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Sony Debuts Compact Hybrid Cameras

5/17/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern

SAN DIEGO — Sony introduced last
week its first hybrid cameras designed
to offer the creative flexibility of an interchangeable
lens D-SLR and the compact
form factor of a point-and-shoot.

And, as an added surprise, Sony said
it will provide a firmware update shortly
after the cameras ship in July that
will give them the ability to take panoramic
images in stereoscopic 3D.

Sony is calling its new NEX-5 and
NEX-3 “the world’s smallest interchangeable
lens cameras.” Both hybrids
are Sony’s first mirrorless interchangeable
lens models. They use the largearea
Exmor APS HD CMOS image
sensors with 14.2 megapixel still image
resolution and HD video resolution.

The sensors were said to have been
optimized for both picture quality and
speed of readout. The cameras are also
among Sony’s first interchangeable
lens cameras with HD video recording
functionality.

The NEX-5 recorders in Full HD
1080 in AVCHD with continuous
Auto Focus. The NEX-3 records in
720p HD resolution. Both models also
include HDMI output.

Both cameras will accept Sony’s Emount
lenses when used with a special
optional adapter, making them compatible
with a full range of the company’s
D-SLR lenses. However, the cameras will ship in kits with one of two special
compact lenses that incorporate builtin
optical image
stabilization.
That capability
is not supported
by the NEX
cameras using
other Alpha
camera lenses.

The new lenses
also use Sony
optics, instead
of the Carl Zeiss
optics used by
the other Alpha
family lenses.

Both cameras will support the full
range of Memory Stick and SD storage
cards, including the new SDXC
format, the company said.

The cameras will ship in kits with a
choice of either an E-mount 16mm/
f2.8 lens (NEX-5 $650 suggested
retail, and NEX-3 $550) or an Emount
18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens
(NEX-5 $700, and NEX-3 $600).
A clip on external
flash is
supplied with
both camera
versions.

Both models
will be in stores
in early July.

Shortly after
the cameras
ship, Sony
said it is planning
to release
a firmware
update that will give the cameras
3D panorama still image shooting
capability.

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