Sony bolts on 3D shooting to new Cyber-shot cameras

Sony Cyber-shot WX5Sony has slipped the covers off its new range of Cyber-shot DSC-WX5, DSC-TX9 and DSC-T99 digital compacts, with the first two capable of creating 3D photographs.

Cyber-shot WX5 and TX9

The Cyber-shot WX5 and TX9 models sport Sony’s latest 12.2MP, 1/2.3″ Exmor R back illuminated CMOS sensor, with both cameras packing a ‘Superior Auto’ mode.

This laughs in the face of common-or-garden auto modes because – depending on the kind of scene you’re shooting – it can shoot bursts of between 2 and 6 shots and then cunningly combine them to either make an image with reduced noise or one with a boosted dynamic range.

Take that regular auto mode!

Sony Cyber-shot WX5

The WX5 (above) comes with a 4x optical zoom lens that starts at an impressively wide angle 24mm equivalent, with a 2.8″ LCD for admiring those impressively wide shots, while the TX9 packs a 25-100mm equivalent lens and a larger 3.5″ touchscreen LCD.

Both cameras offer Full HD (1920 x 1080, 50i) AVCHD movie recording and they’re the first Cyber-shot cameras from Sony capable of capturing 3D images for viewing on 3D-compatible TVs.

3D shooting

The 3D Sweep Panorama feature works by the camera capturing a high-speed burst of frames as the user sweeps the camera from side to side: information from up to 100 images is then automatically combined to create a stereoscopic pair of frames which can then be viewed in 3D via HDMI if you happen to have a 3D-compatible TV around the house.

Sweep Multi Angle

According to Sony, the Sweep Multi Angle feature shoots a high-speed burst of fifteen frames, creating a ‘3D-style’ image that can be viewed from different angles, as they explain:

After shooting, just tilt the Cyber-shot from side to side: sensors inside the camera detect your movements, scrolling through the sequence of multi-angle frames as you tilt and view the camera’s LCD screen. Multi-angle views can also be viewed simultaneously on an ordinary 2D television as you tilt the camera.

Sony Cyber-shot TX9

Background Defocus

The new Background Defocus feature looks an interesting kludge to provide dSLR-like depth of field, with the camera rapidly shooting two frames and merging them to create a single image with the subject in sharp focus and a blurred background.

Sony Cyber-shot TX9DSC-T99

The cheaper – and apparently “beautifully sculpted” – DSC-T99 comes with the same lens and body design as the TX9, but has a smaller LCD, while the 14MP CCD sensor isn’t up to the fast multi-shot shooting required for Superior Auto mode.

It does, however, come with both the Sweep Panorama and 720p HD movie recording features.

All three cameras offer a Soft Skin mode that tries to smooth out wrinkles and other blemishes from the subject’s skin.

All three are available from mid-September 2010, with UK pricing tba. However, in the States, the pricing is $400 for the TX9, $300 for the EX5 and $250 for the T99.

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