NAB 2017 is not looking to be a blockbuster year for gear announcements, but here's what you can get excited about so far.
Just prior to NAB 2017, we've already seen some big announcements from companies like Black Magic (Ursa Mini Pro 4.6K, Resolve Control Panels, several studio products) and Pansonic (GH5). In addition, RED announced that it would be taking a pass on NAB this year and focusing entirely on CineGear in June.
NAB is in a transition period into a new era of media, entertainment, and technology convergence. Subjects discussed this year will vary from the creative and technical processes used in creating Game of Thrones to the technical architectures of HDR, ATSC 3.0, and VR/AR. To highlight this transition, NAB announced that there will be 200 first-time exhibitors at the show, a diverse group of companies: Vimeo, Google, Sigma Lenses, YI Technologies, Gracenote, as well as several small lighting companies.
Rumors abound that Sony will unveil a new full frame, E-mount, mirrorless camera this year.
While it is not so far looking like a huge year for traditional gear announcements, there will be many new and interesting products to see. As always, we can expect a few surprises. This year, however, some of the most interesting announcements may come from smaller companies in places like the Virtual and Augmented Reality Pavilion, from a technical panel, or from one of the new exhibitors.
360 Designs: Livestreaming VR/Drones
360 Designs will be demoing for the first time on April 24 what it is calling "the world's first live VR drone with broadcast quality streaming." The company claims that it will be able to capture 6K live VR footage from over 20 miles away. 360 Designs specializes in vertically integrated, live VR streaming, with clients like Google, ABC/Disney, Red Bull, and MTV. This should be one interesting demo.
Last year, DJI made some pretty epic product release announcements at NAB. Rumors have again been exploding about DJI in the past two months. The juiciest—and one that appears to be credible—is that the company will be releasing a Phantom 5 quadcopter very soon. There is a lot of documentation out there about this, with incredible spec details. This would be big news, building on the well-regarded Phantom 4 Pro, especially if specs like "throw-in-the-air activation" prove true.
There is a big possibility that DJI will, like last year, announce multiple products. The other strong candidate is being called "Spark" (recently trademarked by DJI) and is described as the Mavic Pro's little brother. This rumor has been popping up recently on plenty of credible sites. The Spark's rumored market? Selfies.
Also, remember that DJI recently purchased a majority stake in Hasselblad, so many more exciting announcements are going to keep coming our way.
Sony: Full Frame Mirrorless
On the heels of Panasonic's GH5 release, rumors abound that Sony will unveil a new full frame, E-mount, mirrorless camera this year at NAB. However, it is unclear what form it will take: an a7 III or the now-mythical a9? Rumors of a 70+MP a9, and alleged sightings in the wild, have been around for a while. There are no credible rumors about any updates to Sony's cinema cameras this year, so if the company does a major product release, it will be one of the big surprises of the show. The Sony product release press event is on Sunday, April 23.
Canon: C-Log, Lenses, and Drones
Canon Rumors has confirmed that Canon will soon be announcing an update to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV that will enable C-Log. There is also a whole list of other possible video improvements in the update, including increased sampling for 4K DCI video. However, this update may require sending the camera to a service center, and there has been no announcement as to whether it will be free. There is also a rumor of a heat sink retrofit to accommodate the heat generated by the increased processing workload from the update.
Canon is also expected to announce at least one Cinema EOS lens, probably a zoom, during NAB, according to Canon Rumors. Interestingly, the company also teased a new Cinema EOS camera body sometime later this year.
The camera has an ISO up to 4 million, allowing it to essentially see in the dark.
According to multiple sources, another drone that may make its U.S. debut at NAB is Canon's PD6E2000-AW-CJ1, an industrial drone mounted with a Canon ME20F-SH camera. Canon will not manufacture the actual drone, but has made an investment in a Japanese drone manufacturer and will act as distributor. This product will be intended to fly at night and in inclement weather, for implementations like disaster relief or industrial applications. The camera has an ISO up to 4 million, allowing it to essentially see in the dark.
Fuji seems to have already made its major announcements prior to NAB and both are lens-related. Fuji announced their MK Series of E-mount budget cinema lenses in February. However, NAB will the first time that the public will be able to actually see the lenses. They will also introduce two new, 4K-compatible, handheld zoom lenses at NAB. They will join the UA lens series, the first 2/3" series designed specifically for UHD broadcast. New lightweight, high resolution, high contrast and high dynamic range lenses designed for handheld UHD shooting will definitely gather a lot of interest from sports and news shooters.
Let us know in the comments what products are you looking forward to, or hoping will be released, at NAB this year? Also, let us know if you've heard any good NAB product rumors.