Sony TX30 Preview
by Roger Slavens
The successor to last year's TX20 rugged, element-defying pocket camera, the new Sony TX30 is built for photographers who want to document their active lifestyles, whether it's windsurfing, snowboarding or just hanging out at the pool with the family. Sony claims the TX30 is the world's slimmest waterproof compact camera -- measuring at just 3 7/8" wide x 2 3/8" tall x 5/8" deep (96.4 x 59.3 x 15.4mm) -- and it features a sleek, slick style that stands out from the rugged digicam crowd.
Serious upgrades. The Sony TX30 gets a significant bump up in a number of performance areas over last year's model, including resolution where the camera sports an 18.2-megapixel (effective) 1/2.3-inch Exmor CMOS sensor, as well as an extended optical zoom range of its Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens to 5x (26mm to 130mm equivalent) and a max apertures of f/3.5 (wide) and f/4.8 (telephoto). Additionally, the TX30's waterproof capabilities have (literally) been deepened to 33 ft. (10m), while it remains shockproof from a fall of up to 5 ft. (1.5m) and freezeproof down to 14-degrees Fahrenheit (-10°C).
The upgraded, top-of-the-line waterproof Cyber-shot also gets a touchpanel OLED monitor that's bigger than the TX20's LCD, now measuring 3.3" diagonally and giving a bigger viewing for composing and capturing underwater and terrestrial shots alike. For macro shooting, the Sony TX30 also features a new up to 15x Magnifying Glass Plus mode and a built-in LED light that Sony says can help you focus on subjects as close as 1 cm.
Improved modes. Like the other Cyber-shots announced in February 2013, the TX30 also gets Sony's new, improved Superior Auto Mode that helps photographers get the right shot by automatically adjusting the camera's settings for composition and lighting, as well as by adding Picture Effects ranging from Toy Camera to Partial Color. For the TX30, Beauty Effect mode allows you to re-touch your portraits and remove blemishes, whiten teeth and open squinting eyes.
Since the camera is designed to capture on-the-go action, the Sony TX30 records video in Full HD 1080p, and also shoots 10 frames per second at full resolution in burst still mode. Intelligent Sweep Panorama mode allows for full 360-degree shots, as well as Underwater Sweep Panorama.
Availability. The Sony Cyber-shot TX30 will start shipping in the U.S. in March for US$350, and will be available in black, orange, blue or pink.
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