Sony announces mirrorless Alpha a5000, compact Cyber-shot W830 at CES 2014

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Check out our review of the Sony Alpha a5000 digital camera.

CES 2014 was more about camcorders than cameras for Sony, but it did announce two new models, including the “world’s smallest and lightest interchangeable lens camera” with Wi-Fi. The cameras aren’t particularly revolutionary in any sense, but the new mirrorless model signals a change in Sony’s naming convention: moving forward, the NEX name will be dropped once the last of the remaining NEX models are phased out.

The Alpha a5000, which will eventually replace the NEX 3 series, is a 20.1-megapixel shooter that weighs 8 ounces (the weight won’t matter so much if you put on a hefty lens). The sensor is a large APS-C type and the latest Bionz X image processor, which does a lot of the heavy lifting in area-specific noise reduction and diffraction reduction; it also allows for an ISO of up to 16,000. There’s Wi-Fi for image sharing or remote control via the Sony PlayMemories Mobile app for iOS and Android, and NFC for quick pairing if you have an Android device that supports it. The a5000 also supports Sony’s downloadable PlayMemories apps that you can install onto the camera for additional shooting options. There’s a more substantial grip, and the LCD tilts all the way up (as with the NEX 3-series before it), so you can take those oh-so-important selfies.

The camera comes with a 16-50mm power zoom kit lens (SELP1650). With this lens, you can use a lever on the camera body to control the optical zoom, which Sony says it’s handy for shooting video. Designed for step-up users, there’s the “Photo Creativity” handholding mode that guides users new to more advanced interchangeable lens cameras. The a5000 will go on sale in March for $600, and comes in black, silver, and white.

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Sony also announced some new E-mount optics. There’s a new version of the SEL55210 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 lens ($350), with the only difference being that it has a black finish. There’s also a special case available for the a5000.

Cyber-shot W830

While Sony announced several compact cameras last CES, this year it came out with just one. It may unveil new ones at the upcoming CP+ camera show in Tokyo, but for CES 2014 it’s the Cyber-shot W830.

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Nothing unpredictable here: It’s a budget compact point-and-shoot that costs $120. It has a 20.1-megapixel CCD sensor, a Bionz processor, and an 8x Carl Zeiss lens with optical image stabilization. Because it’s a CCD sensor, it can only capture video at up to 720p. There are the typical automatic and creative shooting modes that adjust the settings based on preset shooting environments. Some interesting features include a 360-degree panorama mode and a beauty mode for retouching skin tones in-camera. At this price, no Wi-Fi. It’ll come in black, silver, and pink, and drop in February.

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