Sony gives Euro snappers a smarter and smoother superzoom
Sony has announced another model for its range of Cyber-Shot superzoom cameras. The new Cyber-Shot HX350 is fitted with a Zeiss lens with 50x optical zoom, giving it the equivalent of a 24mm - 1200mm range. It's more than just a one-trick pony, too, thanks to a clever stabilization system for crystal-clear shots at full zoom.
In the world of superzoom cameras, shake is the enemy. After all, no-one wants to carry a tripod around just in case they need to zoom past 30x, especially considering big zooms are favored by parents and travelers who need to pack light.
Sony has fitted the new HX350 with latest version of its Optical Steady Shot system, which cuts down on camera shake by rapidly shifting a group of lens elements. There's also an Intelligent Active Mode to make sure handheld HD video shooting stays smooth. Digital zoom can bump the total magnification up to a massive 100x, although serious shooters will likely want to stay within the 50x optical range.
A 20.4 megapixel sensor and BIONZ X image processor have been set up to deliver crisp handheld shots and HD video in low-light. An ISO range of 80 - 12,800 is on offer in regular shooting, while movie makers can manually select sensitivity between 30 and 3,200.
Although it's not a full-on DSLR, the HX350 comes with the full range of P/A/S/M shooting options, and there's a manual zoom/focus ring on the lens. A custom function button also features, allowing users to save their go-to camera setups for later.
Although there is no optical viewfinder, Sony has backed up the 921,600 dot 3.0-inch rear screen with a digital viewfinder with five different levels of brightness. It might seem like a small touch, but a viewfinder makes it significantly easier to frame shots in bright sunlight, and fits in well with the more professional feature set on offer.
The camera measures up at 129.6 x 93.2 x 103.2 mm (5 in x 3.75 in x 4 in), and weighs 652 g (1.43 lb). Users are able to store their images on the usual SD and MicroSD cards, as well as Sony's own proprietary Memory Stick Duo and Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.
Pricing will start at €450 in Europe, and the camera will be on sale from January – although it won't be making it to the US at the moment.