Yesterday I posted news on the upcoming Sony HX80 compact superzoom camera. An astute reader pointed out that I've been living under a rock. Sony already has three nearly identical cameras (released last year) to the one that's coming out next month: WX500, HX90 and HX90V.
These four cameras all have the same lens and are all about the same size and shape. They all also have a 1/2.3" 18 megapixel sensor. So what's the difference?
The WX500 is the no-frills version. It's meant to be used in auto mode because it's a point-and-shoot. It has fewer options. It's a little cheaper.
The HX90 is the standard version. It's got a pop-up electronic viewfinder and WiFi. It has a few more buttons and options than the cheaper model and is a little more non-auto friendly. But it's basically the same camera.
The HX90V is the high-end version. It adds GPS and is otherwise identical to the HX90.
The HX80 replaces the HX90. It's ever-so-slightly smaller. It has a different sensor but with the exact same specs (not sure what impact that has on image quality). Otherwise it's identical.
The WX500, HX90 and HX90V are not capable of saving in RAW format (not sure why Sony wouldn't include that option). It's unclear if the HX80 will have RAW capabilities or not, but I would assume not since the other three don't. That's too bad, I'd certainly be more interested if it could produce RAW files. With such a tiny sensor, you want to be able to squeeze as much dynamic range out of it as possible and have control over the digital noise.
These four cameras are tempting travel companions because of the size and lens. I think if Sony could somehow fit a little larger sensor into the camera and also allow for RAW that they'd really have something here.