Loftily billed as a Sony Cyber-shot owner’s ‘personal photographer’, the Sony Party-shot certainly looks very cutting-edge on paper.
Stick your digital camera on top and the Party-shot takes control, panning, tilting, zooming and using face detection tech to automatically snap the fizzogs of anyone in the vicinity.
It won’t just fix on a single face, either. Recognising that, well, you’re likely to have quite a few people at your party, it adjusts its composition to take in group shots with several subjects. And it’ll wait until they break out into a grin to boot, thanks to Smile Shutter.
The Party-shot itself is a small and lightweight (300g) device that can run off a standard power supply or a brace of AA batteries. It'll happily sit on a shelf or tabletop, but there's also a standard tripod screw if you want to set it up elsewhere.
A Cybershot-only zone
You can mount either the recently launched Sony Cyber-shot WX1 or TX1 on the Party-shot (special dock adapters are provided to ensure a snug, secure fit), and we'd be very surprised if the majority of compact Sony models released in the near future were not also fully compatible.
So, we imagine your main question is: does it actually work? Well, yes it does – leave it doing its thing while you twist the night away with your pals, and you’ll have a passable selection of robotically-captured shots to look forward to the morning after.
But it’s not a human, so it’s inevitably going to miss out on catching lots of the stuff that makes party photos so great – all it can do is work out where faces are and select the correct exposure settings, after all. Basically, don’t get one to save on money at your wedding reception, or the honeymoon might not go too well.
If, however, you want something a bit techy, unusual and cool to go with your shiny new Sony point-and-shoot, the Party-shot fits the bill. It’s a little pricey, sure, but it does what it says on the tin and can be relied up to produce a decent record of any shindig.