It's unusual to see a company announce a new flagship camera that captures images using fewer megapixels than other models in its range -- but Sony's launch of the Cyber-shot HX1 seems to be an admission that picture quality and the number of pixels on a camera's sensor aren't necessarily related.

The Cyber-shot HX1 puts an 9.1-megapixel 'Exmor' CMOS sensor -- as used in Sony's Alpha digital SLRs -- in a relatively compact digital camera with a 20x zoom, 28mm wide-angle zoom lens.

Sony says that the Exmor technology delivers outstanding images with reduced noise, especially when shooting in high ISO settings. In tandem with the Bionz image processor, the Exmor CMOS sensor supports full-resolution shooting at up to 10 fps using a mechanical shutter.

The Exmor CMOS sensor supports two new shooting modes that reduce image noise when you’re shooting in low light. If you’re capturing static subjects, new Handheld Twilight mode grabs a high-speed burst of six frames, combining them to create a single optimised image with dramatically reduced noise levels. If your subject is moving, Anti Motion Blur mode also superimposes six frames to produce one crisp, composite image with less subject blur.