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Sony Announces the 5 Mega-Pixel Cyber-shot DSC-F717

If command and control over light and exposure are the hallmarks of a professional-level photograph, then Sony’s new Cyber-shot DSC-F717 digital still camera, unveiled today, is the ultimate camera for professional-level digital picture-taking.

“The Cyber-shot DSC-F717 camera offers the best of both worlds: the superb technology people expect from Sony and the pure fun of a product that allows for unlimited creativity.” said Steve Haber, senior vice president of Sony Electronics’ Digital Imaging Product Division. “And, with an expected selling price of $1,000, we know this model bridges the traditionally wide gap between mass market cameras and semi-professional models.”

This new Cyber-shot model combines point-and-shoot convenience with a host of manual photographic controls, sure to inspire digital photographers to expand creativity and get better results from their efforts. Armed with high-quality Carl Zeiss™ optics, ISO sensitivities of 100/200/400/800 and shutter speeds of up to 1/2000 second in auto mode, the DSC-F717 produces stellar results, even in the most demanding of shooting situations.

Additionally, Sony’s DSC-F717 offers a fast start time – just over 1 second to power-up the camera – as well as remarkably rapid capture and processing times.

Unprecedented Functionality

Sony has opened a whole new world of functionality with the DSC-F717’s new features and controls. Its new five-area multi-point focusing system enables photographers to focus left, center, right, up or down of their framed shot, providing more accuracy when focusing on the subject. The camera has a live histogram display, accessible both in capture and playback modes, helping to ensure more accurate exposure. Additionally, the camera’s multi-burst mode can snap up to 16 frames at 320 x 240 resolution that adds up to a single 1280 x 960 image – perfect for capturing every detail of subjects in motion, like a golf swing or high dive.

For better organization and easier access to image files, the DSC-F717 features a file folder option that allows photographers to create and select specific folders for customized photo-indexing. Lastly, when using the camera’s zoom capabilities, the DSC-F717 has a new rotating zoom-control ring, for more intuitive precision handling, offering the photographer an alternative to the camera’s standard toggle switch.

Features and Controls

Resolution – Sony’s 5.02-megapixel effective CCD image sensor (5.24 MP gross) provides the Cyber-shot DSC-F717 camera with a maximum image size of 2560 x 1920, ensuring high-quality results with clear, vibrant, true-to-life color.

Optics – To catch high-resolution images from afar, the camera has a pivoting Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar 5X optical zoom lens with F2.0 aperture, giving it extraordinary light gathering capability.

Two LCDs – Photographers can compose shots with either the 1.8-inch LCD screen or a through-the-lens electronic viewfinder they can hold up to their eye.

USB Connectivity – Sony’s DSC-F717 is the first Sony digital still camera to offer high-speed camera-to-compatible-computer transfer via USB 2.0, as well as USB 1.0.

Focus

Hologram AF™ – Ideal for photographing a smooth beach on a moonless night, the Hologram AF feature is a Sony-exclusive laser focusing system designed to achieve accurate focus on subjects with little contrast in dark conditions. It projects a safe, visible laser hologram pattern directly onto the subject so the camera can detect the contrast between the edge of the laser pattern and the subject itself.

Special Features

NightShot® – Taking pictures in low- and no-light situations is easier than ever with Sony’s NightShot feature. With the flip of a switch, the infrared NightShot mode is activated, which defeats the flash and an infrared picture is captured with no visible light at all. NightShot mode makes it possible to take pictures or MPEG movies of sleeping children and nocturnal wildlife in a way that is impossible with all other digital still cameras.

NightFraming – In order to compose pictures in a dimly lit restaurant or other settings with challenging light, NightFraming, another Sony exclusive feature, integrates NightShot technology, Hologram AF laser focusing system and TTL pre-flash metering. This seamless system enables the photographer to properly frame the subject, attain accurate focus and achieve correct flash exposure for consistently excellent flash shots.

Exposure

Multi-Pattern Metering – In addition to spot metering and center-weighted averaging, the DSC-F717 also offers multi-pattern metering. To get accurate exposure in uneven lighting, the multi-pattern metering option divides the scene into a matrix of separate cells.

Each cell can be metered independently to accurately calculate exposure when highlights and shadows exist outside the center of the frame.

Pre-flash Metering – To get the best shots with the flash, the DSC-F717 incorporates Sony’s advanced pre-flash metering system, which actually measures the light from the flash as it passes through the lens to calculate correct exposure. At the time of exposure, the flash fires twice: once to illuminate the subject and calculate correct exposure, then a second time to record the image with the best exposure possible.

Sony’s new Cyber-shot DSC-F717 camera captures the moment in a variety of still image formats including JPEG and TIFF. It also has MPEG-HQX video recording capability with with full frame playback, up to the limit of the memory card. The camera ships with a 32MB Memory Stick® media, an InfoLithium® M battery, an AC adapter/in-camera charger, an A/V output cable, a USB cable, a shoulder strap and a lens cap.

The Cyber-shot DSC-F717 will be available in October for about $1,000.

About Fabrizio Pilato

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