Not to be outdone by the slew of CES 2010 camera announcements coming from the likes of Olympus, Panasonic, and Canon, Sony is out of the gate with a whopping seven new Cyber-shot announcements for the U.S. market: the DSC-HX5V, -TX7, -W370, -W350, -W330, -W310, and -S2100. And in a welcome change for Sony, all the cameras include support for SD/SDHC memory card slots in addition to Sony's Memory Stick formats (Sony's dSLRs have included SD card support since May of last year).
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V and DSC-TX7 are at the top end of the lineup, spotlighting high-end features such as full 1080i HD video recording in AVCHD format, backlight correction (which some of the recently announced Panasonic compact cameras also tout), and Sony's wireless TransferJet technology, which allows you to transfer files between compatible devices by touching them together.
The ultracompact TX7 improves upon its popular predecessor, the TX1, with a wide-angle, 25-100mm 4x zoom lens and a huge 3.5-inch, 920,000-dot touchscreen. Like the TX1, it uses a 10.2-megapixel back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor and is compatible with Sony's Party-shot dock.
Considering my penchant for wide-angle compact megazooms, it's no surprise that I like the specs of the HX5V (25-250mm, 10x optical zoom; 4.13x 2.38x1 inches, 6 ounces) but the HX5V one-ups the other compact megazooms on the market by including both an integrated GPS receiver and a compass to record both the location and direction of your shots.
Sony also announced four new additions to its W series, starting with the 14.1-megapixel W370 and W350. Both offer 720p HD movie recording and Sony's Sweep Panorama mode, which lets you automatically shoot panoramic photos up to 243 degrees (by pressing the shutter and sweeping the camera across the view--the camera shoots continuous frames and then stitches them together). The W370 includes a longer 7x optical zoom (34-238mm), a 3-inch LCD, and an HDMI output, while the W350 sports a slimmer profile, a wider but shorter 4x zoom (26-105mm) lens, and a 2.7-inch LCD.
The last three cameras are budget friendly (sub-$200) models: the W330 is distinguished by its 14.1-megapixel resolution, large 3-inch LCD, and relatively wide 28-112 4x optical zoom lens; the W310 steps resolution down to 12.1 megapixels and the LCD down to 2.7 inches, whereas the least-expensive S2100 keeps the LCD larger at 3 inches and accepts easy-to-find AA batteries, but includes a less versatile 35-105mm 3x zoom lens.
A rundown of colors, pricing, and availability:
- The HX5V will be available in black this March for about $350.
- The TX7 will be available in silver, blue and red this February for about $400.
- The W370 will be available in silver, graphite black, green and red this March for about $230.
- The W350 will be available in silver, black, pink and blue this January for about $200.
- The W330 will be available in silver, black, red and blue this February for about $170.
- The W310 will be available in silver, black and pink this March for about $150.
- The S2100 will be available in silver, black and orange this February for about $120.