Sony has just introduced 9 new Cyber-shot digital cameras, and while these cameras span a wide range of technologies, they all rely on a number of core concepts that help you to make the best photographs possible in a given situation. Their main purpose is to make picture-taking enjoyable and as simple as you would like. Each of these cameras integrates a plethora of features to help you achieve great imagery with straightforward functionality and intuitive operation.
These Sony Cyber-shot digital cameras continue the trend of allowing you to capture the best imagery as quickly and efficiently as possible. Superior Auto and Intelligent Scene Mode (iSCN) help your camera to automatically determine the best exposure settings and configurations to render scenes beautifully and accurately. iSCN makes use of 33 pre-programmed scene conditions and adjusts your camera settings accordingly, while Superior Auto takes this idea one step further and creates an HDR composite. Together, these modes simplify the process of producing spectacular photographs no matter what the conditions.
For additional emphasis and mood in your photos, Picture Effect can be employed for a greater sense of expression and atmosphere in your portraits and landscapes. Featuring up to nine distinct effects, Picture Effect gives you dramatic results in-camera to help reduce time spent altering your imagery on the computer.
Optical SteadyShot image stabilization is integrated into all of the new cameras and provides a marked improvement over digitally stabilized imagery. When the image can be stabilized using a hardware-based protocol, the resulting photograph is of significantly greater quality due to the lack of interpolation and, essentially, the guesswork the camera must do in order to correct your picture.
Point-and-shoot cameras are not typically known for the quality of their built-in flashes and often produce results with garish colors. Using the integrated Natural Flash, these Sony cameras automatically recognize and control the color balance of both the subject and background when using the flash, for a more natural and pleasing appearance.
One of the inherent challenges of photographing with a compact point and shoot is the limited sensor size and, often enough, the slow lens. Together this combination makes capturing selective-focus imagery difficult, if not impossible. Sony has integrated a Background Defocus mode into these cameras to mimic the selective focus capabilities of DSLRs and other larger format cameras. By capturing two separate images of a scene, the camera automatically detects the intended subject matter from one of the images and then blurs the deselected content from the other. When combined, the resulting final image appears as if it were taken with a larger format camera with a sharp, clear subject and an out-of-focus background.
To continue with the always positive theme of making your images better, these cameras integrate several modes to help provide you with the best portraiture and people photographs possible. Face Detection can automatically recognize up to eight individual faces and adjust exposure settings for properly lit and exposed photos. When Smile Shutter is activated, you only need to depress the shutter button and then the camera will automatically release the shutter once a smile is detected. Anti-blink mode functions with a similar intent; however, in this mode, two separate images are recorded and then compared to determine which image features less of a squinting subject. For improving the unavoidable, Soft Skin mode integrates a filter that helps to recognize and diminish the appearance of blemishes and wrinkles on your subjects.
Creating panoramic imagery is now a simple process that involves panning your camera in order to produce wide-field pictures. The camera will automatically record sequential imagery when the mode is enabled and the shutter button is depressed, then instantly stitch together the resulting photographs into one seamless file. This mode allows you to make panoramic images all the way up to a 360-degree view. Select models can even render these panoramic pictures in 3D.
Several of the new models feature Sweep Multi-Angle mode, in which the resulting images appear to be 3D during playback. Within this mode, the camera automatically captures 15 images at different angles as it is swept across the scene. Then, during review, the camera’s built-in gyro sensor detects the motions made during capture and displays the images accordingly, resulting in a 3D-like view directly from the LCD. 3D still images can also be captured on select models, which can then be properly viewed on 3D televisions once they’re offloaded.
GPS and compass functions are built into a number of these new cameras and offer the option to log location data and embed it directly to your image files. During review, you can plot your travels and see exactly on a map where your photographs were taken. Using the included PlayMemories Home software, you can create a virtual journey and, additionally, port your route to Google Earth to share with others.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V is the most robust of the newly designed cameras and distances itself from the others with a long-range 30x optical zoom lens. It features a highly capable 18.2MP 1/2.3" Exmor R CMOS sensor for impressive low-light sensitivity. It also features an improved high-speed AF for greater accuracy and quicker focus times, even in harsh conditions.
Equally as capable as the HX200V in terms of resolution are the DSC-HX30V, HX20V and HX10V. These cameras cut down in the form factor and are designed for mobility. While they are smaller than the bridge-style HX200V, they still feature a highly respectable 20x optical zoom lens (16x zoom on the HX10V) and quickened auto focusing. The HX30V stands out from the others with the inclusion of Wi-Fi capabilities and wireless battery charging via the included multi-station dock.
All of the aforementioned cameras can record full HD video in the 1080/60p format as well as still imagery at a burst rate of 10 frames per second. These cameras also integrate GPS and compass functionality for recording location data directly to your imagery. During playback you can view your images on a map using the PlayMemories Home software as well as jot your route directly to Google Earth.
The thinnest camera of the bunch is DSC-TX66, which measures only slightly over a half-inch thick. While it is as slender as a single AA battery, it also features the largest LCD display of the bunch: a 3.3-inch 1,229K-dot OLED touch screen. This camera is designed for maximum portability without compromising on either style or function. The TX66 is capable of capturing 18.2Mp images and 1080i/60 video. Sharing a similar narrow form factor, the DSC-WX150 also measures less than an inch thick and features the same 18.2Mp sensor and 1080/60i video capabilities.
Separating itself from the group, the DSC-TX20 is specifically designed to be carried with you during adventures and when extra durability is mandatory. This rugged camera can sustain falls from 5 feet, is waterproof to 16 feet below the waves and it’s also dust proof.
The final two cameras are the DSC-H90 and DSC-W690. These cameras feature a 16.1MP sensor (1/2.3" Super HAD CCD) and can record high-definition video at 720/30p.