Sony’s latest touch screen ultracompact, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500, takes aim at sophisticated shooters seeking high-quality still image and video capture in a single, ultra-portable device.
Building on the foundation laid by Sony’s long line of touch screen Cyber-shot T models, the T500 brings more advanced shooting features, 720p video recording, HDMI connectivity, and a more businesslike appearance to Sony’s popular pocket cams.
Slightly more performance focused than some of its T-series forerunners, the T500 appears to primarily target the “innovation enthusiasts” segment, to borrow a turn of phrase from Sony. At the heart of this performance focus is Sony’s 10.1 megapixel, 1/2.3-inch SuperHAD CCD sensor, coupled with a 5x, 33-165mm Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar zoom lens.
Sony’s market research for the new Cyber-shot T models has also suggested that while optical image stabilization wasn’t among the most requested features for potential new camera buyers, a majority of actual users found it useful in practice; hence, it’s hardly surprisingly that a top-tier model would receive the manufacturer’s Optical SteadyShot technology. High-sensitivity shooting to ISO 3200 further expands the T500’s capabilities when light is scarce or action is fast.
The T500’s touch panel is a wide-format (16:9 aspect ratio) 3.5-inch variant with 230,000 dots resolution. The screen is designed to allow for easy viewing, even in adverse lighting conditions.
As noted, the T500 offers high-def video capture at up to 1280×720 (720p) at 30 fps for clips of up to ten minutes in length. Unlike most digital still cameras, movie audio is captured in stereo via the T500’s front-mounted stereo microphone; from this capture, the T500 generates MPEG-4 video files utilizing the AVC/H.264 codec, which combines small file sizes with support for high-quality video and stereo audio.
All of this emphasis on advanced video capture systems is well placed for a camera in the T500’s market segment, according to Sony director of digital camera marketing Phil Lubell. “Our research revealed that people like to shoot video with their point-and-shoot cameras, but were very dissatisfied with the video quality and the resulting large files.
.”Our new T500 fulfills this customer need for a digital camera that delivers high-quality movies in a small form factor.”
Other key features include a face detection system capable of locking onto up to eight faces, Sony’s advanced in-camera slide show tools that allow the addition of sophisticated shot-to-shot transitions and the incorporation of background music, and HDMI connectivity for easily getting playback to an HDTV.
The T500 carries a suggested retail price of around $400. Sony will begin accepting pre-orders for the new Cyber-shot on August 29, with actual retail delivery slated for September.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T500 Specifications:
|Sensor||10.1 megapixel, 1/2.3″ Super HAD CCD|
|Zoom||5x (33-165mm) Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar, f/3.5-4.4|
|LCD/Viewfinder||3.5″, 230K-dot touch sensitive hybrid TFT LCD|
|Shutter Speed||1-1/1000 seconds|
|Shooting Modes||Auto, Easy Auto, Program, Scene, Movie|
High Sensitivity, Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Soft Snap, Landscape, Beach, Snow, Fireworks, Hi-speed Shutter, Smile Shutter, Gourmet, Auto Adjustment, Underwater
|White Balance Settings||Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent 1, Fluorescent 2, Fluorescent 3, Incandescent, Flash, Underwater|
|Metering Modes||Multi, Center, Spot|
|Focus Modes||Multi AF, Center AF, Spot AF, Flexible Spot AF, Focus Presets, Macro|
|Drive Modes||Normal, Burst, Self Timer|
|Flash Modes||Auto, Forced On, Slow Synchro, Forced Off|
|Self Timer Settings
||10 seconds, 2 seconds, Off|
|Memory Formats||Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Pro Duo|
|File Formats||JPEG, MPEG|
|Max. Image Size||3648×2736|
|Max. Video Size
||1280×720, 30 fps|
|Zoom During Video||Yes|
|Connections||USB 2.0, AV output (includes HDMI output), DC input|
|Additional Features||Face Detection, Smile Shutter, Bionz processor, touch screen interface, HD Slide Show with music, Optical SteadyShot|