Sony DSC-WX1

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The DSC-WX1 from 2009 is seemingly just another of the sleekly-designed compact digital point & shoots which Sony is known for. However its significance comes from being among the first digital cameras to use a new sensor technology, "back illumination."

Rather than having the sensor circuitry deposited overtop the light-sensitive silicon pixels, back-illumination flips the chip over and thins away the silicon substrate, making this the side facing the lens. Theoretically, this improves the light-gathering ability of the sensor and its performance in poor light. Sony called its version of the technology "Exmor R" (rather than their conventional "Exmor" branding). The sensor in the WX1 is a 10-megapixel chip approximately 4.6×6 mm in size. Despite the back-illumination technology, this is still a tiny sensor, unable to compete with a conventional DSLR in high-ISO performance.

The WX1 includes a 5x zoom lens, starting from an usually wide 24mm and extending to a respectable 120mm telephoto (in 35mm equivalent terms).