Aside from mirrorless cameras like the Nikon 1 V1, there have been few bright spots in the camera and camcorder markets. But manufacturers still appear hopeful. Sony is a case in point: Today, the electronics giant announced two digital imaging products—a flagship point-and-shoot, the 20-megapixel Cyber-shot RX100 ($650) and a full-size camcorder, the HDR-GW77V ($700), which Sony says is waterproof and shockproof.
Sony claims the pricey RX100 will have the highest image quality in Cyber-shot history, given its somewhat larger sensor than most Cyber-shots and a fast f/1.8, 4x optical zoom. Still, the new model's sensor size, 13.2mm x 8.8mm, is roughly a quarter that of Sony's NEX-series sensors (23.5mm x 15.6mm), so it's likely the RX100 won't match the image quality of those advanced models.
Still, the RX100 does have a unique 3-inch LCD with an extra white pixel that Sony claims will make the screen brighter and easier to view in direct sunlight and other bright shooting conditions. The display also has roughly 1.3 million dots, which should make it sharp. The RX100 will be available late July.
What makes the GW77V camcorder unusual is that it's a full-size model that's also waterproof (to a depth of 16 feet, says Sony) and shockproof (claimed to withstand a 5-foot drop). Although we've seen some pocket camcorders that are waterproof, full-size models like this one, which includes a 10x optical zoom and 16GB of on-board memory, are rare.
The GQ77V also can capture 20-megapixel still photos, has a built-in flash, includes Sony's sweep panorama feature for photos, and has a GPS feature. The GW77V will be available later in June.
The Sony HDR-GW77V (photo: Sony)