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Question
The sales representatives in camera stores tell me that the Superior Auto feature, on all Sony camera models that have it, will take away the shadows on the face from a hat on a sunny day in bright sunlight and smile line shadows on face shots. Is it true, or just sales talk, to get me to select a camera they recommend?
Answer
Not completely. The shadow areas remain, but they contain reasonable detail. Under normal circumstances during a high-contrast exposure (e.g. as you suggest, a sunlit scene with a shadow across someone's face from the peak of a hat), the camera's (or human's) exposure choice can be either a compromise between the light and dark, or it can favor one or the the other. What the Sony in-camera processing does rather well is to recognize the highlight and shadow areas and 'seamlessly stitch together' two (or more) back-to back shots with exposures respectively suited to the highlight and shadow regions of the frame. The result is a 'composite' photo that shows well-exposed detail in both the highlight and the shadow areas. It does this VERY well. Of course this 'flattens' the overall contrast somewhat, but the result of the in-camera processing is actually better than the result of any post-processing software (e.g. PhotoShop) that I have used. Post processing software tends to flatten the image more noticeably AND introduce some noise, whereas the Sony in-camera processing techniques tend to eliminate noise. (And there's no need to be a photo-geek spending hours to achieve the balanced result.)

I have two Sony cameras with this feature (HX 100V and a new WX 150). I find it very useful in many circumstances. There are lots of other reasons to choose Sony cameras too - all brands produce wonderful photos in good light, but the pocket-camera clincher for me (again) was Sony's Exmor R sensor, which (together with some in-camera trickery again) produces staggeringly clear and noise-free images in very low light conditions.

Hope this helps.
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