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All posts tagged "sony"

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sony A390 Given Quick Review by Digital Photography Review; Lame Duck Confirmed

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:00 PM

"The A390 is essentially an A380 with some subtle ergonomic changes, specifically a new, more substantial grip, and a reshaped top plate. As a relatively minor upgrade, the A390 was never going to warrant a full, in-depth review, but we're curious to see what Sony has changed in its latest midrange DSLR. When we reviewed the A380, one of our main criticisms of the camera's handling was Sony's change from the bulbous, almost oversized grip of the A350 to the more minimal, somewhat sharp lines of its predecessor. Has Sony taken a welcome step back in the right direction?"

So, takes a very quick look at the Sony A390, which in many ways is a very minor update of the A380. Ignoring the mirrorless competition, the A390's output looks dated. The output looks worse than the Nikon D3000 in some areas, and that camera is using a sensor that is some 4 to 5 years old. Newer cameras like the Nikon D5000 and the cheaper Pentax K-x easily best it. It makes me wonder where a big company like Sony is taking the Alpha system to; loyal Minolta users deserve better!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Nikon Ranked First in Japan Sales for Interchangeable Lens Cameras for 1H 2010

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home News" @ 12:00 AM

BCNRanking, which ranks Japanese product sales, has published their January to June 2010 results for interchangeable lens cameras. Nikon ranks as number 1.

In addition, just about every other company has managed to increase their share of sales volume at Canon's expense except for Sony. No wonder they were in a hurry to bring out the NEX cameras.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Budget Camera Shootout - Eight Cameras Tested at Digital Camera Resource Page

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:43 AM

"For many years now, the trend on this website has been to review the more expensive, cutting-edge cameras. Not only do those cameras capture my interest -- they are what the majority of DCRP readers are curious about, as well. Recently, I was reminded by a reader that I wasn't giving enough attention to entry-level cameras. These cameras may be boring to tech enthusiasts, but let's face it, millions of them are sold every year to regular folks who want something easy-to-use that takes decent photos."

Jeff Keller of the Digital Camera Resource Page has done a nice roundup of eight budget digital cameras. As digital cameras becomes more commoditised, reviews tend to become fewer and fewer, especially in the budget section, where unfortunately it is an area where it's likely to be a big segment of consumers who will likely need some help in making their choices. So if you know of anyone who's just looking for a cheap, no-frills camera that won't let them down, send them over to this roundup.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sony Announces A290 and A390 DSLRS; Rest of the World Yawns

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:26 AM

"Sony's A290 DSLR may not have been the hottest of this summer's Vietnamese leaks, but nevertheless it was about a month ago that the entry-level shooter was spied over there, and now we know when it'll be coming over here -- roughly, at least. Sony has made the 14.2 megapixel A290 official, along with its A390 sibling."

After the NEX cameras, we get the most ho-hum DSLR launch ever. These cameras bring nothing new to the table, have what looks like a very simplified UI, and are not aesthetically appealing either (the chunky design feels really ancient for some reason and is lacking in Sony's usual design sense). The only real advantage these cameras have is price, but I'm not sure that saving a hundred is going to matter when there are more interesting options on the market, and in a tier of a market that's increasingly enticed by the Micro Four Thirds camp despite the price.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sony NEX-3 and NEX-5 Reviewed by Digital Photography Review

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:45 AM

"The waiting is now over as, following the showing of some mock-ups at PMA and a torrent of teasers and leaks, Sony finally officially announced its NEX system last month. The details are exactly what you'd expect - HD video capable APS-C sensors in small bodies. What might take you by surprise is just how small the bodies are - the NEX-5 in particular being tiny. In fact the cameras are too small to include in-body image stabilization units, as found in Sony's SLRs, and instead use lens-based 'Optical SteadyShot'. These NEX cameras will come under the Alpha brand but do not make use of the Alpha lens mount, instead using the completely new all-electronic E-mount."

dpreview must've had the review for the NEX cameras on full tilt because it didn't seem so long ago that the NEX cameras were announced. As expected, the latest generation of Sony APS-C sensors do well, but are let down by a control system that is geared towards point-and-shoot users.

As I said before in my post in reaction to the NEX announcement, "For the enthusiast, proprietary connector, lack of viewfinder, and modal buttons are just bad bad bad." As expected, a lack of controls, together with a modal control system and menu-driven UI, just means the camera is not one for those who want to fiddle with the camera settings, or have a greater interest in the technical aspects of photography. Less buttons aren't necessary better.

I'm also not a fan of its styling - all the lengths gone to keep the body size down is negated with the larger lenses the APS-C sensor will require. Indeed, the E mount is actually taller than the cameras, hence the protrusions at the top and the bottom (very noticeable on the smaller NEX-5).

I'm sure Sony will sell plenty of NEX units, but I suspect they will go mostly to well-heeled style-conscious point-and-shoot upgraders rather than the enthusiast crowd. Given that the mainstream crowd is always bigger, will this mean Sony might have a hit on their hands regardless of the lukewarm rating given?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sony's OLED Display Wraps Tight

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:00 AM

"Sony has developed a super-flexible 80 μm-thick 4.1" 121ppi OTFT-driven full colour OLED display which can be wrapped around a thin cylinder. This display can reproduce moving images while rolled-up and stretched over a thousand times."

It seems like OLED displays have been "the next big thing" for some time now, although actual products have been few, of limited size (as in under 4-inches!), and/or rather expensive - as with Sony's $2,500 11" XEL-1 television. Still, a number of companies continue to work on the technology, and the possibility of a display that can be rolled up, or even repeatedly flexed, simply has to open the possibility of innovative products. Photography Blog picked up on Sony's News Release for a rollable display: the technical jargon and photographs are interesting enough, but seeing the display in action is truly impressive!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sony TVs to Support GoogleTV

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:00 AM

"Google officially rolled out its GoogleTV initiative at its annual Google I/O conference in San Francisco. The company promised its designs for set-top boxes and related software and services will reshape television by integrating the Web and TV. Sony will deliver a line of connected TVs and a Blu-ray player integrating Google TV this fall. Logitech is designing a set-top box to bring the features to existing TVs."

I'm not particularly interested in adding another component to my home entertainment system, but with Sony on board, maybe I can hope for an update for my PS3 to add this functionality.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sony's DSC-TX5: Slim, Rugged, and Packed With Features

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:00 PM

"The Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 is Sony's first waterproof, freezeproof, dustproof and shockproof digital compact camera. The 10 megapixel TX5 features an "Exmor R" back-illuminated CMOS image sensor which promises to greatly improve low-light performance, resulting in cleaner images with less noise."

Ultra-slim digital cameras, with nearly all of their functions buried within a touchscreen menu system, have never been high on my personal list of "must have" devices. But based upon the comprehensive review that has done on the new Sony DSC-TX5, I may have to revise that opinion. In less than an inch of depth, this model manages to combine rugged construction with an impressive feature list that includes (among the 36 mentioned by Sony!): 4x optical zoom, 720p movie mode, a special "Panorama Mode," and several designed to improved low-light and/or motion capture photography, including the "Exmor R" image sensor, optical image stabilization, and several functions that combine multiple shots to create a single photograph with superior detail, and reduced noise and blurring. Given that this is not inexpensive - with a list price of $329 (US) - do you think that the feature set is attractive enough to warrant a purchase? Or are there competing models that might offer greater value?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Gizmodo Looks At The History Of Sony's Founders

Posted by Andy Dixon in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"To understand Sony, understand its founders, Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita. Even though both are now gone, their executive dynasty and its haphazard, emotional governance established the model for the Sony of today-even as it holds Sony back. Sony's early years are thick with stories of near disaster tempered by last-ditch recovery. After the Second World War, Japan was rebuilding its infrastructure. Electricity, no longer needed for military factories, was in surplus, and Ibuka and Morita wasted no time in putting together an electric rice cooker and an electric blanket for sale to the Japanese market."

This is quite a nice article from Gizmodo, giving a brief insight in to how Sony was formed, and how the people, their ideas and the technology they developed brought Sony on to the world stage. There is a particular sentence in the article which strikes a chord with me: "The first and primary motive for setting up this company was to create a stable work environment where engineers who had a deep and profound appreciation for technology could realize their societal mission and work to their heart's content.". I have seen this ideal in many of Sony's products over the years, technology that is fantastic and ground breaking, lovingly created by their engineers, and yet perhaps not ready for the real world or even what the public wants. One product which I bought in to which fits this scenario for me is the Sony Aibo. It was the first real home entertainment robot and I absolutely loved it, and still do. The Sony engineers created something which really was amazing at the time and must have cost millions in R&D, yet where is it now? Perhaps Sony is still run in the same way as it was founded after all, what do you think?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Squeezing the Life Out of the Used Game Market

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:30 PM,news-5914.html

"While used game retailers such as GameStop walk to the bank with big profits thanks to the margin on used game sales, the only cut game publishers and developers get is from the sale of new games. To combat this, publishers such as Electronic Arts and Sony have come up with post-point-of-sale online purchasable items that gamers are incentivized to pay for."

Game publishers naturally want all the money they can get. They are businesses, and that is why they were formed. I think it is perfectly understandable that they are trying to get a piece of the used game market. However, creating one time use keys will likely only hurt the customer in the end, as resellers like Gamestop will only adjust their prices accordingly. Ultimately, this will probably give more weight to aspiring services like OnLive, and subscription based games like World of Warcraft, more interest by gaming companies. I imagine that companies could soon make online access an integrated component for all the games they sell, and charge you for it. The infrastructure is already there. It just means that the days of stand alone games are numbered and will soon be kicked to a corner of the market.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sony Qriocity On-demand Streaming Coming in February

Posted by Jon Childs in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

"Say hello to Qriocity, Sony's first step toward building an Online Service to rival iTunes, Netflix and anything else that makes money by selling you downloadable content. Headed to your nearest XMB in February"

Sony announced their own streaming media service coming in February, to be integrated in with XMB. With a good Internet connection is should be capable of streaming 720p video to your PS3, BluRay player, and presumably just about anywhere XMB resides. With Netflix streaming already available on many BluRay players, the PS3, and the Xbox360 I am not sure how popular this will be, but a little competition could be good. With their vast library of movies available, hopefully the service will have more recent selections than are currently available through Netflix streaming. I am a big fan of Netflix streaming, but only for catching up on older stuff. If they have recent releases, available at a decent price, streamed right to my (hopefully supported) BluRay player it might be a useful new feature.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tom's Guide Compares Entry-level Pentax And Sony DSLRs

Posted by Andy Dixon in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:00 AM

"Two entry-level DSLRs go head to head! the Pentax offers video and a new sensor while the Sony provides excellent Live View and a tilting LCD. Fight!"

If you're in the market for an entry-level DSLR camera, then you may want to take a look at the latest Tom's Guide review of the Pentax K-x and the Sony Alpha A550 Digital SLR cameras. It's not really a face-off as they didn't pick a winner, but take a read of each review and decide for yourself which you think is best. As I hope to buy my first Digital SLR camera in the new year I read these reviews with interest. With Canon and Nikon having their own entry-level cameras as well, it can be very confusing for novices like me to decided which to get. So reviews like this which highlight the pros and cons of each camera, really do help me to decide which features I want and which I can do without.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cringely's Thoughts on Blu-ray

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM

"There is growing sentiment in the industry that Blu-Ray, as it was originally intended, is a failure. How can that be? Wasn’t it just a year ago that Blu-Ray, with its greater data capacity, triumphed over the opposing HD-DVD standard? Well promises were made to achieve that victory and now it appears promises may have been broken. Understand that the success or failure of Blu-Ray has little to do with games and everything to do with movies. Two historical events informed the battle between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. First was the epic and costly 1980‘s competition between the BetaMax and VHS tape cassette standards. Second was the triumphant succession of DVD over VHS, when we all replaced our tape libraries with disks, gladly paying anew for what we already owned, buying every Hollywood exec a new Mercedes in the process."

Cringley argues that the reason Activision is putting pressure on Sony has more to do with a failure of Blu-ray than game sales. Although I was hoping HD-DVD would win, I think the perceived failure of Blu-ray is really a matter of falsely defining the definition of success. Expecting Blu-ray to replicate the success of DVD was not reasonable. Neither HD format offered the kind of upgrade that DVD offered over VHS. Plus, people have lots of DVD players, so unless they want to restrict their viewing to just one TV, they've got to replace all their players, which is not exactly cheap. One of the great features of HD-DVD was the combo disk, which eliminated this problem. Eventually, Blu-ray players will achieve penetration through a slow war of attrition as old DVD players get replace and Blu-ray players reach a price that DVD players will no longer be produced.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Sony PSP is a GO

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM

"The slider handheld has a 3.8-inch LCD, built-in Bluetooth and 16GB of internal storage, all in a case 50 percent smaller and 40 percent lighter than the original PSP-1000 -- a weight savings we're guessing is directly attributable to the loss of the UMD drive. That's right, the Go doesn't have a UMD drive -- games will instead load in through the Memory Stick Micro slot or over PlayStation Network."

I think they have made a few missteps here. One of the things I really like about the PSP is the large, beautiful screen. I'm not sure I'm willing to give up screen size. Granted it is more portable, but given the slider deign, I think the screen could be bigger. Next is the price point. The PSP line is nearly 5 years old, I think they could have offered this at a lower price. At the current price point I think most people will go for a DS at half the price. Finally, they should have been able to announce how UMD will be handled for existing games, this is a major question for those that have any kind of library of UMD games that wants to make the transition.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

eMusic Strikes a Deal with Sony

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home News" @ 03:00 AM

"Sony Music and online digital music retailer eMusic announced on Monday that music that is more than two years old from the record label will be added to eMusic's online store. While specifics of the deal were not disclosed, a direct result of it will see eMusic raise its prices slightly and reduce the number of downloads in its monthly plans. The classic recordings from Sony Music labels that include Columbia, RCA, and Jive, as well as artists such as Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and Johnny Cash, will be added to eMusic's catalog in the third quarter of the year."

eMusic has garnered a number of fans over the years due to their quality and lack of DRM. If you've stayed away due to a less than stellar selection, then that problem just got a bit smaller. Hopefully, they'll work on getting current hits as part of the deal in the future.

Tags: mp3, sony, emusic

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sony Shows Off Their CMOS With The DSC-HX1

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"While the HX1 may not feature RAW file recording, there are many manual settings such as three noise reduction settings, many white balance settings, a full range of manual modes, and many others for the photographer who wants ultimate control. Does this combine to make a compelling package that should command your money?"

CMOS based cameras are becoming increasingly common but it seems as if the technical limitations that have kept them restricted to the more expensive cameras are still plaguing them. The Sony DSC-HX1 definitely has a lot going for it, and offers wonderful tweaks and controls for someone bitten by the bug. Still, I'm not wholly convinced that now is the right time to jump on the CMOS bandwagon. The quality of images, while greatly improved and mostly comparable when compared to their CCD based cousins doesn't justify the cost. Maybe another year will see CMOS cameras bloom in all their glory.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sony Releases Vegas Video 9

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 04:17 PM

"The Vegas Pro 9 collection integrates two powerful applications that work seamlessly together to provide an efficient and intuitive environment for video and broadcast professionals. This comprehensive suite offers the most robust and progressive platform available for content creation and production. With broad format support, superior effects processing, unparalleled audio support, and a full complement of editorial tools, the Vegas Pro 9 collection streamlines your workflow. From acquisition to delivery, from camera to Blu-ray Disc, the Vegas Pro 9 collection delivers exactly what you need to produce outstanding results."

The big updates with this new version of Vegas seem to be related to supporting newer video formats - specifically XDCAM EX and RED. Support for still images greater than one gigapixel in resolution has also been added - why you'd need something so impressive sounding is beyond me, but this is serious video editing software at $599 USD. What I was hoping to see - really, really hoping to see - what hardware acceleration, specifically of the NVIDIA CUDA variety.

NVIDIA has been beating their chest lately about all these "great" CUDA-accelerated software applications, but they're missing one very important piece of the puzzle: a real video editing suite. CUDA is a powerful advantage in the speed department, but so far Sony, Adobe, Pinnacle, or any other major video editing player has supported it in their applications - leaving the user with CPU-only video encoding, which no matter how fast your CPU, just isn't fast enough.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Blu-ray Licensing to be Unified

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 09:00 PM

"Look, we don't really "get" people who aren't willing to buy the latest and greatest thing regardless of the price and / or current economic state, but evidently there's a rather large sector still clinging to their antiquated DVD format. Blu-ray proponents Panasonic, Philips, and Sony are looking to change all that by knocking down the tab a few notches."

For those of you harping over the high prices of Blu-ray technology, from players to burners to movies, it looks like there might be a light, albeit dim, at the end of the tunnel. The unification of license granters should reduce the cost of everything Blu-ray, though only marginally since it only affects the cost of the license. Still, it's welcome news and leads me to believe that one day, there will eventually be Blu-ray technology that costs what DVD technology costs today.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sony Touch Walkman Materializes

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 08:30 AM

"Incorporating a wide 3-inch OLED touch screen, the display delivers a picture with extremely high contrast, exceptional color reproduction and a rapid response time. Usability is also enhanced with this model as the device utilizes both touch panel operation and a hybrid button system to improve upon the navigation experience."

Sony revealed its rumoured touch-enabled Walkman at CES 2009. The NWZ-X1000 strikes back against Apple's iPod Touch and is armed with several new features to do this. It includes digital noise cancellation, an OLED touch screen and Wi-Fi connectivity with web browsing and YouTube support. The walkman itself is also smaller than the iPod Touch, making it very pocketable. The interface looks fairly slick, and the hardware buttons are a nice touch, however will it be enough to act as a strong competitor to the iPod empire? Without a direct analog to the iTunes store, I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Poem to Blu-ray: Let Me Count The Ways In Which I Loathe Thee...

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 04:42 PM

"Blu-ray player sales are sucking wind as well they should. According to Cnet, sales of the DRM infected format players are dropping like rocks. The not so bright people out there had expected sales to skyrocket once the format war was done, but it didn't. They thought was people would ignore the massive defects of Blu-ray and buy like the dumb sheep that they are, handcuffing themselves to the Sony bank account. Surprise, it didn't happen. US consumers are still dumb sheep, but this time they are realizing what is being done to them and they aren't biting. Sony's hope of having 50% of disc sales this year be Blu-ray are more likely to happen because of falling DVD sales than rocketing Blu-ray."

It's official, Charlie Demerjian is my new hero. Why? Because he wrote this article that, with all the subtlety of a wolverine tearing into a pack of bacon, points out (with a sharp, bloody stick) the problems that Blu-ray has. Some of these are similar to what HD-DVD struggled with (high disc prices, marginally better quality), and some are uniquely Blu-ray issues. This delightful article will be sure to get your blood boiling if you're a big Blu-ray fan, though if you are, I'd love to hear your counter-points.

Tags: sony, blu-ray

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