Long-zoom Sony H200 hits new resolution high; Wi-Fi connected, rugged, and entry-level cameras unveiled


posted Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 8:17 PM EDT

Consumer electronics giant Sony announced five new fixed-lens camera models for the Consumer Electronics Show: one each in the long-zoom, Wi-Fi connected, and rugged lifestyle camera segments, plus two affordable and approachable entry-level models.

The long-zoom Sony H200 looks rather like a digital SLR, and that's no accident -- its styling and grip design are intended to evoke Sony's Alpha DSLR cameras. And while its lens is fixed in place, consumer photographers aren't likely to mind, because with a powerful 26x optical zoom on offer the DSC-H200 likely offers all the range they'll need in most shooting situations (and then some.)

All of Sony's 2013 Cyber-shot digicams -- including the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H200 -- feature the ability to generate 360-degree sweep panoramas in-camera.

35mm-equivalent focal lengths range from a very generous 22.3mm wide angle to a far-reaching 580mm telephoto. Behind the lens, the Sony Cyber-shot H200's 1/2.3" Super HAD CCD sensor has an effective resolution of 20.1 megapixels, higher than any other fixed-lens camera until now, with the exception of a couple of cameras with much larger sensors.

Available only in a black-bodied version, the Sony H200 is priced at US$250 or thereabouts. More details in our Sony H200 preview!

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TF1 is waterproof, shock-resistant, freezeproof, and dustproof.

If you like to get out and live life, you need a camera that can live it along with you. Amazing image quality and a rich feature set are no good, if your camera fails right when you need it most. That's where the Sony TF1 comes in: it's waterproof, shock-resistant, freezeproof, and dustproof. If your body can handle the environment around it, chances are good that the TF1 can, too. Sony rates the camera as able to be used at depths of up to 10 meters (33 feet) for as long as one hour, and shockproof to a height of 1.5 meters. And since you may be wearing gloves when using the camera in freezing conditions or underwater, the design features large buttons and a chunky grip that should make for easier handling in gloved hands. Of course, even if you're not the outdoors type, all of this will still be equally useful when at the beach or pool, or you're prone to dropping your gadgets.

Sony combines a 16 megapixel Super HAD CCD image sensor and a 4x optical zoom lens in the Cyber-shot DSC-TF1. Available in black, orange, or pink-bodied versions, the Sony TF1 comes in at about US$200. It's covered in more detail in our Sony TF1 preview.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX80 lets you share photos and movies via Wi-Fi.

The Sony WX80 acknowledges a fundamental truth about consumer photography: we take photos so we can share moments in our lives. A photo not worth sharing is, for many, a photo not worth taking in the first place. The more easily you can get the photos out of your camera and into the hands of friends and family, the better -- and the Cyber-shot WX80 caters to that with built-in Wi-Fi wireless networking connectivity. Instead of hunting for cables or fiddling with flash card readers and a desktop or notebook PC, getting your photos onto social networks or into emails becomes a simple matter of enabling the Wi-Fi hotspot on your phone, then transferring the images across from the camera, ready to upload and share. And you can also transfer movies in MP4 format without a cable. You can also control the camera remotely, helping you get into your own shots, instead of being stuck behind the LCD.

Beyond its Wi-Fi connectivity, the Sony WX80 is relatively straightforward, pairing a 16 megapixel Exmor R backside-illuminated CMOS image sensor, and Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar branded 8x optical zoom lens. Available in red, black, or white-bodied versions, the Sony WX80 listsl for approximately US$200. read our Sony WX80 preview for more.

The Sony DSC-W730 digital camera is affordably priced, but still packs in an 8x zoom lens.

With the Cyber-shot W730, Sony caters to the consumer photographer on a tight budget, but still looking for high resolution and a reasonably generous zoom range. Resolution is provided for with a 16 megapixel Super HAD CCD image sensor, while the Sony W730's Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar branded, 8x optical zoom lens aims to get you closer to the action.

Available in silver, pink, or blue-bodied versions, the Sony W730 is affordable indeed, at US$140 or so. Find out more about this entry-level model in our Sony W730 preview.

The Sony DSC-W710 comes in just below the psychologically-important US$100 mark.

Finally, we have the Sony W710. One feature defines it: affordability. It's a camera that aims to arrive at the psychologically important US$100 price point, a barrier it just manages to squeeze beneath. At that price, you won't feel too worried about bringing along wherever you go, because it didn't break the bank to obtain. It's a likeable choice for teens and perhaps tweens as well, for much the same reason. The W710 includes the same 16 megapixel Super HAD CCD image sensor as the W730, but pairs it with an unstabilized 5x optical zoom lens.

Available in silver, pink, or black-bodied versions, the Sony W710 costs around US$100. Read our Sony W710 preview for the rest of the story.