Feb. 28, 2012 at 2:50 PM ET
Vying for consumers who still prefer to take photos with cameras -- and not just their mobile phones -- Sony has released its latest wave of Cyber-shots that include five models geared toward travelers as well as for daily snaps, and four slim choices that promise high-res captures, even underwater.
Prices run on the steep side for the H series, which skew on the nicer end of the point-and-shoot variety. The H series includes the DSC-HX200V (available in March for about $480), DSC-HX30V, DSC-HX20V, DSC-HX10V (arriving in March for $330) and DSC-H90 cameras. The HX30V (pictured left and available in May for about $420) and HX20V (coming in May for $400) models go the extra mile with ultra-thin 20x optical lens, while the HX30V also includes Wi-Fi.
All but the H90 models have the new Sony 18.2 MP "Exmor R" CMOS sensor, with AutoFocus speeds of approximately 0.13 seconds in daylight and 0.21 seconds in low-light.
The entry-level H90 zoom camera (available in March for $250) has just a little bit less: a 16.1 MP CCD sensor, 16x optical zoom lens, 720p HD video, and enhanced image stabilization for still and movie shooting.
On the other extreme of the compact cameras are the super slim DSC-WX150 ($250) and DSC-W690 ($180) models, which Sony anoints as "the world’s thinnest 10x optical zoom cameras –- slimmer than any other 10x compact cameras currently offered in market (measured at slimmest part excluding lens)."
How is it so small? Sony explains, it's due to an "Advanced Aspherical" lens element, "which allows the lens unit to be drastically smaller than those in previous 10x zoom Cyber-shots while still producing very highly detailed, accurate images." Both will be available in May.
The new TX66 camera ($350) comes out in March with a front-sliding design and measures about 12.2 mm without the lens cover -- about as thick as an AA battery.
The sporty, stylish looking and similarly svelte TX20 (pictured in a fetching green) is the tumbler in the Sony family, contending with the likes of the $180 Panasonic Lumix TS20. Sony's $330 version is probably more on par with the $400 Panasonic Lumix TS4, though. The Sony rugged camera is waterproof up to 16-feet, dustproof, shockproof (up to 5 feet) and freezeproof (up to 14 degrees Fahrenheit). It has a 16.2 MP “Exmor R” CMOS sensor and a 4x wide-angle optical zoom lens with a 8x digital "Clear Image" Zoom at full resolution.
As with many of the newer point-and-shoots to debut this year, these cameras can capture hi-res still photos while shooting full HD video. They also have the bells and whistles of built-in picture effects, anti-shake technology and availability in a variety of colors.