Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Compact Megapixel King: The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W300

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W300Sony gets what we want the ‘mega’ in megapixels to mean. With the Cyber-shot DSC-W300, Sony redefines this prefix to mean not a million but mammoth, incredible, abundant, *almost* an overkill. 13.6 million pixels is a densely packed sensor yet a large pixel count alone doth not a great camera make.

A digital camera sensor is nothing without superior optics to focus the light shining on the sensor, correctly and with no distortion. Carl Zeiss lenses have been making crisp images with a rich tonal range for well over a century, this is why all Cyber-shots are outfitted with Zeiss lenses to give us the best possible image. This is an especially important component to not skimp on.

Another component often overlooked is the case which all those electronics reside in. Cameras fall, some don’t survive; this one's chance of coming out unscathed is greatly increased due to its added titanium coating. The coating also helps keep that new camera shine longer by adding “highly-resistance” scratch and fingerprint protection.

Indoor lighting in past models could be a hairy proposition, but with the DSC-W300’s “extra high sensitivity” (ISO 6400) even dimly lit rooms can remain naturally lit and can be shot successfully without a flash. Grain and noise in the dark areas usually manifest themselves in lower light photos, Sony’s addition of a noise reduction filter helps minimize this and eliminates the need for post processing by performing in-camera filtering, a great time saver.

Try not to mistake this camera for the Terminator, because it does indeed use artificial intelligence technology. Only here, instead of murderous protection, it provides some sensational photographic skills. The technology prioritizes faces and triggers the shutter the moment the camera sees a smile. And, if switching between scene modes is too much of a hassle the powerful picky picture maker does this for you as well, with scene recognition technology. Freaky right?

Sometime we might wait months before downloading a batch of pics to our computer. Sony realizes this and offers new ways to organize and view snaps right on the 2.7 inch LCD. Image management is enhanced with the addition of an in-camera search by face, date, or calendar view and of course they’ve added HDTV output and, nicely enough, a longer music file capacity for sideshow playback. These enhancements allow for quick and intuitive preparation of elegant slideshow presentations.

The opportunity to actually lay hands on this Cyber-shot is still a few months away; feel its power vicariously for now, and preorder this hot shot for delivery around the beginning of May.

UPDATE: Video after the jump. Click for More Information