Sony launches new low-end digital camera

Sony Electronics on Monday launched a new digital camera that it said provides the performance of a fully-functional high-end digital camera in a small package at an affordable price.

The US$300 Cyber-shot DSC-L1 houses a 4.1-megapixel CCD (charge-coupled device) sensor, a 3X optical zoom, a 1.5-inch LCD (liquid crystal display) screen and a lithium-ion battery that can take 220 shots on one charge. It is 4.5 inches (11.4 centimeters) wide, 1.5 inches tall and 1 inch in depth. It has seven preset scene modes and can take video at 30 frames per second (fps) in a 640-by-480 VGA (video graphics array) mode.

The Cyber-shot DSC-L1 will become available globally in October in brush-finished metal, dark blue and dark red.

Sony also upgraded existing product lines Monday with two new digital cameras, the Cyber-shot DSC-T3 and the Cyber-shot DSC-V3. Both cameras feature increased battery life, bigger LCD screens, improved designs and improved battery life, said Mark Weir, product manager at Sony.

Sony's new high-end Cyber-shot DSC-V3 succeeds the Cyber-shot DSC-V1, launched early last year. The 7.2-megapixel camera features a 4X optical zoom, a bigger 2.5-inch LCD screen, a lithium-ion battery and CompactFlash and Memory Stick slots.

In addition to increasing the sensor power, the camera starts up in two seconds, compared to the four seconds it took for the DSC-V1 to power up. The improved lithium-ion battery shoots 260 shots on one charge, up from the 250 shots the DSC-V1's battery could shoot. The camera has seven preset scene modes and can shoot an MPEG-1 movie at 30 fps.

This camera, targeted at the enthusiasts, costs US$700 and ships globally in October.

The credit-card sized Cyber-shot DSC-T3 has a 5.1 megapixel CCD sensor and a 3X optical zoom. The design changes include a 2.5-inch LCD screen, which can show images in 230,000 pixels, up from 211,000 pixels on the Cyber-shot T1, which was launched last year. The camera has nine preset scene modes and can also shoot MPEG-1 videos at 30 fps in a 640-by-480 VGA mode.

The US$500 camera ships worldwide in October and comes with the Cyber-shot Station, a camera cradle that allows users to view, print or transfer images from a camera. A wireless remote control bundled with the cradle allows users to run a slide show of camera images on a TV. The cradle also charges digital cameras.

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