Sony brings 4K capabilities to new Cybershot cameras

Sony’s new bringing the ability to shoot 4K video to cameras that fit in pockets with its two new Cybershot products.

The cameras are based on a new image sensors that “allow cameras to do things never done before,” Mark Weir, senior manager at Sony, said during a press conference in New York on Wednesday.

The cameras can shoot 4K video, thanks to new sensors, and deliver the readouts faster for viewers to see. The sensor “harmonizes” high-resolution images, sensitivity and speed, and is significantly faster than its predecessor, Weir said.

Point-and-shoot cameras are typically not capable of 4K video, and many cameras are still limited to shooting 1080p video. So the new Cybershots represent a breakthrough for the stand-alone camera market, which is in decline because built-in cameras in mobile devices are increasingly used to shoot images and video.

The two new Cybershot cameras can shoot “broadcast-quality” video at 4K resolution at up to 30 frames per second. The 20-megapixel Cybershot RX100 IV will be able to shoot 4K movies for up to five minutes, while the RX10 II can shoot up to 29 minutes of 4K video. The cameras can shoot slow-motion video at up to 960 frames per second (fps) for a few seconds.

The cameras’ sensors have a CMOS (complementary metal—oxide—semiconductor) that will buffer images. The Cybershots have OLED (organic light-emitting diode) viewfinders.

The new Cybershots will deliver pro-quality style images from cameras that fit in pockets, Weir said. The RX100 IV will be available in July starting at US$1,000 and the RX10 II will be available next month for $1,300.

The third new camera announced was the Alpha 7 R II SLR camera. It has a new 42.4-megapixel sensor, and has a Bionz X image processing engine that filters pictures for a higher image quality.

The SLR camera also has motion-detection algorithms to track images. It is compatible with a wide range of lenses and has a five-axis image stabilization feature. It is world’s first camera to offer 4K movie recording in full-frame format, and captures 1.8 times as many pixels as required for 4K movies. It will be available in August for $3,200.

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