With point and shoot cameras apparently now up against a megapixel wall, manufacturers are focusing on adding quirky new features to keep you hooked on the upgrade cycle. Sony's new Cyber-shot TX55 includes several such additions, such as 'amazing' 3D image capture, 'extremely low' noise, and a new digital zoom technology called By Pixel Super Resolution, which promises to double the camera's 5x optical zoom range while still capturing 16.2-megapixel images at full quality. We're a bit skeptical about that last one, but if the $350 camera really can deliver on its promise, then we may just have a winner. Sony says there's also high-speed autofocus that can lock onto subjects in 0.1 seconds, optical image stabilization, a 3.3-inch OLED touch-screen, and 1080i AVCHD video. It also includes some features found on the higher-end NEX-C3, such as Picture Effects, and a 42.9-megapixel Sweep Panorama mode. Sony has yet to completely nix the Memory Stick slot, including one with the TX55, though there's also MicroSD support for those who prefer to take advantage of that more affordable memory card standard. We're not yet convinced that all of the point-and-shoot cam's new features perform as well as Sony suggests, but if they do, the TX55 may even be worth its $350 price tag when it hits stores in September.
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SONY'S NEWEST CYBER-SHOT CAMERA EXPANDS RANGE OF CREATIVE OPTIONS

Ultra-thin DSC-TX55 Camera Delivers Full HD Video, 3D and Picture Effect Mode - with up to10x Clear Image Zoom at Maximum Resolution

SAN DIEGO, July 25, 2011 – With an exceptionally slim and stylish design, Sony's new DSC-TX55 Cyber-shot camera makes it easy to capture any moment with high-quality still photos, full high-definition video and amazing 3D images, providing consumers with the ultimate in creative control of their photos and videos.

The DSC-TX55 camera features a range of innovative new technologies, including "By Pixel Super Resolution" technology, which boosts the cameras' zoom range to a virtual 10x without losing quality at the image sensor's maximum resolution (16.2 million pixels). The new model is also the first Cyber-shot camera to offer a "Picture Effect" mode, which expands a shooter's artistic possibilities without the need for editing software.

"Our new DSC-TX55 model redefines what a compact camera can do," said Yosuke Tomoda, director of Sony Electronics' Cyber-shot business. "In addition to the newly developed, ultra-thin chassis design, the camera features an incredible combination of features and performance, putting more creativity at users' fingertips than ever before."

The TX55 boasts a 16.2 megapixel, highly sensitive Exmor R™ CMOS sensor that delivers incredible image detail and ultra-low picture noise in both still images and Full HD video – even in low light conditions. Also the camera's hi-speed auto focus can lock onto subject in as little as 0.1 seconds, letting users grab the most fleeting photo moments with ease.

16 Mega-pixel CMOS Sensor with Clear Image Zoom

Just 12.2mm slim (measurement excludes lens cover), which is smaller than the thickness of a standard AA-size battery, the Cyber-shot TX55 is the world's thinnest camera in its class (among cameras with an optical anti-shake function). The new model captures Full HD AVCHD video clips as well as 16.2 megapixel still images through its innovative and exceptionally thin 5x optical folded zoom lens.

It introduces brand-new 'Clear Image Zoom' that boosts magnification without lowering the pixel count in the final image. Exclusive to Sony, 'By Pixel Super Resolution' processing further extends the camera's 5x optical zoom range, allowing full-resolution 16.2 megapixel images with a maximum 10x zoom.

'By Pixel Super Resolution' technology also significantly boosts still image quality during movie recording. At a touch of the shutter button, 'Dual Rec' grabs detail-packed 12 megapixel-level still photos without interrupting Full HD video shooting.

Further, the camera's back panel is dominated by a super-sized 3.3-inch (8.3cm) Xtra Fine™ OLED wide touch-screen, perfect for showing off photos and movie clips with incredible detail.

Enhanced Creativity and Functionality

The innovative Picture Effect mode broadens the range of artistic options with an exciting palette of in-camera image treatments. Effects can be viewed on the camera screen, allowing users to see the result of a chosen effect instantly rather than during the post-shooting experience.

The full list of seven Picture Effect options includes HDR Painting, Rich-tone Monochrome, Miniature, Toy Camera, Partial Color, Pop Color and Soft High-key.

Newly enhanced with additional electronic image stabilization for vertical and horizontal handshake correction, SteadyShot® image stabilization with Active Mode compensates for handheld camera movements during Full HD video shooting. Users can enjoy crisp, blur-free movie clips at all zoom settings, even when holding the camera while walking.

Great Results Made Easy

The new DSC-TX55 camera makes it simple for users to easily achieve DSLR-like picture quality. Superior Auto mode recognizes a wide range of shooting situations, adjusting exposure and other settings for high-quality images with low noise and high dynamic range.

Intelligent Sweep Panorama mode also features HR (High Resolution) mode, letting users capture breath-taking up to 42.9 megapixel panoramas. Just sweep the camera, then enjoy the results on a connected HD TV, or zoom in using a PlayStation®3 system to reveal the finest details.
3D Still Image captures dramatic 3D photos without the need for a large, bulky stereoscopic lens. With a single shutter press, the camera takes two shots consecutively, using the first image to estimate depth information to create a dramatic three-dimensional still image. Other 3D shooting options include 3D Sweep Panorama mode and Sweep Multi Angle.

Enabling its incredible slimness, the new TX55 camera includes a slot to accept Memory Stick Micro™ (Mark2) and MicroSD/SDHC flash memory cards. Sony offers a choice of ultra-compact, high quality media in capacities up to 16GB, with Memory Stick Micro™ being enhanced to achieve data transfer speed of up to 15MB/s (fastest among micro memory cards) by carrying the same high performance HX Engine controller used on Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo to fully support the new cameras' features such as 3D and full HD video shooting. All cards come with free PC software (available via download), File Rescue for quick, easy recovery of deleted or damaged photos and files, and x-Pict Story™ that simplifies creation of dazzling slideshows.

Pricing and Availability

The new Sony Cyber-shot™ TX55 camera will be available for about $350 this September at Sony stores, www.sonystyle.com and other authorized retailers throughout the Sony Dealer Network.

The range of Sony Memory Stick Micro™ and MicroSD/SDHC media cards are available now throughout the Sony dealer network and along with an expanded range of coordinating accessories – including the colorful new LCJ-THF camera cover, AC-UD10 AC adaptor and BC-TRN2 fast battery charger.

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Sony Cyber-shot TX55 packs 16.2-megapixel sensor, promises 'extremely low' noise in dim light