San Diego - Sony introduced Thursday two new Cyber-shot cameras with enhanced low-light shooting capability.
Models DSC-TX1 (shipping in September at a $380 suggested retail) and DSC-WX1 (shipping in October at a $350) are said to have roughly twice the low-light sensitivity of cameras with traditional image sensors.
Both employ Sony's new Exmor R back-illuminated CMOS sensor technology that enhances low-light photos and image clarity by reducing image noise and grain, Sony said.
"With these new Exmor R CMOS sensor cameras, Sony has vastly improved the customer experience for taking pictures with digital still cameras in low-light scenarios," stated Phil Lubell, Sony Electronics digital imaging business director. "We've all taken pictures in dimly lit situations, like blowing out candles on a birthday cake, and the results were grainy and unclear. By redesigning the way these cameras capture light, Sony is leading the industry by creating this easy way to take amazingly clear, vibrant photos in low-lighting scenarios."
Sony said it improved the low-light sensitivity of the cameras in part by repositioning the Exmor R image sensor wires and circuits that are commonly placed above light-sensitive photo diodes to a spot behind them.
Both models also help to improve low-light shooting through the use of handheld twilight and anti-motion blur multi-shot modes that were first introduced in Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-HX1.
The speed of the Exmor R CMOS sensors allows the capture of six separate images in less than a second and Sony's Bionz processor then combines the shots into a single image with enhanced detail and noise reduction.
The result, Sony said, is the ability to capture highly detailed low-noise images of scenes with "no more than candlelight - without flash or the need of a tripod."
The DSC-TX1 and DSC-WX1 also feature Sony's Sweep Panorama capability which uses 10fps burst shooting to horizontally or vertically sweep the full dimensions of wide or tall subjects to create a single image comprised of a collage of consecutively shot frames that are automatically stitched together in the camera.
The TX1 and WX1 Cyber-shot models can take up to 185- and 256-degree panorama shots, respectively, with one press-and-sweep motion. The resulting ultra-wide horizontal image size measures 7,152 by 1,080 pixels.
Sony said the TX1 and WX1 cameras offer a compact body size with a profile measuring 16.5mm.
The TX1, which will be available in silver, gray, pink and blue, incorporates a 10.2-megapixel sensor and new touchpanel operation that scrolls through images with a finger flick across the 3-inch LCD screen.
It uses a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 4x optical zoom lens that focuses as close as 0.4 inches from a subject, and SteadyShot optical image stabilization.
The WX1, which will be available in black, includes a 10.2-megapixel sensor, a 2.7-inch LCD screen and measures just more than 0.75 inches thin.
The WX1 incorporates a Sony G lens with 5x optical zoom (24-120mm at a f/2.4 maximum aperture).
Both models also include Sony's Intelligent Auto (iAuto) mode, which recognizes scenes, lighting conditions and faces, and adjusts settings accordingly, Sony said.
The iAuto system also includes face detection that detects up to eight faces and optimizes focus, flash, exposure and white balance and intelligent Scene that delivers nine Scene Selection modes.
Also added is a new pet mode that minimizes blur and reduces red eye when shooting moving pets.
Other features common to both models include: Sony's Smile Shutter technology, dynamic range optimization (DRO), intelligent auto focus and video capture of up to 720p HD movies in MPEG4 format.