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Local Cyber-shots command a premium

No less than nine new models will be added to Sony’s Cyber-shot digital compact line-up over the next three months.

The RRPs of these new models indicate that Sony has ignored a promising emerging trend by some distributors towards pricing cameras for local retailers closer to official US MSRPs, and thus the competing US-based online channel.

Available now are the 14-megapixel DSCW610 with a 4x optical zoom lens (RRP $149) and the 16-megapixel DSCW630 with a 5x optical zoom lens (RRP $199), both of which come in an array of colours including silver, black and pink.

March will also see the release of the 16-megapixel DSCWX50 with a 5x zoom lens (RRP $299) and the more sophisticated HX200V (RRP $699 – pictured right), The latter camera has an 18-megapixel CMOS sensor, 30x optical zoom lens with a 27mm equivalent wide angle of view and can record 1080p HD movie clips. It also features Active Steady Shot stabilisation and USB charging and boasts a manual control ring, built-in GPS Compass and a 3-inch multi angle LCD monitor with 921,000 dots.

In April, the 16 megapixel H90 (RRP $349), which sports a 16x optical zoom lens with 24mm equivalent wide angle of view, 720p HD movie recording and a 3-inch LCD display.

The remaining cameras are due for release in May. They include the 16-megapixel DSCW690 (RRP $249), 18-megapixel DSCWX100 (RRP $349), the waterproof 16-megapixel DSCTX20 (RRP $499) and 18-megapixel HX20V (RRP tbc).


No global parity

Following a rumour from a reliable source that Sony was intending to adopt a local pricing policy where the discrepancy with US prices was not so large, we followed up with the company and received a definitive: ‘we have no announcements to make on global pricing’.

A comparison between the prices quoted above and US pricing would indicate that the gap may be narrowing, but it’s still clearly there. For instance, the WX50 is $300 here and US$200 in the US, while the HX200V is $700 here and US$480 in the US. The new waterproof TX20 is $500 here and US$330 (ouch!). Back-of-the-envelope calculations indicate that, on average, consumers purchasing from local retailers are still paying a 30-percent-plus premium, ex-GST, for Sony digital compacts.

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