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Sony has introduced newly enhanced versions of their top-of-the-line Cyber-shot digicams—the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V and DSC-HX9V—both of which contain a new 16.2MP back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor and a list of technical tricks that not too long ago would have been considered pure Voodoo.
Size, form factor and optics aside, both cameras are quite similar in that along with the same aforementioned hi-def imaging sensor, they both can bang out up to 10 full-res JPEGs per second and feature an Intelligent Sweep Panorama HR mode for capturing 42.9MP (10480 x 4096) wide-field imagery, full HD 1080p video capture, a 3.0" 921,000-dot Xtra Fine LCD, a geo-tagging and compass mode, Optical SteadySHOT with Active Mode for sharp handheld shooting and a Dual Record mode for simultaneous capture of video and still imagery.
Along with ho-hum 2D capture, both of the new Sonys can also capture standard and panoramic images that can be played back in 3D when viewed on compatible HDTVs as well as Sony PlayStation 3 using "Play Memories" software, which is downloadable from the PlayStation Network.
Both cameras also feature Sweep Multi Angle technology, which captures 15 images from different angles and combines them in a format that produces 3D-like imagery that can be viewed on the camera's LCD.
The heavy lifter of the two is the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V, a super-zoom if there ever was one. DSLR-like in design, the DSC-HX100V sports a 30x Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonar T* zoom lens with an equivalent focal range of 27 to 810mm, which combined with the camera's panorama mode, makes this digicam hard pressed to beat in terms of optical flexibility.
For composing and viewing captured imagery DSLR-style, the DSC-HX100V has a 201,000-dot ferroelectric liquid crystal electronic viewfinder (EVF). To complement the camera's eye-level EVF, the DSC-HX100V also features a hinged, 3.0" hi-def LCD that can be angled for composing stills and video from the most challenging of camera angles.
Shutter and focus lag, long an issue with smaller digicams, has also been addressed in the newest Sony Cyber-shots, and according to Sony, the new cameras can lock onto your subject in as little as 0.1-seconds, which in turn helps to reduce the possiblity of missing shots due to shutter lag. In addition to a snappy AF system, the DSC-HX100V also features a manual focus control ring for occasions when driving "stick-shift" style is preferable to autofocus.
Improved HDR capture (Backlight Correction HDR) is another area that's been amped up in both new cameras. In its latest incarnation, instead of working from two closely captured images, the camera's HDR mode now captures three separate images, which it then combines into a single image file containing enhanced detail in shadows, highlights and midtones.
The second of the two newbies from Sony is the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V, a slimmer, pocketable alternative to the DSC-HX100V that features a 16x, 24 to 384mm equivalent Sony G-series zoom lens. Like the DSC-HX100V, the DSC-HX9V has an ISO range that goes from a native 100 through ISO 3200, though only in a choice of six full-stop increments, compared to the larger DSC-HX100V's 1/3-stop increment, which offers you 16 choices within the same ISO range.
Size, weight and ISO increments aside, other technical differences between the two new Sonys include a higher top-end shutter speed on the DSC-HX100V in all three exposure modes (1/4000th-sec versus 1/1600th-sec on the DSC-HX9V), and a longer flash range on the DSC-HX100V.
Both cameras contain a yet-unspecified amount of internal memory and accept SD/SDHC/SDXC and Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo/Pro HG Duo memory cards. We expect to have both of these rather cool new cameras in stock sometime in April.