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 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 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buttons—unlabeled rear keys whose function changes constantly depending on where you are in the menu—have been replaced by a simpler control layout with a dedicated menu key.
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.
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 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.