burns CDs/DVDs, or take wireless control of the optical drive in a nearby Mac when you need to load software. While we don’t recommend the MacBook Air as your primary workhorse, this is the dream laptop for taking your photography on the road. List Price: $1,799.
Casio EXILIM Pro EX-F1
Casio has set a new benchmark in catching fast-paced action, blurring the line between still and video cameras. The EXILIM Pro EX-F1 captures full 6-megapixel still images at an incredible 60 fps (or 7 fps if you’re using the built-in flash) and records HD video in both 720p and 1080i resolutions at 1200 fps and H.264 encoding.
Although it’s targeted at a wide audience, there’s a lot here for more serious photographers. The EXILIM Pro EX-F1 boasts a 12x optical zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent of 36-432mm, manual controls and a max shutter speed of 1?40,000 sec.—yes, that’s four zeroes. If you’re looking for a single camera that can do just about everything, the EX-F1 is hard to beat. List Price: $999.