The two latest entries to the Sony Cyber-Shot family are a DSLR-looking megazoom and a more compact affair that, I’m going to tell you right now, is the **spoiler alert** better value. Let’s just get right into it.
The HX100V and HX9V are premium models focused on providing a long zoom and a few high-end features. They both have 16.2-megapixel EXMOR back-illuminated sensors, high-resolution 640×480 3″ LCDs, image stabilization, and GPS. They also both take 1080/60p video, do automatic panoramas (and “3D” panoramas), quick autofocus, and the usual range of features found on point-and-shoots.
What’s different then? Well, the HX100V has a much longer zoom: 30x. Believe me, though, having “twice” the zoom really doesn’t matter as much as people tend to think (if you have a decent zoom to begin with, that is), and the average user is far more likely to value the compactness of the HX9V. You lose half a stop of light (3.3 versus 2.8), but I’d say it’s worth it.
It also costs a hundred bucks less, which is something we can all appreciate. Spend that hundred bucks on lottery tickets, atomic fireballs, Laserdiscs… it doesn’t matter.
Here’s the full press release.
High-Zoom HX100V and HX9V Models Offer 3D, New Intelligent Sweep Panorama High Resolution Mode and GPS/Compass
SAN DIEGO, Jan. 31, 2011 – Sony today unveiled two new 16.2-megapixel Cyber-shot® digital still cameras that offer Full HD video shooting capability at the touch of a dedicated movie button. Recording video at 60 progressive frames per second (1920×1080 60p), both cameras can capture fast-moving action with exceptional smoothness and clarity.
The DSC-HX100V and DSC-HX9V Cyber-shot cameras are the company’s first compact digital still cameras to include a 27mm Carl Zeiss® Vario-Sonar T* lens with 30x optical zoom and a 24mm Sony® G lens with 16x optical zoom (respectively) combined with full HD (1920 x 1080/60p) video capability.
Another Cyber-shot camera first, the 16.2-megapixel “Exmor R” back-illuminated CMOS sensor inside both cameras supports a brand-new Intelligent Sweep Panorama™ HR (High Resolution) mode. Just press the shutter button and sweep the camera, and it captures up to 42.9 megapixel panoramic images with crisp 10480×4096 resolution. Images can be viewed on the cameras’ 3-inch921,000-dot Xtra Fine LCD™ display with wide viewing angle.
“These new H Series cameras are a great addition to the already explosive high zoom market, loaded with cutting-edge innovations by Sony to shoot stills and video,” said Kelly Davis, director of the digital imaging group at Sony Electronics. “With these unique Sony technologies, including GPS, 3D, AVCHD™ video as well as increased zoom, Sony is offering consumers the best of both worlds.”
High Zoom for Stills and Videos
Ideal for travelers and photo enthusiasts, the flagship DSC-HX100V packs an ultra-powerful Carl Zeiss® Vario-Sonar T* lens with 30x optical zoom range for crisply-detailed close-ups of distant subjects. Comfortable to hold and carry, its design echoes the style and control layout of larger DSLR models. Smaller and lighter still, the DSC-HX9V offers a high-performance G Lens with powerful 16x optical zoom range with 24mm wide angle to accommodate virtually any photo opportunity.
Borrowed from the Handycam® camcorder line, the new cameras feature Dual Record mode which can shoot video, while simultaneously capturing 3-megapixel digital still pictures (2-megapixel in 4:3 ratio when recording in MP4). The cameras also offer a dedicated still image button and a dedicated movie capture button to make it easy to use for consumers (Dual Record feature is not compatible with 60p mode).
Despite their powerful zoom range, DSC-HX100V and DSC-HX9V can capture crisp, blur-free images with significantly reduced handshake, even while you’re walking along. Featured on both cameras, Optical SteadyShot™ with Active Mode image stabilization is a powerful image stabilization system with ‘3-way shake cancellation’ as found on premium Handycam® camcorders by Sony. You’ll be rewarded with clearer results when you’re shooting handheld, even at telephoto settings where camera shake is most pronounced.
Create Personal 3D Content
Sony makes it easy to create personal 3D content that can be viewed on an HDTV with 3D home theater system. 3D images are captured using 3D Sweep Panorama™ mode or the 3D Still Image mode. In this mode, the camera takes two consecutive shots in different focus positions to calculate the depths,and then it creates left-eye and right-eye images to produce a 3D effect. These images can be enjoyed in 2D or stunning 3D on compatible 3D televisions (3D-compatible HDMI™ cables and 3D glasses are also required and are sold separately).
The 3D Sweep Panorama feature lets you take panoramic pictures in one press-and-sweep motion. The high-speed burst of frames is stitched together using innovative processing techniques to automatically create detail-packed 3D panoramas.
These 3D images can also be saved and viewed on a PlayStation3, using the “Play Memories™” application software downloadable from the PlayStation® Network.
The new models will let you view images in a completely different way. Unlike 3D Sweep Panorama mode, which lets you view 3D images on compatible 3D television systems, Sweep Multi Angle™ technology lets you view images in simulated 3D on the cameras’ LCD screen. This shooting feature captures 15 images at different angles and then compiles them into one photo. By tilting the camera back and forth, it creates a 3D-like effect on the display.
With the high-speed auto focus feature, these cameras provide a smarter way to focus with DSLR-like speed. High-speed autofocus locks onto subjects in as little as 0.1 seconds, letting you grab the most fleeting photo moments with ease.
In addition to speed, these cameras’ GPS/Compass function makes them ideal for travel and holidays. The enhanced GPS/Compass function captures your location and shooting direction and allows you to enjoy the results after shooting as online maps with any Internet-connected PC.
The Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V camera also features a manual control ring that can be assigned as desired to adjust focus or zoom. It’s ideal for applications like macro photography, where focus can be adjusted precisely while viewing a magnified portion of the image.
Easy Menu Selection Technology
The advanced imaging possibilities of both H Series cameras offer fuss-free operation. Superior AUTO mode recognizes a wide range of shooting conditions, automatically adjusting settings and shooting a high-speed burst of multiple frames as required in low-light conditions. These are automatically combined within the camera to create beautifully-exposed, low-noise results with virtually any subject—even in challenging low light conditions without flash.
While most cameras compile two images in Backlight Correction HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode, enabling crisp details in difficult lighting, these models utilize an HDR feature that compiles the highlights, mid-tones and shadows from three separate shots to create one realistic-looking photo. With Backlight Correction HDR in the Scene Selection Shooting mode, getting the best shot in difficult lighting conditions is simple.
Designed to help users learn about the cameras’ features and how to use them on the spot, the “In-Camera Guide” is accessible from the menu button on the camera. Users can search by purpose or keyword and easily access the functions they seek.
The cameras also have Background Defocus mode, which highlights your subject like a DSLR; Soft Skin mode, which reduces visible blemishes and wrinkles, and Natural Flash, which corrects color balance for more natural shots. They also offer fast capture with up to 10fps at full 16.2-megapixel resolution.
Images and videos can be easily viewed on the cameras’ 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD™ display with TruBlack™ technology, which provides deep blacks and more color variation on the thin display.
New accessories for Cyber-shot Cameras
There’s a choice of elegantly styled carry case options for the DSC-HX100V and DSC-HX9V models. Giving easy access to your camera, the design avoids electromagnetic interference with the GPS/Compass function of both cameras. Both cases feature a quality leather-like finish, with a handy pocket for a spare memory card – ideal if you’re shooting lots of HD video. Crafted to protect the Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V, the LCS-HG case offers extra carry space for an additional battery.
Compatible with the DSC-HX9V camera and several other Cyber-shot models, the Party-shot™ IPT-DS2 dock automatically captures smiling, relaxed portraits of everyone in the room – including you. Just touch a button and the Party-shot™ dock starts ‘on demand’ shooting. There’s also support for Intelligent Sweep Panorama mode with compatible Cyber-shot models. The Party-shot IPT-DS2 dock comes supplied with a protective cover and dedicated stand.
All new Cyber-shot models are compatible with the latest range of premium-quality SDHC cards by Sony. The perfect partner for your Cyber-shot camera, they’re also a great match for SD/SDHC-compatible cameras, camcorders and devices from other manufacturers. The affordable Essential Series and value-added Experience Series are joined by the flagship Expert Series (Class 10) for photo users who demand class-leading capacity transfer speeds.
Personal, Secure Online Sharing with Personal Space Site
The Personal Space™ site is the network service by Sony that makes it easy and secure to share photos and video clips captured on your Cyber-shot camera. Upload your images from any Internet-enabled PC with the cameras’ supplied Picture Motion Browser software, or using pre-installed PMB Portable software. An email sent with an embedded link ensures that invited family and friends can view your pictures. Videos and photos shared via the Personal Space site can also be viewed on Android™ smartphones such as the Xperia™ X10 by Sony Ericsson or iPhone®, via a dedicated application that can be downloaded from Android Market™ or iTunes® app store. Xperia users can also upload images directly to their own Personal Space account from their smartphone.
Pricing and Availability
The cameras and a range of accessories will be available in April online at Sonystyle.com, at Sony Style® retail stores (www.Sonystyle.com/retail) and at authorized dealers nationwide. Presales will begin in February. The DSC-HX100V and DSC-HX9V cameras will be available in black and will cost about $450 and $350, respectively.