NAB 2017 – What can we expect?

Top-Teks Sales Director Phil Lane is preparing for his annual pilgrimage & looks ahead to NAB 2017

So once again as we all prepare for our annual pilgrimage to NAB in Las Vegas and the rumour mills have all ready been hard at work with lots of ideas and thoughts of new kit that may be coming.

On the camera front I’ve heard a rumour that there will be 15 new cameras launched at NAB this year, some we already know about but some will remain a mystery until 10am on the 24th April (Vegas time). So what do I think………..

Sony haven’t released anything substantial since the PXW-FS7 was released back in 2015, the FS7 MKII launched last year but with its minor changes and price rise it hasn’t been well received by end users despite Sony’s efforts. The PMW-F5 and F55 are nearly 5 years old now which is great for the cameraman who adopted early as they’ve had a good run, both units are now at the end of the planned up-grade path that was announced when launched.

So, the burning question is what’s next, logically thinking I would say something between the F5 and F55 with possibly a new 35mm sensor that gives full BT2020 colour space and HDR recording.

Panasonic probably won’t have anything new this year, their big push will likely be on the newer Varicam Pure unit followed closely by the Varicam LT. The Pure with the Codex box is certainly interesting from a high-end feature/drama point of view with the LT fitting in at the bottom of the range. I personally think the LT is a good camera, unfortunately for most it’s got the wrong badge on and I’m sure would be more widely used and accepted if it had a blue and silver one on the side. Having said that it could do with some tweaking particularly to the audio and to allow higher frame rate recording without the cropping.

Blackmagic, well who knows last year they launched so may products we lost count. The URSA Mini Pro has already been announced and looks interesting, with more features and the addition of built in ND filters and switches that are in a familiar position to cameraman I’m sure it will be a big pull to their already crowded stand and certainly the first thing I’ll be looking at during their pre-show launch party Sunday night.

After many years of success with 50Mb cameras such as the XF305 and C300 Canon seem to have lost their way with newer units, the C300 MKII came with a flurry of marketing activities but it was slightly disappointing and certainly hasn’t sold in anywhere near the numbers the original unit did. The C700 launched at IBC last year was an interesting camera, but is pricey and being aimed at a market already dominated by Arri and Red which even Panasonic have struggled to break into with the Varicam range. I think what Canon need and what most people would like to see at NAB is a “C700 Lite” if you will, something that does 4K but works as a shoulder mounted unit with a view finder moving them away from the awkward C300 style body that requires the addition of a rig, view finder and other bolt on accessories to make it work.

So I’ve covered cameras what about lenses………..

Fuji continue to press forward with 4K lenses with the announcement of two new 2/3” units (UA18x5.5 & UA14x4.5) and a box lens (UA27x6). We hope to see the 2nd of the MK units at the show the 50-135mm which will pair up with the MK18-55 to finish off the range. The MK18 has just started shipping and is already proving to be very popular with FS5 and FS7 owners so I’m sure the 50-135 will be as well.

Canon launched their CN-E 18 (18x80mm) last year and as with the Fuji MK range expect to see a longer version at the show possibly something around the 60/70-200mm range. I’m sure there will be more 2/3” 4K units as well to coincide with the Fuji announcement.

I’m sure during the show we’ll see new things to tweet about as we go so keep your phone handy for up-dates from Vegas. If you do hear of anything that you want us to check out for you let us know by tweeting or mailing us @ sales@topteks.com