updated 08:45 am EST, Tue February 17, 2009
Sony T900 T90 H20 and More
Sony this morning gave its Cyber-shot line a major update for its core models. The T90 and T900 lead a refresh that now adds a full scene recognition mode that tunes all scene settings, including face detection, to match the colors and lighting without requiring knowledge of camera techniques. They also stand as the first touchscreen Sony cameras to shoot 720p video and use MPEG-4.
Both produce 12-megapixel images with a compact 4X lens. The T90 is the basic model with a 3-inch touch LCD and image stabilization, and should be available for $300. Opting for the T900 at $380 adds a 3.5-inch, 921,000-pixel display, a second microphone for stereo audio capture in video mode, and HDMI video output.
The H20 ultrazoom also gets scene recognition and 720p video recording for the first time in Sony's H series; however, it also gets a face priority mode that recognizes a particular face and will focus on it above others in a portrait. The semi-pro camera generates 10-megapixel shots with a 10X, hardware-stabilized lens and uses a 3-inch non-touch LCD for previews. Sony plans a $280 price.
Concluding the introductions are two more conventional compacts. The W230 is a relative entry model that uses the same 12 megapixels and 4X zoom factors as the T series but with only 640x480 movie shooting at its $200 cost. An upgrade to the $250 W290 puts in a 5X, 28mm wide-angle lens and, appropriately, adds the 720p video capture mode. The H20's face priority is also added to the higher-end model.
All of the cameras in the latest launch are due to ship in April but will be ready for pre-order the month before.