Sony TX1 gets a better, stronger, faster linemate

The Sony TX7 improves on an already pretty great ultracompact.


LAS VEGAS--I really like the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX1 for all that it is, but, like most first versions, there was room for improvement. The follow-up, the DSC-TX7, announced Wednesday at CES 2010 looks to be a solid step up.

It's still using a back-illuminated Exmor R 10-megapixel sensor. It gets a new 25mm-equivalent wide-angle lens to work with, though, and on back is a larger, 3.5-inch LCD with a 921K-dot resolution. And before I go too much further, let me point out that it's one of two new Sony cameras to capture video at full HD (1,920x1,080-pixel resolution at 60i) in AVCHD format. Plus, it supports HDMI out and has a stereo mic up front. It even uses an improved optical stabilization to help control shake while you're on the move.

A lot of the shooting features are the same as the TX1, but there are a few new options. The high-speed sensor allows for some fast shooting--10fps in its burst mode--but it also adds things like better handheld low-light shots, a new High Dynamic Range mode for balancing out high-contrast scenes (a weakness of the TX1), and an improved Sweep Panorama, which provides better stitching of scenes with moving objects and people.

Two other big features have to do with the camera's memory: the TX7 takes both Memory Stick Pro Duo cards as well as SDHC cards. And, the camera supports Sony's Transfer Jet Memory Sticks, which can do wireless transfers from the TX7 to Transfer Jet-enabled cameras or computers, or to a USB-docking station that can be connected to a compatible TV, digital frame, or computer.

All this doesn't come cheaply, though. When it ships in February--in red, silver, and blue--it'll be about $400.

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