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Sony Cyber-shot TX1 and WX1 Digital Camera Review

Sony Cyber-shot TX1 and WX1 Digital Camera Review - Sony showcased their latest compacts in London and ePHOTOzine was there for the unveiling.

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Sony Cyber-shot TX1 and WX1 in Digital Cameras

Preview by Martin Jordan.

Sony Cyber-shot WX1 front view
Sony Cyber-shot WX1.
I went along to the launch of two new cameras from Sony at The Deck at the National Theatre, London. Sony were introducing two new compacts, the TX1 and the WX1.

The Deck is in a fabulous location by the side of the Thames, with sweeping views taking in St Paul's  Cathedral and the City. As day turned to night and lights twinkled this was a great spot to try out the camera’s low light capabilities.

Both of the cameras are packed with new features. I was really impressed by the way they have crammed such a lot of technology into such a small space.

At the heart of both cameras is a new sensor with 10.2 mega pixels. The sensor uses an innovative structure that captures more light; boosting sensitivity while reducing noise.

Sensors normally have the ‘wiring’ at the front, Sony have invented a process of shaving microns off the base and reversing the sensor , so the light enters to the back without being hindered by the ‘wiring’ at the front.. This process is very difficult to manufacture and they have a lot of wastage, but the sensors that make the grade are super sensitive, resulting in detail packed photos even in low light.

The WX1 has a f/2.4 24 mm and the TX1 is fitted with a Carl Zeiss lens.

Both cameras can take a continuous burst at full resolution at a fantastic rate of 10 frames a second, and both have image stabilisation.

I think Sony must have been looking at popular features in Photoshop and seeing if they can do them in camera. Want to make a panoramic?, no more taking lots of shots and stitching in Photoshop. Sweep Panorama enables you to take a panoramic in seconds. Just press the button once and then sweep from one side to another, the camera automatically combines a high speed burst of about 30 images. Amazing! My favourite feature.

Another great feature is Twilight mode, when Technical Field Sales Manager, Paul Genge, pointed out that the camera took 6 shots for one press of the shutter button, for a moment I thought wow! HDR. However, they are not at different exposures, although one of Sony’s DSLRs does do HDR in camera. These compacts combine the 6 images for an optimised photo which has dramatically less noise, great for low light situations. The results did look very good.

Sony Cyber-shot TX1 front view
Sony Cyber-shot TX1.
The WX1 is the more traditional (if a camera bristling with all this technology can be called traditional) looking compact, the TX1 is slimmer more stylish comes in different colours and is a bit more feminine. It also has a touch screen which you can even use to focus, iphone users will like this.

Both cameras have ‘face detection’ and ‘smile shutter’. Face detection is great for making sure people are always in focus, you won’t inadvertently focus on the wall behind the people. Smile shutter is ‘for never missing a smile’ you press the button as soon as someone smiles it takes a picture. I have to say I’m too sure how useful this is.

One amazing benefit of face detection and smile recognition is the Party-shot. This is like a docking station you put your camera in, that moves it around 360 degrees and up and down. As the camera scans the room for faces and smiles every time it finds one it takes a picture. It would be fun to put one out at a party and at the end of the evening see who you’ve caught.

I realised seeing these cameras that development never stops, there is constant evolution. I was very impressed with how things have moved on. They seem to be chasing DSLRs in terms of specification.

If you are in the market for a compact then check out these latest offerings from Sony.

Martin Jordan.

The Sony Cyber-shot TX1 and WX1 are available from September 2009. For more information please visit the Sony website. Keep checking here for more updates and a full test as it happens.

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