Last year it was image stabilisation, this year it’s face detection, but Sony may have come up with the must-have new gimmick for next year, in the shape of the newly-announced DSC-G1.
The G1’s big party trick is its massive 2GB of built-in memory, enough to store 600 shots from its 6-megapixel SuperHAD CCD, virtually eliminating the need to buy Sony’s expensive and unpopular proprietary memory cards, although contrary to some news reports the G1 does also have a slot for Memory Stick Pro Duo cards.
Images are displayed on the camera’s big 3.5in LCD monitor, which has an astonishingly high resolution of 921,000 pixels, which unless I’m completely misunderstandinating something is just over four times the resolution of a typical high-res camera monitor (usually 230,000 pixels). This extreme sharpness allows images to be displayed as thumbnails 100 at a time.
The G1’s other innovative feature is built-in peer-to-peer wireless networking using the 802.11b/g ‘ad hoc’ protocol, which allows the camera to talk to any wireless-capable PC, as well as communicating directly with other devices using the DNLA (Digital Living Network Alliance) protocol, including sharing pictures with other G1 cameras. You can even shoot a picture using one camera and store it on another, which is a great idea assuming you know anyone else with a G1.
Other features include a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 3x zoom lens with an effective focal length of 38-114mm (35 mm equivalent), Double Anti-Blur technology which combines high sensitivity (up to ISO 1000) with Super SteadyShot optical image stabilisation to reduce the effects of camera shake, and built-in album and slideshow software.
The G1 will be in the shops by April with a hefty £450 RRP, although you can expect that to come down once the online retailers start shifting them.