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Sony's DSC-P20 digital camera. Courtesy of Sony Electronics. Sony announces Cyber-shot DSC-P20! (UPDATED)
(Thursday, June 14, 2001 - 16:19 EDT)

New entry-level digicam features 1.3 megapixel CCD and $249 pricetag...

Sony Electronics has today announced a new entry-level digital camera, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P20. This is the same camera we first heard rumors of back in March, and it looks like they were fairly accurate, albeit not spot-on... Already in our database, the P20 features a 1.3 megapixel image sensor which gives an image size of 1216 x 912 pixels, along with a 42mm fixed focal length lens, optical and 1.5" LCD viewfinders and a 5-mode flash. There's also a choice of center-weighted or spot metering, ISO ratings from 100 to 400, exposure compensation, and a choice of auto, preset or manual white balance. The camera can record images in TIFF, JPEG or black and white GIF formats, as well as MPEG movies (no audio) or Animated GIF clips suitable for web use.

The DSC-P20 uses Sony's MemoryStick media for storage (a 4MB card comes bundled with the camera), and can accept either Alkaline AA or Sony's proprietary InfoLithium batteries. External connectivity is limited to USB and DC power connections - to keep the price low the camera foregoes video output. The expected street price of $249 doesn't include rechargeable batteries or charger either; instead the camera comes with 2 AA alkaline batteries rated for up to 60 minutes of usage. An optional $99.95 'starter kit' which features both an NP-FS11 InfoLithium battery and the AC adapter which charges batteries in-camera is realistically a necessity, but does include a soft case for the camera as well, making for a fairly good bundle at an entry-level price of $349...

Specifications highlights for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P20 follow.

Specification Highlights - full specifications here
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P20
Sony's DSC-P20 digital camera. Courtesy of Sony. Click for a bigger picture!
Model Number: DSC-P20
Camera Format: Compact
Price: US$249 (street)
Date Available: July 2001
Image Capture
Image Sensor: 0.370" 1.30 megapixel RGBG CCD
Image Resolution: 1216x912, 1216x810, 1024x768, 640x480, 320x240
Focal Length (effective): 42 mm (fixed focal length)
Digital Zoom: 3.0x
Auto Focus: Yes (Contrast Detect type)
Manual Focus: No
Normal Focus Range: 60 cm to Infinity; 24.5 in to Infinity
Macro Focus Range: 15 - 60 cm; 6.1 - 24.5 in
Aperture Range: f/4.5 - ???
Optical Viewfinder: Yes (Real image type)
LCD Viewfinder: Yes (1.5 inch, 123,000 pixel)
ISO Settings: Auto, 100, 200, 400
White Balance Settings: Auto, Indoor, Outdoor, Hold
Manual White Balance: Yes
Shutter Speeds: Unknown
Exp Adj Range: +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV steps
Metering Modes: Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure Modes: Auto
Self Timer (seconds): Unknown
Internal Flash: Yes
Flash Modes: Auto, Auto w/ red-eye reduction, On, On w/ red-eye reduction, Off
Flash Range Description: 2.3 - 6.5 feet (0.7 - 2 meters)
Ext Flash: No
Image Storage
Flash Memory: MemoryStick
Memory Included (MB): 4MB
File Formats: TIFF, JPEG, GIF, MPEG, Animated GIF
More Information
Weight: 230 g; 8.0 oz
Weight With Batteries? Yes
Size: 123 x 62 x 46mm; 4.8 x 2.4 x 1.8in
Notes & Features: Lens cover is integrated into body design. 12-bit A/D conversion. In-camera sharpening is adjustable (5 settings). Flash level is adjustable (Auto, High, Low). LCD backlight can be enabled/disabled, and level adjusted. Has Acu-power meter for battery life remaining display in minutes (not when using AA batteries). ClipMotion mode records 160x120 or 80x72 pixel Animated GIF file, 10 frames at 0.5 second intervals. MPEG recording is 160x112 or 320x240 pixels, 8fps for up to memory capacity. MPEG movies can be replayed and split into multiple files in-camera. Supports in-camera cropping and resizing of still images. Text mode saves image as black and white GIF file. Battery life rated at up to 60 minutes on AA Alkaline batteries, or 120 minutes on NP-FS11 InfoLithium. Bundled with AA alkaline batteries, USB cable, wrist strap and 4MB MemoryStick. Optional accessories include LCS-CP1 soft carrying case, ACC-CSPW starter kit (soft case, NP-FS11 battery, AC-LS1 AC adapter), AC-LS1 AC adapter/in-camera charger, NP-FS11 InfoLithium S battery.
More Photos
Sony's DSC-P20 digital camera. Courtesy of Sony. Click for a bigger picture!

UPDATED 2001-06-14 20:42ET: Added official press release, and two new images of the camera to the news item. (Apologies to anyone who read the item in the last 30 minutes or so, when there were broken image links - Mike has been having *major* connectivity problems this evening...)
Source: Sony Electronics

Original Source Press Release:


SAN DIEGO, June 14, 2001 – Sony Electronics today announced that a new Cyber-shot® digital still camera (model DSC-P20), with such exclusive features as MPEG motion video, ClipMotion animation and compatibility (with an optional InfoLithium® battery), will be available in August for about $250.

“Sony makes electronics available to a wide spectrum of people, even those who might be newcomers to digital technology,” said Takashi Kondo, senior vice president of Sony Electronics’ Digital Imaging Product Division. “The DSC-P20 model is a fun camera that makes digital photography approachable, and it also has features that will continue to engage users as their product knowledge expands.”

High Resolution Stills and Videos
Sharp, vibrant photos are a snap with the new Cyber-shot model’s 1.3 megapixel CCD (Charged Coupled Device). The camera has 3x precision digital zoom and a playback mode that enables the user to enlarge and trim images in-camera, and save them as new photos. A powerful 12-bit A/D converter provides for more accurate capture of detail -- particularly in highlights and shadows.

In addition to still images, the Cyber-shot camera also captures MPEG EX (Extended) video clips up to the capacity of the Memory Stick® media in use (up to 90 minutes of video using a 128MB Memory Stick card). During playback, MPEG EX enables the user to move forward or backward in the clip and edit portions of the video. These MPEG “mini-movies” support ideal video resolutions (160x112 and 320x240) for attaching to e-mails and inserting them into Web pages.

Flexible Features Adapt to Various Environments
Great for on-the-go photography, the DSC-P20 camera adapts to various shooting environments with high-speed scan auto focus, selectable red eye reduction and an AF (Auto Focus) illuminator light to capture crisp images in low or no-light situations.

Two supplied AA alkaline batteries power the camera for up to 60 minutes of shooting time. For flexibility, an optional NP-FS11 InfoLithium battery and charger may be used to extend shooting time to 120 minutes.

The Cyber-shot DSC-P20 camera also includes:

  • Versatile File Formats - Files can be saved in several ways: JPEG, TIFF (Tagged Image Fill Format) for higher quality images, GIF for text mode and MPEG EX (Extended) for motion video and sound. MPEG EX captures 160x112 or 320x240 video continuously, up to the capacity of the Memory Stick media in use. Users can capture up to 90 minutes of continuous video utilizing an optimal 128MB Memory Stick media.
  • ClipMotion - Sony’s exclusive GIF animation feature, ClipMotion allows users to take up to 10 pictures that the camera automatically combines to make a single ClipMotion animation file, great for sending in e-mail or posting to websites.
  • Memory Stick Media Slot – Transfer digital images and MPEG clips to hundreds of other consumer electronic devices, using the super-compact Memory Stick media.
  • 1.5” Precision LCD – This LCD display has a 123k pixel count that enhances the detail of pictures that appear in the screen, making displayed images sharper and more true to life.
  • Supplied Accessories - These include a 4MB Memory Stick media card, USB cable and an application software/USB driver CD-ROM.
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