Sony's top-of-the-line full-size megazoom was due for a refresh and here it is. The Cyber-shot HX100V updates the HX1 to something that's actually competitive with models from other manufacturers. The HX100V has a new 30x f2.8-5.6 27-810mm Carl Zeiss lens, a 16-megapixel backside-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor, and an articulated 3-inch 921K-dot resolution LCD, as well as an electronic viewfinder.
Many of the shooting features are carried over from the DSC-TX9, such as its high-speed burst at 10 frames per second, Superior Auto, and 3D Sweep Panorama. There are new options here, though, including 3D stills; full HD 1080/60p movie capture in AVCHD; Intelligent Sweep Panorama HR (for high resolution) that captures panoramic photos at up to 42.9 megapixels (10,480x4,096 resolution); and a Dual Rec mode for shooting photos while recording video (they'll be at the resolution of the video, though, and it won't work if you're recording at 60p).
The HX100V also has a built-in compass and GPS for geotagging your photos while you shoot. Sony includes Optical Steady Shot image stabilization as well and an Active mode to help when you're walking with the camera and shooting video. There's a new autofocus system, too, that promises digital SLR-like AF speeds, which is probably the thing I'm most interested in testing.
Lastly, it has manual and semimanual shooting modes. Unfortunately, there is no raw capture option--you're stuck with JPEG.
Also announced was the HX9V, which replaces the HX5V. It gets the same sensor as the HX100V, but has a 16x f3.3-5.9 24-384mm Sony G lens. The shooting modes and feature sets are fairly identical, so you'll have the 3-inch high-res LCD (minus the articulated part), manual control, full HD 1080/60p movie capture, 3D photos, and built-in GPS and compass.
The cameras will be available in April with preorders starting in February. The DSC-HX100V and DSC-HX9V cameras will be available in black and will cost $449.99 and $349.99, respectively.
There's a new Party-shot dock, too. Basically you put your camera on it, press a button, and the thing starts automatically searching and shooting photos of people in the room.