Sony keeps pumping out new digital cameras faster than we can write about them (well, maybe almost faster). Not that we're complaining, since their new entry-level model is the Cyber-shot DSC-P73, a inexpensive four megapixel compact camera with a 3x optical zoom lens that comes with a little something called "Smart" digital zoom. Before you scoff, Steve from Steve's Digicams says that unlike regular digital zoom, the DSC-P73's "Smart" digital zoom feature isn't actually total crap:
I usually advise folks to avoid using the digital zoom feature. In most camera's, it simply enlarges the central area of the image sensor by interpolating it up to the full sensor image size, degrading image quality. The DSC-P73, however, has a "Smart" digital zoom feature that crops the central portion of the image and produces a high-quality uninterpolated image of smaller size. The smart digital zoom expands the 3x optical magnification to 3.4x when shooting 3-megapixel images, 5.4x when shooting 1-megapixel images and 10x when shooting VGA-sized images. You'll find the P73's Smart digital zoom of benefit if you need greater magnification than the 3x optical zoom can provide, and you don't need the camera's full 4-megapixel resolution for those shots.
Also, if you think you need the extra megapixels there's a five megapixel version called the DSC-P93 out too.
[Via Photography Blog]