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WiFi digital camera runs Linux

Jan 8, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 11 views

Sony Electronics is shipping a digital still camera with WiFi for uploading files to photo-sharing services. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-G3 offers 10-megapixel recording, a 4X optical zoom, DLNA compliance, 4GB of memory, and face- and scene-recognition software that runs on Linux.

(Click for larger view of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-G3)

The Cyber-shot DSC-G3's 3.5-inch touch display shows images in high resolution (921,600 dots), as well as high contrast and wide-angle viewing, says Sony. The DSC-G3's 4GB of internal memory is said to store almost 1,000 full-resolution or 40,000 VGA-quality photos, and Sony also offers an optional Memory Stick media card.

The 10.1-megapixel Super HAD CCD image sensor is matched with a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens that comes with 4x zoom. A USB 2.0 port is provided in addition to the 802.11b/g WiFi. The camera also supports DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) guidelines, enabling home-network transfer and streaming to DLNA-compliant devices such as Sony's Bravia televisions or Sony Vaio PCs for display.

The DSC-G3 may not be the first WiFi digital camera (Kodak and Canon have announced models), but WiFi is still a rare feature in the camera world. The DSC-G3 can log onto any WiFi spot using the built-in web browser, and it also ships with free automatic AT&T WiFi access to Sony's Easy Upload Home Page until Jan. 31, 2012, says Sony.

Sony's DSC-G3, front and back (note WLAN button on right)
(Click on either to enlarge)

The AT&T service supports thousands of AT&T hotspots across the U.S., says Sony. Users can access AT&T hotspots with a click of the WLAN button (see image, above right), automatically logging them on to Sony's Easy Upload website. The site offers links to photo-sharing sites including Shutterfly, Picasa Web Albums, and Photobucket, as well as video sites like YouTube and Dailymotion. The Easy Upload site also lets users send email notifications to notify friends about new images and video postings. Users can also download photos from these sites for display on the camera, and they can access other photo-sharing sites through the built-in browser.

The DSC-G3 connects to Sony's “Easy Upload” website

Embedded software includes the ability to automatically identify eight types of scenes. It automatically optimizes settings for each recognized scene type, and takes an additional shot in low and bright light scenarios. The DSC-G3 can also detect faces in a scene, and adjusts auto focus (AF), auto exposure (AE), flash, and white balance to fit. The camera can distinguish between children and adults, allowing users to prioritize focus, says Sony.

An anti-blink function combines the scene- and face-recognition features, automatically taking double shots, but recording only those images that show the subject with open eyes. If the subject is a slow blinker, spanning both shots, the camera alerts the user. A separate “Smile Shutter” feature can even recognize smiles, Sony says.

Additional features include a Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) that is said to recover detail that would otherwise be lost to shadow, and a “double anti-blur” that helps reduce camera shake blur, especially in low light. The DSC-G3 automatically organizes images in albums by date, with thumbnail displays, but also enables organization by event and favorites. Bundled software allows for additional organization on a PC.

Sony's Linux Library

Unlike some vendors who are tardy in posting their Linux source code, or don't post it at all, Sony has already listed the DSC-G3 on its Linux source code download page, under both “digital still cameras” and “video cameras.” The list, along with a similar one maintained by Sony's U.S. division, shows how far the company has committed to Linux, with products including computers, routers, e-book readers, game consoles, video recorders, Blu-ray players, set-top-boxes, A/V equipment, PDAs, portable navigation devices, servers, photo frames, numerous cameras, and of course televisions. Sony has shipped Linux in millions of TV sets.

Source code downloads listed for the DSC-G3 camera include:

  • Linux-kernel.tar.gz
  • Sony-target-rel-busybox-1.01-010502di6.src.rpm
  • Sony-target-rel-dosfstools-2.11-010501.src.rpm
  • Sony-target-rel-netbase-4.06-010501.src.rpm
  • Sony-target-rel-psmisc-21.6-010501.src.rpm

Stated Phil Lubell, director of digital camera marketing at Sony Electronics, “Research shows that our customers greatly value sharing images and video clips, but they often forget or don't have enough time if they wait to get home to upload images. Our new Cyber-shot DSC-G3 camera provides the simplicity and convenience of sharing in the moment, while the impulse is still fresh in people's minds.”


The Cyber-shot DSC-G3 camera is available now in black for about $500 at authorized dealers, and online at SonyStyle. More information may be found here.

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