By Matthew Henry
SYDNEY: Sony this afternoon launched a new range of Cyber-shot digital still cameras including the brand’s first models with high definition video output capability with an optional component video cable, making them ideal for use with HD resolution TVs.
After years of developing the performance of its cameras to improve picture quality, Sony said its focus this year is to help consumers enjoy the post-shooting experience of playing back photos on a television at the best possible quality.
The new line-up includes the T100 (RRP $749), T20 (RRP $599), W200 (RRP $799), W90 (RRP $599) and W80 (RRP $549). All models mentioned feature the new Bionz image processor, similar to the one introduced in Sony’s Alpha A100 digital SLR, which enables full high definition 1080i resolution AV output when connected to an HD TV through an optional component video cable or docking cradle.
The slim T series models are available now, whereas the W series will be launched in April and June.
With full HD screens such as Sony’s own Bravia X series LCDs growing in popularity and HDTV penetration now at 12.5 per cent, Sony believes there is a market for additional sales of its new accessory line including HDMI and component video cables and the docking cradle, which comes with a remote.
“There are a lot of consumers out there with full HD resolution TVs and they will want to get the best out of them. The picture quality difference is very easy to see,” said Sony technology communications manager, Paul Colley, who presented a convincing comparison of HD versus SD photo viewing at today’s launch.
Full HD 1920×1080 TV screens have a resolution comparable to two megapixels, which is almost five times greater than the standard definition resolution users get when connecting their camera through a standard composite video cable.
Sony conducted focus groups with consumers last year in Australia which found that consumers want a camera that is so simple to use that is “acts as an extension of your body,” according to one participant.
“Sony asked Australians what they are looking for in a digial still camera and overwhelmingly their response was an easy to use, stylish device with technology built in to enhance the prosess of capturing images," said newly-appointed Cyber-shot product manager, Ervin Quek.
"Cyber-shot has therefore built standout, industry leading digital imaging technologies into its range to ensure the pictures are captured each and every time.”
Quek recently joined Sony from a role as Panasonic product manager for its Lumix camera range.
According to Sony, this research resulted in the development of the new ‘home menu’ graphical user interface, which is similar to the cross media bar employed in the PlayStation Portable and PS3.
The menu takes advantage of the larger LCD screens found on most of its new digital still cameras and gives brief descriptions of each menu item to take the guess work out of taking pictures.
Other ease-of-use features include the Bionz engine’s face recognition system to ensure correct exposure, focus and white balance when taking portraits, and Double Anti-Blur image stabilisation combining high ISO sensitivity and an optical image stabiliser.