New Sony digital cameras get HD link

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Las Vegas (NV) - Sony announced three new mainstream digital cameras that come standard with a high-definition component output interface. In combination with an optional $30 cable, the cameras can take advantage of resolutions of up to 1080i (1920x1080 pixels interlaced), rather than showing grainy pictures in standard TV resolution (480i).

The interface is integrated in the new W-series of Cybershot cameras and debuts in the models DSC-W200 (12 megapixel resolution), W90 (8 megapixel) and W80 (7.2 megapixels). The three cameras come pre-installed with a slideshow function and can display images on a TV virtually without any preparation time. Sony also offers a new CSS-HD1 Station, priced at about $50, which acts as a charger and includes the VMC-MHC1 HD component cable.

A similar result in display quality, however, can also be achieved by using an HDMI-equipped DVD player or a Playstation 3 game console. Several newer generation upscaling DVD players include USB ports and can transfer image data via HDMI cable onto the HDTV screen. In these cases, the maximum resolution can even climb to 1080p (1920x1080 progressive), if a TV provides support for this resolution.

All three new cameras come with several features that promise customers to create better pictures. For example, there is Sony's face detection technology and the ability to focus on up to nine points rather than only one, improved image stabilization as well as noise reduction for images that were taken at extreme ISO levels. There's also an automated image editing function that corrects exposure and tonality of pictures.

Sony said that the W200 camera will be available in March for about $400; the W80/W90 will follow for about $300 and $250.