Sony joins the 50x zoom club with the HX300
If you like big specs and little bodies, Sony's got some cameras to sell you.
The Cyber-shot HX300 features a 50x f2.8-6.3 24-1200mm lens and a 1/2.3-inch 20-megapixel Exmor R backside-illuminated CMOS sensor. The zoom range is the same as those found on the Canon SX50 HS and Fujifilm SL1000, but its apertures are wider at both ends (though just marginally compared with the SL1000).
The new lens also features improved autofocus for better performance in telephoto (which should give it an advantage over Canon and Nikon megazooms) and enhanced optical image stabilization made possible by "a second zoom group of lens elements that shifts rapidly to correct for the slightest of hand movements."
There's no GPS or Wi-Fi, but there is a new Multi Terminal for "intelligent communication between the camera and compatible accessories," so it could be that Wi-Fi and GPS adapters will be available as accessories. Otherwise, the camera doesn't look all that different than its predecessor, the HX200V.
It'll be in stores in March for $500.
Though it couldn't claim any "world's first" features for the HX300, Sony managed to do it for its other Cyber-shot announcements, the WX300 and TX30.
The WX300 is billed as the world's smallest and lightest 20x zoom compact camera at just more than an inch thick and 5.9 ounces. In order to put its 25-500mm lens in a body this small, Sony took the 20-megapixel Exmor R sensor in the HX300 and used only 18.2 megapixels of it, basically making an already small sensor even smaller. Sony also stripped out the GPS receiver found in its predecessor -- the HX30V -- but kept the Wi-Fi that can be used for transferring photos to a smartphone, tablet, or PC, or for using your device as a wireless remote screen and controller for the camera.
The TX30 is the world's thinnest waterproof camera (because with wet hands you want even less to hold on to) at 0.6 inch thick. It's waterproof to 33 feet, shockproof from up to 5 feet, dustproof, and freezeproof. It is largely operated by a 3.3-inch ultrahigh-resolution OLED touch screen, which, if it's like the one on the TX20, doesn't work well when wet.
The Cyber-shot TX30 will be out in March with the WX300 following in April for $350 and $330, respectively.
This story was updated on February 28, 2013 with hands-on video of the Cyber-shot HX300.