Sony: Two new Cyber-shot digicams (UPDATED)
Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource (Monday, September 11, 2006 - 00:00 EDT)Sony USA has today announced two new digicam additions to its T- and N-series, both cameras featuring touch-screen displays.
Sony's Cyber-shot T-series has proven popular in the market thanks to designs with slim, compact bodies, and an emphasis on ease of use (while still allowing a fair degree of control over the final image). The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T50 is an update to the existing DSC-T30 model. Both cameras include the same image-stabilized 3x optical zoom lens, branded with the famous Carl Zeiss name and coupled with a 7.2 effective megapixel CCD imager. The most significant difference between the existing camera and the Sony T50 is the addition of touch-screen capability to the large 3.0" LCD display. The overall weight of the camera body has been reduced by four grams, however the inclusion of a five gram stylus pen in the package means that the ready-to-shoot weight is one gram higher than the T30's. Noise reduction has also been adjusted, and now operates at exposures 1/6th of a second or longer (formerly this was 1/25th of a second or longer). The built-in flash memory capacity falls by two megabytes to 56MB, the "Candle" scene mode swapped for a "High Sensitivity" mode, and a new "Normal" slideshow mode has been added. Finally, the bundled software has been changed to Sony's Picture Motion Browser v1.1.
The Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar stabilized lens has a 35mm effective focal length range of 38 - 114mm. Other features include ISO sensitivity from 80 to 1000, shutter speeds from 30 to 1/1000 second, a choice of Multi-pattern, Center-weighted, or Spot metering, five white balance presets, 10 scene modes, USB and video connectivity, and both Memory Stick Duo / Pro Duo storage on top of the aforementioned 56MB of built-in memory. Shutter lag with AF / AE is rated at 0.28 of a second, and the burst speed and depth are listed as 5 shots at 1.1 frames per second, while the regular shot-to-shot interval is 1.4 seconds. The addition of the touch-screen LCD sees battery life downrated from 420 to 400 shots (to CIPA standards), from the same NP-FR1 InfoLithium battery used in the T30.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-N2, meanwhile, is an upgrade of the existing DSC-N1 model. The Sony N2 derives its higher ten megapixel resolution from a 1/1.7" CCD imager, rather than the eight megapixel 1/1.8" imager used in the previous camera. This is coupled with the same popup Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar zoom lens, which offers a 3x optical zoom range equivalent to 38-114mm on a 35mm camera. Also retained is is the whopping 3.0" LCD display - 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 rear of the Sony N-series cameras, so the company opted for a touch screen on the display, useable either with a fingertip, or with an included stylus.
As with the DSC-N1, Sony has taken advantage of the large LCD to let the camera function as a digital photo "wallet" of sorts. 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.
Also retained in the N2 is a slideshow mode 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. As with the T50 model it is announced alongside, the N2 adds a "normal" slideshow mode to the N1's functionality.
The DSC-N2 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. Other changes from the N1 include a slightly stronger "smart zoom" mode, a minimum shutter speed of 1/2000 second, tweaks to the shutter speeds at which noise reduction is applied, and slightly reduced burst capture rate / depth. As with the T50, the N2 also includes Sony's Picture Motion Browser v1.1 software package.
The Sony DSC-T50 and DSC-N2 will both hit retail this October. The Sony Cyber-shot N2 will cost $450, and the Sony T50 will retail at $500. Product specifications and a wide selection of product photos follow below, along with the official press release.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-N2
3.8 x 2.4 x 0.9" 96.7 x 61.1 x 22.7mm
185.0 g 6.5 oz
1/1.7" CCD 8.10 megapixels (effective)
3648 x 2736 (10.0 megapixels) 3648 x 2432 (8.9 megapixels) 3264 x 2448 (8.0 megapixels) 2592 x 1944 (5.0 megapixels) 2048 x 1536 (3.1 megapixels) 1920 x 1080 (2.1 megapixels) 1632 x 1224 (2.0 megapixels) 640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
5-area Contrast detect with AF assist lamp Manual Focus possible (5) steps
Normal: 20" - infinity (50 cm - infinity) Macro: 0.4"
Auto, 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1000
Multi-pattern, Center-weighted, Spot
+/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
Image Sensor - Au to, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent, Flash
Modes: Auto, Auto w/ Red-Eye Reduction, On, On w/ Red-Eye Reduction, Slow Synch, Slow Synch w/ Red-Eye Reduction, Off Range: Wide: 0.3 - 11.1 ft (0.1 - 3.4 m); Tele: 0.8 - 8.8 ft (0.25 - 2.7 m)
Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Landscape, Beach, Snow, Fireworks, High-Speed Shutter, High Sensitivity, Magnifying Glass (Super Macro), Soft Snap
Yes, 2 or 10 seconds
MPEG with audio 640x480 Max. frame-rate: 30 frames per second
Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Built-in
Lithium Ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor
Picture Motion Browser v1.1
Battery / Charger
Proprietary NP-FR1 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and charger
56.0MB built-in memory
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant
UPDATED 2006-09-11 12:42ET: Info on T50's weight clarified for us by Sony.
Original Source Press Release:
SONY'S NEW CYBER-SHOT DIGITAL STILL CAMERAS HELP MASTER THE ART OF STORYTELLING
SAN DIEGO, Sept. 10, 2006 — It’s easy to pocket your screen gems and dazzle audiences with Sony’s new Cyber-shot® DSC-T50 and DSC-N2 digital cameras, featuring three-inch touch-screen displays and built-in slide show capability.
The new models’ extra-large screens with intuitive menu options allow for less physical buttons on the camera bodies, resulting in a sleeker design. They also incorporate Sony’s Clear Photo Plus LCD technology for higher resolution (230K), higher contrast and optimal viewing from various angles.
You can use your photos to craft dynamic, personal narratives with in-camera slide shows – complete with your own music and transition effects such as pans, wipes and fades.
“ With digital photography, the social interaction that happens when people share their pictures has become as important as making great photographs,” said Phil Lubell, director of marketing for digital still cameras and photo printers at Sony Electronics. “Large, durable, scratch-resistant touch screens with enhanced photo-viewing capabilities are a means to ensuring that photo buffs get the maximum enjoyment out of using their cameras.”
High-Tech Features for Creative Sharing The ultra-slim and stylish DSC-T50 model is the new top-of-the-line camera in the T-series. It is equipped with a seven-megapixel CCD imager, a Carl Zeiss® Vario Tessar® 3x optical zoom lens, and 56 MB of internal memory. This camera shines with its performance and looks, shipping in bold red, black and silver. With pictures stored on an optional four-gigabyte Memory Stick Duo™ or Memory Stick PRO Duo™ media cards, the camera can play back more than 1,100 high-resolution images in slide show mode.
The elegant DSC-N2 camera debuts in champagne gold and is a ten-megapixel powerhouse with an extending Carl Zeiss® Vario Tessar® 3x optical zoom lens. With its built-in photo album function, this model can be a photo diary in your pocket, loaded with up to 500 of your favorite images.
Every time you snap a picture, the DSC-N2 model will store a full-resolution image on the optional media card or in the camera’s 25 MB of internal memory. Additionally, it automatically resizes that same image in VGA resolution and stores it in a portion of the camera’s internal memory dedicated to pocket album. No matter how many pictures are offloaded from the media card, you can choose to protect the images you want to keep and, over time, you have a collection of your favorite shots in the camera.
Taking great photos with the DSC-T50 and DSC-N2 cameras will be as enjoyable as sharing them. With shutter lag reduced to milliseconds, you can snap away until the whole story is told. Sony’s Real Imaging Processor® circuitry delivers fast response times and helps to prolong the life of the cameras’ supplied Stamina® InfoLithium batteries -- up to 400 shots per full charge for the DSC-T50 model and 300 shots per full charge for the DSC-N2 camera.
Blur the Storylines, Never the Photos These new models feature blur reduction technologies to help you get the shots you want, even in some of the most challenging conditions.
The Cyber-shot DSC-T50 camera offers Super SteadyShot® optical image stabilization to minimize blur caused by shaky hands. Both of the new models incorporate high light sensitivity, up to IS0 1000 for the DSC-T50 camera and IS0 1600 for the DSC-N2 model, to facilitate shooting without blur at faster shutter speeds– a necessity when capturing fast-moving subjects or taking photos in low-light environments.
Print and Share You can spark your audience’s imaginations even further with one of Sony’s print and share solutions. Tell your story one snapshot at a time, from the convenience of your own home, with the Sony DPP-FP55 photo printer. Or, order multiple digital prints at www.imagestation.com, have them delivered to your home or pick them up at retail, and weave a yarn that’s sure to impress your family and friends.
The Cyber-shot DSC-T50 camera ships in October for about $500. Optional accessories include the HVL-RLS ring light, used for close-up shots, for about $100, NP-FR1 InfoLithium® battery, and LCJ-THA leather carrying case for about $40.
The DSC-N2 model also hits stores in October for about $450. Optional accessories include the MPK-NA marine pack for about $200, NP-FT1 InfoLithium® battery for about $50, and LCS-NA leather carrying case for about $50.
Both models will be available online at sonystyle.com, at Sony Style® retail stores (www.sonystyle.com/retail), and at authorized dealers nationwide. Pre-orders begin on Sept. 12 at www.sonystyle.com/T50 and www.sonystyle.com/N2.
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Editor’s Note: Actual battery life in these cameras may vary according to usage. The viewable area of the LCD displays is measured diagonally. The available storage capacity of Memory Stick Duo and Memory Stick PRO Duo media may vary. A portion of the memory is used for data management functions. For additional information about Sony products, your readers can call toll-free at (888) 222-SONY, or visit Sony's web site at: www.sonystyle.com. Press releases and digital images are available for the news media at Sony Electronics’ news and information web site at: www.sony.com/news.