Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Meet Sony’s New Party-Trick Camera

This curio of a camera is a one-lens three-ring circus.
July 29, 2011

Sony’s TX55 ($350, with a September release date) is a strange little thing. For all the strange feats it can pull off, it’s as much a conversation-starter as a picture-taker.

First of all, it’s beautiful on the outside. Thinner than a AA battery, Sony boasts that it’s “the world’s thinnest camera in its class.” Even while being small and smartphone-like, it still manages to pack a sizeable OLED touchscreen: 3.3 inches, taking up basically the entire rear of the camera.

But Sony wants you to know that it’s really what’s on the inside that counts. For starters, the device has a sensor offering a resolution of up to 16.2 million pixels. In can take Full HD video even in low light. And an elaborate “Picture Effect” mode, offering a “exciting palette of in-camera image treatments,” makes you feel like an artist, without the hassle of graduate school.

Where the TX55 starts to get a little weird, though, is in a few of its features. Take for instance, the fact that has Gizmodo hung up: that the device can take video and shoot photos at the very same time. A technique called “By Pixel Super Resolution” enables the feat–so if you’re in the middle of shooting that 1080i video and suddenly see an image that would look lovely as a 12MP still, you can snap the photo without interrupting the video.

Or consider this other neat trick, that Wired zeroes in on: that the camera offers 5x digital zoom on top of a 5x optical zoom. That wouldn’t be much, of course–digital zooms are well known, and widely loathed, since they often simplify magnify an image, thereby lowering its quality. But this camera is clever enough to make educated guesses at what pixels belong in the zoomed-in image; it “add[s] new pixels in between the blocky zoomed ones, smoothing things out.”

So it can juggle, it can perform feats of intelligence and strength–what else is missing from this technological circus act? 3D, of course. But the TX55 has you covered there, too. Sony claims the camera is able to pull off a 3D image despite its sole lens: “With a single shutter press, the camera takes two shots consecutively, using the first image to estimate depth information to create a dramatic three-dimensional still image.” We’ll wait for the next press release before announcing that the camera can also breathe fire, swallow swords, and walk the tightrope.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Death and Jeff Bezos
Death and Jeff Bezos

Meet Altos Labs, Silicon Valley’s latest wild bet on living forever

Funders of a deep-pocketed new "rejuvenation" startup are said to include Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner.

Professor Gang Chen of MIT
Professor Gang Chen of MIT

All charges against China Initiative defendant Gang Chen have been dismissed

MIT professor Gang Chen was one of the most prominent scientists charged under the China Initiative, a Justice Department effort meant to counter economic espionage and national security threats.

mouse engineered to grow human hair
mouse engineered to grow human hair

Going bald? Lab-grown hair cells could be on the way

These biotech companies are reprogramming cells to treat baldness, but it’s still early days.

conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned
conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned

A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click

Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.