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It seems that it’s the time of the season for multi-camera announcements from big camera manufacturers, and Sony is leading the way, offering a new advanced mirrorless APS-C camera and a new 70-200mm f/4 full-frame E-mount lens. They have also announced five new digital cameras set to succeed already popular compacts. The point-and-shoots, from entry-level variety to advanced long zoom models, represent the latest generation of the Cyber-shot family.
With the Sony Alpha A6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera, which is available as a body only or as a kit with a 16-50mm lens, Sony continues to update their mirrorless lineup. This current model will succeed the NEX-6, taking its place just behind the NEX-7, as one of their premiere APS-C format mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras. The A6000 features a 24.3MP Exmor APS-HD CMOS sensor and, with the BIONZ X image processor and 179 autofocus points and up to 11 fps burst shooting, it provides particularly fast performance and does so in a compact form factor that can easily be carried with you throughout the day.
The sensor features Sony’s gapless on-chip design, which optimizes the position of the on-chip lenses to increase light-gathering efficiency for better image quality from edge to edge. High sensitivity ISO ranging from 100-25600 enables low-light imaging with minimized noise. The BIONZ X Image Processor, which is the same processor as in the full-frame A7 and A7R cameras, sharpens details, improves area-specific noise reduction, and ramps up performance speed including the Fast Hybrid autofocus, which utilizes 25 Contrast detection AF points and 179 Phase-detection AF points. Autofocus can be achieved in as little as 0.06 seconds, and with numerous modes and AF features such as Eye-AF and AF Area Settings, exacting control over focus will enable faster and more precise focus.
Don’t let the compact size of the A6000 fool you—it offers the interface and control features similar to a DSLR. Dial controls, an Fn button and customizable buttons make adjustments fast and a multi-interface shoe enables the use of numerous accessories. A pop-up flash is also supported and a 3.0” 921k-dot tiltable LCD monitor provides clear playback and odd-angle composition. Grid display, histogram, and focus peaking are supported. The bright OLED 1.4M-dot Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder uses four double-sided aspherical lenses for enhanced high-contrast viewing. All camera adjustments, including creative Picture Effects, can be seen within the EVF and brightness and color temperature adjustment as well as focus enlargement aid in accurate composition.
Integrated Wi-Fi connectivity enables instant sharing of photos with smartphones, tablets, and even compatible TVs and NFC (Near Field Communication) makes linking with Android devices easy. The free Sony PlayMemories app adds functions such as remote camera control and direct upload to social media sites.
Full HD 1080p is supported in the AVCHD format with 60 and 24 fps rates and stereo audio. The improved autofocus functions let you set the AF drive speed when shooting video as well as providing AF tracking duration settings. The enhanced phase-detection light gathering also adds to the camera’s scene-recognition capability—it is the first E-mount camera to offer Automatic AF mode.
All E-mount lenses are compatible with the A6000 and Sony has created a kit that bundles a 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens with the new A6000. This E-mount lens provides the 35mm focal length equivalence of 24-75mm for wide-angle to short telephoto versatility. Built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization results in clear, blur-free photos and videos and a stepping motor and power zoom feature provide smooth and quiet AF action, which is especially helpful when shooting video. A dual-function control ring enables both manual focus and zoom action. One ED lens element and four aspherical elements minimize aberrations and contribute to sharp, high-contrast imaging. When powered down, the retracting mechanism on the lens reduces its length to just 1.2”, for truly compact transport.
With the release of the A7 and A7R, Sony will need lenses designed for these full-frame E-mount cameras and the FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS lens is the first telephoto zoom lens to fill that bill. This is a high-performance telephoto zoom with a constant f/4 maximum aperture and impressive G lens optics, including advanced aspherical, Super ED, and ED glass elements for reduced aberrations and high-contrast, color-accurate imaging throughout the zoom range. Nano AR Coating limits reflections and prevents ghosting and flare and a truly circular 9-blade aperture creates smooth out-of-focus areas.
The dual linear motors support fast and precise autofocus along with features such as a focus hold button, focus range limiter, and a panning mode switch that provide enhanced control over autofocus operation. Optical SteadyShot image stabilization compensates against camera shake for clear images when shooting in dim light, at the long end of its telephoto range or anytime slower shutter speeds are used. Thanks to its internal focus system, the front optics do not extend when focusing or zooming, and the lens provides a compact metal build, weather-resistant sealing, and a removable, rotatable tripod mount.
These three Cyber-shot cameras are very similar in terms of form factor, each offering high zoom capability with a large “bridge camera” style grip, but dig a little deeper and their individual qualities become apparent.
The Cyber-shot DSC-HX400 Digital Camera is the upgraded follow-up to the Cyber-shot DSC-HX300 and shares with it a 20.4MP 1/2.3” Exmor R CMOS sensor and the impressive Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* 50x optical zoom lens. What it adds is the powerful BIONZ X Image Processor for faster performance, more advanced auto modes and enhanced full HD 1080p video capture. It also now features built-in Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC for instant image transfer from camera to smart device as well as one-touch sharing and remote control.
The 50x zoom lens provides the 35mm focal length equivalent of 24-1200mm for versatile shooting with a powerful telephoto reach. At the wide-angle end, the 24mm equivalence enables inclusive group shots in cramped interiors as well as broad landscape vistas. This one lens will cover almost any shooting situation up to ultra telephoto magnification of distant subjects. Its maximum aperture on the wide end is f/2.8, which is effective in low light and offers shallow depth-of-field focus control for sharp portraiture with smooth out-of-focus backgrounds. Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization compensates for camera shake to minimize blur when shooting in low light or at telephoto focal lengths, and Intelligent Active Mode provides shake control when shooting HD video.
The video mode on the HX400 shoots full HD 1080p/i at 60 as well as at 24 fps along with having a built-in stereo microphone with wind-filter function that enables clear sound recording. Lower-resolution video is also supported for directly uploading to the Internet, and HDMI output makes it easy to directly play back your recordings on an HDTV.
A 3.0” tilt LCD with 921k-dot resolution provides image playback and bright composition viewing. An optical eye-level viewfinder with 8.1x and 16.2x magnification is also available for composition. For additional illumination, a built-in, manual pop-up flash unit with numerous flash modes and auto mode coverage of up to 28’ is supported. Advanced features such as Intelligent Auto, Face Detection, and Intelligent Sweep Panorama let you focus on composition while the camera adjusts important settings.
The Cyber-shot DSC-H400 Digital Camera houses a 20.1MP 1/2.3” Super HAD CCD sensor and the BIONZ image sensor. It has a 63x optical zoom lens that provides the 35mm equivalent of a 24.5-1550mm lens. This is an incredibly long Sony zoom lens with an f/3.4-6.5 maximum aperture. It can focus as close as 0.4” at the wide-angle end for extreme close-up photography. ISO runs from 80-3200 for a broad sensitivity range, rich colors in bright light, and effective low-light capability. Optical SteadyShot image stabilization with Intelligent Active Mode compensates against blur in both still and video capture. This is an important feature with such a long zoom lens.
Video is recorded at 720p at 30 fps with a built-in mono microphone. The LCD monitor is 3.0” with 460k-dot resolution. It also features a 0.2” electronic viewfinder with 201k-dot resolution for stable and bright eye-level composition. Intelligent Auto, 8-face Face Detection and Smile Shutter technology allow the camera to do the heavy lifting in certain situations. A built-in pop-up flash is supported for extra light when needed. Like the HX400, the H400 supports SD, SDHC, SDXC, and MS Pro Duo and Pro-HG Duo memory cards. The H400 is slightly lighter than the HX400.
Lighter than the H400 but with similar specs is the Cyber-shot DSC-H300 Digital Camera. It is the successor to the DSC-H200 and, like the other two cameras, has a bridge-style form factor and a long zoom lens. Its Sony lens does not reach the lengths of the H400 but is still an impressive 35x optical zoom with a 35mm equivalence of 25-875mm for covering everything from wide-angle through standard and portrait length to ultra-telephoto. The maximum aperture at the wide-angle end is f/3.0, slightly more effective in low light than the H400, and Optical SteadyShot image stabilization will control the blur that often accompanies long zoom shooting.
Like the H400, the H300 houses a 20.1MP 1/2.3” Super HAD CCD sensor and the BIONZ image sensor and features HD 720p video capture at 30 fps in the MP4 format. Intelligent Active Mode minimizes blur and shake during video recording. The 3.0” Clear Photo LCD with 460k-dot resolution provides composition and playback viewing, including brightness control, histogram, and grid display. Several assistive features such as Intelligent Auto, Blink Detection, Smile Shutter, Face Detection, and Tracking Focus enable you to simply get the shots you want, letting the camera set exposure and even help with composition and timing.
The Cyber-shot DSC-WX350 Digital Camera is particularly compact yet has a powerful 18.2MP 1/2.3” Exmor R CMOS sensor. At just 4.8 oz and 1.0” deep, it is a classic pocket camera, but comes loaded with impressive features, including the above-mentioned sensor and the latest BIONZ X image processor. It is available in black or white. Its 20x optical zoom Sony G lens provides a comprehensive wide-angle through telephoto set of focal lengths, equivalent to 25-500mm in the 35mm format. Its optical design includes five aspherical elements, which minimize aberrations and contribute to well delineated and true-color images. The lens fully retracts into the camera body when powered down. Optical SteadyShot image stabilization is featured to reduce the blur created by slower shutter speeds when shooting in dim light and at longer telephoto lengths.
The WX350 updates the Cyber-shot WX300; its sensor and new processor combination enable accelerated performance speeds, and autofocus is fast and accurate, including Tracking Focus and Face Tracking Focus modes. The burst rate is 10 fps at maximum resolution, up to 10 shots. Also, low-light sensitivity is impressive for a compact camera with ISO ranging from 80 to 12800. Full HD 1080p/i video is recorded in AVCHD Version2 at 60 fps and MP4 capture is also supported at 30 fps for files that can be uploaded directly to the Internet. A built-in stereo microphone is supported and Intelligent Active Mode stabilization minimizes the shake and blur when recording video while moving.
A 3.0” Clear Photo LCD monitor with 460k-dot resolution provides composition and playback viewing and a Micro HDMI output allows direct playback on compatible HDTVs. An integrated flash unit with Red-eye Reduction and several flash modes is supported and a top-plate mode dial and intuitive menu navigation make adjusting camera settings easy.
Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity enables instant transfer of images from your camera to a smartphone, tablet, or compatible computer. Near Field Communication (NFC) makes it simple to link your camera to an Android device and, by using the free Sony PlayMemories app, you can upload images directly to social media sites and use your smart device as a camera remote control.
At less than one inch deep and just over two inches wide, the Cyber-shot DSC-W800 Digital Camera is an ultra-compact camera perfectly sized to keep with you at all times. It features a 1/2.3” Super HAD CCD sensor and the BIONZ image processor for sharp, still imaging and HD 720 video capture at 30 fps. A 5x optical zoom lens provides the 35mm focal length equivalence of 26-130mm for coverage of most shooting situations from wide-angle to telephoto. ISO sensitivity up to 3200 and Optical SteadyShot image stabilization enable confidence in low-light situations and a 2.7” 230k-dot Clear Photo LCD monitor delivers bright playback and live view image composition.
A built-in flash and numerous assistive and “Intelligent” features simplify shooting to just the push of a button, and a Shooting Tips mode describes camera functions on the LCD and offers suggestions for improved imaging. The W800 is available in black or silver.