Given the ubiquitous nature of smartphones and the ever-increasing megapixel count of their onboard camera sensors, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the compact digital camera may have snapped its very last snap. Sony believes that its new Cyber-shot HX50V superzoom will make you think again. Claimed to be the world's smallest and lightest 30x zoom camera currently available, the low light sensitive 20-megapixel camera features both Wi-Fi and GPS, high-speed AutoFocus, optical image stabilization, and boasts an impressive battery life.
The Cyber-shot HX50V compact superzoom features a 24-720mm F3.5-6.3 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens made up of 11 elements in 10 groups. In addition to the camera's 30x optical zoom capabilities, Sony says that its 60x Clear Image digital zoom technology uses pixel pattern matching to give more realistic, higher quality results than systems that use electronic cropping to get closer to a subject.
Complementing the camera's zoom lens is optical SteadyShot and active 3-way image stabilization, which is claimed to be twice as effective as last year's Cyber-shot HX200V model at maximum zoom.
At the heart of the 4.25 x 2.5 x 1.5-inch (108.1 x 63.6 x 38.3-mm), 9.6-ounce (272-g) camera is a 1/2.3-inch Exmor R BSI CMOS sensor with 20.4 effective megapixels, which works alongside Sony's BIONZ imaging processor to offer ISO80 to 12800 sensitivity, and an impressive 10 fps burst shooting at full resolution. Images are recorded to Memory Stick Duo or SD/SDHC in 4:3 aspect at full 5,184 x 3,888 pixel resolution, or 16:9 at 5,184 x 2,920. Built-in Wi-Fi technology can be used for wireless file transfer and remote control.
The HX50V has a 3-inch, 921,000 dot resolution Xtra Fine LCD display panel with five levels of brightness adjustment. Though a pop-up flash module has been included, the camera also has a hot shoe mount – or Mi Shoe – for connecting accessories like an external flash unit, stereo microphone module or electronic viewfinder.
Rounding out the notable specs are a dedicated exposure compensation control dial and a PASM/settings dial, micro HDMI and USB 2.0 ports, and a 1240 mAh Li-ion battery that's smaller than those used in earlier models, yet still manages to offer 400 photos per charge. The camera is also capable of 1080/60p high definition video recording in AVCHD Ver2 format, with AC3 stereo audio.
The Cyber-shot HX50V will be available from next month for about US$450. In the meantime, have a look at the SNGL by Sony team walking through the main features in the video below.