Sony's new compact camera brings photography to the visually impaired

DSC-HX99 RNV retinal projection camera
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony has launched a new compact camera that is designed to help bring digital imaging to those with impaired sight. The DSC-HX99 RNV kit is a retinal projection camera that lets those who have difficulty using a normal camera viewfinder or screen take and see photographs, using a specially-designed attachment that projects the image onto the back of the eye. 

The camera is a collaboration between Sony and QD Laser, a Japanese company that has pioneered the Retissa Neoviewer retinal projection device which attaches to the zoom compact.

Apart from the projector, the new camera has the same features as the DSC-HX99 superzoom compact camera. Launched in 2018, this is claimed to be the world's smallest 30x zoom camera - with an effective 24-720mm lens. It uses a 1/2.3in 18-megapixel sensor,  shoots 4K video, and weighs in at 243g (in its original form). 

(Image credit: Sony)

The DSC-HX99 RNV was first shown in March, but has now gone on sale for US$600 - essentially the same price as the camera on its own. The cost of the adaptation is being heavily subsidised by Sony.

"We continue to leverage creativity and technology to enhance the accessibility of our products, services, and experiences. The Retina Projection Camera Kit is a step in our commitment to a future that empowers all types of creators," says Yang Cheng, Vice President, Imaging Solutions, Sony Electronics Inc.

Potential users will be encouraged to attend a touch-and-try event before purchase, and will only be allowed to buy one camera each; they should contact Sony Digital Production Center on +1 (323) 352-5007, or by email at to get an appointment.

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Chris George

Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 

His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, with which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 11 Pro.

He has written about technology for countless publications and websites including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Dorling Kindersley, What Cellphone, T3 and Techradar.