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|Sony UK has announced the addition of two new models to its popular ultra compact Cyber-shot range. The introduction of the DSC-P2 and DSC-P9 builds on the success of Sony's market-leading 3.0 effective megapixel compact design camera, the DSC-P5, which was launched last September.|
These new pocket-sized models target a large market of digital photographers that appreciate the quality, immediacy, and ease of use of digital cameras, as well as wishing to integrate their camera and personal computer. Stylistic considerations have been another key focus, with the cameras featuring an exceedingly slimline and ergonomic design, enabled partly by the compact design of the Stamina battery. By introducing the new models, Sony has increased user options, with the existing DSC-P5 featuring a 3.2 MegaPixel resolution, the DSC-P9 a 4.0 MegaPixel CCD, and the DSC-P2 a 2.0 MegaPixel solution.
'The new compact Cyber-shot models offer outstanding quality with exceptional ease of use,' commented Adam Williams, Product Manager, Sony Digital Imaging UK. ' They represent Sony's slimmest, and most stylish digital still cameras to date. The advanced feature set and sophisticated automation made possible within such a small camera set new standards in this very competitive marketplace.'
Clear Colour Noise Reduction is a new facility that analyses colour frequency of an image and smoothes out the distortion caused by prolonged exposure, creating a natural tone reproduction in those areas where colour is flat such as in skies and seas, skins and different textures. At the same time, Clear Luminance NR smoothes the transitions between diverse luminance signal areas where there are significant and sudden changes in light levels. This makes the image appear crisper and cleaner with greater contrast. It also improves detail in areas where light levels are flat avoiding noise that could be confused with the details of the picture: using Clear Luminance NR, noise is removed and details are only those created by the object and not by the lighting.
Excessive shading can reduce image quality but now a new picture brightness feature determines the amount of gain required to keep the correct balance between the real level of shading and the S/N ratio. This is a form of electronic image processing which analyses peripheral areas of the CCD, which are furthest from the lens centre, where light levels are maximised. Since the lens is round, peripheral areas receive slightly less light, creating a slight shade. This image analysis and consequent adjustment of the gain in affected areas prevents shading on the edges of digital pictures.
The flagship DSC-P9 incorporates slow shutter noise reduction, a feature that improves image quality when shooting in extreme low-light conditions, with exposure times of 10 seconds or more. This feature deducts the noise from the images, with a resulting significant enhancement in image clarity, even under demanding conditions.
quality shooting made simple
Other new features developed to assist in accurate and easy image capture are multi-point AF, pre-flash and multi pattern metering. Multi point AF ensures that even if the subject is not in the centre of the screen, the camera focuses automatically on the subject without using focus lock. Pre-flash technology uses image data immediately prior to flash, creating optimum exposure of any subject, from any angle of view, under flash conditions. Also, multi pattern metering is useful where the subject is off-centre or where there are significant variations in brightness across the screen. With 49 regions on the screen, the camera automatically calculates and calibrates for optimum exposure. The Spot meter function is menu selectable.
Multi Burst is a new feature developed for lovers of action shots. Sixteen shots are taken and stored in one JPEG file. The shots can be reviewed on the camera monitor at intervals of approximately 0.8 seconds, or alternatively downloaded to a PC and viewed together on screen.
digital image to silver screen
The new cameras integrate MPEG Movie HQX. This advanced feature enables the user to fill up any remaining space on the Memory Stick with full motion high quality MPEG movies. The system captures 16.7 frames per second and delivers short films that can be played on a television across the full screen.
Once the movies have been shot, they will need editing. Both models come bundled with Image Mixer editing software from Pixela. This software can be used to file and edit both still and moving images as well as sound. Image Mixer is easy to use and provides both serious and fun features.
Availability and pricing
The DSC-P2 and DSC-P9 will be available in the UK from June 2002. Pricing is expected to be around 400 for the P2, no price has been confirmed for the P9.