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Tuesday, 26 February 2008 14:34

Sony launches a 13.6 megapixel compact

Written by Nermin Hajdarbegovic

Image

It's never enough, is it ?


Last year we reported about a bunch of compact cameras packing 1/1.8 -nch 12 megapixel sensors and we weren't impressed.

We still think that sticking such a tiny sensor into a compact digicam with mediocre optics is at best a pointless marketing move. You just get less dynamic range and more image noise, but at least the "12 megapixel" sticker might make you feel better about yourself.

The problem is further compounded by the fact that noise reduction and JPEG compression tend to turn your images into a smeary mess reminiscent of a kid's painting. There's also the insignificant fact that you end up with huge images in resolutions that almost no compact camera user actually needs.

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Well, in spite of that, Sony thinks that 12 is just not enough and it has just launched a 13.6 megapixel compact, the W300. You begin to wonder how these poor megapixels must feel when crammed onto a tiny 1.7-inch sensor. Sounds awfully crowded, doesn't it? Luckily, Sony thought about this demographic issue and enclosed the sensor along with its numerous inhabitants into a massive and very elegant titanium body. So, those pixels can feel safe and get on with their business. They've also got a great view of the surroundings, thanks to a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 35-105mm (f/2.8-5.5) lens with optical image stabilization. You can also see the world through their eyes on a 2.7-inch 230k pixel LCD.

The camera supports MS Pro / Pro DUO memory cards. Judging by the 4224 x 3168 max resolution, you should probably go for a big card, a very big card. Sony is slowly adopting SD cards on its mobile phones and we wish it would do the same with cameras. These guys just like their own freak standards and there's nothing to be done about it. Unfortunately, Sony is still sticking with its tried and tested MPEG 1 video and the highest supported resolution is VGA at 30fps. Not impressive by today's standards, to say the least.

The W300 measures 94.3 x 59.0 x 26.8 mm (3.7 x 2.3 x 1.1-in) and weighs 187g with battery and memory card. The suggested retail price is $350, while in the E.U. it should be priced at €350. This assures that European consumers will keep getting ripped off for the foreseeable future, as they will end up paying almost 50% more than their American counterparts. All in all, the price sounds fair, and we're glad to see Sony going for a titanium body like Canon with it's flagship Ixus models.

You can check out the full specs and press release here.
Last modified on Tuesday, 26 February 2008 19:21
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