Print 18 comment(s) - last by MGSsancho.. on Jan 30 at 7:55 PM

New cams shoot still shots and video at once

Sony has tossed three new compact digital cameras onto the market that slip into the company's Cyber-shot line. The announcement comes even as Sony admits that the point-and-shoot category is a dying breed due to the prevalence of smartphones with high-resolution cameras onboard (the company has seen its P&S sales plummet 20 percent over the past year and expects the trend to continue).
The three new cameras include the DSC-TX200V slipping into the new ultrathin T series Cyber-shot series, and two more cameras that fall into the W series dubbed the DSC-WX70 and the DSC-WX50. The cameras share some common features such as new Exmor R CMOS sensors in new and improved BIONZ image processors.
The TX200V digital camera has 18.2-megapixel resolution, which Sony claims is the highest resolution sensor that's currently offered in the point-and-shoot market. The camera also boasts superfast autofocus speeds needing only 0.13 seconds during the day and 0.25 seconds in lowlight situations to focus.
Sony also gifted the new camera with a large 3.3-inch Xtra Fine TruBlack OLED touchscreen. The TX200V is also ruggedized with ability to survive water submersion up to 16 feet deep, and the camera is dust proof, and freeze proof to 14°F. The WX70 and WX50 cameras both sport 16.2-megapixel resolution with the same sensors as the other camera. These two cameras both use 921K dot resolution LCD touchscreens with the WX70 sporting a 3-inch screen and the WX50 sporting a 2.7-inch screen.
"We continue to innovate in the compact camera space, finding new ways to help consumers produce high-quality photos and videos as easily as possible, regardless of lighting conditions," said Yosuke Tomoda, director of the Cyber-shot business at Sony Electronics. "With new technologies designed to improve the overall imaging experience - including extended creativity, control and more - this new lineup of Cyber-shot cameras delivers impressive results with stylish, pocket-sized bodies." 
The TX200V has a 26 mm equivalent lens and has 5x optical zoom. It also boasts the ability to capture 13-megapixel still images while shooting video with dual record. The camera can capture 1080p resolution video and has Optical Steady Shot Active Mode for clear video recording.
The WX70 has a 25mm equivalent lens and five times optical zoom. It can also capture full HD video while shooting 12-megapixel still shots with its own dual record mode. The WX50 has the same lens as its bigger brother and can shoot 12-megapixel images while recording 1080p video.
The TX200V will be offered in silver, red, and violet for about $500. The WX70 will sell for about $230 in silver, black, pink, violet, and white. The WX50 will sell for $200 and will come in silver or black. All of the cameras are set to hit the market in March.

Sources: Sony, Imaging-Resource, The Verge

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The positive flip?
By jonmcc33 on 1/30/2012 10:31:53 AM , Rating: 5
Hey, at least they can't blame online pirating.

RE: The positive flip?
By Samus on 1/30/2012 10:59:32 AM , Rating: 4
I still feel 95% of current cell phone cameras are inadequate for anything but eBay photography...

The iPhone 4/4s, Samsung Galaxy/Nexus line and various Nokia's are the only contenders to justify replacing a decent point-and-shoot. Most other phones' camera seem like an after-thought.

RE: The positive flip?
By myhipsi on 1/30/2012 11:45:41 AM , Rating: 3
I agree, a good point-and-shoot camera is still light years ahead of a typical cell phone camera, mainly due to optics; you just can't fit enough glass in a cell phone lens. But for all practical purposes, most people who use point-and-shot and/or cell phone cameras to take photos are usually intending on simply posting those photos to facebook, etc. In this case, quality (within reasonable limits) doesn't really matter, they want convenience (cell phones are the ultimate in convenience since practically everyone carries one with them at all times). On the other hand, people that are photographers, or otherwise care about quality photos, are choosing D-SLRs over point-and-shoot, again because of much superior optics. So I can certainly understand why point-and-shot cameras are loosing market share, while D-SLRs are gaining in popularity.

RE: The positive flip?
By Uncle on 1/30/2012 1:04:16 PM , Rating: 2
"you just can't fit enough glass in a cell phone lens"

18.2-megapixel resolution and all these P and S cameras and cell phones lenses made of plastic. What a waste of tech. These companies are still playing the numbers game on the consumers.

RE: The positive flip?
By SPOOFE on 1/30/2012 6:53:15 PM , Rating: 2
These companies are still playing the numbers game on the consumers.

Eh, the consumers are still enamored with the numbers game, so what incentive is there to change up?

RE: The positive flip?
By TSS on 1/30/2012 12:41:00 PM , Rating: 2
Thing is we have contenders now. That's a far cry from my 640x480 VGA camera on my old LG mobile (i'm not so into the latest and greatest smartphone).

The reason why all the camera's are still crap isn't so much because of the camera. It's the liny lens it has to use.

I'll bet if you stick those cybershot sized lenses on the back of an Iphone you'd get even better quality then a cybershot. But nobody would buy it, because it's too unwieldy for everyday use and it's not exactly balanced in weight to take pictures with (no point in the lens if ya can't keep the phone straight).

But lenses on smartphones will continue to improve, so eventually the lower segments of cameras will slowly dissapear. But i doubt any $500+ camera will ever be replaced by a smartphone.

RE: The positive flip?
By StanO360 on 1/30/2012 12:47:52 PM , Rating: 2
Actually it's the camera, it's a different technology altogether from what I understand. Of course lenses matter, but it's far from the only thing.

RE: The positive flip?
By StanO360 on 1/30/2012 12:54:42 PM , Rating: 2
The thing is that most people use even simple point and shoots so poorly that it doesn't make much difference. I can take a picture with my 3.2mp LG and get results (in the right conditions) close to what some people get with a stand alone.

I also noticed that better phone cameras do make a big difference with better speed and focus. It would make a lot of people give up stand-alones.

What's shocking is the lazy ignorance. I had some friends that had a broken camera (the same applies to phones too) and asked if I could fix it. I checked all the obvious fixable problems, none worked. They then decried all the lost pictures, I asked them what the meant and they said there were pictures they hadn't printed yet. In two years they never took the pictures off the camera, they didn't know what the data cable was, they just printed them out at Costco and deleted them!

RE: The positive flip?
By Solandri on 1/30/2012 3:00:23 PM , Rating: 1
I still feel 95% of current cell phone cameras are inadequate for anything but eBay photography...

Back in the film days, probably 99.9% of photos taken ended up as 4"x6" prints (or the metric equivalent).

Printed color photos need a minimum of about 150 dpi. Your eyes have lower color resolution than black and white resolution. So whereas 300 dpi is a good minimum for text, 150 dpi is a good minimum for color photos.

150 dpi @ 4"x6" = 900x600 = 0.5 MP

If you had a really nice picture, you enlarged it to an 8"x12" print and mounted it on the wall.

150 dpi @ 8"x12" = 1800x1200 = 2.2 MP (Yes, your beautiful HDTV is about 2 MP)

Conclusion: 95% of current cell phone cameras are adequate for almost everyone's photography needs. Anything over about 2 MP is only really useful for zooming and cropping.

Granted, the 5MP cameras on most cell phones are crappy enough they are only providing about 2 MP of resolution.

RE: The positive flip?
By MGSsancho on 1/30/2012 3:53:23 PM , Rating: 2
Megapixels is only a small part of the equation. Sensor size, properly paired lens for the shot desired, aperture and possibly skill are the mostt important things. ISO, speed, processor, white balance etc are all nice to know how to muddle with but the sensor is more important than anything else.

RE: The positive flip?
By SPOOFE on 1/30/2012 6:57:32 PM , Rating: 1
Megapixels is only a small part of the equation.

Megapixels ARE the sensor; more MP's mean smaller individual photosites which means less effective light gathering for the entire sensor.

RE: The positive flip?
By MGSsancho on 1/30/2012 7:55:29 PM , Rating: 2
the number of times you device of the given area of a sensor does not change the amount of photons that can hit the sensor. Sure you loos a tiny fraction in the lines between the pixels but in general, the bigger the sensor (all else equal) the more amount of photons can reach the sensor. you can have one giant pixel or millions but that does not change the total amount of photons hitting it. But you are also 100% right about more megapixels diluting the light per pixel.

My argument still stands, I would rather have larger sensors on cellphones and P&S cameras

RE: The positive flip?
By kmmatney on 1/30/2012 1:03:09 PM , Rating: 2
Here is a very good comparison of the progression of the camera in the iPhone:

It really shows how far the cameras have come in the latest phones, with the latest high-end phones from Samsung and Nokia having the same or better image quality as the 4S. It shows you can replace a point-and-shoot for most pusposes.

By chris2618 on 1/30/2012 11:39:25 AM , Rating: 2
I think part of the reduction is due to digital cameras being at the back of the innovation curve. We've had all the development required: all the mega pixels you will need, lens of very good quality, good low light images and ability to take video. Can't really think of what more you would need.

RE: Saturation
By lucyfek on 1/30/2012 12:20:15 PM , Rating: 3
Mostly true - there's no point in getting just more megapixels at the expense of picture quality. At the same time I replaced my aged 6 megapixel Sony that would not fire flash reliably with Canon that has 10 Mp (I was positively surprised that someone would market new camera bucking the trends for higher pixel count), GPS (nice), HD video (with available zoom). Not exactly disposable but feels solid and is super portable. No phone camera can compare and upgrading to most recent ones (4S etc) just to get decent pics seems ridiculous (unless you like supporting wireless providers and stay locked in contracts).
I also have a interchangeable lens camera but for daily use/hiking/biking P&S is the way to go. My corporate 3G is fine for what it's meant to do but no pics (fine if it gets upgraded but I won't give a penny towards this).

RE: Saturation
By kmmatney on 1/30/2012 12:59:06 PM , Rating: 2
Coming from a 3GS to a 4S, the image quality difference is amazing. The 4S has the same/better image quality compared to my 5 year old Panasonic Lumix - the only thing missing is optical zoom. I'm sure that a newer 13MP camera is better, but there are never felt resolution limited even at 5 MP.

For Christmas, the family got together and took our annual Christmas picture. Someone had a 12MP point-and-shoot camera, but I had a picture taken with my 4S as well. We reviewed all the pictures, and ended up using the phone picture. We picked the picture mainly of non-camera things (like more people looking at the camera) but the image quality was high enough such than onone knew it came from a phone.

RE: Saturation
By spread on 1/30/2012 1:39:39 PM , Rating: 3
Can't really think of what more you would need.

Increase sensor size slightly. Decrease megapixel count and make each pixel larger so it can capture a cleaner image with more dynamic range and better color accuracy. Also backside illumiated everything with the new white pixel tech that Sony released if possible. So the pixels are now RGBW instead of the standard Bayer RGB patterns. Now with even better dynamic range and noise control.

Add in some RAW mode alongside JPEG so the quality can be improved even more.

Larger battery as well. Yes the camera becomes slightly thicker but now you should be able to take more than a 3min video clip before the battery is depleted. A external powersource jack would be very useful for video mode if you say... wanted to carry a USB battery on your belt or wanted to plug it into the wall or the car lighter plug or wherever.

Now you have a hell of a camera. It's slightly thicker but the image quality should be a generation or two ahead. Resolution not so much but now the choice is between a crisp clean image and a high resolution noisy muddy looking thing.

RE: Saturation
By MGSsancho on 1/30/2012 3:55:28 PM , Rating: 3
Bigger sensor, raw mode, big glass.... non-interchangeable lenses... sounds like this but granted at that price point and features it blows away any other point-and-shoot. Still the idea that the sensor size is more important that pixels.

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner
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