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H3 Cloned into the New Sony H10

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H10 is the successor to last year’s H3. The only upgrade on the H10 is the LCD size, which is now 3 inches across rather than the 2.5-inch screen on the H3.

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Jan. 23, 2008 – The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H10 was announced today as the

replacement for last year’s low-end ultra-zoom, the H3. But the only significant upgrade on the H10 is the LCD size, which is now 3 inches across rather than the 2.5-inch screen on the H3. Otherwise, the new and old models look like twins with their retro looks and distinct hand grips, 8.1 megapixel sensors and 10x optical zoom lenses.

Sony announced plenty of compact digital cameras today with all kinds of new tricks like improved face detection and intelligent scene recognition, but the new H10 sticks with last year’s technology. Sony’s minimal upgrade take on the H10 keeps its price down at $299, which is what the H3 also originally sold for. The Cyber-shot DSC-H10 will make its debut on store shelves in May.

The new Sony H10 and the old Sony H3 have the same plastic body and design: the new H10 is only a few millimeters bigger than the H3. The H10 will be available in black and silver colors, and has a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 10x optical zoom lens equipped with Sony’s Super SteadyShot optical image stabilization system. The lenses measure 6.3-63mm, equivalent to 38-380mm in the 35mm format.

The single upgrade is the 3-inch Clear Photo LCD plus that is larger than the H3’s screen. Both cameras’ screens have 230,000 pixels. The Sony Cyber-shot H10’s larger LCD will be an improvement for viewing slide shows, which can play with five effects and to four downloadable soundtracks. The H10 can also output in high-definition, something included on last year’s models.

The Sony H10, despite its name, will still sit below the H9, which also has 8.1 megapixels but comes with a longer 15x lens and a $429 price tag. The flagship H9 has a full range of exposure modes with Manual, Shutter Speed Priority, Aperture Priority, Program, and Auto modes. The H10 omits the priority modes but keeps the Manual, Program, and Auto modes in addition to its scene modes. The Sony H10, H9, and H3 all have face detection systems that recognize up to eight faces at a time.

Sony expects the ultra-zoom segment of the digital camera market to be affected by dropping DSLR prices, according to a press briefing with the company. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H10 at $299 dodges even the cheapest DSLR prices, but comes in competition with other ultra-zooms. For instance, the Kodak EasyShare Z8612 IS comes with 8.1 megapixels, a stabilized 12x optical zoom lens, and also has HD output for $249.

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