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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX55: a new type of digital zoom

Consumer Reports News: July 25, 2011 12:10 AM

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One digital camera feature I never recommend is using digital zoom, since it generally degrades image quality. But the 16-megapixel Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX55, a new subcompact announced today, includes a new type of digital zoom technology that may make this feature useful.

Sony calls the new technology "By pixel super resolution." What distinguishes it is that instead of cropping in on the image, then magnifying and adding more pixels to the image file (a process called interpolation), Sony claims it's using a more sophisticated process that includes "pixel creation and pattern matching" so that the magnified image will be clearer and sharper. The result is that it is supposed to take this 5x optical zoom subcompact and effectively make it a 10x.

For still images, Sony is calling this feature "Clear Image Zoom" and we'll be sure to test this when the model comes into our labs.

It's a technology that might be very useful on smart phones as well, since they generally don't have any optical zoom.

Another benefit of this technology is that it will let you capture a 3-megapixel still photo from a video clip, then turn it into a 12-megapixel image suitable for larger photos. Again, we'll test this feature to see if it lives up to what Sony claims.

The camera has these other features:

  • 26mm wide-angle zoom
  • 3.3-inch touchscreen LCD
  • 10 frames per second (full resolution) burst mode
  • 3D-still photos capability
  • dedicated video button
  • 1080i full HD-resolution video capability

The DSC-TX55 will come in four colors and cost around $350 when it becomes available in September.

Terry Sullivan

   

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