Update 1/30/2012 11:57am PST: An earlier version of this story claimed that the Cyber-shot TX200V was not rated as freezeproof. The TX200V is rated as freezeproof, and that part of the story has been updated.
Over the past few years, Sony's TX line of rugged cameras has distinguished itself from the rest of the durable pack by looking nothing like the everything-proof competition. The Cyber-shot TX cameras are slim, fashionable, and largely touchscreen-controlled--three traits that you rarely see in waterproof, dustproof, drop-proof, and freezeproof models.
Announced today, the new glass-fronted Cyber-shot DSC-TX200V takes a step forward on the aesthetics front, but a step back in terms of ruggedness: While the TX200V is waterproof (to a depth of 16 feet underwater), freezeproof (to temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit), and dustproof, that fancy glass faceplate means that it's not drop-proof. (And thank goodness it's waterproof, because dunking it in soapy water will likely be the best way to clear its front plate of all the fingerprints it's bound to collect.)
Ruggedness aside, this camera has an iPhone-esque physical design. The glass-fronted TX200V's design might even be a visual riff on the fact that the Apple iPhone 4S's popular 8-megapixel camera is a module made by Sony.
Under its slick looks, the new camera contains some souped-up innards: an 18-megapixel backside-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor, a revamped autofocus system that Sony says can lock in on subjects within 0.1 second in bright lighting and within 0.2 second in dimmer environments, and an internal 5X-optical-zoom lens (25mm to 125mm) that extends to a simulated 250mm telephoto via the "by-pixel super resolution" digital-zoom technology first found in the Cyber-shot TX55 and several new Handycam camcorders announced at CES 2012. In its new Cyber-shot lineup, Sony bills the new digital-zoom technology as "Clear Image Zoom."
In video mode, the TX200V records 1080p footage at 60 frames per second, and it can capture 13-megapixel still images while shooting video, without interrupting movie recording. Built-in GPS geotagging (just raw longitude and latitude information; no in-camera mapping) and a 3.3-inch-diagonal OLED touchscreen round out the Cyber-shot TX200V's array of features.
Due in March in three body colors (red, silver, and purple), the Cyber-shot TX200V will be priced at around $500.
Sony announced two other Cyber-shot cameras today, as well--both of them priced at around $200.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX70 is a 3-inch-touchscreen-operated camera with a similar 5X-optical-zoom (25mm to 125mm)/10X-digital-zoom reach, 1080i video recording at 60 fps with the ability to simultaneously snap 12-megapixel stills, and a 16-megapixel backside-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor.
A nontouchscreen version of the same camera, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX50, will also be available. The Cyber-shot WX70 will be priced at $230 starting in March, and the Cyber-shot WX50 will sell for $200 at the same time.
This story, "Sony's Glass-Plated TX200V Camera Stays Fashionable Even Underwater" was originally published by PCWorld.