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Old March 3rd, 2009, 01:29 PM   #1
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Sony's in the HD video business too

Sony announces high-end Cyber-shot camera with 20x zoom, sweep panorama technology
Sony Electronics Inc., San Diego, Calif., introduced the new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX1 with at a press conference last night just prior to PMA 09, which starts today. It is also the company's first Cyber-shot camera to use the exclusive 1/2.4-inch Exmor CMOS sensor technology. This technology allows it to achieve burst speeds of 10 frames per second at full 9.1-megapixel resolution in continuous burst mode.

The new Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX1 will be available in April for about $500. It can be seen on the PMA 09 trade show floor today.

Setting it apart from most digital still cameras, which use an electronic shutter to achieve high speed, the HX1 unit has a mechanical shutter that helps reduce distortion when shooting a moving subject. Compared to images shot with traditional sensors, the HX1 model takes clearer images with about 50 percent less noise when in handheld twilight or anti-blur modes. It is also the first Cyber-shot camera to include a Sony G lens and 1080p HD movie clip recording capabilities, says the company.


>>> The HX1 camera also captures movie clips in 1080p HD resolution, and a built-in stereo microphone records crisp, clear audio. The camera's wide 20x optical zoom is also available while shooting. When set to HD movie, it records at 30 frames per second (1440 x 1080). The camera uses the high-quality, high-compression MPEG4 AVC/H.264 format. <<<


The Sony G lens is optimized to complement the advanced image sensors and image processing technology in Sony's cameras. The HX1 camera features a 28-560 millimeter f/2.8-5.2 wide-angle lens with 20x telephoto range. With the combination of this G lens and sweep panorama mode, the camera can cover almost any telephoto and wide angle need. Containing a six-blade aperture, the G lens produces beautifully defocused backgrounds with a soft, natural feel. A-spherical lens elements and elements made from extra-low dispersion glass combine to minimize chromatic aberration common to high-magnification lenses.

I'll see the HX1 on Weds.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 08:46 PM   #2
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Though market in a different class from the Panasonic's new HD DSLR cam, the Sony's HD file format, framerate and frame size distinguish itself from the Panny. Actual image quality is another matter but buyers will have a seemingly good and much cheaper alternative.

-Frame Size 1440x1080 anamorphically stretched to 16:9 is a minus against the Panny.
-Frame Rate 30p is better for the web, more or less equal for general viewing. At 720p, there is no contest. Panny's 720/60p should look real nice on moderate sized LCD screens.
-File Format MP4 is a plus against the Panny's AVCHD though both have the same codec.
-No lens interchangeability, no external audio on the Sony.

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Old March 3rd, 2009, 10:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wacharapong Chiowanich View Post
-Frame Size 1440x1080 anamorphically stretched to 16:9 is a minus against the Panny.
-Frame Rate 30p is better for the web, more or less equal for general viewing. At 720p, there is no contest. Panny's 720/60p should look real nice on moderate sized LCD screens.
-File Format MP4 is a plus against the Panny's AVCHD though both have the same codec.
-No lens interchangeability, no external audio on the Sony.

Wacharapong
Just curious, where did you get the 1440x1080 data? According to the specs at dpreview (Panasonic premieres DMC-GH1 with HD video recording: Digital Photography Review) it has no of mention this.

** Edit here ---- I see its the Sony is the one that records 1440x1080...looks like a HDV spec!!

Last edited by Andrew Clark; March 3rd, 2009 at 10:48 PM. Reason: Research
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Old March 5th, 2009, 09:45 PM   #4
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Sony's got their product page up for the cam...

DSC-HX1 | Cyber-shot® Digital Camera DSC-HX1 | Sony | Sony Style USA
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Old March 10th, 2009, 12:40 AM   #5
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Looks pretty nice... Definitely has possibilities as a "dual mode" camera, and some trick features on top of it.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 02:15 AM   #6
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See for Sony's comment on the cameras design:

[PMA] Sony Debuts Cybershot Camera for Panoramic Picture Shooting (1) -- Tech-On!


Q: The DSC-HX1 can encode 1080/30p video in H264 for recording. Unlike Canon Inc's SoC "DIGIC 4," which handles the processing by a single chip, Sony's BIONZ does not have enough computing resources to carry out H264 encoding easily. Does it have an additional LSI?

Yes. We mounted our proprietary H264 codec LSI. Unlike the DIGIC 4, the DSC-HX1 uses the "B frame," an inter-frame prediction that refers to the past and future frames, to reduce the bit rate. HD video files sometimes take up too much HDD capacity. We used the B-frame to avoid such a situation as much as possible.

<<< B frame is crucial to getting the most quality from the least bits! >>>

Q: The DSC-HX1 does not support the AVCHD standard, which is often used by HDTV camcorders and DVD recorders. Why is that?

The DSC-HX1 is a digital camera. So, movie files shot with it are naturally saved in PCs, which prefer MP4 format to AVCHD. But I'm not saying that Sony's camera division has decided not to support the AVCHD standard in the future.

Q: Why is the maximum speed of continuous shooting in the full pixel mode limited to 10fps?

We did not want to disappoint users by image distortion inherent in CMOS sensors*. The problem can only be overcome by placing a mechanical shutter in front of the image sensor. This time, the limitation of the mechanical shutter was 10fps.

*A CMOS sensor sequentially completes photoelectric conversion from the upper pixel row unlike a CCD sensor, which completes the conversion for the all pixels at a time. Thus, when a picture of a tree is shot from a fast moving vehicle, for example, the positions of the top of the tree and its base will be horizontally displaced in relation to each other.
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Last edited by Steve Mullen; March 10th, 2009 at 03:36 PM.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 01:00 PM   #7
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I suspect the RS will only be eliminated in the stills mode (note the reference to a 10FPS limitation on the mechanical shutter), although this indicates that there are solutions possible for video.

I wonder how well this little guy will do with low light situations/video - it certainly looks promising in terms of what samples I've already seen of stills, and it's got quite a few interesting features as a still camera. I'm hoping it's pretty good with low light as they omitted an external flash capability entirely, which I found unusual (though there is a pop up flash).
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Old March 10th, 2009, 03:37 PM   #8
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I suspect the RS will only be eliminated in the stills mode (note the reference to a 10FPS limitation on the mechanical shutter), although this indicates that there are solutions possible for video.
You are right. Never get too excited about good news at midnight.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 11:19 PM   #9
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The other thing is... manual focus? And I couldn't tell if there are threads on the front for filters. Probably could survive without an add-on lens with the superzoom range.

For what the street price of this camera is likely to be, it's very tempting as a knockabout camera, somewhere between my old pocket cam F88 and the Alpha series... and if the video passes muster, could take the place of one of my handycams, so will be watching closely - got plenty of 8G high speed MS Duos, and the battery looks like the smallest FH, so I've got chargers too... might fit a spot in the camera gear bag!
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Old March 11th, 2009, 01:25 AM   #10
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The other thing is... manual focus?
I think there is some kind of button driven MF, but I wouldn't count on it being very useful. To me the is an AUTO camera -- which is all bad.
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Old April 15th, 2009, 03:19 AM   #12
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Bad Geometric Distortion When Sweeping Down with HX1

In at least the first video sample on that Japanese website, when the camera swept down, the edges of the picture warped down quite severly. I have seen this type of CMOS artifact with the large-sensored D-SLR HD videos, but hadn't seen it before with one that had a sensor so small. My Sony HC9, that has a CMOS of about the same size, doesn't show any such artifacts, that I've noticed.

Sony isn't providing a lens adaptor tube, so that filters, hoods and add-on lenses can be used with the HX1, except for their own DH1757 telextender. I've made three fiberglass adaptor tubes that will fit an HX1 and some after-market companies may produce them. Now, unless I decide to go ahead and buy an HX1, I won't get to put them to use. I previously made one that fit a Canon SX1 or SX10, but it will probably go unemployed, at least by me. But, it was good practice making them. See them on the first pages of my Flickr album.
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