Major Point-and-Shoot Releases for 2009

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Sony Unveils "Smarter" Cyber-shot Cameras

After unveiling a handful of new Cyber-shot point-and-shoot cameras at CES earlier this year, Sony today further bulked up its camera line with six more additions to the Cyber-shot line. The new T-, W-, S-, and H-series cameras are not yet available, but will be showcased at the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) tradeshow at the beginning of March.

Although the new cameras span from lower-end pocket cams to touchscreen cameras to a bulkier, high-zoom model, most of them have one thing in common: An intelligent auto mode. According to Sony, the new intelligent auto mode is enabled by default, and the cameras will optimize the scene mode, facial recognition, lighting settings, and image stabilization accordingly.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T900 and Cyber-shot DSC-T90

The 12-megapixel Cyber-shot DSC-T900 will offer a whopping 3.5-inch-diagonal LCD touchscreen, optical image stabilization, and the aforementioned intelligent auto mode. In addition to automatic shot optimization, the new T-series cameras also recognize and tag faces in the images, and on-camera images can be automatically sorted depending upon who's in the shot. Other key features include 720p HD movie mode with HDMI-out and a stereo mic, in-camera photo-editing features, ISO equivalencies of up to 3200, and a range of color options (black, silver, red, and bronze). The T900 will be available in March for $380.

The other addition to the T series is the Cyber-shot DSC-T90, which has almost identical specs but a slightly smaller 3-inch-diagonal LCD touchscreen and no stereo mic for its 720p HD movie mode. The T90 will be available in April for $300 in five colors: black, silver, blue, pink, and brown.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20

New to Sony's high-zoom H series is the Cyber-shot DSC-H20, a bulkier 10-megapixel camera with a 10x optical zoom. However, it only offers a 38mm film equivalent on the wide-angle end. Making up for that somewhat is its HD movie mode, which shoots 720p clips and offers optical zoom while taking video. A 3-inch LCD screen, intelligent auto mode and face recognition, in-camera editing apps, and ISO equivalencies up to 3200 round out the H20's specs. It will be available starting in April for $280.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 and Cyber-shot DSC-W230

Two new cameras are also being added to the mid-range W series of Cyber-shots. The 12-megapixel Cyber-shot W290 offers the new intelligent auto and face-recognition features, optical image stabilization, 720p HD movie mode, a 5x optical zoom that starts at 28mm on the wide-angle end, and a 3-inch LCD screen. It will be available in April for $250 in black, silver, blue, and bronze.

The slightly lower-end DSC-W230 has similar specs, but lacks the wide-angle lens (4x optical zoom starting at 30mm) and doesn't shoot HD video (only standard-definition MPEG1 clips). The W230 hit stores in April for $200 in four colors: black, silver, red, and blue.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S980

The lowest-end of the new product is the only new Cyber-shot that doesn't offer the intelligent auto functions. The 12-megapixel Cyber-shot DSC-S980 has a 2.7-inch LCD, a 4x optical zoom starting at 33mm, and digital-only image stabilization. It comes in at just $150, available in April.

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