Sony punts pair of trendoid cameras
Unfortunately, they're called 'Bloggies'
CES 2010 Brain-dead video capture has been embraced by a company whose high-end cameras capture much of the professional video you see on the tube: Sony.
Bare-bones video was essentially invented by Pure Digital Technologies, makers of the Flip Video line. Cisco liked the idea so much - and, undoubtedly, the fact that the proliferation of such bandwidth-gobbling devices would increase the need for its networking hardware - that it acquired the company in March of last year.
Copycat products designed for shooting and uploading video to share with your peeps have followed, perhaps the most well-known (and of lowest quality) being Apple's iPod nano, which captures quick-and-dirty video at a measly resolution of 640 x 480 pixels.
Now Sony is getting into the act, with a two-camera line christened with the arguably regrettable name of Bloggie. When the cameras were introduced Wednesday at a Sony press event at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sony Electronics president and COO Stan Glasgow pronounced the name, paused, then added, "Yes, you heard me right. Bloggie."
Once you get past the silly branding, however, the two Bloggies appear to be - on paper, at least - decent pieces of amateur kit. Known by their more sober, Sony-style individual names of MHS-CM5 and MHS-PM5, these amateur video and still cameras have a lot going for them.
Both cameras capture 1920 x 1080 pixel MP4 video and 5-megapixel still images, but the $199.99 MHS-CM5 is the more accomplished of the two. With a pistol-style form factor and a 2.5-inch fold-out LCD display, the MHS-CM5 has a 5x optical zoom and an HDMI output.
The senior Bloggie's 5x optical zoom soundly beats its sibling's digital zoom
The $149.99 MHS-PM5 - available in purple, blue, pink and white - has a top-mounted lens that rotates 270 degrees, enbling you to take pictures of the world in front of you, of the ceiling, or of your own sweet self. No optical zoom on the junior Bloggie, only an ever-useless 4x digital zoom.
The 2.4-inch display of the MHS-PM5 doesn't flip out, though it'll play movies in landscape mode when the unit is held horizontally. It also features digital image stabilization, but only when shooting in lower-resolution video modes.
Add 20 bucks to the MHS-PM5's base price and you can get one with a 360-degree adapter that pops on top of the camera lens and allows you to shoot video of the world all around you, then unwrap that distorted video using Sony's bundled Picture Motion Browser software. (Sorry, Mac fans, it's Windows-only.)
Both cameras charge over USB and support Memory Stick PRO Duo, SD or SDHC memory cards. Both also have built-in software that allows you - PC or Mac - to upload video or stills to Shutterfly, Picasa, YouTube, Dailymotion and Photobucket. Facebook integration is planned as a free upgrade in spring.
Sony's stylista cred has taken some hits in recent years, and the company is trying to regain its mojo to that end - although naming cameras aimed at social networking hipsters as "Bloggies" may be trying too hard. But as Sony's chairman, CEO and president Sir Howard Stringer mused at the press event, referring to his company's many new consumer offerings: "Maybe you'll call us cool again. Who knows?" ®
I was surprised
as I entered the page and started to read the article, that the first picture I saw was of a professional-looking upright camera that could not have less suited a juvenile name like the "Bloggie". My first thought on seeing that picture was that I wanted some of whatever Sony's marketing department was on. With a name like that surely the thing should come in pink since it has to be targeted at teenage girls. WTF is that black professional-looking thing doing with a name like that?
Ah, that's more like it! A pretty pink Bloggie. I'm sure my 13-year-old niece would love one for her birthday, coming soon...
Aren't there loads of similar cameras, eg. the Sanyo Xacti (720p and 10 megapixel stills) at under £150, or are you specifically after 1080 HD?
Sensor on the nano not worth taking stills with
I suspect the sensor on the nano is a video optimised chip - probably doesn't have much (if any) resolution beyond 640x480 and the Apple marketing people are not going to try and sell anyone a 0.3MP still image are they?
Is it a web camera or a bowel movement?
It'll be interesting to see what that $199 translates to by the time it's traversed the Exchange-Rate-Reality-Distortion field that is the Atlantic. There are a few VERY similar devices available over here for around £150. If Sony can get that over here and keep the price south of £200 (say £180) then that would be pretty tempting. It seems reasonable to assume the image quality from a Sony is going to be £30 better than an AipTek or any of the other Chinese/Far-East brands.