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*September 13, 2005 – *Sony Europe today announced the release of the sleek Cyber-shot M2, a 5.1 megapixel hybrid video/still camera. Capable of shooting up to 50 minutes of high quality video, as well as stills, the Cyber-shot M2 is expected to be available in Europe in November at an estimated price of €599 ($735), with pre-orders currently being accepted at Sony’s European websites. American availability has not been announced.
Joining last year’s Cyber-shot DSC-M1, the Cyber-shot M2 offers a number of features designed for sharing photos. Much like some of Kodak’s EasyShare cameras, the M2 is able to store up to 1,100 VGA-quality images in an onboard photo album for display on the camera’s 2.5-inch,134,000 pixel LCD screen. Unlike Kodak’s offerings, the Cyber-shot M2 doesn’t require a computer to create low-resolution versions of album images. When capturing images, the Sony M2 saves a full-resolution version to its MemoryStick and a VGA version to its 57 megabytes of internal memory.
Along with its photo album feature, the Cyber-shot M2 boasts an advanced slide show feature that allows users to upload the music of their choice to the camera’s dedicated 6-megabyte music memory and use it as the soundtrack to a slide show. Users can also choose from a number of slideshow transitions, including an option to use 5-second video clips captured at the same time as an image.
The compact, aluminum-bodied Cyber-shot M2 relies on a 1/2.5-inch CCD sensor that is slightly larger than the Cyber-shot DSC-M1’s and is able produce the same 5.1 effective megapixels of resolution. Full-frame, 640 x 480, 30 frames per second MPEG4 format video capture is offered on the Cyber-shot M2 as is stereo audio recording through the M2’s built-in stereo microphone.
The Cyber-shot M2 utilizes a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 3x optical zoom with a folded path construction that does not protrude from the camera’s body. The lens has a 35mm equivalent range of 38-114mm and offers a maximum aperture of f/3.5 at its widest focal length, closing to f/4.4 in telephoto shooting. A typical point-and-shoot sensitivity range is available ranging from ISO 64-400 as are 5 preset white balance settings.
While the Cyber-shot M2 has a strong emphasis on its video features, Sony has equipped the camera with a number of other features that should help users obtain higher-quality still images. A live histogram display is available, as are several flash functions including automatic fill and slow-sync. Auto focus comes via a 5-point system with user selectable spot focus.