LAS VEGAS—With point-and-shoot cameras packed to the gills with megapixels, Sony is focusing its efforts on improvements to the CMOS image sensors that are used in the higher-end of its Cyber-shot point-and-shoot camera line. The company promises improved autofocus, image stabilization, flash output, and picture effects in its 2013 CMOS cameras.
The first of these models, the Cyber-shot DSC-WX80, is debuting at CES. Set to ship almost immediately, the $199 camera features a 20-megapixel image sensor, a 25-200mm zoom lens, 10fps burst shooting, a 2.7-inch LCD, and a maximum ISO sensitivity of 12800. It records video at 1080p quality, and has built-in Wi-Fi—so you can beam photos directly to your smart phone for tweeting or Facebook sharing. A number of Instagram-like photo effects are accessible in-camera, including a new Cosmetic Surgery mode—it will let you soften skin, widen eyes, whiten teeth, and remove shine from your photographic subjects.
Sony’s other CES cameras use CCD sensors, and won’t benefit from the new CMOS features. These include the DSC-H200 superzoom, a 20-megapixel camera with an ambitious 26x (22.3-579.8mm) zoom lens, a maximum ISO of 3200, a 3-inch LCD, and 720p video capture capability. It’s limited to shooting at 0.8fps, and, unlike some other superzoom cameras, doesn’t have an eye-level EVF. It is set to ship in January for $249.
The entry-level DSC-W710 is a pocket-sized point-and-shoot, set to ship at the end of January for only $99. It uses a 16-megapixel CCD image sensor, features a 2.7-inch LCD, can be set as high as ISO 3200, and packs a 5x (28-140mm) zoom lens. Video recording is limited to 720p, and burst shooting to 1 frame per second. For $139 you can move up to the DSC-W730—it’s almost identical to the W710, but features an 8x (25-200mm) zoom lens by Carl Zeiss.
Rounding out the point-and-shoot announcements is the DSC-TF1, an entry-level tough camera. Priced at $199 and shipping at the end of January, the 16-megapixel CCD camera features a 4x (25-100mm) zoom lens, a 2.7-inch LCD, ISO 3200 capability, 720p video recording, and a 2.7-inch LCD. You can use it underwater at depths of up to 33 feet, it is rated to survive a 5-foot drop, it can be used in temperatures as low as 14°F, and it is dustproof.
A number of new accessories, including silicon jacket cases for the WX80, W730, and TF1 will be available in February. The cases are in black, pink, blue, orange, or green colors and will sell for $12.99. There’s also a compact case for any camera in the T or W series—which can be had in black, blue, or pink—priced at $14.99.
Several new Handycam camcorders were also announced. All of Sony’s 2013 models shoot HD video, and the majority include a built-in projector so you can view your video—or video from any source that can output over HDMI—on a wall or projector screen. The $399 PJ230 is the lowest-priced model with a projector—it includes 8GB of internal storage, and you can move up to the 16GB PJ380 for $599. More expensive models add features like the B.O.S.S stabilization system, which moves the entire lens assembly to compensate for camera shake. That feature is included with the $699 CX430V, a 32GB model, and is included on every camera through the top-end PJ790V. That advanced camcorder features an external stereo microphone and 96GB of storage; it’s priced at a premium $1,599.
Models without projectors include the entry-level CX series, available without storage as the 32x-zooming CX220 at $249, with 8GB as the CX230 at $299, and with 8GB and a 50x zoom lens as the CX290 at $349. The only premium model without a projector is a 3D camcorder—the TD30V. The dual-lens camcorder is priced at $999.
By Jim Fisher, PCMag