Another piece of news we've heard rumours about has today been made official by Sony. Today they announced the 3.34 megapixel DSC-F505V and DSC-F55V. Essentially upgraded versions of their popular Cybershot digicams these cameras now complement their (extensive) range of digicams. DSC-F505V will be available in Japan in June @ 125,000 YEN (US$1100), DSC-F55V will be available in Japan in July @ 88,000 YEN (US$830)

Confusingly they seem to have fallen for interpolation.. using only 2.6 megapixels of the CCD and interpolating up to 3.7 megapixels (DUH??). Their technique is called "SRC (Super Resolution Converter"... Uh oh.

Phil clarifies: Most 3.34 megapixel digicams use 3.24 megapixels for the actual image (2048 x 1536), if you didn't know all digicams use only a portion of the CCD, the unused portions (edges) are used to measure the "black point" of the CCD and noise levels. However, Sony seem to have thrown A LOT of pixels away using only 2.6 megapixels of a 3.34 megapixel sensor (some 700,000 pixels).. The only sensible explanation we've come up with so far is that they've simply slapped the 3.34 megapixel sensor in where the 2.11 megapixel sensor was in the F505K, that has caused the cropping and shortage of pixels.

Sony DSC-F505V Sony DSC-F55V

Sony DSC-F505V & DSC-F55V specifications

  Sony DSC-F505V
 
Sony DSC-F55V
CCD Super HAD 1/1.8" 3.34 megapixels
Effective: 2.62 megapixels - ??
Super HAD 1/1.8" 3.34 megapixels
Effective: 2.62 megapixels - ??
A/D converter 12 bit 12 bit
Image sizes 2240 x 1680 (interpolated),
1856 x 1392 (native?),
1856 x 1232 (native? 3:2),
1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 640 x 480
2240 x 1680 (interpolated),
1856 x 1392 (native?),
1856 x 1232 (native? 3:2),
1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 640 x 480
Image modes JPEG, TIFF, GIF, MPEG1 JPEG, TIFF, GIF, MPEG1
ISO (sensitivity) Unknown (ISO 100) Unknown (ISO 100)
Lens 5 x Zoom lens (38 - 190mm, 35mm equiv). F2.8 - F3.3 Fixed lens (37mm, 35mm equiv.) F2.8
Digital Zoom Yes, 2x Yes, 2x
Focus types Auto Focus, Manual (on-screen loupe) Auto Focus, 4 Presets
Focus range Normal: 25cm - Infinity
Macro: 2cm - 25cm
Normal: 25cm - Infinity
Macro: 10cm - 25cm
Shutter speeds 8 s - 1/1000 s (19 steps) 8 s - 1/1000 s (19 steps)
Aperture range F2.8 - F8.0 (7 steps) F2.8 - F8.0 (7 steps)
Whitebalance Auto, Indoor, Outdoor, Hold Auto, Indoor, Outdoor, Hold
LCD monitor 2.0" TFT Sunlight Hybrid 2.0" TFT Sunlight Hybrid
Storage MemoryStick (8MB MS supplied) MemoryStick (8MB MS supplied)
Shooting modes Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Wide Focus Mode, Landscape, Night, Night + Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Wide Focus Mode, Landscape, Night, Night +
Metering modes Center Weighted, Spot Center Weighted, Spot
Movie modes MPEG1 320 x 240 - 15 seconds max
MPEG1 160 x 112 - 60 seconds max
MPEG1 320 x 240 - 15 seconds max
MPEG1 160 x 112 - 60 seconds max
Exposure compensation +/-2.0EV in 0.5EV steps +/-2.0EV in 0.5EV steps
White balance Full Auto, Preset, 4 settings Full Auto, Preset, 4 settings
Self-timer 10 secs 10 secs
Flash Pop-up Built-in
Flash range 0.3m - 2.5m 0.5m - 4.2m
External flash Yes, Sony HVL-F1000 No
Flash modes Auto, On, Off, Anti-Red-Eye, External Auto, On, Off, Anti-Red-Eye
Lens thread 52mm  
Interface USB USB
Video output NTSC/PAL switchable NTSC/PAL switchable
Power requirements Sony InfoLithium NP-FS11 Sony InfoLithium NP-FS11
Startup time 2.5 s 2.5 s
Dimensions 107 x 62 x 135 mm 103 x 79 x 48 mm
Weight (no batteries) 424 g 242 g
Est Price ~US$ 1100 (125,000 YEN) ~US$ 800 (88,000 YEN)
Release date June, 2000 - Japan July, 2000 - Japan
Infopages Sony Japan DSC-F505V Sony Japan DSC-F55V

Why would you want to install a 3.34 megapixel CCD and only use 2.6 megapixels of it? Especially as the label on the side of the camera is "3.3 megapixels"... Does this "only using 2.6 megapixels then interpolating it up to 3.7 megapixels" stuff make any sense to anyone out there??? Answers in the News Discussion Forum please!

UPDATE: Some people are commenting that it may be simply because Sony want to make the most of the Zeiss lens, putting the newer (very slightly larger) CCD in would mean you don't get full frame coverage and thus only 2.6 megapixels... If this is the reason I couldn't recommend ANYONE to get the F505V despite the other feature enhancements. I'm sure most F505K owners were expecting a TRUE 3.34 megapixel version of the F505.. Disappointing.