Sony has launched the 9-megapixel Cyber-shot H50 digital camera that they say combines superlative imaging quality with extensive manual functions for precise creative control over your images.

Featuring a tough, scratch resistant finish, the H50 has a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 15x zoom lens and a 3-inch Clear Photo LCD Plus screen that tilts up or down, as well as an electronic viewfinder.

Powered by Sony's BIONZ processor, Enhanced Face Detection can identify and focus on up to eight faces in a scene, and Sony's Smile Shutter has also been thrown in.

Advanced Sports Shooting mode combines a high shutter speed with continuous predictive autofocus while Sony's Double Anti-Blur claims to help in low light.

There's also up to ISO 3200 and Super SteadyShot optical image stabilisation that should help out when you're using the high zoom settings.

The D-Range Optimiser (DRO) automatically processes scenes with strong highlights and dark shadow detail while a new DRO Plus mode analyses individual regions of each image for less risk of lost high- and low-light detail.

Bracket Shooting mode captures three images with different exposure, white balance or colour mode settings and there's also five in-camera colour filter effects that offers increased control without the need to invest in glass filters.

The H50 offers a range of in-camera, PC-less, re-touching functions, including red-eye reduction and special filter effects.

The Cyber-shot H50 digital camera, and a range of compatible accessories, will be available from early-May.