Sony Unveils Party-Shot Accessory, CMOS Sensor Cameras

Sony announces its Party-shot accessory, which automatically takes photos during an event, as well as two digital cameras featuring the company's Exmor R CMOS light sensors.

Consumer electronics giant Sony announced this week a digital camera accessory-the model IPT-DS1, a camera dock featuring Party-shot technology-and the first two digital cameras to employ Sony's Exmor R back-illuminated CMOS sensor technology.

The TX1 camera will be available in silver, gray, pink and blue this September for around $380, and the WX1 will be available in black this October for around $350 (Sony said pre-sales will start in August). The DS1 accessory will be available for around $150 this September.

The camera dock pans 360 degrees and tilts 24 degrees, automatically detects faces, adjusts composition, and takes photos for the user. Party-shot uses the camera's BIONZ image processor with its Face Detection and Smile Shutter features to take photos. Sony is positioning the device as an ideal replacement for a hired photographer at parties, and said the accessory makes it easier to capture people spontaneously. The device is compatible with the WX1 and TX1 cameras and is mountable on nearly any tripod.

"With the Party-shot personal photographer, you no longer have to worry about taking photos when you are with your family or friends," said Shigehiko Nakayama, Sony's digital imaging accessories product manager. "Party-shot captures candid moments that tell natural life stories and also offers a new style of photography that enriches time with your family and friends."

The TX1 and WX1 cameras employ Exmor R technology to improve shooting in low-light scenarios, thereby enhancing image clarity and reducing grain. By positioning wires and other circuit elements behind the camera's light-sensitive photo-diodes, Sony improved the imager's light gathering capability, which the company claims results in approximately twice the sensitivity compared with conventional sensors. To further extend low-light shooting performance, the TX1 and WX1 cameras incorporate the handheld twilight and anti-motion blur multishot modes. These modes capture six images in less than a second and utilize the BIONZ processor to combine the shots into a single image.

In addition to their low-light performance capability, the cameras also include Sony's Sweep Panorama and 10-frames-per-second burst shooting features, first introduced with the HX1 camera. Using the Exmor R CMOS sensor, the cameras shoot continuously while users sweep across the scene. Using the BIONZ imaging processor, they automatically stitch the pictures together to create one panoramic photo. Sony said the TX1 and WX1 can take up to 185- and 256-degree panorama shots, respectively, in one press-and-sweep motion with an image size of 7,152 by 1,080.

"With these new 'Exmor R' CMOS sensor cameras, Sony has vastly improved the customer experience for taking pictures with digital still cameras in low-light scenarios," said Sony Electronics' director of the digital imaging business, Phil Lubell. "We've all taken pictures in dimly lit situations, like blowing out candles on a birthday cake, and the results were grainy and unclear. By redesigning the way these cameras capture light, Sony is leading the industry by creating this easy way to take amazingly clear, vibrant photos in low lighting scenarios."