Sony puts a big zoom and pop-up viewfinder in new compacts

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Sony has revealed new compact travel cameras which all pack in a big 30x zoom lens

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Sony has updated its line-up of point-and-shoot cameras with three new super-zoom models, including two which feature a pop-up OLED viewfinder and lens control rings. The HX90, HX90V and WX500 all use the same 18-megapixel sensor, 30x zoom lens and BIONZ X image processor, but there are a number of important distinguishing features between the cameras.

The new cameras have a lot in common, as they are each built around a 1/2.3-inch 18-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor sensor paired with a 25-750-mm equivalent F3.5-F6.4 lens and a Sony BIONZ X image processor. As such they all have an ISO range of 80 to 3,200, and can also record Full HD 1080p video footage at 60/50 fps (frames per second).

Other features of the trio include Sony's Fast Intelligent AF system which has been inherited from the A7 cameras, and Optical SteadyShot 5-axis image stabilization which helps to cut the blur when shooting at slower shutter speeds or longer telephoto focal lengths. The cameras all also have built in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity for easy sharing, and a P/A/S/M dial for quick access to more creative settings.

The size of the cameras is also much of a muchness, with the WX500 being a fraction of a millimeter shorter in length than the other pair which measure 102 x 58.1 x 35.5 mm (4 x 2.3 x 1.4 in) and weigh 245 g (8.6 oz). They all also boast a three-inch rear LCD monitor with 921k dots, which can be flipped up by 180 degrees for easier selfie shooting.

In fact, the only features which distinguish the HX90 and HX90V from the WX500 is that next to their pop-up flashes, they both have a built-in pop-up electronic OLED viewfinder (like that on the RX100 III) which is particularly handy in bright, screen-glaring conditions, and they have a control ring around the lens. The control ring can be set to operate a number of settings including manual focus and step or quick zoom.

The difference between the HX90 and HX90V is even more minor. The V version of the camera has built-in GPS for geotagging photos and movies and being able to see them on a map using PlayMemories Home, while the HX90 does not.

The new cameras are due to go on sale in June. The WX500 will sell for US$330, while the the HX90V will be $430. It appears the HX90 will not be available in all territories as there's no US pricing, but in the UK it will set you back £330 compared to £340 for its GPS-toting sibling.

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