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Sony Exercises Admirable Restraint, Announces Just Two New Cameras at CES 2014

Eschewing the usual deluge of low-end cameras, Sony outs only one ILC and one compact.


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Not too long ago, covering CES used to mean one thing for your humble photography journalist: sifting through several dozen iterative point-and-shoots and trying to figure out how a company can even come up with 19 new models to announce. Sony has bucked that trend here at CES 2014, announcing just two new models at the show: the E-mount A5000 and the Cyber-shot W830.

Though the name suggests it would be similar to the DSLR-style A3000 announced a few months ago, this new model takes after previous NEX mirrorless cameras, sporting a 20-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor, an ISO range stretching from 100-16000, and the ability to capture full 1080/60p video in MP4 or AVCHD.

The A5000's 20.1-megapixel APS-C sensor sets it apart, with an ISO range stretching from 100-16000.

The A5000 also has a 25-point contrast-detection autofocus system, a 3-inch, 460k-dot tiltable rear LCD, and the same Bionz X processor as Sony's Full-frame A7/A7R models. Despite the processing horsepower, however, the camera can only manage continuous shooting up to 3.5 frames per second. The camera has built-in flash, as well as WiFi and NFC connectivity, though it lacks a 3.5mm mic jack for video recording.

The A5000 will use a more familiar control scheme, eschewing the soft key setup used on Sony's NEX cameras.

The body design of the A5000 is close to the NEX-3N, with a powered zoom toggle designed to make point-and-shoot users feel right at home with the interchangeable lens camera. It's actually very similar to the NEX-5T, though the two cameras have different image sensors and the 5T lacks the zoom toggle found on the A5000.

There's one key difference from previous NEX cameras: The context-sensitive buttons—unlabeled rear keys whose function changes constantly depending on where you are in the menu—have been replaced by a simpler control layout with a dedicated menu key.

The W830 combines its 8x zoom lens with a 20MP CCD sensor.

Joining the A5000 today is the Cyber-shot W830, a standard-issue point-and-shoot with a 20.1-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch CCD image sensor. That's paired with the camera's 8x optical zoom lens which has a max aperture range of f/3.3-6.3 and optical image stabilization.

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The Sony W830 is very pocketable, offering an 8x optical zoom for under $150.

This entry-level point-and-shoot has a 2.3-inch, 230k-dot LCD display for framing, an ISO range that stretches from 80-3200, and a rechargeable battery pack. The W830 will only be able to capture 720p video, but it does come with the new "Beauty Effect" mode, which provides a number of beauty-oriented post-processing options. The camera is also quite pocketable, collapsing down to a depth of less than an inch when powered down.

The W830's rear control panel will be familiar to anyone who has used a point-and-shoot since 2001.

The Sony A5000 is expected to be available beginning in March in silver, black, or white. It will be kitted with the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens for $599.99. The Cyber-shot W830 will hit stores in February for just $120, with silver, pink, and black variants.

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