For those comfortable with the ease of point-n-shoot digital cameras, but aspiring for some of the picture qualities of an SLR, Sony has always been a 'friend in need'. In recent weeks the company launched some 30 new models in India -- and out of the range, we picked two that seemed to offer the right combo of price and performance to entice Indian buyers.What they share is ability to zoom in real close -- 16x in the case of the HX10V; 10x for the W690.
The Cybershot DSC-HX10V is an 18 megapixel camera with a focal length effectively ranging from 24mm to 38mm with an aperture from f3.3 - to f5.9 and a shutter that can be selected from 1/1600 sec to 30 sec. These are specs that wont shame an SLR so this is clearly a crossover product that aspires for SLR quality at point-n-shoot prices.
The camera is also capable of full HD ( 1080p) at 25 frames per second and you can also shoot a burst pf 10 frames in a second. The nice feature is the ability to shoot up to 10 still shots even as you are cranking away in the video mode -- an example of 'parallel processing' made possible by the powerful chip within. The built in memory is 58 MB and you can use a variety of additional storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC or Memory Stick Pro Duo. The USP of the camera is possibly its GPS capability -- which takes a bit of setting up. But once you have licked that, you have location info for every shot -- very useful after a long trip -- or for integrating your pictures with Google Maps.
With batteries the DSC-HX10V weighs 234 gms which seems little enough -- till you have handled its cheaper, less powerful cousin, the DSC-W690, which is just 142 gms -- ands is touted as the smallest, lightest 10 x zoom camera today. What's trimmed down spec-wise? For starters this is 720p HD rather than full HD; the zoom is 10x max; and the speed on the lower side goes down to 2 secs. The aperture is the same and the focal length marginally trimmed at both ends, though most users won't bother about the difference.
Both cameras feature Sony-specific features like Optical SteadyShot for blur-free shooting even in difficult conditions.
The DSC-HX10V is priced at Rs 17,990 and the and DSC-W690 is Rs 10,990,but you can shop online at sites like FlipKart or IndiaPlaza to knock off some 300-600 rupees.
In our experience, 10x zoom of DSC-W690 is OK for many users who dont do photography professionally but still like to upload to Facebook or Flickr. But if you are the kind that likes to shoot from your seat in meetings and conferences, then the 16x zoom of the DSC-HX10V will be worth the additional asking price. Take you pick, we liked them both very much, thank you!
Anand Parthasarathy/ Aug 30 2012