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October 3, 2005 – Imagine a digital photo album with imaging capabilities and a large touch-screen. No, it’s not the Kodak EasyShare-One. It’s the newest Sony digital camera yet, the Cyber-shot DSC-N1. Today Sony announced the N1, which boasts flashy features like 8.1 effective megapixels, a Carl Zeiss 3x optical zoom lens, and a 3-inch LCD touch-screen with 230,000 pixels. The Sony N1 also has 26 MB of internal memory and the brains to store and organize hundreds of photographs. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-N1 will be available November 20 for a retail price of $499.95.
The N1’s flashy features come in a fairly unassuming body. The camera’s housing is rectangular with rounded edges and no protrusions except for the Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar lens that extends when the power is on. There are very few buttons on the body, as most controls are executed through the touch-screen. The Sony Cyber-shot N1 is almost an inch thick and weighs 5.5 ounces without the card and battery. The camera’s battery lasts about 270 shots, which is decent for a digital camera with a large 3-inch LCD monitor.
Packing a 1/1.8-inch Super HAD CCD, the Sony N1 carries 8.1 effective megapixels – twice that of the Kodak EasyShare-One. However, the Kodak model bears 256 MB of internal memory while the Sony has a relatively few 26 MB. Nevertheless, Sony’s vision for the N1 is for it to be a digital photo album that can still take great pictures. When pictures are taken, the N1 records a 640 x 480-pixel file to its internal memory for photo sharing as well as recording the full resolution file to the Memory Stick Duo card. It can store up to 500 images this way and organize them into folders or a calendar.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-N1 can play slide shows with music and allows users to "paint" on the photographs as well (similar to the football plays drawn on the television screen on ESPN).
"Since the introduction of compact cameras with large LCDs, consumers have increasingly been using their cameras to not only capture moments, but also share and show them immediately on the LCD screens," said James Neal, Sony’s director of digital imaging products in today’s press release. "The combination of these functions makes the N1 ‘more than just a camera,’ because it takes sharing to a whole new level."
Eight scene modes are available on the Sony N1, as is a movie mode that shoots 640 x 480 pixels at a rate of 16 frames per second. The digital camera’s burst mode isn’t very impressive; it can take 0.9 frames per second for four consecutive shots before writing to the memory.