Monday, February 25, 2008

New Sony Cybershot W300, my kingdom for a megapixel!

As we noticed earlier, the Sony W300 name was leaked via accessory compatibility lists earlier this year. The model name jump from W200 to W300 worried us that Sony would indeed take the jump from 12mp to 14mp. And sadly we were right :-( (How can being right feel so wrong?)

Okay, silliness aside, the Sony W300 replaces the Sony W200 (12mp, current price: $250). The W300 is what we call a "glorified P&S", a sleek ultracompact trapped in the body of a camera with a larger sensor. At least the sensors are 1/1.7" instead of 1/1.8", but the megapixel jump still outweighs the 14mp and 12mp 1/1.7" vs 10mp and 8mp 1/1.8". But what do we know?

It will ship in May 2008 for around $350 in the USA. As far as we know, it is not available for pre-ordering just yet. But do the math, you are getting an nice bargain, at $25 dollars per megapixel! Can your local grocery store do that? ;-)

It has the definition of a stereotypical P&S lens, a 35-105mm equivalent, in 35mm equivalent terms. But fear not, it does have Super Steady Shot! This is in sharp contrast with the upcoming 25-125mm Panasonic FX500.

On the plus side, it appears to have an optical viewfinder. Tunnel, your vision is calling ;-) The display is 2.7" (230k) and as you might expect, it seems to be the most important feature marketing-wise.

Also on the plus, adjustable noise reduction. A (glass) half-empty person would point out that the noise reduction options on a 14mp 1/1.7" sensor should be: "Monet", "Monet Extreme", and "Pixel Randomista".

The LiIon battery gives it a CIPA 300 which is decent I guess for a P&S, although a rule of thumb perhaps is that the CIPA number should be higher than the price ;-)

Did we forget to mention the lens is branded Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar? We are holding out for the Voorio Tessa lenses on Hello Kitty ;-)

And speaking of which, it does have face priority, but also adult and child priority. Now if this was Comedy Central, there would be a Catholic priest joke, but we are a serious blog, are we not?

This is actually not a total P&S camera, it does have some levels of control, but when you compare it with equivalent cameras of three or four years ago, it looks like a P&S camera photographic-feature-wise. It even accepts conversion lenses, which I'm sure Sony discovered make for good accessory sales, while RAW and such do not :)

The specs at dpreview and Imaging Resource (see links right below) mention "manual exposure", so that is promising. There is no shutter or aperture priority mode though. Needless to say, sadly, no RAW!

Coverage on the net

  • Sony USA Press release at the /temp/home of Imaging Insider.
  • Adorama News Desk
  • dpreview
  • Imaging Resource
  • DC Resource
  • Endless Years
  • Cameratown
  • DCI
  • Photography Bay

    Coverage at gadget blogs
  • CNet CoNsTaNt TeCh CrAVinGs BLoG
  • Ubergizmo
  • Gizmodo
  • EnGadget

    Forum Reactions at dpreview
  • OMG thread
  • Specs vs Photo, when two worlds collide
  • Sony Talk Forum at dpreview

    But wait there's more! Engadget has a hands-on with the new Sony Cybershots!

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