The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 is shown. (Image courtesy of The Verge)

Point and shoot camera enthusiasts have been pitched to no end on the merits of massive megapixel counts and generous optical zoom lengths, so Sony's new Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 aims to add yet another metric to that perpetual arms race: sensor size. At the camera's heart is 20.2-megapixel 13.2 x 8.8mm Exmor CMOS sensor, which Sony claims is four times larger than those normally available in point-and-shoot cameras. We had an opportunity to get a bit of hands on time with the Cyber-shot DSC-RX100, and while we weren't allowed to capture any sample images — we were told the cameras weren't production quality just yet — we did get a chance to fiddle with some of the improvements.

Sony is calling the DSC-RX100 the most advanced point and shoot it has ever released. That Exmos sensor is backed by an f/1.8 Carl-Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens with a 3.6x optical zoom, a 120 to 25,600 ISO range, and a battery that will reportedly last for about 330 shots. The device is also fairly compact, measuring in at 4 x 2.4 x 1.4 inches and weighing just under half a pound at 7.5 ounces. It offers a 3-inch, 1,229k dot LCD display bolstered by Sony’s WhiteMagic technology: additional white pixels are used to boost screen brightness and enhance details. We took the camera out on a rather bright and sunny day and the LCD didn’t disappoint, showing off a bright, accurate preview of the scenes we were checking out. A control ring surrounds the lens, and you can customize a number of functions to make adjustments on the fly.

The DSC-RX100 boasts some of the special shooting modes we saw on the Sony Alpha SLT-A37 and NEX-F3, including auto portrait framing and Sony’s clear image zoom, which uses an internal database to “fill in” missing pixels, in an attempt to generate clear, full-resolution zoom images. The DSC-RX100 will be able to capture RAW images (in addition to JPEGs), and shoot 1920 x 1080 AVCHD and MP4 video. The camera is slated to be released in July, for $649.

This article was originally published on theverge.com - Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 offers a 1-inch, 20.2-megapixel sensor and f/1.8 lens