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Sony's new Cyber-shots sense and shoot smiling subjects

Sony announced four new Cyber-shot W-series digital cameras, that now include a smile shutter function.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W170
Sony Electronics Inc.

Sony has updated its Cyber-shot DSC-W series of digital cameras with the announcement of four new models, the Cyber-shot DSC-W120, W130, W150, and W170. Sitting squarely between the company's budget-priced Cyber-shot S-series and its more upscale, style-minded T-series, these new cameras should appeal to users looking for a colorful, modestly-featured camera between $200 and $300.

All four new cameras feature a handful of new options based around an improved face detection system. According to Sony, these new cameras can now distinguish between adult and child faces, letting you decide whether the camera will base its auto-focus and auto-exposure on children or adults in your shot. The face detection systems also include Sony's "smile shutter" mode, a shooting mode that automatically takes pictures when your subject smiles. Like the standard face-detection modes, users can decide whether the camera automatically shoots smiling children or adults.

The 7-megapixel Cyber-shot DSC-W120 and 8-megapixel W130 sit at the bottom of the new batch. Both models feature 32 to 128mm-equivalent, f/2.8-5.8 optical zoom lenses, 2.5-inch LCD screens, and optical viewfinders. The DSC-W120 will retail for about $200 and come in black, silver, blue, and pink versions. The W130 will have a suggested retail price of $230, and come in black, silver, and pink. Both cameras are expected to ship in March.

Larger lenses, bigger screens, and a broader feature set justify the 8-megapixel W150 and 10-megapixel W170's premiums over the lower-end models. The W150 comes with a 30mm- to 150mm-equivalent f/3.3-5.2 lens and the W170 features a 28mm- to 140mm-equivalent f/3.3-5.2 lens, and both models feature 2.7-inch LCD screens and optical viewfinders. Both higher-end cameras also include Sony's intelligent scene recognition feature, which Sony claims enables the cameras to automatically choose the right scene preset mode to fit the shot. They also include more playback and storage options than the W120 and W130, including slide shows with multiple music tracks and transition effects, photo filtering by date and smile, and a favorite photo folder for marking your preferred shots. The DSC-W150 and W170 ship in April and will come in black, silver, red, and champagne versions. The W150 will retail for about $250, and the W170 for around $300.