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Sony Cyber-shot WX5, TX9 and T99: 3D photos with only one lens

Sony has announced three new digital compact cameras, two of which -- the WX5 and the TX9 -- are capable of shooting 3D panoramic images with a single lens

Well well well, what have we here? Three very shiny new Sony cameras, eh? Very nice, very nice. Meet the Sony Cyber-shot WX5 (up there on the left), TX9 (dead centre) and T99 (in a range of lovely colours over on the right). We'll talk about the WX5 and the TX9 first, because they offer something pretty exciting.

Panoramic 3D

These are the first Sony cameras to take 3D images, using a system Sony is calling 3D Sweep Panorama. Hitting the shutter button will cause the camera to capture a high-speed burst of frames. Sweep the camera from side to side while this is happening and the information from those images is combined to create a pair of stereoscopic frames. Then plug the camera into your 3D-enabled telly and enjoy the stunning three-dimensional eyegasm.

Well, maybe. We have our concerns about this technology -- waving the camera around doesn't exactly sound high-tech, and if you're prone to the odd wobble we imagine you'll end up with a 3D image likely to induce seasickness.

Secondly, Sony reckons this burst mode will take up to 100 images in rapid succession. At that kind of speed we can't imagine the final product will be very high quality. That said, we can't wait to try it -- you never know, we might just be amazed.

Sony and Sweep

These cameras pack a few more 3D jollies with something called Sweep Multi Angle, which shoots a 15-frame burst, creating an image of your subject you can tilt by moving the camera, which detects your movements using 'internal sensors'. Witchcraft we say! 

Elsewhere, both these cameras are capable of shooting 1,920x1,080-pixel HD video, and sport a 12.2-megapixel CMOS sensor. The WX5 has a 5x optical zoom, while the TX9 must make do with a mere 4x.

The T99, meanwhile, is sadly bereft of 3D features, but on the plus side is rocking a redesign and a range of colours. This 14.1-megapixel marvel can also shoot 720p video. Lovely.

All three cameras will be available from mid-September, with pricing yet to be announced.