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Sony UK has today announced the introduction of three new models within its Cyber-shot digital still camera family - the DSC-P31, DSC-P51 and DSC-P71. Sony claim these new cameras make quality digital photography more accessible, more personal and more spontaneous for a large market of Digital Still Camera users. Whereas the DSC-P31 provides 2.0 effective Megapixel and a three times digital zoom, the DSC-P51 represents a step-up model with 2.0 effective Megapixel, two times optical zoom and six times digital zoom. The DSC-P71 provides the best in range performance with 3.2 effective Megapixel, three times optical zoom and six times digital zoom.
With the digital photography market growing exponentially, this April will see the introduction of the first two models (DSC-P31 and DSC-P71). Sony believes these cameras will bolster the range of available products in the mass market for those people seeking a high quality 'point and shoot' solution. These new Sony Cyber-shot models feature an improved design and offer users a broad range of multimedia networking opportunities.
'The majority of amateur photographers want a reliable point and shoot solution,' commented Adam Williams, Product Manager, Sony Digital Imaging UK. 'Addressing a very large and rapidly growing market, these three cameras provide solutions that will amaze users with their simplicity and sophistication.'
According to Sony the DSC-P31, DSC-P51 and DSC-P71 have a number of new features that make taking and distributing high quality digital images simple and intuitive. A number of advanced image processing systems filter out noise and artefacts to produce a crisp, bright image with great colour resolution and natural shading across the entire image.
To ensure that users can achieve clearer and sharper photos, Sony has integrated Super HAD CCD technology into its new cameras. This Sony exclusive technology minimises noise and maximises light in every single pixel so that images attain maximum clarity.
Clear Colour Noise Reduction 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, the Clear Luminance NR feature is a filter that smoothes the transitions between diverse luminance signal areas where there are significant and sudden changes in light levels. This results in a crisp, clean image 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.
Accurate and Easy Image Capture
When taking a picture in low lighting conditions, the subject might be less visible on the LCD screen. A new feature that helps is Advanced LCD. With this new system, when framing the object, the gain is automatically adjusted so that the user can check the object using the LCD monitor. When shooting the picture, the camera resets the object with normal gain. All three cameras feature two additional white balance modes, making image capture more instantaneous in a range of environmental conditions. Also, a new 'twilight portrait' scene selection mode means that users can shoot their friends in the evening safe in the knowledge that both the subject and the background are correctly exposed.
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 also 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.
New standards in user-friendly operation
All three new cameras are supplied with NiMH (nickel metal hydride) rechargeable batteries providing up to an outstanding 120 minutes or 2400 VGA images lifetime between charges. Furthermore, Multi Burst is a new feature developed for action shots, where sixteen shots are taken and stored in one JPEG file. The shots can be reviewed on the camera monitor at intervals of 0.8 seconds, or alternatively downloaded to a PC and viewed together on screen.
Improved Movie Editing Capabilities
Building on Sony's market-leading MPEG Movie capabilities, the new cameras integrate MPEG Movie HQX. Similar to the MPEG EX facility on previous models, this advanced feature enables the user to fill up any remaining space on the Memory Stick with full motion MPEG movies. The system captures 16.7 frames per second and delivers great quality short films that can be played on a television across the full screen.
For easy editing; all three models come bundled with Image Mixer editing software from Pixela. With this intuitive PC-based system, users can drag and drop segments into a story line, set 'in' and 'out' for editing material and combine edited material into a single movie. Once completed, the edited movie can be downloaded on to Memory Stick and replayed on the Cyber-shot camera. Equally, it can be emailed as an attachment to friends and colleagues.
The DSC-P31 and DSC-P71 will be available in the UK from April 2002, and the DSC-P51 will be available from June 2002. Early pricing estimates are 219 for the DSC-P31, 280 for the DSC-P51 and 349 for the DSC-P71.