NAB 2014: Mini cams, lenses and large-sensor 4K cameras were the highlights of NAB, writes Danny Dawson.

My top three highlights for NAB this year are a combination of types rather than specifics.

Top of my list are servo-driven, cine zoom lenses and the best of the bunch is the Canon CN7.

With a great focal range of 17mm to 120mm this might just make it possible to “run ‘n’ gun” with the Canon C300, Sony F5 and F55 and of course the Arri Amira.

The fact that its zoom capacity is similar to the HJ-17 (or the new HJ-18) could mean that this lens becomes a standard for single lens documentary and observational shoots.

Like its competitor, the Fujion Cabrio range, the rocker is detachable so it can operate as a genuine cine lens with follow focus rigs.

Zeiss also launched a servo rocker that can attach to its current range of compact zooms.

They plan to formally launch a full-scale model at IBC this year which is exciting.

Angenieux are also in on the act with a new launch for their servo system. It doesn’t have a rocker, so isn’t as applicable to handheld shooting, but it is a unit geared towards zoom and focus demands.

This really is an exciting time for glass.

Mini cams were a real feature for NAB and that’s my second highlight.

Most are palm-sized cube cameras that stream signals to external recorders.

Codex’s Action Cam is a data beast that can record 12-bit RAW via an external Codex recorder. Its list price is around £20k.

At the other end of the scale, the Flare Camera from IOI is a lower cost alternative that connects with a multitude of end recorders at up to 2K, 10bit 4:2:2.

And last, but no means least, 4K large sensor cameras: The AJA Cion, Blackmagic Ursa, Panasonic’s Varicam 35 and JVC’s GY-LSX1 to name but a few were all unveiled in Las Vegas.

All are PL mount equipped for 35mm style shooting.

It’s starting to look like there are too many 4K cameras that roughly do the same thing for the same look.

Especially when you add this group to the already-available F5 and F55 and the RED Epic/Dragon.

It’s good to have choice, but the likelihood is that there is a glut of cameras that may never be used or at best used a few times based on very specific needs.

Danny Dawson is general manager at Alias Hire