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Sony's Cyber-shot U DSC-U10 digital camera. Courtesy of Sony Japan, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Sony announces two new Cyber-shot digicams
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 23, 2002 - 00:00 EDT)

Sony USA has today announced two new Cyber-shot digital cameras, one of which has already made an appearance in Asia.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-U10 and DSC-U20 are near-identical ultra-compact, lightweight (4.3 ounce) cameras featuring 1.3 megapixel and 2.0 megapixel (effective) CCD imagers respectively, and fixed focal-length lenses concealed by sliding 'barrier-style' lens covers. Of the two, we have already mentioned the lower-resolution DSC-U10 on this site a couple of times since it was first announced in Japan earlier this year, including full specifications. Both cameras can capture short 15 second movie clips as well as being able to capture bursts of up to five VGA (640 x 480 pixel) frames at three frames per second. Image framing and review is accomplished using a 1-inch LCD display, and a range of Scene modes such as 'Soft Snap', 'Illumination Snap' and 'Vivid Nature' offer an easy way to get the best picture in varying situations.

Unusually for the USA, the cameras will be available in three different chassis colors - initially silver only, with black and metallic blue versions hitting US shores early next year. This is something that's fairly common in Japan, where fashion-conscious consumers like their cameras to match their style. Another Japanese trend that will follow through to US shores for the DSC-U series cameras is a line of accessory cases in different styles and patterns, such as 'sporty blue mesh', 'camouflage' and 'faux-fur'.

As mentioned previously on this news page, the DSC-U10 is already shipping in the USA at a cost of about $200 through the Sony Style website, although it was never formally announced here until now. The new DSC-U20 will cost $270, and ship in October.

Sony's Cyber-shot U series digital cameras. Courtesy of Sony, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!

Source: Sony Electronics

Original Source Press Release:


SAN DIEGO, Sept. 23, 2002 - Sony is blending expertise in miniaturization, digital imaging and sophisticated design with a new class of ultra-small digital cameras, beginning with the introduction of the Cyber-shot U® DSC-U20 and DSC-U10 models. Quick-on-the-draw, the tiny cameras are instantly ready to snap digital still images and record MPEG movie clips.

"We're challenging the notion that photography is exclusive to special occasions - weddings, graduations, birthdays," said Steve Haber, senior vice president of Sony Electronics' Digital Imaging Product Division. "Between these special occasions, life happens. We've made this camera so small and so cool that it can become an everyday accessory, making sure you don't miss a thing."

More than Just Small

With the Cyber-shot U cameras, Sony has engineered sub-miniature models without sacrificing image quality or functionality. Their lightweight and fashionable body designs turn these cameras into attention-grabbing, wearable accessories that are light enough to hook to a belt loop, drape around the neck or carry in a pocket. Smaller than many cell phones, both the DSC-U20 and DSC-U10 models each weigh a scant 4.3 ounces (with battery and media) and offer a host of built-in photographic features.

With a simple-to-use interface, the cameras' behind-the-scenes photographic features allow the user to concentrate on capturing the moment without being distracted by camera settings. For more accurate exposure, the cameras incorporate a built-in advanced pre-flash metering system. At the time of exposure, the flash automatically fires twice: once to illuminate the subject and calculate correct exposure, then a second time to record the image with the best exposure possible. In addition, the cameras' automatic center-weighted focusing system helps ensure accurate capture of any subject.

In the Blink of an Eye

Designed for impulsive picture taking, the Cyber-shot U digital camera reduces the time of having to remove and ready a larger camera from its case, as well as the need to set manual controls. The camera offers simple, single-handed operation; slide the door open for immediate power and start shooting. Quick power activation and minimal processing time required between shots make this one of the fastest shooting digital cameras - capable of capturing on-the-fly shots where other models are still preparing to do so.

Digital Imaging with Flair

Both a camera and an expression of individuality, Cyber-shot U digital cameras have excellent fashion sense as well. Elegant design and a wide range of multi-colored and patterned accessory cases (sold separately) personalize the picture-taking experience even more. Sporty blue mesh, camouflage and faux-fur camera cases married with the silver exterior of the camera itself make it a chic accessory and eye-catching conversation piece. Alternate DSC-U20 camera-body color choices of black and metallic blue will be available early next year.

Much More Than Meets the Eye

The Cyber-shot U cameras simplify the digital imaging experience by recording digital photos onto reusable Memory Stick® media cards that are about the size of a stick of chewing gum. Data stored on Memory Stick media can be shared with hundreds of compatible high-tech products made by various manufacturers.

Using the removable Memory Stick media, photos can be transferred to other compatible digital devices like TVs, handhelds and printers. In addition, for one-step USB photo transfer from the camera to a PC, the cameras come bundled with Sony's new Image Transfer software - a completely automated, plug-and-play program that offers quick downloading and storing of all digital photos.

Both camera models are supplied with two AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries, 8 MB Memory Stick media, a battery charger, USB connection cable and a neck strap. Additional features include:

  • Resolution - A 2.0 megapixel (effective) CCD image sensor on the DSC-U20 model is capable of capturing a photo with a maximum image size of 1600 x 1200. The DSC-U10 model offers a 1.3 megapixel (effective) CCD image sensor.
  • LCD - Photographers can easily compose and review their shots by using the camera's 1-inch, backlit reflective LCD which is easy to view even in bright sunlight.
  • Movie Recording - The cameras' digital still capabilities are complemented by a MPEG-EX video recording (without audio) feature that allows users to record memories in 15-second MPEG 1 movie clips.
  • Burst Mode - A special VGA (640 x 480 resolution) burst mode allows the user to capture a subject in motion by shooting up to five consecutive frames (three shots per second), while pressing the shutter button.
  • Special Scene Modes - To optimize exposure, color and white balance in a variety of shooting situations, users can choose from a number of scene modes, including Soft Snap mode for warmer skin tones, Illumination Snap mode for shooting in low light and Vivid Nature mode for vibrant landscapes.
Pricing and Availability

The Cyber-shot U DSC-U20 camera will be available in October for about $270, and the Cyber-shot U DSC-U10 camera is now available for about $200.

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Editor's Note: A portion of Memory Stick media storage capacities is used for data management functions. All Sony digital still cameras and camcorders except models DSC-700 and DSC-770 store images on a Memory Stick media in the DCF file format, which is required for playback on Memory Stick compatible televisions. If the image file is re-named or manipulated, the DCF file format must be restored before playback is possible. Images captured on all other digital still cameras and camcorders will need to be formatted on a PC to the DCF file format (with third party software not supplied with the television) before they can be viewed. Sony Electronics' Digital Imaging Product Division markets digital imaging products and services, including Cyber-shot® and Digital Mavica® still cameras, Handycam® camcorders and related accessories. For additional information about Sony products, call (888) 222-SONY, or visit Sony's web site at: www.sony.com/di. Press releases and digital images are available for the media at Sony Electronics' news and information web site at: www.sony.com/news.

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