Sony courts beginners with new digital camera

Sony is targeting its latest Cybershot digital still camera, the DSC-P20, at young users who will always carry it around for taking casual snapshots. The new camera, lighter and easier to play with and more affordable than previous models, will go on sale on August 1 in Japan, the company announced Thursday.

The body weighs 187 grams, the lightest of the lineup, and measures 123 by 62 by 46 millimetres, smaller than the previous P30 model.

The camera has a 3x digital zoom and a 1.3 million pixel resolution CCD (charge coupled device) pickup. These features enable Sony to keep the price lower than that of other cameras in the Cybershot series, according to Saori Takahashi, a Sony spokeswoman. It will be priced around 30,000 yen ($425), she said.

"Although it is a lower-quality camera, it still allows users to play around with pictures using software like other Cybershot models can do," Takahashi said. For example, via a personal computer, images taken by the camera can be sent to NTT DoCoMo Inc.'s wireless Internet color cell phones or to Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.'s game console PlayStation 2 to replace a game character's face with the image from the camera.

It can be operated by either a rechargeable battery or two AA batteries.

It is equipped with a USB (universal serial bus) port and a Memory Stick slot. A128M byte Memory Stick card holds up to 786 low resolution images in fine mode or 90 minutes of moving images in "video mail" mode.

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