Sony announces digital cameras, Memory Stick upgrades

Sony Electronics will release two digital cameras, one for size-conscious consumers and another for professional photographers, right before the holiday season begins in earnest in November, the company announced Friday.

A pocket-sized Cyber-shot DSC-U50 camera will be available for about US$250 in October. It has a two-megapixel CCD (charge-coupled device) and a lens that rotates 180 degrees. Users can record up to 15 seconds of MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group) video content and watch it on a reflective LCD (liquid crystal display) monitor.

The Cyber-shot DSC-F828 was designed for serious photographers who want to capture the most realistic images possible, Sony said. The eight-megapixel camera is Sony's first to use four-color filter CCD technology and the Real Imaging Processor.

Cameras have used the RGB (red, green, and blue) color reproduction system for many years to display color images. Sony added an emerald pixel to its new four-color filter to improve the rendering of blue, blue-green and red hues, it said.

The Real Imaging Processor allows the camera to take an eight-megapixel picture in half the time required by a five-megapixel camera, Sony said.

The DSC-F828 will be available for about US$1,200 in mid-November from Sony's Web site and retailers.

Sony also announced two enhancements to its Memory Stick products on Friday. The Memory Stick Pro Duo expansion card is designed for very small devices, such as cell phones and personal MP3 players, Sony said. It is one-third the size of a regular full-size Memory Stick and weighs half as much.

It will be available in October in two capacities, 256M bytes and 512M bytes, which will cost US$125 and US$300, respectively. Also, Sony increased the transfer speed of its existing Memory Stick Duo product to 20M bytes per second, it said.

Sony also announced a Memory Stick USB (universal serial bus) reader/writer that will allow users to read Memory Stick media on their PCs. It will be available for US$60 in October.

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