Imaging Resource has the info on the new Sony DSC-U40, Sony’s latest itty bitty sleek camera. I think that Sony is missing the point a little bit here. They started the U series with the U10, which is pretty much a 1.3 megapixel version of my 2 megapixel U20. Then they came out with the U30 which is a little bigger with a mirror so you can take stylish self portraits. The U60 is a weird all weather model.
It looks like the U40 is a good bit more compact (my U20 is still a subcompact camera and it is almost a year old now), as it runs on Memory Stick Duo. I didn’t see any size specs in the press release, but you can bet that it’s a good bit smaller. Street price should end up around $200. These are all good things, except that it’s still a 2 megapixel camera.
2 megapixels is fine, and it’s probably a good sweet spot in super duper compact cameras, but I’d really love to see something in the U20/U40 size range that was maybe even just a little more high rez (is 3.34 too much to ask?) and costs a little bit more. Given that the U series started with 1.3 and pretty quickly moved up to 2.0, the next logical step would be 3+ megapixel, and soon.
I hope that Sony continues to innovate in this awesome product line. Sadly my DSC-U20 doesn’t get as much use nowadays, as my cel phone has a low quality but really convenient camera. Continuing pressures from the cameraphone market will definately dictate lots of competition and lower margins in the $200ish price range.
Bottom Line: As long as the DSC-U40 lives up to its heritage, it will definitely be a good buy at $200. If you’re looking for a zoom, look elsewhere. This camera just has a relatively wide angle 33mm lens, and that’s okay. If it’s anything like the DSC-U20’s lens, you’ll deal with it.