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Sony's Cyber-shot M2 digital camera. Courtesy of Sony, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Sony Europe announces Cyber-shot M2
(Tuesday, September 13, 2005 - 00:00 EDT)

Based on the existing Cyber-shot DSC-M1 model, the new camera is likewise aimed at an unusual mixture of video and still capabilities.

For readers not familiar with the older DSC-M1, you may want to look at our coverage of that camera's announcement. While the new camera has been restyled significantly, and now has a silver aluminum body rather than the previous black body, much has been retained. This includes the overall form factor, the LCD swivel mechanism complete with stereo microphone on the rear of the display (unfortunately right where your fingers will accidentally block it), and the large 2.5" LCD display with three buttons down its left-hand side.

So - what's changed? Well, the naming schema, for one. Sony Europe's press release drops the "DSC" designation, perhaps to distance the model from the "digital still camera" inference. As previously mentioned, there's the body restyling, including what looks to be significant changes to the control layout. The spec table lists a slightly larger CCD image sensor, although resolution remains at 5.1 megapixels (effective). To cater for the larger imager, there's a slightly more telephoto lens - meaning that the 35mm equivalent focal length range of 38 - 114mm remains unchanged. There's also a stronger 6x digital zoom, high-speed USB 2.0 connectivity, and a different InfoLithium battery type.

Also, Sony's press release mentions a new "photo album" mode reminiscent of that seen in some of Kodak's EasyShare cameras, where up to 1,100 VGA copies of images are stored in an unspecified quantity of internal memory, for viewing on the camera. Where Kodak requires images to be offloaded from the camera to a PC, resampled and then returned to the camera, though, Sony Europe's press release describes a rather different process. When images are captured, a high-res copy is saved to the Memory Stick Duo or PRO Duo card, while a VGA version is saved to the internal memory. Favorite images can be tagged to prevent deletion, and images which aren't tagged will be discarded to fit newer images when the 1,100 image capacity has been used up.

Also new is a slideshow function that allows you to select from four styles - Active, Simple, Stylish, and Nostalgic. Transitions based on your style selection take place between the images or 5-second movie clips, and MP3 or CD music can be encoded on your computer and uploaded to the camera to accompany the slideshows.

The camera will ship in Europe this November. Pricing has not been announced at this time.

Sony Cyber-shot M2
Sony's Cyber-shot M2 digital camera. Courtesy of Sony, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Camera Type Other
Manufacturer Sony
Model Number M2
Image Capture
Sensor Type 1/2.5" Sony Super HAD CCD
5.10 megapixels (total)
5.30 megapixels (effective)
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder No
LCD 2.5", 123,000 pixels
Lens Type Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar
3x optical zoom
Image Stabilization No
Focal Length 6.3 - 19.0mm (actual)
38 - 114mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/3.5 (wide) / f/4.4 (tele) - ???
Digital Zoom 6x
Movie Format MPEG-4 MOVIE 4TV with audio
Includes 320x240
Max. frame-rate: 30 frames per second
Recording Medium Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo
File Format JPEG
Video Yes
Computer USB 2.0 High Speed
Other Cyber-shot Station cradle
Battery Type Lithium Ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary InfoLITHIUM T
Product Bundle
Software Picture Package, Image Mixer
Battery / Charger Proprietary InfoLITHIUM T Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory Includes built-in memory, capacity unknown
PictBridge Compliant Yes
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
More Photos
Sony's Cyber-shot M2 digital camera. Courtesy of Sony, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Sony's Cyber-shot M2 digital camera. Courtesy of Sony, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!

Original Source Press Release:


Quality still pictures, movie footage and fun playback opportunities - in one stylish device

Berlin, 13 September 2005 - The Sony Cyber-shot M2 features 5.1 effective Megapixel resolution and a high quality movie mode (MPEG-4 recording) in a stylish, ergonomically designed camera. The Cyber-shot M2 combines the best of both worlds: great quality photography is guaranteed, thanks to the 5.1 effective Megapixel Super HAD CCD a large and bright 2.5 inch Hybrid LCD screen, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar folded-path 3x Optical Zoom lens. In addition, the same device gives you casual movie-shooting capabilities, allowing you to capture up to 50 minutes of good quality footage on a Memory Stick PRO Duo™ with one charge of the supplied InfoLITHIUM battery. Or why not choose the ‘5 Sec Rec’ mode for a fresh style of snappy movie making.

Now you can have it all...
The Sony Cyber-shot M2 is the perfect futuristic accessory to impress your friends. With a press of a button, the camera can switch between photo and movie modes depending upon which will best capture the mood. Unique to Sony, the Cyber-shot M2 features the Pocket Album and Slide Show plus Movie functions for effortless and fun playback on the generously sized 2.5 inch Hybrid LCD screen. Moreover the large screen allows you to frame the shot in any light conditions, including direct sunlight. The camera uses Sony’s Real Imaging Processor, which enables it to capture pictures quickly so you'll never miss the moment.

Style in the palm of your hand
The ergonomically designed one-handed grip sits neatly in the palm of your hand, and the slightly tilted lens axis on the Cyber-shot M2 allows you to hold and shoot with a natural wrist position. The camera automatically switches into photo mode as soon as you flip up the large LCD screen.

The control layout has been designed with ease of operation in mind. For example, the Photo and Movie buttons are arranged in a horizontal line, within easy reach of your thumb. The shuttle control feature on the back of the device allows you to easily scan forwards and backwards through your movie footage and photography to reach the scene you really want to view.

The aluminium body has a special finish to create a luxurious and classic satin metallic look and feel. Equally impressive on holiday, at an evening party or a family barbecue, the Cyber-shot M2 always exudes style.

View and share pictures, wherever, whenever
Imagine how heavy a photo album carrying 1,100 of your favourite photos might be! The new Pocket Album feature from Sony allows you to carry and view up to that much of your favourite still photos on the camera's LCD screen. A separate, internal memory is dedicated to holding your pictures in VGA size, which means you view them whenever you want. The internal Pocket Album in the Cyber-shot M2 is a great way to share with friends and tell a story. In addition to the LCD screen, images can be viewed on TV screen. When the maximum capacity is reached, the oldest images are automatically deleted to make space for new ones (individual images can be protected from deletion). Of course, images are also stored in full high resolution on optional Memory Stick PRO Duo™ for you to save on a PC or print out.

Truly dynamic slide shows
In addition, the Cyber-shot M2 features a Slide Show plus Movie function for a truly rich slide show experience. It brings your pictures and five second movies to life by playing them back in a variety of slide show styles: select from 'Active', 'Simple', 'Stylish' and 'Nostalgic' modes and your pictures and five second movies will be shown at random accompanied by a choice of four pre-set background music melodies to complement the mood. You can even add background music of you own choice using the supplied Picture Package software. You can select the Music Transfer function to add your own music (MP3 or CD music) to the camera’s internal memory to further personalise your slide shows. To make the very best of your memories, the camera goes one step further, blending and zooming in and out on images for a truly dynamic, movie-like slide show. You don't even have to wait to get home to enjoy this great feature-just switch to Slide Show plus Movie mode and the camera does the rest! There is also a 'Normal' function for playback without mood music.

Pictures in context
The Hybrid REC mode gives your pictures real context on the Cyber-shot M2. By simply pressing the PHOTO button while filming in Hybrid REC mode, the camera will automatically record the five seconds before the still picture and three seconds after the still picture. It’s truly a unique way to capture the atmosphere surrounding the moment. In this mode the movies are stored as 15 fps at QVGA size (320x240).

Stereo sound
The Cyber-shot M2 even features a stereo microphone, a first for a Sony digital camera, and great for playback on a stereo TV. The built-in mono speaker incorporates an ALC (Auto Level Control) circuit, this combined with the Class D amplifier, allows surprisingly loud sound playback without distortion and also ensures low power consumption.

Greater Appeal
The Cyber-shot M2 also features PictBridge, the standard for printing directly to photo printers, such as the Sony DPP-FP50. The supplied Cyber-shot Station makes charging and connecting to a PC, printer or TV even simpler.

The Cyber-shot M2 will ship throughout Europe during November 2005.

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