Sony bought Minolta, an imaging technology firm, a few years back and now offers cameras for all types of users. Sony’s range includes regular point-and-shoot cameras, mega-zooms, consumer-friendly DSLRs and heavy duty full-frame DSLRs for professionals. Here are a few we’ve picked.
Point-and-shoot cameras from Sony are among the best in the industry, providing great value for money and offering high quality imaging.
Among Sony’s point-and-shoot range, the Cyber-shot TX7, with 4x optical zoom and 10.2 megapixel lens, is priced about Rs 18,000 in India.
The camera’s back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor is highly sensitive to light and is therefore effective in low-light situations. The camera’s 25 mm wide-angle Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens makes it possible to capture wide panoramic scenes, and its Bionz image processing engine reduces noise, and accurately manages functions such as auto-focus, exposure auto-correction and auto white balance. Moreover, the Exmor R CMOS sensor along with the Bionz image processing engine superimposes six frames to create an accurate single photograph with Anti Motion blur technology. Noise levels are reduced by half in this way.
Sony Cyber-shot TX7: Quick facts
- Price: Rs 18,000
- Zoom: 4X
- Resolution: 10.2 MP
- Burst mode: 10 FPS at 10.2 MP
- Video: Full HD
There’s also the Intelligent Sweep Panorama mode which allows sweeping panoramic shots to be taken by sweeping the camera horizontally, all the way round, or by sweeping the camera vertically to capture tall objects. Intelligent Sweep Panorama recognizes faces and movement and treats live or moving objects differently from still life.
Cyber-shot TX7 makes it possible to shoot video at full high definition resolution, ie 1920 x 1080p. Also, movies shot with the TX7 can be played back using Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Blue-ray players.
Sony’s TX7 can shoot up to 10 frames per second at 10.2 megapixels. According to user reviews, the camera works fast and gives very good low light performance, but it has poor battery life. Pictures shot with a TX7 are best suited to make 8 x 10 inch prints, for images to be viewed on TV or on the Web.
At 3.9 x 2.4 x 0.7 inches and 5.2 ounces, Cyber-shot TX7 is a very compact device. It has a 3.5- inch LCD touchscreen. The camera produces JPEG and MPEG-4 AVCHD video formats. The highest resolution that it can produce in video is 3648 x 2736 pixels. According to Sony, the camera can capture 230 shots each time its battery is fully charged. The battery cannot be charged separately from the camera – so the option of alternating two batteries doesn’t exist.
Cyber-shot TX7 uses both Memory Stick Pro Duo and SD or SDHC cards, and is compatible with Windows and Macintosh computers. The device also has Sony’s TransferJet technology for wireless media transfer between the camera and other Sony’s TransferJet compatible devices, but this requires additional hardware such as a Sony laptop or USB TransferJet station which will cost extra.
Sony’s Cyber-shot DSC W350 is another great point-and-shoot device. It is available in silver, black, blue, and pink colors and comes with a price tag of about Rs 12,000. It is a 14.1 megapixel device with 4X optical zoom.
Cyber-shot DSC W350 has a Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar 26 mm wide-angle lens with 4X optical zoom and Bionz image processor. The camera’s Bionz image processor reduces noise level and is highly accurate in terms of capturing the right level of exposure and white balance. Sony’s Super HAD CCD technology produces rich color gradations even when images are highly magnified.
Similar to the Cyber-shot TX7, W350 too has Sweep Panorama technology which makes it possible to shoot sweeping images, both vertical and horizontal that can be up to 7152 x 1080 pixels wide or 4912 x 1920 tall.
Cyber-shot W350 has an Intelligent Auto (iAuto) mode which automatically detects optimal settings for different scenes. It combines common camera features – Intelligent Auto Focus, Motion Detection and Intelligent Scene Recognition.
It is possible to record 720p HD video with the Sony W350. The camera is capable of capturing 1280 x 720p video at 30 frames per second.
The device has a Picture Motion Browser using which it is possible to edit movies as well.
Cyber-shot W350 measures 3.6 x 2.1 x 0.7 inches and weighs 4 ounces. It has a 2.7 inch LCD screen and delivers JPEG and MPEG-4 video formats. The highest video resolution it is capable of producing is 4320 x 3240 pixels at 30 frames per second.
According to Sony, the battery of Sony’s W350 is capable of supporting 240 shots on a full charge. Like the TX7’s battery, it can’t be charged without the camera. The camera uses Memory Stick Pro Duo and SD or SDHC cards.
A few years ago, when DSLRs weren’t all that cheap and easy to use, Sony took a big bet on mega-zoom devices. Among these is the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H55, a 14.1 megapixel camera with 10X optical zoom. It has a 25 mm wide-angle lens and Bionz image processor. The device is available in black or silver and costs about Rs. 15,000.
The Sony DSC-H55 has Super HAD CCD, which produces rich color gradation and accuracy even on large prints. Similar to the two Sony cameras described above, the DSC-H55 too has the advantages of a Bionz image processor, and modes such as Sweep Panorama. Horizontal images can be up to 7152 x 1080 pixels in width and vertical images can be 4912 x 1920 pixels tall.
It also has an Intelligent Auto (iAuto) mode which detects the best settings for any given situation.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H55
- Price:Rs 15,000
- Resolution:14.1 MP
- Video:JPEG, MPEG-4 video
- Burst mode: NA
Users though say that though picture quality is good, the camera performs slowly. However, for a mega-zoom device, it is said that the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H55 is a good deal. The camera measures 4.1 x 2.3 x 1.1 inches and weighs 7.1 ounces. It has a 3 inch LCD touchscreen and produces stills and video in JPEG or MPEG-4 file formats. Its battery lasts for up to 310 shots. Like the other Sony cameras, DSC-H55 uses both Memory Stick Pro Duo and SD or SDHC cards and its battery cannot be charged separately from the camera. The best resolution it can produce is 4320 x 3240 pixels at 29.97 frames per second.
Like the other Sony cameras, this device too is compatible with both Windows and Macintosh machines.
However, if automatic cameras aren’t good enough and you want an SLR, Sony offers a fairly wide range starting with some entry level cameras and going up to devices used by pros. Among the entry level digital SLRs from Sony is the 10.2 megapixel Sony Alpha DSLR-A230, which is said to be simple and intuitive to use, even for first time SLR users, and costs about Rs 26,000.
The A230 has a 10.2 megapixel CCD sensor and a Bionz image processor. It has Steady Shot Inside technology and an Advanced D-Range Optimiser as well. The A230 camera has a SAL1855 all purpose lens which is good for wide-angle shots outdoors as well as indoor shots of people.
Sony Alpha DSLR-A230 has fast auto focus and some very useful features for non-pros, but at the same time, if you use the camera’s default settings, your pictures might not be all that good. That being said, however, Alpha DSLR-A230 is said to be a better deal than the more expensive A330.
Resolution: 10.2 MP
Price: Rs. 26,000
While the Sony Alpha DSLR- A330 and A-230 are practically identical, the A330’s viewfinder offers much greater magnification. Also, the A-330’s LCD screen is clearly visible even when it is perpendicular to the viewer’s body or tilted away, while the A-230’s LCD screen isn’t. A-330 also offers Live View shooting mode. Also, similar to all Sony digital SLRs, the A-330 can be mounted with any Minolta A lens.
Sony’s A-230 is in the same range as Canon’s EOS Rebel XS and Pentax K2000. They have similar lenses, offer similar magnification, and while the Sony and Pentax offer an ISO range of 100-3,200, the Canon device offers 100-1,600 ISO. Among these entry level DSLRs, the Pentax is cheapest at about $500, while the Sony costs about $550 and Canon is the most expensive $600.
These three are all really basic digital SLRs though, and Sony does have some high end devices with all the works. There’s the A-900 DSLR for those who have experience using digital SLRs, but this device isn’t available in India outside of the grey market. The device costs about $3,000 in US. The price in the Indian gray market would be a little more than the Indian equivalent, we suppose.
Sony’s A-900 offers a resolution of 24.6 mega pixels. The device has Steady Shot technology which enables steady hand held shots. The device is good for low light shots and high magnification as well. It has two high speed Bionz image processors, a high resolution CMOS sensor. Sony’s A-900 is capable of shooting video at 5 frames per second. It has an HDMI out port with which it can be connected to a television.
Resolution: 24 MP
Burst mode: 5 FPS
The A-900 weighs 850 grams and is made of a magnesium alloy. It has an Xtra Fine 3 inch LCD display which offers a resolution of 921,000 pixels, 100 percent coverage and highly accurate color and contrast. The device is capable of offering ISO from 100 to 6,400. The camera’s battery can last for up to 880 shots.
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