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The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-N1 features eight megapixel resolution from a newly developed CCD imager, rather than the imager we've seen used in a range of previous eight megapixel cameras. This is coupled with the smallest popup Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar zoom lens to date, offering a 3x optical zoom range equivalent to 38-114mm on a 35mm camera. Undoubtedly the feature that will really grab attention is the whopping 3.0" LCD display, though - ideal for showing off photos immediately that they're captured, or using the camera itself as a portable photo album.

Given the size of the display, there's little room for buttons on the Sony N1's rear - so the company has instead opted for a touch screen on the display, useable either with a fingertip, or with an included stylus. Past camera models have attempted to make it easier to use your camera as a portable photo album, but Sony adopted a new spin on the idea with the DSC-N1 (since seen on some of their other models). As you capture each image, it is saved twice. One copy is saved at your chosen resolution on the camera's flash card, or in 26MB of memory reserved for image storage. The other copy is stored at VGA resolution in a further 26MB of memory that is reserved for a photo album. The user can then select favorite photos from the album for protection, or delete images they don't like. As you continue to capture images and eventually the 26MB of album space (enough for 500 VGA images) runs out, the oldest non-protected image is automatically discarded whenever a newer photo is captured. This simple method should ensure that owners always have a good selection of photos on-hand to show off, with a minimum of fuss.

Sony have also extended their slideshow functionality in the Cybershot N1, with a range of transitions including pans, zooms, wipes, and fades, all selected automatically by the camera, and accompanied by music stored in the camera. The user can replace the music with their own selections using the accompanying software, which will transcode the user's personal music to MPEG1 format to replace the existing four background music selections that are built into the camera. 6MB of memory is reserved for the music to be stored in.

The DSC-N1 draws power from an InfoLithium NP-BG1 battery, with the useful ability to give an indication of remaining battery life in minutes. It includes both video and USB connectivity, offers some manual control over images (including both Aperture- and Shutter-priority modes), and also provides a selection of eight scene modes to offer an easier way for beginners to get the results they're looking for.