Coming hot on the heels of a firmware upgrade that brought 3D capability to its NEX interchangeable lens digital cameras, Sony has announced it will add 3D capability to its point-and-shoot Cyber-shot digital still camera range with the introduction of the Cyber-shot DSC-TX9 and DSC-WX5. The new cameras will be the first compact digital still cameras capable of capturing panoramic photos in 3D with Sony’s 3D Sweep Panorama function.

Unlike most 3D cameras, such as the Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W1, that employ two lenses to capture two images that are combined to form a 3D image, Sony’s new cameras have only a single lens – a 25mm and 24mm wide-angle lens on the TX9 and WX5 respectively. To generate a 3D image the user sweeps the camera in a horizontal direction using Sony’s 3D Sweep Panorama function. The camera then works some technological wizardry to calculate what a dual-lens system would see and create ultra-wide panoramic shots in 3D that can then be viewed on any compatible 3D TV when connected via HDMI.

Additionally, the Cyber-shot TX9 and WX5 also include a Background Defocus mode, which produces a blurred background effect on macro and portrait shots that previously could only be achieved with DSLR cameras. For capturing fast moving scenes such as sports, both cameras are also equipped with high-speed continuous shooting of 10 frames per second (fps) as well as Full HD AVCHD (1920 x 1080, 50i) video recording.

When using the new cameras to shoot portraits of the more beauty-challenged members of the family, a new Soft Skin mode removes blemishes and helps defines the eyes and lips. Users can choose from three Soft Skin modes (low, medium, high) and enhance the faces of up to eight people.

The Cyber-shot TX9 features a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens, Exmor R CMOS sensor with approximately twice the sensitivity compared to conventional CMOS sensors, wide-angle 25 mm lens, 2.8-inch LCD screen and 4x optical zoom. While the Cyber-shot WX5 series features a 24mm wide-angle (35mm equivalent) f/2.4 G lens, 5x Optical Zoom, Exmor R CMOS sensor, 3.5-inch LCD screen and high-speed, high quality BIONZ imaging processor.

The Sony Cyber-shot TX9 will be available for around US$400 and the WX5 will be available at around the US$300 mark. Both are scheduled for a September 2010 release.