Charging out of the gate with the most feature-rich point-and-shoots ever made, Sony introduces the HX1. At 9 megapixels, it's far from the highest-resolution camera on the market, but with its half-inch sensor, more pixels would probably degrade the image with noise anyway.
First on the list of features is a big 3-inch tilt-out LCD on the back of the camera for ease of composition. The most innovative feature the camera has is its panorama mode, which allows the user to simply sweep the camera across a scene, and the camera automatically builds a seamless panoramic image in seconds. We tried it out and found it to be amazingly easy and effective. The only defects were caused by a few fast moving people in the crowd.
The HX1 is the first point-and-shoot to capture burst shooting at 10 frames per second at full resolution. Unfortunately, the camera buffer fills up at 10 images, so if the shot you wanted isn't within that first second, you're out of luck. The camera shoots 1080p video with stereo sound and has an HDMI output dongle for playback. The camera has a mode called Twilight, snapping six images and using the data from all six to get a noise-free image in low-light, low-motion settings.
Sony's little wonder cam will be available in April for $500.