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Sony's Cyber-shot M2 digital camera. Courtesy of Sony, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Sony USA announces Cyber-shot M2 (UPDATED)
(Wednesday, January 4, 2006 - 20:15 EST)

Almost four months after the European announcement, Sony USA has today given the Cyber-shot DSC-M2 model its stateside launch in the runup to this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

First revealed in a German press release in the first half of September, the Cyber-shot M2 is tailored for an unusual mixture of video and still capabilities, much like its predecessor the DSC-M1.For readers not familiar with that camera, you may want to look at our coverage of it's announcement. The new model has undergone a significant restyling, with a new silver aluminum body, although the overall form factor has been retained. On top of the body restyling (with what looks to be significant changes to the control layout), the camera has a slightly larger CCD image sensor, with the same resolution of 5.1 megapixels (effective), coupled to a slightly more telephoto lens (hence retaining the 35mm equivalent focal length range of 38 - 114mm despite the larger imager). There's also a stronger 6x digital zoom, high-speed USB 2.0 connectivity, and a different InfoLithium battery type.

Also, the camera features a new "photo album" mode where up to 1,100 low-res copies of images are stored in an unspecified quantity of internal memory, for viewing on the camera. 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. There's also 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.

US pricing is set at $500, and the camera will ship later this month.

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!

UPDATED 2006-01-05 08:17ET: Official press release, pricing and availability info added.

Original Source Press Release:


Advanced Technologies Put This Camera At The Top Of Its Class

LAS VEGAS (CES Booth #14200), Jan. 4, 2006 - The new Sony Cyber-shot® DSC-M2 digital camera combines great quality digital still photography and impressive movie-shooting capabilities.

Featuring 5.1-megapixel resolution, a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar® lens and Sony's Real Imaging Processor® circuitry, the camera offers outstanding image capture in either mode.

"We recognize that some people don't want to have separate imaging devices for their photos and video," said James Neal, director of digital imaging products at Sony Electronics. "Our new Cyber-shot has been specifically engineered for these people."

A New Way To Record
Designed for optimal photo taking and video making, the camera's vertical one-handed grip sits comfortably in the palm of your hand. With just a gentle push to the side of the LCD panel, the camera powers up, the 2.5-inch LCD screen flips out, and it is ready to shoot.

Every moment becomes a full story with the camera's hybrid record mode. When you press the shutter release, you get more than a snapshot. The camera automatically records five seconds of video before snapping the picture and three seconds after. There is no longer a need to choose between stills and video - you can get both.

Sony's MPEG MOVIE 4TV movie function captures full-screen, high-quality video. At 640 x 480 VGA resolution and 30 frames per second, the resulting clips are ideal for viewing on television. The model's sensor has been optimized with a high refresh rate, doubling the horizontal resolution.

The camera's MPEG4 compression captures high-quality video in far less space than other cameras using MPEG1 technology. You can record high-resolution still images and video clips without a large-capacity media card. Or, you can purchase a 2 GB Memory Stick PRO Duo™ media card and record up to 1-1/2 hours of continuous video.

Additionally, the new camera offers stereo audio recording to truly capture the full experience of being there with surprising fidelity for such a compact device.

And, while some digital cameras do not let you zoom in movie mode, the DSC-M2 model continues to zoom in all modes.

The camera is supplied with Nero Vision Express 3 software so that editing footage and burning it to DVD is effortless. Convert video clips into home videos for everyone to enjoy. The supplied Cyber-shot Station cradle provides a convenient connection point for television viewing, USB transfer, and in-camera battery charging.

On-Camera Show and Tell
The new camera features pocket album and slide show plus movie functions to maximize your viewing enjoyment.

With each full-resolution image shot and stored on your Memory Stick, the camera's pocket album function automatically stores a duplicate 640x480 resolution image in its internal memory, which holds 1,100 images. When the maximum capacity is reached, unprotected images are deleted leaving ample room for your favorites in pocket album for sharing wherever you go.

The camera's slide show function brings photos to life without using a PC. Images and video can be played back with pans, wipes, fades and zooms, and then choreographed to pre-loaded soundtracks. You can even upload your own music to personalize slide shows using the supplied Picture Package software. A built-in speaker gives your slide shows that cinematic effect with sound to complete the experience. And, of course, a television can be connected for added enjoyment.

More Ways to Enjoy Cyber-Shot Digital Cameras
The camera's image resolution is ideal for making high-quality prints. Simply connect the model to a Sony DPP-FP50 digital photo printer and print from the convenience of your own home. You can even create postcards or calendars using the printer's supplied software.

With Sony's ImageStation® online photo service, you can expand your options to print tens or even hundreds of pictures, create online photo and video albums, or make customized gifts from coffee mugs and photo books, to calendars and T-shirts.

Stylish and compact, the Cyber-shot DSC-M2 camera is finished in an elegant silver metallic aluminum case. The unit will be available this month online at Sonystyle.com, at Sony Style retail stores (www.sonystyle.com/retail), and for about $500 at authorized dealers nationwide. Pre-orders begin today at www.sony.com/M2

The camera is supplied with a Cyber-shot Station™ cradle, which makes charging and connecting to a computer, printer or TV even simpler; an InfoLITHIUM™ battery; AC adapter; AV/USB cables, PicturePackage v. 1.2.1 and Nero Vision Express 3 software; and a wrist strap. Optional accessories include a form-fitting case (LCS-MHB) for about $40, a travel charger (BC-TR1) for about $60 and a tripod (VCT-R100) for about $35.

# # #

Editor's Note: 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. Actual battery life may vary based on settings and usage conditions. 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.

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