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Sony just unveiled the world’s first large-sensor ultra-zoom. The all-new Sony Cybershot DSC-RX10 features a 1″ CMOS sensor with 20 megapixels and an amazing 24-200mm constant-aperture F/2.8 stabilized optical zoom lens. These specifications are unique among digital cameras as no ultra-zoom ever had such a large sensor. This is the same size used in Nikon 1 mirrorless cameras where it delivers image-quality roughly halfway between most DSLRs and compact digital cameras.

Sony Cybershot DSC-RX10

This ultra-zoom is fitted with a 0.4″ EVF with 1.4 megapixels and an Eye-Start sensor. It also has a  3″ tilting LCD screen. A status display is available on top of the camera too. Also on the top-plate is a hot-shoe with Sony’s own multi-function connector which supports additional accessories.

The RX10 is a high-end offering with a full set of manual-controls, including bulb exposures, RAW-format, custom white-balance and spot metering. It features dual control-dials plus two control-rings around the lens. One sets the aperture while the other switches between zooming and focusing. This is a fly-by-wire ring and not a mechanical zoom though.

This unprecedented offering is a dream camera for many! It is expected to offer image-quality beyond that of any ultra-zoom while keeping the convenience of an all-in-one package and the versatility of those cameras. Actually, for a great deal of people having moved to a DSLR or considering to do so, the Sony RX10 is the answer they hoped for. It goes a long way to improving image-quality from a compact-camera yet does not suffer the inconveniences of sensor-dust and swapping lenses. After all, a good number of entry-level DSLRs are only every used with a single lens.

The question that remains is whether they are willing to pay the price of the RX10. At a suggested price of $1299 USD, this digital camera exceeds the price of most DSLRs alone. Still, lenses to cover this effective 24 to 200mm range are costly and particularly so if one wants to keep an F/2.8 maximum aperture over the zoom range.

The Sony Cybershot DSC-RX10 is expected to be available this month. Preorders are already possible at Amazon, B&H Photo and Adorama.

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