Ben - Editor in Chief
Sony waited for a pre-PMA press event to show off their new camera lineup. The H1 ($500) is a prosumer model with 5.1 megapixels and 12x optical zoom. The W5 ($350) and W7 ($450) are 5.1 and 7.2 megapixels with 2.5" LCD and metal bodies. The S40 ($200), S60 ($250)and S90 ($300) are value oriented models with a 3x optical zoom and 550 picture battery life.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1 (June - $500)
A five megapixel, Super HAD(TM) CCD imager, 12X optical zoom lens and a large 2.5-inch LCD are just a few of the features on this model that are sure to please even the choosiest photo buff.
With a focal length range of 36 - 432 millimeters (a 35mm equivalence) the DSC-H1 camera lets you frame distant objects with ease. Making the most of this telephoto reach, Sony's Super Steady Shot(R) optical image stabilization feature counteracts camera-shake to ensure sharp images. This feature also benefits low-light photography by allowing the use of longer shutter speeds with reduced risk of image blur from camera-shake.
Sony's Real Imaging Processor(TM) circuitry is incorporated in the model for better battery efficiency, more responsiveness and high quality movie taking, while seven preset scene modes allow quick selection of the best setting for specific shooting conditions.
The camera also includes a five-area, multi-point auto focus to help you concentrate on the subject without mistakenly focusing on the background, as well as aperture/shutter priority and manual exposure modes for creative control of the image.
For added convenience, the model has 32 MB of internal memory (30 MB of usable memory) and a Memory Stick(R) flash media slot. PictBridge(TM) compatibility enables prints in a flash when the camera is connected to an enabled printer.
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W5 & DSC-W7 (March - W5 $350, W7 $450)
Both feature roughly the same body
The new models combine the some of the most desirable characteristics of a fully-featured camera in a compact metal-alloy body wrapped around an impressive, 2.5-inch LCD.
Powered by Sony's Real Imaging Processor circuitry, the cameras deliver extraordinary performance, including lightning-fast camera response times and extended battery life with approximately 380 shots between power charges.
Both models come with a full 32 megabytes of internal memory (30 megabytes available). As a result, these cameras are bringing new meaning to the term "worry-free" digital photography. Even if you forget to bring a memory card, or your Memory Stick media card runs out of capacity, you can still take great pictures thanks to the cameras' built-in memory.
Available in March for about $450, the DSC-W7 is one of the most competitive 7-megapixel cameras on the market. The camera sports a Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar 3X optical zoom lens that fully extends in about a second, as well as large 2.5-inch color LCD screen for optimal picture taking and viewing.
The 5-megapixel DSC-W5 will be available in March for about $350. This camera also features a Carl Zeiss 3X optical zoom lens and a generous 2.5-inch LCD screen.
Both the Cyber-shot W5 and W7 cameras shoot full-resolution images in just over one-second intervals. Moreover, they offer MPEG-VX Standard/Fine mode, which enables recording of MPEG video with up to 640x480 pixel resolution at 30 frames per second.
With the optional Cyber-shot Marine Pack (MPK-WA), the Cyber-shot W models become underwater cameras with water resistance to a depth of up to 132 feet. For those who want greater flexibility, the W5 and W7 models can both be used with optional telephoto and wide-angle conversion lenses.
Prints at Your Fingertips
Printing just one or several images is a snap with the new W series because these models are PictBridge compatible. Connect the cameras to a PictBridge enabled printer, such as Sony's new PictureStation DPP-FP50, and great prints appear with just a push of the button.
The DSC W-Series has a host of other appealing features, including:
Sony DSC-W5Five-area Multi-Point Auto Focus: The camera evaluates five separate areas of the frame and intelligently focuses on the subject, displaying the selected focus point.
Manual Exposure Controls: Flexible exposure control in which shutter speeds from 30-1 1/1000 seconds and apertures of f2.8 - 5.2 can be selected.
Preset Scene Modes: With seven scene modes, parameters can be matched to the shooting conditions, including: Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Landscape, Snow, Beach and Candle.
Sony DSC-W5Cyber-shot W Series Accessories
New optional accessories will maximize your capturing experience and include:
Marine Pack Model MPK-WA: Water-proof housing made of high-quality polycarbonate plastic and glass enables basic camera functions at up to a 132 foot depth. The marine pack includes a hand strap and is available next month for about $200.
Optional Lenses and Adapter: A high-grade telephoto lens (VCL-DH2630), wide angle lens (VCL-DH0730) and lens adapter (VAD-WA) will also be available next month for about $130, $100 and $30 respectively.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S40, DSC-S60 and DSC-S90 (Mid-March - S40 $200, S60 $250 and S90 $300)
Adding to the overall value of the line, two of the models include the benefit of large LCDs for simple image inspection and sharing right on the camera. The optional Cyber-shot Station charging cradle offers additional convenience and utility to the DSC-S60 and DSC-S90 models.
All three easy-to-use, four-megapixel cameras are packed with features like Sony's Real Imaging Processor circuitry for better battery efficiency, more responsiveness and high quality movie taking. The Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar 3X optical zoom lens on the models complements their high resolution for great picture clarity, while 32 MB of internal memory and a Memory Stick media slot provide plenty of storage capacity.
The new models in the S-series let you take approximately 110 shots while using two "AA" type batteries and around 550 shots while using a NIMH rechargeable battery.
Sony DSC-S90So that pictures are captured in-focus with the proper lighting and exposure, the new cameras offer a smart auto-focusing and exposure system meaning that even if the subject is off-center and in a difficult lighting situation, the cameras can automatically make the necessary adjustments. All of the models include a 3X optical zoom and 2X digital zoom for better looking, properly framed pictures.
Additionally, various preset scene modes are available for quickly selecting the best setting for the shooting conditions.
"Today's savvy customers are demanding more from their digital cameras," said Hiro Takahashi, Sony Electronics' vice president for digital imaging products. "From the entry level user to those looking to advance up, our n