Sony Cybershot DSC-W290 released to industry-wide hysteria – ish


The new Sony Cybershot DSC-W290 was released this week. The Carl Zeiss lens wielding compact, packs a punchy 12.1 megapixels and a boat-load of software features all for around £240.

In black or blue and weighing in at 160g, the W290 isn’t going to be strain in your pocket but does come with all the features of an altogether more expensive compact.Boasting multi-face detection, anti-blink reduction, smile shutter and red eye reduction, the W290 has a feature set not to be sniffed at.

Though whether this means it will be any good at taking pictures is another thing entirely. Too often the practise with compacts seems just to wedge them full of megapixels, vaguely helpful and occasionally, entirely useless features with the quality of the snaps playing second fiddle.

Megapixels do not maketh a compact. A lens does though.

The thing that should set the W290 apart is Dynamic Range Optimization, which works by automatically figuring out the best exposure and contrast levels to give more natural looking photos.

Sounds like the same old shtick you’ve heard a bajillion times before? Me too. Hopefully we’ll get our hands on one soonish and find out. If you’ve got a W290 tell us what you think about it in the comments, go on. Do it. I freaking dare you. What are you scared? You chicken…Go on.

Panasonic adds DMC-FS62 to its compact digital camera range


Panasonic has announced a new addition to its Lumix FS Series of compact digital cameras, with the introduction of the DMC-FS62.

Most of the features you’d expect on a compact are here — 10.1-megapixel, 2.5-inch LCD, face detection (up to 15 in each shot), scene selection, image stabilisation and movie mode (up to 848 x 480 WVGA resolution).

The camera has a F2.8 Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens which offers 4x optical zoom – not spectacular even for a compact but acceptable – though it can be extended up o 7.1x by using the Extra Optical Zoom function, though you’re then limited to just 3-megapixel shots…

Canon launches PowerShot A480 compact digital cameras


Canon has announced its latest compact digital camera, the 10 megapixel PowerShot A480 featuring a 3.3x optical zoom (that point three is all important, evidently), face and motion detection, 15 shooting modes, 30fps VGA movie shooting, red eye reduction, and a 2.5-inch LCD screen.

It features Canon’s DIGIC III processing system that promises low noise levels and better colour reproduction, while face detection can adjust focus, exposure, flash settings and white balance to take the best pictures of up to nine human subjects, aided by motion detection to reduce the blur caused by shaky hands or moving subjects…

CES 2009: Casio compacts – Exilim EX-Z400, EX-Z270, EX-S12, EX-S5, EX-FS10 and EX-FC100


Gosh, what a long list of product names. No time for a long, gratuituous intro then, let’s jump straight into specs.

The big hitters are the EX-FS10 and EX-FC100. The former has a 9.1-megapixel sensor and 3x optical zoom. It’s 16.3mm thin, and has a 2.5″ LCD display. The latter is also 9.1 megapixel, and expands to a 5x zoom and 2.7″ touchscreen. It’s also got CMOS anti-shake.

Impressively, though, they can both capture at amazingly high speeds – 30 shots-per-second 6-megapixel still images, and movies at up to 1,000fps. That speed is going to good use, too – you can set it to take a burst, and automatically pick the least blurred, smiliest, eyes-open photo, or you can pick the best one yourself. It’ll also do 720p HD video. $350 (£231) for the EX-FS10, and $400 (£264) for the EX-FC100, both out in March in the US.

RUMOUR: Canon planning new Ixus compact camera with CMOS chip

In fact, at the moment there’s only one compact on the market that has a CMOS sensor – Canon’s own PowerShot SX1 IS, which retails for a whopping £530. Our tipster reckons that a whole rash of CMOS compacts will be unveiled at the forthcoming PMA ’09 in March. He also proposes this as a possible CMOS Ixus spec.

  • 10-megapixel CMOS sensor (most likely 1/2.33 or 1/2.5 inch in size)
  • HD Movie Mode
  • 5x Zoom (28mm wide)
  • 3″ LCD
  • Li-Ion battery
  • ISO 50-3200
  • RRP of £250-£280, on the shop floor at £220 or so

It’s that massive ISO range which is the most promising. If this new Ixus exists, can cope with low light as promised, and doesn’t cost the earth, then this could bring the tools for some fantastic photography into the hands of amateurs. Or, at very least, your photos of ‘Debbie an the gals dahn at the club’ will look sublime.

Related posts: REVIEW: Canon IXUS 870 IS | Canon engineers held back by marketing department’s “megapixel race”