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Is Sony's Cyber-shot TX200V the most powerful ultracompact ever?

The TX200V might be small, but it's packing some serious technology.

Lori Grunin/CNET

The new Sony Cyber-shot TX200V's photo and movie capabilities will make any smartphone camera look like a toy.

At just barely more than half an inch thick, the TX200V features an 18-megapixel (18!) Exmor R backside-illuminated sensor, a 5x f3.5-4.8 26-130mm Carl Zeiss lens, and a 3.3-inch 1.2-million-dot-resolution touch-screen OLED display. It's also waterproof to 16 feet as well as dustproof and freezeproof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. It's not shockproof, though, and the front is covered in reinforced glass.

Among its many shooting options is the capability to capture movies in AVCHD format at 1080p at 60 frames per second and nine picture effects like miniature and toy camera filters. Sony's also claiming that it has an improved autofocus system that'll focus in approximately 0.13 second in bright conditions and 0.25 second in low-light situations, which if true, is more than twice as fast as the fastest point-and-shoots I've tested. Also, Sony's developed a new extra-high-sensitivity technology that minimizes unwanted noise in low-light shooting conditions.

Given all the other things this thing can do, it's no surprise it'll be carrying a $500 price tag when it comes out in March.

If you like your cameras to look more like cameras, Sony also announced the WX70 and WX50. Both are 16-megapixel cameras with Exmor R backside-illuminated CMOS sensors, 5x f2.6-6.3 25-125mm lenses, and full HD movie capture at 60i in AVCHD format. They have a ton of shooting options, just like their predecessor, the WX9, but get some new things, too, like the enhanced low-light shooting capabilities and creative picture effects that can be found in the TX200V.

In fact, the only differences between the two models are their screens and color choices. The $230 WX70 has a 3-inch 921K-dot resolution touch-screen LCD and will be available in silver, black, pink, and violet, and the $200 WX50 has a 2.7-inch 460K-dot resolution LCD and will come in black and silver. Gotta love channel strategies.