"For 50 years, CES has been the launch pad for new innovation and technology that has changed the world. Held in Las Vegas every year, it is the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies and where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace."
For the last three years, I have been attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Canon USA. Through these trips, I have had the opportunity to become acquainted with Canon’s directors, instructors, and knowledgeable employees, test new gear before it hits the market, and learn just what it takes to make such an incredible piece of machinery.
With the launch of the brand new Canon 5D Mark IV, a highly anticipated sequel to the infamous 5D Mark III full frame camera, the buzz around Canon’s booth was that of utter excitement from eager photographers. With the company also launching two brand new versions of beloved lenses- upgrades to the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM and Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM, it was clear to see that Canon is focusing on giving its 'visionaries' the exact tools they need to make their imagination come to fruition.
Having evaluated the Canon 5D Mark IV at home before it fully hit the market, as well as additionally testing it at the CES 2017, this camera is an incredible improvement to the Mark III version. The new model keeps with the beloved features of the Mark III (features that many photographers cannot imagine being without after upgrading) and improves upon them tremendously. With even more sensitivity to low light, faster speed, much higher megapixel resolution, and a majorly upgraded dual pixel autofocus system, the Mark IV is a no-brainer for those looking for a powerful piece of equipment that could make most any shooting situation a breeze. The one aspect of the camera that stuck out to me the most was that heavily-touted autofocus system, which is just as great as the company brags about. Having tested the camera out in various difficult shooting situations, the focus system locked on to the subject quickly and held on to it through very low light, through obstacles in the frame, and erratic movement. The 5D Mark IV is a more affordable investment, relatively speaking, to Canon’s 1D line- which holds a price tag that is double that of the 5Ds. The 5Ds are also significantly more maneuverable and lightweight for the average person than the 1Ds. The 1D line is the most advanced DSLR that this company has to offer, with extreme low light sensitivity, little to no noise in most low light shooting conditions, nearly as fast as the 7D line of action cameras, and a very high megapixel count.
The primary selling point for the 5D Mark IV is the 4K video camera. Film employees at the Canon booth all mutually mentioned that the video capabilities of this new DSLR rivals that of the company’s very own video cameras (C100s and up), which is an incredible compliment to give any DSLR. The body sports a touch screen application, which allows smooth focus transitions during video with just a tap of the finger. The autofocus system excels in video as much as it does in photography, accurately holding the subject and proficiently following it around.
However, like any professional-level camera, the auto mode leaves much to be desired, as the machine is intended for manual settings, unlike the user-friendly Rebel and Powershot cameras that have an excellent auto mode.
Outside of testing out the camera bodies, I had the pleasure of playing with Canon's full line of tilt shift lenses- a unique type of lens that has been around for far longer than most people know. Movement in lenses has been available since photography's inception, however, the official tilt shift lens was first created in 1962. "Tilt–shift encompasses two different types of movements: rotation of the lens plane relative to the image plane, called tilt, and movement of the lens parallel to the image plane, called shift. Tilt is used to control the orientation of the plane of focus (PoF), and hence the part of an image that appears sharp; it makes use of the Scheimpflug principle. Shift is used to adjust the position of the subject in the image area without moving the camera back; this is often helpful in avoiding the convergence of parallel lines, as when photographing tall buildings."
Although these lenses are most popular in use for architectural photography to control perspective and in landscape photography to get an entire scene sharp, trends have caused these lenses to become popular in portraiture and fine art photography- due to the tilt shift lenses' ability to control depth of field and focus points in such a way that is unavailable in other kinds of lenses.
Canon's booth also featured their new business endeavors- having stepped into the world of robotics, 3D imaging, and leasing services for corporations and educational facilities. Canon's printers continue to dominate the photography and fine art printing market, with various papers and printers being showcased at the event. The most effective show of the printer's ability was that of the gallery wall featured at the front of the booth, with photographs produced on all Canon brand equipment.
Although Canon was my focus, I did spend the rest of the time exploring the immense amount of space that the CES takes up- multiple convention centers, rooms, and outdoor tents. From Gibson’s throne of guitars, to Polaroid’s monkey stand, to drones, to hololenses, VRs, 4k & 8k televisions, self-driving vehicles, 3D printers, robotics, scanners, smart homes and so much more, the CES is the place for tech savvy individuals and entrepreneurs. My general consensus on all of the technology I saw at this event is that this new generation focuses heavily on environmental friendliness, improvement on everyday life, and using technology to change the world's mentality on living.
(Thank you Ian Gray for the photographs of me!)